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On this day — February 28, 1953
Watson and Crick reveal DNA discovery
Cambridge University scientists James Watson and Francis Crick announce that they’ve uncovered the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule, helping to unlock the genetic code of humans and other living things.
On this day — February 27, 1960
U.S. Olympic hockey team beats Soviet Union
On this day in 1960, the underdog U.S. Olympic hockey team defeats the Soviet Union in the semifinals at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. The next day, the U.S. beats Czechoslovakia to win its first-ever Olympic gold medal in hockey.
On this day — February 27, 1980
“I Will Survive” wins the first—and last—Grammy ever awarded for Best Disco Recording
After watching it utterly dominate the musical landscape of the late 1970s, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave disco their stamp of approval, deciding to give a Grammy award for Best Disco Recording, just as t…[Read more]
On this day — February 27, 1936
Shirley Temple receives $50,000 per film
On this day in 1936, Shirley Temple receives a new contract from 20th Century Fox that will pay the seven-year-old star $50,000 per film.
Temple was born in 1928 in Santa Monica, California, and started appearing in a series of short films spoofing current movies, called B…[Read more]
On this day — February 27, 1922
Supreme Court defends women’s voting rights
In Washington, D.C., the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for female suffrage, is unanimously declared constitutional by the eight members of the U.S. Supreme Court. The 19th Amendment, which stated that “the right of citizens of the United States to vo…[Read more]
On this day — February 27, 1964
Italy requests help to keep Pisa’s tower from toppling
A cathedral’s 791-year-old bell tower in the Italian city of Pisa, always a little askew, is now in real danger of collapsing completely. Italy puts out a call for a straight solution.
On this day — February 26, 1949
Lucky Lady II begins nonstop global flight
From Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas, the Lucky Lady II, a B-50 Superfortress, takes off on the first nonstop round-the-world flight. Under the command of Captain James Gallagher, and featuring a crew of 14 men, the aircraft averaged 249 miles per hour on its 2…[Read more]
On this day — February 25, 1964
Clay TKO’s Liston for heavyweight boxing title
22-year-old Cassius Clay sets the boxing world reeling as he defeats his fierce opponent, reigning champ Sonny Liston. Clay will also win their rematch a year later under his new name, Muhammad Ali.
On this day — February 25, 1947
After 422 years, Prussia no longer exists
Effectively dissolved at the end of World War II, Prussia is officially liquidated. Once a world-shaking kingdom holding vast tracts of land, Prussia’s power had declined as European monarchy lost favor, revolutions roiled, and two world wars had seen nations dissolve and r…[Read more]
On this day — February 25, 1870
Hiram Revels is first African American US Senator
After two days of heated debate on the floor of the US Senate, and with spectators packing the Senate galleries to see this groundbreaking event, a former Union Army chaplain, Mississippi’s Hiram Revels is sworn in as that state’s US senator.
On this day — February 24, 1982
Wayne Gretzky scores record goal
Hockey phenom Wayne Gretzky scores his 77th goal for the season, breaking a single-season record that many predicted couldn’t be bested. ‘The Great One’ will go on to become one of Canada’s greatest sports heroes.
On this day — February 24, 1582
Pope Gregory XIII reforms the calendar
The Gregorian calendar is introduced as Pope Gregory reworks the Julian calendar, unyoking Easter from the spring equinox, changing leap year protocol, and subtracting 10 minutes and 48 seconds a year.
On this day — February 23, 1954
Mass polio vaccine inoculations start
Pittsburgh elementary school students are the first group to receive Dr. Jonas Salk’s new polio vaccine. The disease that for centuries has paralyzed and killed millions will be almost eradicated by the end of the 20th century.
On this day — February 23, 1836
Battle of the Alamo begins
Mexican general Santa Ana leads 1,500 men in a siege against US colonel William Travis’ much smaller Texian force garrisoned behind the walls of the Alamo Mission. The 13-day siege will end in death for all the Texians and inspire calls for vengeance in what will prove a turning point in t…[Read more]
On this day — February 23, 1455
First book in the West to be printed by movable type
The Gutenberg Bible is produced using Johannes Gutenberg’s invention, the movable type printing press. Forty-eight copies of the original pressing will survive to the 21st century, and be sought after as immensely valuable collectibles.
On this day — February 22, 1997
First cloned animal is announced
Scientists in Scotland reveal the existence of Dolly the sheep, the first animal successfully cloned from an adult somatic cell. Created from a mammary cell, she’s named after Dolly Parton.
On this day — February 22, 1980
US hockey team pulls off ‘Miracle on Ice’
At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, a US Olympic hockey team made up of amateur and college players takes on the mighty juggernaut of the Soviet crew and, in a shockingly unexpected turn, wins their medal-round match 4-3.
On this day — February 22, 1797
‘Last invasion of Britain’ begins
Revolutionary French forces land at Carregwastad Head, near Fishguard, on the Welsh coast. This failed two-day campaign will be the last time to date that a foreign military force has set foot on British soil.
On this day — February 21, 1965
Malcolm X assassinated
In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.
On this day — February 21, 1972
President Nixon arrives for historic China visit
The Cold War freeze begins a slow thaw as Nixon makes a historic trip to China for two weeks of talks in Beijing. The diplomatic breakthrough will be a high point in Nixon’s career.
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