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February 23

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  • What happened on February 23
  • February 23 is the 54th day of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. There are 311 days remaining until the end of the year (312 in leap years).

 

  • Events on February 23
  • 303 – Roman emperor Diocletian orders the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, beginning eight years of Diocletianic Persecution.
  • 532 – Byzantine emperor Justinian I orders the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia.
  • 1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
  • 1554 – Mapuche forces, under the leadership of Lautaro, score a victory over the Spanish at the Battle of Marihueñu in Chile.
  • 1739 – Richard Palmer is identified at York Castle, by his former schoolteacher, as the outlaw Dick Turpin.
  • 1778 – American Revolutionary War: Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help to train the Continental Army.
  • 1820 – Cato Street Conspiracy: A plot to murder all the British cabinet ministers is exposed.
  • 1836 – Texas Revolution: The Battle of the Alamo begins in San Antonio, Texas.
  • 1847 – Mexican–American War: Battle of Buena Vista: In Mexico, American troops under future president General Zachary Taylordefeat Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
  • 1854 – The official independence of the Orange Free State is declared.
  • 1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1870 – Reconstruction Era: Post-U.S. Civil War military control of Mississippi ends and it is readmitted to the Union.
  • 1883 – Alabama becomes the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.
  • 1885 – Sino-French War: French Army gains an important victory in the Battle of Đồng Đăng in the Tonkin region of Vietnam.
  • 1886 – Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of man-made aluminum, after several years of intensive work. He was assisted in this project by his older sister, Julia Brainerd Hall.
  • 1887 – The French Riviera is hit by a large earthquake, killing around 2,000.
  • 1898 – Émile Zola is imprisoned in France after writing “J’accuse“, a letter accusing the French government of antisemitism and wrongfully imprisoning CaptainAlfred Dreyfus.
  • 1900 – Second Boer War: During the Battle of the Tugela Heights, the first British attempt to take Hart’s Hill fails.
  • 1903 – Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.
  • 1905 – Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen meet for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world’s first service club.
  • 1909 – The AEA Silver Dart makes the first powered flight in Canada and the British Empire.
  • 1917 – First demonstrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The beginning of the February Revolution (March 8th in the Gregorian calendar).
  • 1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signs a bill by Congress establishing the Federal Radio Commission (later replaced by the Federal Communications Commission) which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States.
  • 1927 – German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time.
  • 1934 – Leopold III becomes King of Belgium.
  • 1941 – Plutonium is first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japanese submarines fire artillery shells at the coastline near Santa Barbara, California.
  • 1943 – A fire breaks out at Saint Joseph’s Orphanage, County Cavan, Ireland, killing 35 children and one adult.
  • 1943 – Greek Resistance: The United Panhellenic Organization of Youth is founded is Greece.
  • 1944 – The Soviet Union begins the forced deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people from the North Caucasus to Central Asia.
  • 1945 – World War II: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag.
  • 1945 – World War II: The 11th Airborne Division, with Filipino guerrillas, free the captives of the Los Baños internment camp.
  • 1945 – World War II: The capital of the Philippines, Manila, is liberated by combined Filipino and American forces.
  • 1945 – World War II: Capitulation of German garrison in Poznań. The city is liberated by Soviet and Polish forces.
  • 1945 – World War II: The German town of Pforzheim is annihilated in a raid by 379 British bombers.
  • 1954 – The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.
  • 1966 – In Syria, Ba’ath Party member Salah Jadid leads an intra-party military coup that replaces the previous government of General Amin al-Hafiz, also a Baathist.
  • 1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army demands $4 million more to release kidnap victim Patty Hearst.
  • 1980 – Iran hostage crisis: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran’s parliament will decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
  • 1981 – In Spain, Antonio Tejero attempts a coup d’état by capturing the Spanish Congress of Deputies.
  • 1983 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.
  • 1987 – Supernova 1987a is seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
  • 1991 – Gulf War: Ground troops cross the Saudi Arabian border and enter Iraq, thus beginning the ground phase of the war.
  • 1991 – In Thailand, General Sunthorn Kongsompong leads a bloodless coup d’état, deposing Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan.
  • 1998 – In the United States, tornadoes in central Florida destroy or damage 2,600 structures and kill 42 people.
  • 1999 – Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Öcalan is charged with treason in Ankara, Turkey.
  • 2007 – A train derails on an evening express service near Grayrigg, Cumbria, England, killing one person and injuring 88. This results in hundreds of points being checked over the UK after a few similar accidents.
  • 2008 – A United States Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber crashes on Guam, marking the first operational loss of a B-2.
  • 2010 – Unknown criminals pour more than 2.5 million liters of diesel oil and other hydrocarbons into the river Lambro, in northern Italy, sparking an environmental disaster.
  • 2012 – A series of attacks across Iraq leave at least 83 killed and more than 250 injured.

