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1995–The oldest known musical instrument in the world is found in the Indrijca River Valley in Slovenia. The 45,000-year-old relic, a crude wind instrument, is a bear bone with four artificial holes along its length.



BC 390–A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.

64–The Great Fire of Rome causes widespread devastation and rages on for six days, destroying half of the city.

362–Emperor Julian arrives at Antioch with a Roman expeditionary force (60,000 men) and stays there for nine months to launch a campaign against the Persian Empire.

452–After an earlier defeat on the Catalaunian Plains, Attila lays siege to the metropolis of Aquileia and eventually destroys it.

645–Chinese forces under General Li Shiji besiege the strategic fortress city of Anshi (Liaoning) during the Goguryeo-Tang War.

707–Emperor Monmu of Japan dies.

912–Chinese Emperor, Zhu Wen, also known as Emperor Taizu of Later Liang, is murdered by his son, Zhu Yougui, in China, at age 59.

1195–Almohad forces defeat the Castilian army of Alfonso VIII and force its retreat to Toledo.

1290–King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (about 16,000) from England. This is Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.

1334–The bishop of Florence. Italy, blesses the first foundation stone for the new campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral, designed by the artist Giotto di Bondone.

1389–France and England agree to the Truce of Leulinghem, inaugurating a 13-year peace, the longest period of sustained peace during the Hundred Years' War.

1391–In the Battle of the Kondurcha River, Timur defeats Tokhtamysh of the Golden Horde in present-day southeast Russia.

1501–Isabella of Austria is born in Brussels, Belgium.

1552–Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, is born in Vienna, Austria.

1555–The College of Arms is reincorporated by Royal charter, signed by Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain.

1610–Italian Renaissance painter, Caravaggio, dies. He is revered for the breakthroughs he accomplished in the depiction of light and shadow. He was despised in his time, however, eventually losing the support of the biggest patron of the arts, the Church, for his use of prostitutes as models in his paintings of the Virgin Mary.

1721–French artist, Jean-Antoine Watteau, dies.

1792–American admiral, John Paul Jones, dies.

1811–Writer and poet, William Makepeace Thackeray, is born in Calcutta, British India. His works include The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Vanity Fair, The Paris Sketchbook, The Virginians, and The Adventures of Philip.

1812–The Treaties of Orebro end both the Anglo-Russian and Anglo-Swedish Wars.

1817–Novelist, Jane Austen, dies in England after an extended illness.

1818–Politician, Louis Gerhard De Geer, is born. He was the first Prime Minister of Sweden.

1841–The Coronation of Emperor Pedro II of Brazil is held.

1857–Louis Faidherbe, French Governor of Senegal, arrives to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall's war against the French.

1862–The first ascent of Dent Blanche is made. It is one of the highest summits in the Alps.

1863–In the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, one of the first formal African American military units, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (supported by several white regiments), attempts an unsuccessful assault on Confederate-held Battery Wagner.

1870–The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility.

1872–Britain introduces the concept of voting by secret ballot.

1872–Benito Pablo Juarez Garcia, President of Mexico for five terms (1858-1872), dies of a heart attack while reading a newspaper in Mexico City, Mexico, at age 66.

1895–Gangster, Machine Gun Kelly, is born.

1899–Author, Horatio Alger, Jr., dies of respiratory problems in Natick, Massachusetts, at age 67. He is known for his optimistic, rags-to-riches stories about young men seeking better lives.

1902–Actor, Chill Wills, is born Theodore Childress Wills in Seagoville, Dallas County, Texas. He appeared in the films Way Out West, Boom Town, Meet Me in St. Louis, Leave Her to Heaven, The Harvey Girls, The Yearling, Francis, Giant, Where the Boys Are, The Wheeler Dealers, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

1906–Educator and politician, S. I. Hayakawa, is born in Canada.

1906–Director, playwright, and screenwriter, Clifford Odets, is born.

1909–Economist and politician, Andrei (Andreyevich) Gromyko, is born in Staryya Hramyki, Russian Empire. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Soviet Union.

1909–Politician, Mohammed Daoud Khan, is born. He was the first President of Afghanistan.

1909–Actress and singer, Harriet Nelson, is born Peggy Louise Snyder in Des Moines, Iowa. She is best known for her co-starring role on the long-running sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. She appeared in the films Follow the Fleet, Sweetheart of the Campus, and Here Come The Nelsons. She was married to bandleader, Ozzie Nelson. Her sons were actors Ricky Nelson and David Nelson.

