This Day in History - February 8

February 8

412 – Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Proclus, is born

1587 – Mary, Queen of Scots is beheaded for her alleged part in the conspiracy to usurp Elizabeth I

1672 – Isaac Newton reads first optics paper before the Royal Society in London

1693 – College of William and Mary, the second institution of higher learning in the US, receives its charter

1725 – Peter the Great, Emperor of Russia, dies and is succeeded by his wife, Catherine

1777 – Major Timothy Bigelow becomes colonel of the 15th Massachusetts Colonial Line of the Continental Army

1807 – Napoleon’s Marshal Pierre Agureau attacks Russian forces during a snowstorm at Eylau

1820 – Union General William T. Sherman is born

1828 – French novelist Jules Verne is born

1834 – Russian chemist who developed the periodic table of elements, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev is born

1851 – Novelist and short story writer Kate Chopin is born

1861 – Delegates from seceded states adopt a provisional Confederate Constitution

1862 – General Ambrose Burnside’s Union troops defeat the Confederates at the Battle of Roanoke Island, NC

1865 – Confederate raider William Quantrill and his men attack a group of Federal wagons at New Market, Kentucky

1870 – The National Weather Service is established under the US Army Signal Corps

1879 – Sandford Fleming proposes the use of time zones which will later revolutionize time keeping

1887 – Congress passes the Dawes Severalty Act, giving citizenship to Indians living apart from their tribe and disbanding many Native American tribes.  The act, signed by President Grover Cleveland, reduced Native American land holdings from 138 million acres to 78 million

1900 – British General Buller is defeated at Ladysmith, South Africa and the British flee over the Tugela River

1904 – The Japanese disable seven Russian warships during a surprise attack at Port Arthur, Korea beginning the Russo-Japanese War

1906 – Physicist and inventor of xerography Chester Carlson is born

1906 – Writer Henry Roth is born

1910 – The Boy Scouts of America incorporates

1911 – Poet Elizabeth Bishop is born

1915 – DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation premieres in Los Angeles

1918 – The US Army resumes publication of the military newsletter Stars and Stripes

1924 – The gas chamber is used for the first time to execute Tong Lee, a member of a Chinese gang convicted of murder

1925 – Actor, singer, and director Jack Lemmon is born

1926 – Writer Neal Cassaday is born

1931 – Film actor James Dean is born

1932 – American pianist, composer, and conductor John Williams is born

1940 – Television journalist Ted Koppel is born

1941 – Actor Nick Nolte is born

1942 – The Japanese land in Singapore

1943 – British General Orde Wingate leads a guerrilla force of “Chindits” against the Japanese in Burma

1943 – Japanese evacuate Guadalcanal

1949 – The highest Catholic official in Hungary, Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty, is convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Communist People’s Court, to the dismay of the Western world

1950 – The Stasi, East Germany’s secret police force, is established

1952 – Elizabeth becomes Queen of England when her father, King George VI, dies

1955 – Author John Grisham is born

1957 – Hungarian and American mathematician John von Neumann dies

1960 – The payola (pay for broadcast airplay) hearings opened in the US House of Representatives

1960 – Queen Elizabeth II issues an Order-in-Council stating that her family would be known as the House of Windsor and that her descendants will take the name “Mountbatten-Windsor”

1960 – The first eight stars are added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1962 – The US Defense Department reports the creation of Military Assistance Command in South Vietnam

1965 – The South Vietnamese bomb the North Vietnamese communications center at Vinh Linh

1971 – South Vietnamese ground forces along with American air power, begin Operation Lam Son 719

1971 – Nasdaq Composite stock market index debuts with 50 companies and a starting value of 100

1978 – New England begins to recover from a severe blizzard brought on by a Nor’easter that dumped as much as 55 inches of snow in some places

1980 – President Jimmy Carter reveals his plan to reinstate selective service draft registration

1983 – Gunmen steal the Irish champion racehorse Shergar from a stud farm in County Kildare, Ireland.  The stallion was worth $13.5 million.  The thieves demanded a ransom, which was never paid, and the horse was never found

1985 – Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar, dies

1986 – Spud Webb, one of the shortest players in the history of professional basketball, at 5’7”, wins the NBA slam dunk contest

1990 – CBS temporarily suspends Andy Rooney for his anti-gay and anti-black remarks in a magazine interview

1990 – Singer and songwriter Del Shannon commits suicide

1994 – Actor Jack Nicholson, in a fit of road rage, smashes the windshield and roof of Robert Blank’s car with a golf club while stopped at a red light in North Hollywood, after accusing him of cutting Nicholson off.  Charges were dropped when the two men reached an undisclosed settlement

1998 – British politician Enoch Powell dies

2007 – American biochemist Ian Stevenson dies

2007 – American model and actress Anna Nicole Smith dies

2013 – 100,000 people march to demand justice for the atrocities of the Bangladesh Liberation War in Dhaka

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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