Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in February 2016 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time for research and writing.
We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.
The listing below is a small sample of the entries for February from The Date-A-Base Book 2016. There are 251 anniversaries for February in the book, which covers the whole of 2016 from January to December and features more than 3,450 anniversaries in total.
Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over.
If you need to work further ahead, The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.
500 years ago (18 Feb 1516)
Birth of Mary I, Queen of England (1553-58). Also known as Mary Tudor or Bloody Mary.
400 years ago (26 Feb 1616)
Galileo was ordered by the Catholic Church (represented by Cardinal Bellarmine) to abandon his opinion that the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun (known as the Copernican theory). He was banned from holding the opinion, promoting it, or teaching it.
200 years ago (20 Feb 1816)
Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville was performed for the first time, at the Teatro Argentina in Rome, Italy. (It was poorly received, partly because many members of the audience were supporters of his rival, Giovanni Paisiello. However, it quickly became a huge success.)
150 years ago (13 Feb 1866)
The first daylight bank robbery in the USA during peacetime took place at the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri. The robbery was committed by former Confederate guerrillas. Some sources say the gang was led by the outlaw Jesse James, though it is uncertain whether he actually took part.
150 years ago (26 Feb 1866)
Birth of Herbert H. Dow, pioneering Canadian-born American chemist and industrialist. Founder of the Dow Chemical Company.
100 years ago (19 Feb 1916)
Death of Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher. He made key contributions to the fields of optics, mechanics and wave dynamics. The Mach number (the ratio of an object’s speed to the speed of sound) is named after him.
100 years ago (21 Feb – 18 Dec 1916)
World War I – the Battle of Verdun (France). French victory. The longest battle in history, and one of the costliest, with over 700,000 casualties.
100 years ago (26 Feb 1916)
Birth of Jackie Gleason, Tony Award-winning American comedian, actor and musician. Best known for his role as Ralph Kramden in the television series The Honeymooners. He also starred in The Jackie Gleason Show and played Minnesota Fats in the film The Hustler.
100 years ago (28 Feb 1916)
Death of Henry James, American-born British novelist (The Turn of the Screw, The Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller, The Ambassadors and more).
80 years ago (4 Feb 1936)
Radium E, the first radioactive element to be made synthetically in the USA, was produced by Dr. John Jacob Livingood at the University of California, Berkeley.
80 years ago (5 Feb 1936)
The Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times was released. It was the last major silent film. (The sound era had become well established since 1929.)
80 years ago (6 – 16 Feb 1936)
The 4th Winter Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
80 years ago (8 Feb 1936)
America’s National Football League (NFL) held its first draft (a two-day event where NFL teams recruit new players from the college system).
80 years ago (27 Feb 1936)
Death of Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist. Best known for developing the concept of the conditioned reflex. Winner of the 1904 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
75 years ago (4 Feb 1941)
The United Service Organizations (USO) was founded to provide social, welfare and recreational services for members of the U.S. armed forces and their families.
75 years ago (5 Feb 1941)
Death of Banjo Paterson, Australian bush poet and journalist. Best known for the song Waltzing Matilda and for his poetry collections including The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses.
75 years ago (19 Feb 1941)
World War II: Germany’s Afrika Korps was formed in Libya, under the command of General Erwin Rommel. (Other dates sometimes given for this event include 12th Feb when Rommel was assigned the command, and 14th when he arrived in Libya. The unit was officially named on 19th.)
75 years ago (21 Feb 1941)
Death of Sir Frederick Banting, Canadian physician. Joint winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for co-discovering insulin and using it to treat diabetes.
75 years ago (23 or 24 Feb 1941)
Plutonium was first produced and identified by a team led by Glenn Seaborg at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.
75 years ago (28 Feb 1941)
Death of Alfonso XIII, King of Spain (1886-1931).
60 years ago (11 Feb 1956)
Two members of the Cambridge spy ring, British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, announced that they had defected to the Soviet Union. They had both vanished in mysterious circumstances in 1951. (Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev had denied they were in the Soviet Union when questioned two weeks earlier.)
60 years ago (14 – 25 Feb 1956)
The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held in Moscow. It is notable for Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev’s secret speech, On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, given on the final day, in which he condemned and denounced former leader Josef Stalin as a brutal despot. This led to the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.
60 years ago (28 Feb 1956)
American computer engineer Jay Wright Forrester was granted a patent for the magnetic memory core. It became the standard random access memory device for digital computers for the next 20 years.