 

 

 

  • Births on February 23
  • 1417 – Pope Paul II (d. 1471)
  • 1417 – Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria (d. 1479)
  • 1443 – Matthias Corvinus, Hungarian king (d. 1490)
  • 1583 – Jean-Baptiste Morin, French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer (d. 1656)
  • 1633 – Samuel Pepys, English soldier and politician (d. 1703)
  • 1646 – Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, Japanese shogun (d. 1709)
  • 1680 – Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, Canadian politician, 2nd Colonial Governor of Louisiana (d. 1767)
  • 1685 – George Frideric Handel, German-English organist and composer (d. 1759)
  • 1723 – Richard Price, Welsh-English minister and philosopher (d. 1791)
  • 1744 – Mayer Amschel Rothschild, German banker and businessman (d. 1812)
  • 1840 – Carl Menger, Austrian economist and educator (d. 1921)
  • 1842 – Karl Robert Eduard von Hartmann, German philosopher and author (d. 1906)
  • 1850 – César Ritz, Swiss businessman, founded The Ritz Hotel, London and Hôtel Ritz Paris (d. 1918)
  • 1852 – Dục Đức, Vietnamese emperor (d. 1883)
  • 1868 – W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, and activist (d. 1963)
  • 1868 – Anna Hofman-Uddgren, Swedish actress, singer, and director (d. 1947)
  • 1873 – Liang Qichao, Chinese journalist, philosopher, and scholar (d. 1929)
  • 1874 – Konstantin Päts, Estonian lawyer and politician, 1st President of Estonia (d. 1956)
  • 1878 – Kazimir Malevich, Ukrainian painter and theorist (d. 1935)
  • 1883 – Karl Jaspers, German-Swiss psychiatrist and philosopher (d. 1969)
  • 1883 – Guy C. Wiggins, American painter (d. 1962)
  • 1889 – Musidora, French actress and director (d. 1957)
  • 1889 – Cyril Delevanti, English-American actor (d. 1975)
  • 1889 – Victor Fleming, American director, cinematographer, and producer (d. 1949)
  • 1889 – John Gilbert Winant, American captain, pilot, and politician, 60th Governor of New Hampshire (d. 1947)
  • 1892 – Kathleen Harrison, English actress (d. 1995)
  • 1894 – Harold Horder, Australian rugby player and coach (d. 1978)
  • 1899 – Erich Kästner, German author and poet (d. 1974)
  • 1899 – Norman Taurog, American director and screenwriter (d. 1981)
  • 1904 – Terence Fisher, English director and screenwriter (d. 1980)
  • 1904 – William L. Shirer, American journalist and historian (d. 1993)
  • 1908 – William McMahon, Australian lawyer and politician, 20th Prime Minister of Australia (d. 1988)
  • 1915 – Jon Hall, American actor and director (d. 1979)
  • 1915 – Paul Tibbets, American general and pilot (d. 2007)
  • 1919 – Johnny Carey, Irish footballer and manager (d. 1995)
  • 1920 – Paul Gérin-Lajoie, Canadian lawyer and politician
  • 1923 – Rafael Addiego Bruno, Uruguayan jurist and politician, President of Uruguay (d. 2014)
  • 1923 – Ioannis Grivas, Greek judge and politician, 176th Prime Minister of Greece (d. 2016)
  • 1923 – Mary Francis Shura, American author (d. 1991)
  • 1924 – Allan McLeod Cormack, South-African-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1998)
  • 1925 – Louis Stokes, American lawyer and politician (d. 2015)
  • 1927 – Régine Crespin, French soprano and actress (d. 2007)
  • 1928 – Hans Herrmann, German race car driver
  • 1928 – Vasily Lazarev, Russian colonel, physician, and astronaut (d. 1990)
  • 1929 – Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow (d. 2008)
  • 1929 – Elston Howard, American baseball player and coach (d. 1980)
  • 1930 – Paul West, English-American author, poet, and academic (d. 2015)
  • 1931 – Tom Wesselmann, American painter and sculptor (d. 2004)
  • 1932 – Majel Barrett, American actress and producer (d. 2008)
  • 1937 – Tom Osborne, American football player, coach, and politician
  • 1938 – Paul Morrissey, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1938 – Diane Varsi, American actress (d. 1992)
  • 1940 – Peter Fonda, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1940 – Jackie Smith, American football player
  • 1941 – Ron Hunt, American baseball player
  • 1943 – Fred Biletnikoff, American football player and coach
  • 1944 – Bernard Cornwell, English author and educator
  • 1944 – Florian Fricke, German keyboard player and composer (d. 2001)
