This Day in History

February 24


46BC  first Leap Day established by Julius Caesar   2063
303      Roman Emperor Diocletian publishes his edict that orders the destruction of Christian scriptures and places of worship across the Empire   1715
616      Æthelberht, King of Kent, dies, age around 56   1402
1303      Scottish forces annihilate invading English army in the Battle of Roslin   715
1527      Swiss Anabaptists publish declaration of beliefs Schleitheim Confession   491
1582      Pope Gregory XIII annnounces the Gregorian calendar in a papal bull, Inter Gravissimas   436
1607      L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the first works recognized as an opera, premieres   411
1666      English composer and musician, first to hold the title of Master of the King's Music, Nicholas Lanier dies in East Greenwich, age 77   352
1704      French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier dies in Paris, age around 61   314
1711      Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel première—the first Italian opera written for the London stage   307
1810      Henry Cavendish, English physicist, dies, age 78   208
1812      French physicist and mathematician Étienne-Louis Malus dies, age 36   206
1815      American inventor Robert Fulton dies in New York City, age 49   203
1822      Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad inaugurated—first temple of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, a Hindu sect   196
1825      English editor Thomas Bowdler dies, age 70   193
1836      Samuel Colt receives a patent for Colt revolver   182
1839      Samuel Otis receives a patent for the steam shovel   179
1856      Russian mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky dies, age 63   162
1863      president Lincoln signs the law creating the Arizona Territory of Arizona   155
1868      first parade to have floats—Mardis Gras in New Orleans   150
1868      Andrew Johnson becomes the first president to be impeached by the House of Representatives   150
1938      first nylon bristle toothbrush, made with nylon yarn, goes on sale in New Jersey   80
1946      Russian mathematician and Fields Medal winner Gregori Aleksandrovich Margulis born in Moscow   72
1955      Steven P. Jobs born in San Francisco   63
1968      Cambridge University announces discovery of pulsars   50
1975      German artist Hans Bellmer dies in Paris, age 72   43
1991      Gulf War—British and American armored forces cross the Iraq-Kuwait border after five weeks of extensive aerial bombing   27
1998      American comedian and violinist Henry "Henny" Youngman dies in New York City, age 91   20
2001      American mathematician "Father of Information Theory" Claude Elwood Shannon dies, age 84   17
2004      6.3 earthquake strikes the Al Hoceima area in northern Morocco—630 killed, 925 others injured, and 15,000 made homeless   14
2006      American comedic actor Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts dies in Los Angeles, age 81   12
2008      Fidel Castro retires as the President of Cuba and the Council of Ministers after 32 years   10
2010      Apple's ITunes Store served its 10 billionth song in just under 7 years of operation   8
2011      Discovery launches—her last flight (39)   7
2012      one of the founders of nephrology in the U.K. Oliver Murray Wrong dies, age 82   6
2013      New Zealand artist Hone Papita Raukura "Ralph" Hotere dies, age 81   5
2014      New Zealand painter and photographer Alexis Jan Atthill Hunter dies in London, age 65   4
2016      American physicist Carroll Alley dies, age 78   2
   added leap day introduced by the Julian reform until the late Middle Ages when it became customary to add February 29 

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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