50 years ago (1 Feb 1966)
Death of Buster Keaton, American silent film actor, comedian and director. Noted for his physical comedy and deadpan ‘stone face’ expression.
50 years ago (3 Feb 1966)
The Soviet Union’s space probe Luna 9 became the first craft to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. (The USA’s Surveyor 1 achieved the same feat 4 months later, on 2nd June.)
50 years ago (9 Feb 1966)
Death of Sophie Tucker, Russian-born American singer, actress and entertainer. Hugely popular on the vaudeville and music hall circuit. Noted for her flamboyant stage persona and comical and risqué songs.
50 years ago (14 Feb 1966)
Australia’s currency was decimalised, replacing the British system of pounds, shillings and pence.
50 years ago (20 Feb 1966)
Death of Chester W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral of the United States Navy. Commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific during WWII.
40 years ago (4 Feb 1976)
Guatemala earthquake. 23,000 people were killed, 76,000 injured and approximately 1.2 million left homeless.
40 years ago (23 Feb 1976)
Death of L. S. Lowry, British artist. Known for his bleak industrial landscapes of north-west England, often populated with ‘matchstick men’.
30 years ago (7 Feb 1986)
The President of Haiti, Jean-Claude Duvalier, left the country and went into exile in France following a popular uprising.
30 years ago (11 Feb 1986)
Death of Frank Herbert, American science fiction writer. Best known for his Dune series of novels.
30 years ago (20 Feb 1986)
The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station.
30 years ago (25 Feb 1986)
The President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, fled the country and went into exile in Hawaii, USA. He was succeeded by Corazon Aquino.
30 years ago (26 Feb 1986)
Robert Penn Warren became the USA’s first Poet Laureate.
30 years ago (27 Feb 1986)
The U.S. Senate agreed to allow its debates to be televised (initially on a trial basis, but it later became permanent).
30 years ago (28 Feb 1986)
Death of Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden (1969-76, 1982-86). (Assassinated.)
25 years ago (1 Feb 1991)
USAir Flight 1493 landed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and immediately collided with a commuter plane which was preparing to take-off on the same runway. 35 people were killed, including all 12 aboard the commuter plane. The crash was blamed on poor control tower procedures. Different runways are now used for landing and take-off at LAX.
25 years ago (7 Feb 1991)
Jean-Bertrand Aristide was sworn in as the first democratically elected President of Haiti.
25 years ago (7 Feb 1991)
The IRA launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street while the British Prime Minister John Major was chairing a cabinet meeting to discuss the Gulf War. No one was hurt.
25 years ago (9 Feb 1991)
In a referendum the citizens of Lithuania voted for independence from the Soviet Union.
25 years ago (13 Feb 1991)
Death of Ron Pickering, British athletics coach, BBC sports commentator and host of the children’s sports television shows We Are the Champions and Superstars.
25 years ago (21 Feb 1991)
Death of Dame Margot Fonteyn, British ballet dancer.
25 years ago (24 Feb 1991)
Gulf War – Operation Desert Sabre: the US-led coalition launched a massive ground offensive against Iraqi forces. Kuwait was liberated on 27th Feb after 208 days of Iraqi occupation. The war ended at midnight on 28th.
20 years ago (5 Feb 1996)
The first genetically modified food went on sale in the UK: tomato purée made from tomatoes which had had the ‘rotting gene’ removed. (The product was withdrawn in 1999 following strong opposition.)
20 years ago (9 Feb 1996)
The IRA exploded a bomb in London’s Docklands, killing 2 people and causing massive damage.
20 years ago (13 Feb 1996 – 21 Nov 2006)
Nepalese Civil War. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) launched the war against government forces with the aim of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a People’s Republic. The war ended with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Accord. The monarchy was abolished in May 2008 and Nepal became a democratic republic.
20 years ago (15 Feb 1996)
The oil tanker Sea Empress ran aground near Milford Haven, Wales, causing a major oil spill along the coastlines of Wales and Ireland.
20 years ago (27 Feb 1996)
The Pokémon media franchise was launched by Japanese video game designer Satoshi Tajiri.
10 years ago (21 – 22 Feb 2006)
The largest cash robbery in British history took place at a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent. A gang abducted the manager and his family and took them at gunpoint to the depot. 14 staff were tied up. Over £53 million ($85 million) in bank notes was stolen. (About £20 million was later recovered.)
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