  • 1944 – Johnny Winter, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2014)
  • 1945 – Allan Boesak, South African cleric and politician
  • 1946 – Rusty Young, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1947 – Pia Kjærsgaard, Danish politician, Speaker of the Danish Parliament
  • 1947 – Anton Mosimann, Swiss chef and author
  • 1948 – Bill Alexander, English director and producer
  • 1949 – César Aira, Argentinian author and translator
  • 1949 – Marc Garneau, Canadian engineer, astronaut, and politician
  • 1950 – Rebecca Goldstein, American philosopher and author
  • 1951 – Ed “Too Tall” Jones, American football player and boxer
  • 1951 – Patricia Richardson, American actress
  • 1952 – Brad Whitford, American guitarist and songwriter
  • 1953 – Kenny Bee, Hong Kong singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
  • 1953 – Satoru Nakajima, Japanese race car driver
  • 1954 – Rajini Thiranagama, Sri Lankan physician and academic (d. 1989)
  • 1954 – Viktor Yushchenko, Ukrainian captain and politician, 3rd President of Ukraine
  • 1955 – Howard Jones, English singer-songwriter
  • 1955 – Flip Saunders, American basketball player and coach (d. 2015)
  • 1956 – Sandra Osborne, Scottish politician
  • 1958 – David Sylvian, English singer-songwriter
  • 1959 – Clayton Anderson, American engineer and astronaut
  • 1959 – Nick de Bois, English politician
  • 1959 – Ian Liddell-Grainger, Scottish soldier and politician
  • 1959 – Linda Nolan, Irish singer and actress
  • 1960 – Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan
  • 1962 – Michael Wilton, American guitarist
  • 1963 – Bobby Bonilla, American baseball player
  • 1963 – Radosław Sikorski, Polish journalist and politician, 11th Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland
  • 1964 – John Norum, Norwegian guitarist and songwriter
  • 1965 – Michael Dell, American businessman
  • 1965 – Helena Suková, Czech-Monacan tennis player
  • 1967 – Steve Stricker, American golfer
  • 1967 – Chris Vrenna, American drummer, songwriter, and producer
  • 1969 – Michael Campbell, New Zealand-Australian golfer
  • 1969 – Daymond John, American fashion designer and businessman, founded FUBU
  • 1970 – Niecy Nash, American actress and producer
  • 1971 – Melinda Messenger, English model and television host
  • 1971 – Joe-Max Moore, American soccer player
  • 1972 – Alessandro Sturba, Italian footballer
  • 1972 – Rondell White, American baseball player
  • 1973 – Jeff Nordgaard, American-Polish basketball player
  • 1974 – Herschelle Gibbs, South African cricketer
  • 1975 – Michael Cornacchia, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1976 – Scott Elarton, American baseball player and coach
  • 1976 – Kelly Macdonald, Scottish actress
  • 1976 – Jeff O’Neill, Canadian ice hockey player and sportscaster
  • 1977 – Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, Estonian skier
  • 1978 – Residente, Puerto Rican-American singer-songwriter
  • 1978 – Dan Snyder, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2003)
  • 1979 – S. E. Cupp, American journalist and author
  • 1981 – Gareth Barry, English footballer
  • 1981 – Josh Gad, American actor, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1981 – Charles Tillman, American football player
  • 1982 – Adam Hann-Byrd, American actor and screenwriter
  • 1983 – Mido, Egyptian footballer and sportscaster
  • 1983 – Aziz Ansari, American comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1983 – Emily Blunt, English actress
  • 1986 – Emerson Conceição, Brazilian footballer
  • 1986 – Skylar Grey, American singer-songwriter
  • 1986 – Kazuya Kamenashi, Japanese singer-songwriter and actor
  • 1986 – Jerod Mayo, American football player
  • 1986 – Ola Svensson, Swedish singer-songwriter
  • 1987 – Ab-Soul, American rapper
  • 1987 – Theophilus London, Trinidadian-American singer-songwriter and producer
  • 1988 – Nicolás Gaitán, Argentinian footballer
  • 1989 – Evan Bates, American ice dancer
  • 1989 – Jérémy Pied, French footballer
  • 1990 – Terry Hawkridge, English footballer
  • 1992 – Casemiro, Brazilian footballer
  • 1992 – Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Greek footballer
  • 1994 – Dakota Fanning, American actress
  • 1995 – Andrew Wiggins, Canadian basketball player

