This Day in History — February 3

Today is the 34th day of 2023. There are 331 days left in the year.


1894: The Dirigo, first steel sailing ship, is launched at Bath, Maine, in United States.


1690: The first paper money in America is issued by the colony of Massachusetts.

1830: Greece is declared independent under protection of France, Russia and Britain at London conference, ending the revolution against the Ottoman occupation.

1848: Britain annexes country between Orange and Vaal Rivers in South Africa.

1865: US President Abraham Lincoln attends a peace conference with Confederates in an attempt to end the Civil War. The talks deadlock over Southern autonomy.

1913: The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, is ratified.

1917: The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany, which announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.

1945: US forces recapture Manila in Philippines from Japanese in World War II.

1959: A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, claims the lives of rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J P "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

1966: Unmanned Soviet spaceship makes soft landing on Moon and begins sending signals back to Earth.

1969: Dr Eduardo Mondlane, president of Mozambique National Liberation Front, is assassinated by time bomb in Tanzania.

1973: Fighting in Vietnam comes to a halt after a ceasefire between the United States and North Vietnam goes into effect.

1977: General Tafari Banti, Ethiopia's chief of state, is killed in a gun battle that breaks out around Addis Ababa headquarters of nation's feuding military leaders.

1984: An infertile woman in a California hospital becomes what is believed to be the world's first to give birth to baby from donated embryo.

1988: The US House of Representatives rejects President Ronald Reagan's request for at least US$36.25 million in aid to the Nicaraguan Contras rebels.

1989: In Paraguay, top military commander seizes power in coup following night of fighting.

1993: Belgium grounds a planeload of Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko's newly printed money in a bid to force him to surrender power.

1994: US President Bill Clinton lifts a 19-year trade embargo against Vietnam; the space shuttle Discovery blasts off with a woman, Air Force Lt Col Eileen Collins, in the pilot's seat for the first time.

1996: An earthquake ravages Lijiang, China, killing at least 210 people and injuring 3,700 others.

1997: In Colombia, guerrillas fight helicopter-borne soldiers on the third day of a fierce battle in mountains near the capital. At least 20 people are killed.

1999: The president of Guinea-Bissau and a rebel leader seeking to oust him agree to a ceasefire, creating a lull in the West African nation's civil war.

2003: US President George W Bush presents Congress with a US$2.23-trillion budget for the 2004 fiscal year. The budget projects record deficits of US$1.08 trillion through 2008 and expands the biggest military build-up since President Ronald Reagan.

2005: Senior Israeli Cabinet ministers approve the release of 900 Palestinian prisoners and the handover of the West Bank town of Jericho to Palestinian control — gestures meant to build good will ahead of the upcoming Mideast summit.

2006: An Egyptian ferry carrying some 1,400 people, mostly Egyptian workers, sinks in the Red Sea. Nearly 1,000 passengers drown.

2007: A suicide truck bomber strikes a market in a predominantly Shiite area of Baghdad, killing 137 people in one of the deadliest attacks of the Iraq war.

2008: Kenyan Opposition leader Raila Odinga calls on the African Union to send peacekeepers to stem violence sparked by the disputed presidential election.

2009: Harry Potter author J K Rowling brings a second French Legion of Honor award into her family, decades after her great-grandfather received the honour for battlefield courage during World War I.

2010: A life-sized bronze sculpture of a man by Alberto Giacometti sells at a London auction for 65-million pounds (US$104.3 million) — a world record for the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

2011: Tens of thousands of protesters stage unprecedented demonstrations against Yemen's autocratic president, a key US ally in battling Islamic militants, as unrest inspired by uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia spreads further in the Arab world.

Today's Birthdays

Felix Mendelssohn, German composer (1809-1847); Gertrude Stein, US author (1874-1946); Norman Rockwell, US artist (1894-1978); Alvar Aalto, Finnish architect and designer (1898-1976); James Michener, US author (1907-1997); Morgan Fairchild, US actress (1950- ); Maura Tierney, US actress (1965- )

— AP

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