This Day in History - February 23

February 23

303 – Emperor Diocletian orders the general persecution of Christians in Rome

1455 – Johannes Gutenberg prints his first Bible ***date estimated

1516 – The Hapsburg Charles I succeeds Ferdinand of Spain

1540 – Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado begins his unsuccessful search for the fabled Seven Cities of Gold

1574 – The 5th War of Religion breaks out in France

1615 – The Estates-General in Paris is dissolved

1633 – English diarist Samuel Pepys is born

1685 – German composer George Handel is born

1743 – Banker Meyer Amschel Rothschild is born

1778 – Baron von Steuben joins the Continental Army at Valley Forge

1821 – Poet John Keats dies of tuberculosis

1836 – The Alamo is besieged by Mexican General Santa Anna

1846 – The Liberty Bell tolls for the last time

1847 – Forces led by Zachary Taylor defeat the Mexicans during the Battle of Buena Vista

1848 – 6th President of the US, John Quincy Adams dies

1854 – Great Britain officially recognizes the independence of the Orange Free States

1855 – German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss dies

1861 – Texas becomes the 7th state to succeed from the Union

1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives in Washington in secrecy, foiling an assassination attempt in Baltimore against his life

1868 – WEB Du Bois, US historian who founded what will become the NAACP, is born

1883 – Director Victor Fleming is born

1885 – John Lee survives three attempts to hang him in Exeter Prison, as the trap fails to open, despite being in perfect working order.  Thinking it an act of God, he was released from death row and sent back to prison

1887 – An earthquake off the coast of southern France and northern Italy kills over 2,000

1896 – Leo Hirshfield introduces the world to the Tootsie Roll

1898 – Writer Emile Zola is imprisoned in France for the letter J’accuse in which he accuses the French government of anti-Semitism and wrongful imprisonment of Captain Alfred Dreyfus

1899 – German poet and novelist Erich Kastner is born

1901 – Britain and Germany agree on a boundary between German East Africa and Nyasaland

1904 – Japan guarantees Korean sovereignty in exchange for military assistance

1904 – Broadcaster and author William Shirer is born

1904 – The US acquires control over the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million

1916 – Secretary of State Lansing hints that the US may have to abandon the policy of avoiding “entangling foreign alliances”

1917 – German troops begin to withdraw to positions on the Hindenburg Line, preparing for continued struggle on the Western Front

1917 – The February Revolution begins in Russia

1921 – An airmail plane sets a record from San Francisco to New York

1924 – Physicist who developed the CAT scan, Allan MacLeod Cormack is born

1926 – President Calvin Coolidge opposes a large air force

1929 – Russian Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow is born

1934 – English composer Edward Elgar dies

1936 – In Russia, an unmanned balloon rises to a record height of 25 miles

1938 – Twelve Chinese fighter planes drop bombs on Japan

1940 – Woody Guthrie writes “This Land is Your Land”

1941 – Glenn Seaborg chemically identify Plutonium

1942 – A Japanese submarine shells an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California-the first Axis bomb to hit American soil

1944 – American bombers hit the Marianas Islands bases near Tokyo

1945 – President Eisenhower opens a large offensive in the Rhineland

1945 – The US Marines raise the US flag at Iwo Jima

1946 – Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita is hanged in Manila for war crimes

1947 – Several hundred Nazi organizers are arrested in Frankfurt by US and British forces

1947 – The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) begins operating

1954 – Mass inoculation begins as Salk’s polio vaccine is given to children

1955 – Eight nations meet in Bangkok for the first SEATO Council

1958 – Five-time Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina is kidnapped in Cuba by a group of Fidel Castro’s rebels.  He was released hours after the Cuba Grand Prix to embarrass Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, whose government Castro would overthrow

1960 – White students join Black students in a sit-in at a Winston-Salem, NC Woolworth store

1964 – The US and Britain recognizes the new Zanzibar government

1965 – English actor and comedian Stan Laurel dies

1966 – 90,000 South Vietnamese deserted in 1965, according to the US military headquarters in Saigon

1972 – Black activist Angela Davis is released from jail where she was being held for kidnapping, murder, and conspiracy

1980 – Speed skater Eric Heiden wins the 10,000-meter race at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, setting a world record with his time and winning an unprecedented fifth gold medal

1981 – Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero and members of the civil guard storm Parliament in Madrid

1983 – Egyptian soccer player Mido is born

1991 – French forces unofficially start the Persian Gulf ground war by crossing the Saudi-Iraqi border

1997 – Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Holocaust drama Schindler’s List is shown uncut on NBC

1997 – Scottish scientist announce successful cloning of Dolly, the sheep

1998 – Osama bin Laden publishes a fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and Christians

2011 – The Obama Administration determines the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional…


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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