 

 

 

  • Deaths on February 23
  • 715 – Al-Walid I, Arab caliph (b. 668)
  • 908 – Li Keyong, Shatuo, military governor during the Tang Dynasty in China (b. 856)
  • 943 – Herbert II, Count of Vermandois, (b. 884)
  • 1011 – Willigis, German archbishop (b. 940)
  • 1100 – Emperor Zhezong of Song (b. 1076)
  • 1270 – Isabel of France (b. 1225)
  • 1447 – Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (b. 1390)
  • 1447 – Pope Eugene IV (b. 1383)
  • 1464 – Emperor Yingzong of Ming (b. 1427)
  • 1554 – Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Suffolk, English politician, Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire (b. 1515)
  • 1603 – Andrea Cesalpino, Italian philosopher, physician, and botanist (b. 1519)
  • 1704 – Georg Muffat, French organist and composer (b. 1653)
  • 1766 – Stanisław Leszczyński, Polish king (b. 1677)
  • 1781 – George Taylor, Irish-American blacksmith and politician (b. 1716)
  • 1792 – Joshua Reynolds, English painter and academic (b. 1723)
  • 1821 – John Keats, English poet (b. 1795)
  • 1848 – John Quincy Adams, American politician, 6th President of the United States (b. 1767)
  • 1855 – Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (b. 1777)
  • 1859 – Zygmunt Krasiński, Polish poet and playwright (b. 1812)
  • 1879 – Albrecht von Roon, Prussian soldier and politician, 10th Minister President of Prussia (b. 1803)
  • 1897 – Woldemar Bargiel, German composer and educator (b. 1828)
  • 1900 – Ernest Dowson, English poet, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1867)
  • 1908 – Friedrich von Esmarch, German surgeon and academic (b. 1823)
  • 1918 – Adolphus Frederick VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (b. 1882)
  • 1930 – Horst Wessel, German SA officer (b. 1907)
  • 1931 – Nellie Melba, Australian soprano and actress (b. 1861)
  • 1934 – Edward Elgar, English composer and academic (b. 1857)
  • 1944 – Leo Baekeland, Belgian-American chemist and engineer (b. 1863)
  • 1946 – Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japanese general (b. 1885)
  • 1948 – John Robert Gregg, Irish-American publisher and educator (b. 1866)
  • 1955 – Paul Claudel, French poet and playwright (b. 1868)
  • 1965 – Stan Laurel, English actor and comedian (b. 1890)
  • 1969 – Madhubala, Indian actress and producer (b. 1933)
  • 1973 – Dickinson W. Richards, American physician and physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1895)
  • 1974 – Harry Ruby, American composer and screenwriter (b. 1895)
  • 1976 – L. S. Lowry, English painter (b. 1887)
  • 1979 – W. A. C. Bennett, Canadian businessman and politician, 25th Premier of British Columbia (b. 1900)
  • 1983 – Herbert Howells, English organist and composer (b. 1892)
  • 1990 – José Napoleón Duarte, Salvadoran engineer and politician, President of El Salvador (b. 1925)
