This Day in History

February 19


197      Battle of Lugdunum—decisive victory by Roman emperor Severius over usurper Clodius Albinus   1822
1473      Nicholas Copernicus born in Thorn, Kingdom of Poland   546
1553      German astronomer and mathematician Erasmus Reinhold dies in Saalfeld, Saxony, age 41   466
1600      Huaynaputina in southern Peru explodes in the most violent recorded volcano eruption in South America   419
1649      Battle of Gaurarapes results in a decisive Portuguese victory that ends Dutch colonization efforts in Brazil   370
1674      Treaty of Westminster between England and the Netherlands—brings peace and transfers New Amsterdam (New York) to England   345
1819      English captain William Smith discovers an island at 62° south latitude—subsequently names the group the South Shetland Islands   200
1846      Republic of Texas becomes the state of Texas—the 28th state to enter the Union   173
1847      Donner Party rescued   172
1859      Swedish physical chemist and Nobel laureate (Chemistry 1903) Svante August Arrhenius born in Stockholm   160
1861      Emancipation Reform of 1861 in Russia abolishes serfdom   158
1878      Thomas Edison patents the phonograph   141
1884      Enigma tornado outbreak—at least 50 tornados across the southern states is largest and most widespread tornado outbreak in U.S. history   135
1897      German mathematician Karl Weierstrass dies in Berlin, age 81   122
1906      Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Co. (later Kellogg Co.) founded   113
1916      Austrian physicist Ernst Waldfried Josef Wenzel Mach dies in Munich, age 78   103
1942      Japanese planes attack Darwin, Australia—first of a number of bombing raids on the city   77
1942      Franklin Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 ordering Japanese-Americans to internment camps—rescinded by Gerald Ford, 1976   77
1945      U.S. marines land on Iwo Jima   74
1962      Greek physician Georgios Papanikolaou, inventor of the Pap Smear dies in New Jersey, age 78   57
1963      The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan published   56
1968      Mister Rogers' Neighborhood national U.S. debut on the National Educational Television (NET)   51
1974      first annual American Music Awards airs on ABC—produced by Dick Clark Productions   45
1986      core module of Mir space station launched   33
1994      Clementine achieves lunar orbit—first U.S. lunar mission spacecraft in over 20 years   25
1998      American banjo player and "old time" country and gospel music singer Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones dies, age 84   21
2000      Austrian-born New Zealand artist and architect Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (born Friedrich Stowasser) dies, age 71   19
2001      American film director and producer Stanley Earl Kramer dies in Los Angeles, age 87   18
2002      2001 Mars Odyssey begins its primary thermal mapping mission of the surface of Mars   17
2003      Ilyushin Il-76 crashes in mountainous terrain near Kerman in Iran killing all 275 aboard   16
2006      methane explosion in a coal mine near Nueva Rosita, Mexico, kills 65 miners   13
2007      English-Canadian dancer, director, and founder of the National Ballet of Canada Celia Franca (born Celia Franks) dies in Ottawa, age 85   12
2007      blog site tumblr launched by David Karp   12
2008      photographs from Mars Reconnissance Orbiter reveals active Martian avalanches   11
2012      American philosopher and logician Ruth Barcan Marcus dies in New Haven, Connecticut, age 90   7
2012      The Simpsons'  500th episode airs on the U.S. television Fox network   7
2012      prison riot in Apodaca, Mexico as a cover for a prison break results in 44 deaths, another 12 injuries, and 37 escaped   7
2013      American physicist and Nobel laureate (1996) Robert Coleman Richardson dies in Ithica, New York, age 75   6
2013      cyber criminals steal $40 million from ATM's around the world using prepaid debit cards—largest bank robbery in history   6
2016      American author and Pulitzer Prize winner Nelle Harper Lee dies in Monroeville, Alabama, age 89   3
2016      Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco dies in Milan, age 84   3
2016      Samuel Willenberg, the last survivor of Treblinka, the German death camp in occupied Poland, dies in Israel, age 93   3
2017      SpaceX ISS resupply mission CRS 10—first commercial launch from complex 39A—Apollo and shuttle launch pad   2
2017      Falcon 9 launch is first launch from Cape Canaveral using a fully Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS)—no range safety officer   2
2017      Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment, SAGE III is launched to the International Space Station   2

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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