1911–Actor, Hume (Blake) Cronyn, is born in London, Ontario, Canada. He appeared in the films Shadow of a Doubt, Lifeboat, Ziegfeld Follies, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Beginning or the End, Sunrise at Campobello, Cleopatra, Richard Burton’s Hamlet, Gaily Gaily, The Parallax View, Conrack, Honky Tonk Freeway, The World According to Garp, Brewster’s Millions, Cocoon, *batteries not included, Marvin’s Room, and Alone. He was married to actress, Jessica Tandy.

1913–Actor and comedian, Red Skelton, is born.

1914–The U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving official status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.

1918–Nelson Mandela, civil rights activist, is born in South Africa.

1921–Astronaut and politician, John Glenn, is born John Herschel Glenn, Jr. in Cambridge, Ohio. He was an aviator, engineer, and U.S. Senator from Ohio. He was one of the "Mercury Seven" group of military test pilots selected by NASA in 1959, to become America's first astronauts and fly the Project Mercury spacecraft. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth. On October 29, 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space (and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs), when at age 77, he flew as a Payload Specialist on Discovery mission STS-95.

1925–Adolf Hitler publishes the first volume of his personal manifesto “Mein Kampf.”

1929–Blues singer, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, is born Jalacy Hawkins. He is best known for his 1956 hit I Put a Spell On You.

1936–An army uprising in Spanish Morocco starts the Spanish Civil War.

1936–Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, invents the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Six Wienermobiles tour around America, fascinating children of all ages, as they promote the famous Oscar Mayer wiener.

1937–Writer and journalist, Hunter S. Thompson, is born Hunter Stockton Thompson in Louisville, Kentucky. His first book, Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga, was published in 1966. It changed the course of his career and almost cost him his life, when he was badly beaten by members of the notorious motorcycle gang. His high-water mark was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, published in 1972, quickly becoming a cult classic.

1938–Keyboard player, Ian Stewart, is born in Scotland.

1938–Director, producer, and screenwriter, Paul Verhoeven, is born.

1939–Dion, of Dion and the Belmonts, is born Dion DiMucci in the Bronx, New York. The group’s hits include I Wonder Why and A Teenager in Love. As a solo artist, he had hits with Lonely Teenager, Runaround Sue, The Wanderer, Ruby Baby, and Abraham, Martin & John.

1940–Actor, James Brolin, is born.

1941–Blues guitarist, Lonnie Mack, is born Lonnie McIntosh in Dearborn County, Indiana. He was a rock, blues, and country singer-guitarist. Best known for his 1963 instrumentals, Memphis and Wham!, he has been called a rock-guitar "pioneer" and a "ground-breaker" in lead guitar soloing.

1941–Martha Reeves, of Martha and the Vandellas, is born in Detroit, Michigan. The group’s biggest hit was Dancing in the Street.

1942–The Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 using its jet engines for the first time during World War II.

1944–Hideki Tojo resigns as Prime Minister of Japan because of numerous setbacks during World War II.

1947–Publisher, Steve Forbes, is born.

1950–Singer, Glenn (Martin) Hughes, of The Village People, is born in New York, New York. He was the original "Biker" character in the disco group from 1977 to 1996.

1950–Writer and critic, Carl Clinton Van Doren, dies.

1953–Truck driver, Elvis Presley, makes his first recording: My Happiness is pressed on acetate as a gift for his mother.

1954–Country singer, Ricky Skaggs, is born.

1954–Gangster, Machine Gun Kelly, dies.

1955–The first electric power generated from atomic energy is sold commercially.

1960–It is reported that Elvis Presley has taken out a mortgage of $164,000 on his mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee.

1961–Actress, Elizabeth McGovern, is born.

1962–Jack Irons, drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, is born in Los Angeles, California.

1964–A chart topper: It’s All Over Now by The Rolling Stones.

1966–Gemini 10 is launched from Cape Kennedy on a 70-hour mission that includes docking with an orbiting Agena target vehicle.

1966–The children's TV series Play School airs for the first time, going on to become the longest-running children's show in Australia, and the second longest running children's show in the world.

1966–Singer, Bobby Fuller, of The Bobby Fuller Four, dies.