  • 1995 – James Herriot, English veterinarian and author (b. 1916)
  • 1997 – Tony Williams, American drummer, composer, and producer (b. 1945)
  • 1998 – Philip Abbott, American actor and director (b. 1924)
  • 1999 – The Renegade, American wrestler (b. 1965)
  • 2000 – Ofra Haza, Israeli singer-songwriter and actress (b. 1957)
  • 2000 – Stanley Matthews, English footballer and manager (b. 1915)
  • 2003 – Howie Epstein, American bass player, songwriter, and producer (b. 1955)
  • 2003 – Robert K. Merton, American sociologist and academic (b. 1910)
  • 2004 – Vijay Anand, Indian director, producer, screenwriter, and actor (b. 1934)
  • 2004 – Sikander Bakht, Indian politician, Indian Minister of External Affairs (b. 1918)
  • 2006 – Telmo Zarra, Spanish footballer (b. 1921)
  • 2007 – John Ritchie, English footballer (b. 1941)
  • 2008 – Janez Drnovšek, Slovenian economist and politician, 2nd President of Slovenia (b. 1950)
  • 2008 – Paul Frère, Belgian race car driver and journalist (b. 1917)
  • 2010 – Orlando Zapata, Cuban plumber and activist (b. 1967)
  • 2011 – Nirmala Srivastava, Indian religious leader, founded Sahaja Yoga (b. 1923)
  • 2012 – William Raggio, American lawyer and politician (b. 1926)
  • 2012 – David Sayre, American physicist and mathematician (b. 1924)
  • 2012 – Kazimierz Żygulski, Polish sociologist and activist (b. 1919)
  • 2013 – Eugene Bookhammer, American soldier and politician, 18th Lieutenant Governor of Delaware (b. 1918)
  • 2013 – Julien Ries, Belgian cardinal (b. 1920)
  • 2013 – Lotika Sarkar, Indian lawyer and academic (b. 1945)
  • 2014 – Alice Herz-Sommer, Czech-English Holocaust survivor, pianist and educator (b. 1903)
  • 2014 – Roger Hilsman, American soldier, academic, and politician (b. 1919)
  • 2015 – James Aldridge, Australian-English journalist and author (b. 1918)
  • 2015 – Rana Bhagwandas, Pakistani lawyer and judge, Chief Justice of Pakistan (b. 1942)
  • 2015 – W. E. “Bill” Dykes, American soldier and politician (b. 1925)
  • 2016 – Peter Lustig, German television host and author (b. 1937)
  • 2016 – Jacqueline Mattson, American baseball player (b. 1928)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Holidays and observances on February 23
  • Christian feast day:
    • Polycarp of Smyrna
    • Serenus the Gardener
    • February 23 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
  • Mashramani-Republic Day (Guyana)
  • Meteņi (Latvia)
  • National Day (Brunei)
  • Red Army Day or Day of Soviet Army and Navy in the former Soviet Union, also held in various former Soviet republics:
    • Defender of the Fatherland Day (Russia)
    • Defender of the Fatherland and Armed Forces day (Belarus)
  • Terminalia held in honor of Terminus (Ancient Rome)
February 23

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