This Week in History

Written by Andrew Linn on February 17, 2020

This week will mark Presidents’ Day, as well as George Washington’s Day (in
addition to the various other birthdays for the month of February). But there
have also been many historical events that took place, which are as follows:

  • February 16, 1959: Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba, thus paving the
    way for a communist dictatorship in that nation.
  • February 16, 1968: in Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency
    telephone system went into service.
  • February 16, 1985: the Islamic terrorist group Hezbollah is founded.
  • February 17, 1867: the first ship passes through the Suez Canal.
  • February 17, 1933: Newsweek magazine has its first publication.
  • February 17, 1944: the Battle of Eniwetok begins, and results in an
    American victory on February 22.
  • February 17, 1979: war breaks out between China and Vietnam.
  • February 17, 2008: Kosovo declares its independence from Serbia.
  • February 17, 2011: the Arab Spring begins in Libya.
  • February 18, 1791: Vermont becomes the fourteenth state admitted to the
  • February 18, 1861: Jefferson Davis becomes President of a provisional government of the Confederacy. He would become the Confederacy’s official President via Inauguration on February 22, 1862.
  • February 18, 1930: Pluto is discovered.
  • February 18, 1972: the California Supreme Court invalidates the state’s penalty in People v. Anderson; the death penalty was reinstated via Proposition 17 later that year. The Manson family are among those who are spared the death penalty due to the ruling.
  • February 19, 1859: New York Congressman Daniel Sickles is acquitted of killing his wife’s lover on the grounds of temporary insanity- the first time such a defense was ever used.
  • February 19, 1942: President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, authorizing the internment of Japanese-Americans.
  • February 19, 1943: the Battle of Kasserine Pass begins; the result is an Axis victory several days later.
  • February 19, 1945: the Battle of Iwo Jima begins, resulting in an American victory one month later. The battle is best known for the raising of the American on Mount Suribachi.
  • February 19, 1963: Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique is published, which revives the feminist movement in America.
  • February 20, 1962: John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the
  • February 21, 1848: The Communist Manifesto is published.
  • February 21, 1878: the first telephone directory is issued in New Haven,
  • February 21, 1916: the Battle of Verdun begins.
  • February 21, 1925: The New Yorker publishes its first issue.
  • February 21, 1948: the incorporation of NASCAR takes place.
  • February 21, 1965: Malcom X is assassinated.
  • February 21, 1972: President Richard Nixon visits China in order to establish relations between China and the United States.
  • February 22, 1819: under the terms of the Adams-Onis Treaty, Spain sells the Florida Territory to the United States for five million dollars.
  • February 22, 1889: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and
    Washington are all admitted to the Union.
  • February 22, 1915: Germany launches unrestricted submarine warfare in
    the First World War.
  • February 22, 1980: the Miracle on Ice occurs when the United States hockey team defeats the Soviet hockey team 4-3 in the Winter Olympic semifinal game. Two days later, the United States would defeat Finland 4-2 to win the gold medal.
Andrew Linn
Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to and Right Impulse Media.