1967–Actor, Vin Diesel, is born.

1968–Intel is founded in Mountain View, California.

1969–U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy's car goes off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.

1976–Nadia Comaneci becomes the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

1982–Two hundred sixty-eight campesinos ("peasants" or "country people") are slain in the Plan de Sánchez massacre in Ríos Montt's Guatemala.

1984–In a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California, James Oliver Huberty opens fire, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others, before being shot dead by police.

1985–Ohio Governor, Richard Celeste, lobbies the Rock and Roll Foundation to get the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame located in Cleveland, Ohio. The appeal is successful.

1986–A tornado is broadcast live on KARE TV in Minnesota, when the station's helicopter pilot makes a chance encounter with the twister.

1986–Actress, Laura Elizabeth Carmichael, is born in Southampton, Hampshire, England. She is best known for the role of Lady Edith Crawley in the BBC drama series Downton Abbey.

1988–Model, Nico, dies after falling off her bicycle in Ibiza. She was also lead singer with the Velvet Underground.

1989–Actress, Rebecca Schaeffer, dies of a gunshot wound at her apartment in West Hollywood, California, at age 21. Her murderer is 19-year-old Robert John Bardo, a stalker who had been obsessed with her for three years. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder. Schaeffer's death helped prompt the passage of America's first anti-stalking laws in California in 1990.

1990–Politician, Yun Bo-seon, dies. He was the fourth President of South Korea.

1992–The 10 victims of the La Cantuta massacre disappear from their university in Lima, Peru.

1994–The bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (Argentine Jewish Community Center) in Buenos Aires kills 85 people (mostly Jewish) and injures 300 others.

1994–The Rwandan Patriotic Front takes control of Gisenyi and north western Rwanda, forcing the interim government into Zaire to end the genocide.

1995–The Soufrière Hills volcano erupts on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee.

1995–The oldest known musical instrument in the world is found in the Indrijca River Valley in Slovenia. The 45,000-year-old relic, a crude wind instrument, is a bear bone with four artificial holes along its length.

1995–Dreaming of You by Selena, released after her death, becomes the best-selling Latin album in America. This was noted by Billboard magazine as a "historic event" for Latin music.

1996–The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam capture the Sri Lanka Army's base, killing over 1,200 soldiers.

1996–Storms cause severe flooding on the Saguenay River in Quebec, Canada.

1997–Geologist and astronomer, Eugene Merle Shoemaker, dies in a car accident on the Tanami Road northwest of Alice Springs, Australia, at age 69. On July 31, 1999, some of his ashes were carried to the Moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe, in a capsule designed by Carolyn Porco. Shoemaker is the only person whose ashes have been buried on any celestial body outside the Earth. He is best known for co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with his wife, Carolyn S. Shoemaker, and David H. Levy.

2001–Singer-songwriter, Mimi Fariña, dies of neuroendocrine cancer in Mill Valley, California, at age 56.

2004–Winemaker, Émile Peynaud, dies.

2005–Military General, William Westmoreland, dies at the Bishop Gadsden retirement home in Charleston, South Carolina, at age 91. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease during the final years of his life. He was a U.S. Army General, who most notably commanded U.S. forces during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968.

2012–At least seven people are killed and 32 others are injured after a bomb explodes on an Israeli tour bus at Burgas Airport, Bulgaria.

2013–The Government of Detroit, Michigan, up to $20 billion in debt, files for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

2015–Actor, Alex Rocco, dies at age 79. He appeared in the films The St. Valentines’s Day Massacre, The Boston Strangler, The Godfather, Slither, Freebie and the Bean, Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins, Hearts of the West, The Stunt Man, and That Thing You Do!

2016–U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warns Turkey it could lose its NATO membership if it fails to uphold the principles of democracy after its recent attempted coup.

2016–Japanese telecommunications company, SoftBank, agrees to buy British IT company ARM Holdings for more than $32 billion.

2016–The 2016 Republican National Convention gets underway in Cleveland, Ohio. Notable speakers include reality television star, Willie Robertson; actor, Scott Baio; former Governor of Texas, Rick Perry; former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani; retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General, Michael T. Flynn; and Melania Trump, wife of presumptive Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump.

2016–Four people are injured after a 17-year-old Afghan man attacks people with an axe on board a train near Würzburg, Germany. The terrorist is shot by police.


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