This Day in History — February 23


This Day in History — February 23

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

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Today is the 54th day of 2021. There are 311 days left in the year.


1954: The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


1573: Irish rebellion is crushed with surrender of James Fitzmaurice; pacification of Perth ends fighting in Scotland between Regent and supporters of Mary Queen of Scots.

1574: Fifth War of Religion breaks out in France.

1660: Sweden's King Charles IX executes leaders of pro-Polish party for treason.

1820: Cato Street conspiracy to murder British cabinet minister is discovered.

1836: Siege of the Alamo begins in future US state of Texas against Mexicans.

1854: Britain agrees to leave territory north of Orange River in South Africa, allowing for establishment of constitution for Orange Free State.

1861: US President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington to take office after an assassination plot is foiled in Baltimore.

1901: Britain and Germany agree on boundary between German East Africa and Nyasaland.

1905: The Rotary Club is established in Chicago.

1927: US President Calvin Coolidge signs a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.

1933: Japan begins occupation of China north of the Great Wall.

1934: Nicaraguan rebel leader Cesar Augusto Sandino, invited to meet with army leader and later dictator Anastasio Somoza, is abducted and murdered.

1938: First oil discovery in Kuwait.

1942: Japanese submarine shells oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California.

1945: US Marines plant flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, but it will be another three weeks until all Japanese defenders on the island are defeated.

1964: Britain recognises President Abdul Amari Karume's regime in Zanzibar, renamed Tanzania.

1967: Sir Donald Sangster is sworn in as Jamaica's second prime minister.

1970: Republic of Guyana, formerly British Guiana, ends association with Britain but remains within Commonwealth.

1975: US decision to end arms embargo against Pakistan draws wrath of India, which cancels planned March meeting in Washington.

1981: An attempted coup begins in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard invaded Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. (However, the attempt collapses 18 hours later.)

1990: Prince Sihanouk returns to Cambodia after 11 years in exile.

1991: Military junta seizes power in Thailand after a bloodless coup.

1992: The XVI Winter Olympic Games end in Albertville, France.

1993: Rallying behind red flags and portraits of Lenin, more than 10,000 pro-communists march to the Kremlin to denounce Russian President Boris Yeltsin and urge the military to rise up against him.

1994: Bosnia's Muslim-led government and Croat forces sign a truce.

1995: Speaking to Canada's Parliament, US President Bill Clinton voices support for a united Canada, as threat of Quebec secession looms.

1996: Two sons-in-law of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein are killed by clan members after returning to the country after defecting.

1997: Ali Abu Kamal, a Palestinian, fires a gun into a crowd on the observation deck of New York City's Empire State Building, killing one person and injuring six, then shoots himself to death.

1998: Leftist guerrillas set off a mine in India, killing five soldiers sent to guard polling stations and raising the death toll related to parliamentary election to 29.

1999: The first peace talks between Kosovo Albanians and Yugoslavia end in Rambouillet, France, without much progress toward a settlement. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) suspends its threat of bombing till the talks resume March 15.

2000: Preston King, a black man who refused induction into the Army in the 1960s because the all-white draft board wouldn't address him as “Mr”, returns to the United States for the first time in 39 years after receiving a presidential pardon.

2002: Colombia's President Andres Pastrana returns to a spot in former rebel territory where he began a tortuous peace process three years ago, and blames the guerrillas for sabotaging the talks to end Colombia's 38-year war.

2004: At least 66 people die in weekend clashes among Colombian troops, leftist rebels of the United Self-Defence Forces or AUC, and right-wing paramilitary forces. The two-day toll is extremely high even by standards in Colombia, which has been engulfed in a 40-year insurgency.

2006: The snow-covered roof of a large Moscow market collapses, killing at least 66 people and forcing rescuers to clear away concrete slabs and metal beams to reach possible survivors trapped in the wreckage.

2007: Forty-six countries sign a declaration in Oslo pushing for a global ban on cluster bombs, a move activists hail as a major step forward, despite opposition from the US, Russia, Israel and China.

2008: Defence Secretary Robert Gates and other US officials held day-long meetings with Australian leaders in Canberra. Former United Auto Workers President Douglas A Fraser dies in Southfield, Michigan, at age 91.

2009: The first Guantanamo detainee released since President Barack Obama took office returns to Britain, saying his seven years in captivity were a nightmare.

2010: Darfur's most powerful rebel group and the Sudanese Government sign a truce after a year of internationally sponsored negotiations, raising hopes the bloody seven-year conflict could draw to a close.

2011: The scope of Moammar Gadhafi's control whittles away as major Libyan cities and towns closer to the capital fall to the rebellion against his rule.

2012: UN-appointed investigators in Geneva say a list for possible crimes against humanity prosecution reaches as high as Syrian President Bashar Assad.

2013: Tens of thousands of people march to protest austerity measures introduced by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a bid to reduce the deficit, ease market pressures on government borrowing, and try to avoid a full financial bailout. Some 30 NASCAR fans are injured when rookie Kyle Larson's car is propelled by a crash into the fence at Daytona International Speedway and large chunks of debris fly into the grandstands.

2015: At least five drones fly over the Eiffel Tower, the US Embassy, and other Paris landmarks, the most audacious of several mysterious drone flights around France in recent months. Authorities are investigating.

2017: Seeking to tamp down growing unease in Latin America, US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pledges during a visit to Mexico City that the United States would not enlist its military to enforce immigration laws and that there would be “no mass deportations”. Lottery officials say the sole winning ticket for an estimated US$435-million Powerball jackpot was sold at a Lafayette, Indiana, convenience store.


George Frederick Handel, German composer (1685-1759); Sir George Frederick Watts, English artist (1817-1904); Constantine Caramanlis, Greek president (1907-1998); Peter Fonda, US actor/director (1940-2019); Brad Whitford, guitarist for Aerosmith (1952- ); Kristin Davis, US actress (1965- ); Howard Jones, British singer (1955- )

— AP/Jamaica Observer

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