This Day in History

February 22


705      Chinese sovereign Empress Wu Zetian abdicates the throne, restoring the Tang dynasty   1313
1371      David II, King of Scots and last male of the House of Bruce, dies after a reign of 42 years, age 46   647
1371      Robert II becames King of Scots as the first monarch of the House of Stuart—reigns for 19 years   647
1512      Italian explorer, navigator, and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci dies, age 57   506
1632      Galileo publishes "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems"   386
1651      St. Peter's Flood—storm tide strikes the coast of Northern Germany killing an estimated 15,000   367
1677      Dutch philosopher Baruch de Spinoza dies in The Hague, age 44   341
1687      Italian Jesuit, mathematician, naturalist and aeronautics pioneer Francesco Lana de Terzi dies, age about 56   331
1732      George Washington born in Virginia   286
1778      American artist Rembrandt Peale is born in Pennsylvania   240
1781      Maryland becomes the 13th and last colony to ratify the Articles of Confederation over three years since it was first ratified   237
1797      Revolutionary French forces under command of Irish-American William Tate lands in Wales—last invasion of Britain   221
1819      Spain cedes Florida and other territories to the U.S. in the Adams-Onís Treaty   199
1827      American painter Charles Willson Peale dies, age 85   191
1855      Pennsylvania State University is founded as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania   163
1857      German physicist Heinrich Hertz born in Hamberg   161
1875      Scottish-English geologist Charles Lyell dies in London, age 77   143
1875      French landscape artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot dies in Paris, age 78   143
1878      Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of five-and-dime Woolworth stores in Utica, New York—chain closed in 1997   140
1893      committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church votes funds to start a school in Johnson County, Texas—Southwestern Adventist University   125
1901      Irish physicist George Francis FitzGerald dies in Dublin, age 49   117
1903      Austrian composer Hugo Philipp Jacob Wolf dies, age 42   115
1915      Germany institutes unrestricted submarine warfare   103
1943      Sophie Scholl (age 21) and other members of the White Rose student group are executed in Munich for actively opposing the Third Reich   75
1959      first Daytona 500 race—won by Lee Petty   59
1963      president John F. Kennedy signs an executive order establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom   55
1976      Hungarian-British mathematician Michael Polanyi dies in Northampton, Massachusetts, age 84   42
1980      Miracle on Ice—U.S. Olympic ice hockey team beats heavily favored Soviet team   38
1983      notorious Broadway flop Moose Murders opens and closes on the same night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre   35
1987      American pop artist Andrew Warhola (Andy Warhol) dies in New York City, age 58   31
1990      Robert Morris, Jr. is found guilty of releasing a computer worm—first person convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act   28
2005      6.4 earthquake near Zarand in central Iran destroys four villages killing 612 and injuring 1411 others   13
2006      largest cash robbery to date in Britain—£53m (about $92.5 million) taken from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent   12
2011      earthquake of 6.3 devastates Christchurch, New Zealand, kills 185 and injures 2000 others   7
2012      Punjabi novelist, short-story writer, and poet Sukhbir dies, age 86   6
2012      packed passenger train crashes at the Once Station in Buenos Aires, Argentina killing 51 and injuring 703 others   6
2015      Bangladesh ferry ML Mostofa-3 on the Padma River in Dhaka crashes into a trawler and capsizes—70 die   3
2017      Progress MS-05 launched to the ISS on the final flight of the long-serving Soyuz-U vehicle—since 1973 has launched 786 times   1
2017      astronomers announce 7 earth-size planets, 3 in habitable zone, orbit TRAPPIST-1, a dwarf star 39 light-years away   1

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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