Happy Leap Year Day! On The Xenophile Historian, I have a feed that reports on the historical events that happened on that particular day. Today, however, it had no entries; I guess the hosts at Bravenet.com never planned for a leap year, which is odd because the feed has existed for more than four years. To make up for that, I did an online search to find historical events that happened on this day, and got these results:
1288 – Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man! If he refused, he was required to pay a fine.
1504 – Christopher Columbus uses a lunar eclipse to frighten hostile Jamaican natives into providing his crew with food.
1528 – "Patrick Hamilton, student of Parid, Louvain, St Andrews, Marburg, Abbot of Fearn, burned at St Andrew for heresy, the first Reformation martyr in Scotland"
1692 – "Sarah Good & Tituba, an Indian servant, accused of witchcraft, Salem"
1696 – English ex-premier Earl Danby accused of corruption
1704 – The town of Deerfield, MA was raided on this date by French Canadians and Indians who were trying to retrieve their church bell that had been shipped from France. The bell was to hang in the Canadian Indian’s village church. Neither the raiders nor the residents of Deerfield were aware that the bell had been stolen from the ship. The Deerfield folks had purchased the bell from a privateer, unaware that it belonged to the Indian congregation. Although 47 people were killed in the incident, we could say that the 120 captured were saved by the bell.
1712 – "February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style."
1720 – "Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicates in favour of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I."
1784 – Marquis de Sade transferred from Vincennes fortress to the Bastille
1796 – "Jay’s Treaty proclaimed, settles some differences with England"
1816 – Dutch (King) Willem II marries Russian grand-duchess Anna Paulowna
1848 – Neufchatel declares independence of Switzerland (From who? I thought they had been independent since 1648, and neutral since 1815.–CK)
1856 – Hostilities in the Crimean War cease
1860 – The first electric tabulating machine — the forerunner of the calculator — was invented by Herman Hollerith. We think it was unfortunate that Mr. Hollerith chose to make his invention on Leap Day, causing the machine to only calculate numbers divisible by four.
1864 – "American Civil War: Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid fails – Plans to free 15,000 Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Virginia are thwarted."
1880 – Gotthard railway tunnel between Switzerland & Italy opens
1892 – Britain & US sign treaty on seal hunting in Bering Sea.
1892 – St. Petersburg, Florida incorporated.
1904 – On this day in Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal. Work began May 4th. It’s always hard to get something going by committee; so we guess that’s why it took seven men two months to get the work going.
1908 – Dutch scientists produce solid helium
1916 – "Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old."
1920 – Budapest, Hungary: Miklos Horthy de Nagybanya became the Regent of Hungary just six months after leading a counterrevolution. He probably gained control because everyone else was distracted while trying to pronounce his name.
1932 – Failed coup attempt by fascist Lapua Movement in Finland
1932 – "TIME magazine features eccentric American politician William ""Alfalfa"" Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States."
1932 – Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers teamed up to record "Shine" for Brunswick Records.
1936 – Fanny Brice brought her little girl character "Baby Snooks" to radio on "The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air" on CBS Radio. Miss Brice presented the character and later sang "My Man" on the program. She was 44 at the time, and was known as America’s "Funny Girl" long before Barbra Streisand brought her even greater fame and notoriety nearly 30 years later.
1936 – FDR signs 2nd neutrality act
1940 – Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations
1940 – "Gone with the Wind" wins 8 Oscars. For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.
1940 – In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, due to the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives his 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco.
1944 – 5 leaders of Indonesia Communist Party sentenced to death
1944 – The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began on this date as U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces in "Operation Brewer". Troops surged onto Los Negros, following a month of Allied advances in the Pacific.
1944 – The first woman appointed secretary of a national political party was named to the Democratic National Committee. Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama began her new appointment this day.
1944 – The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime. We imagine that horses were allowed in from elsewhere, though…
1948 – "Stern-group bomb Cairo-Haifa train, 27 British soldiers died"
1952 – New York City pedestrians were told when to walk and when not to as four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square. Each sign flashed "Walk" for 22 seconds, then "Don’t Walk" for ten seconds before the "Don’t Walk" turned red for 58 seconds more. We’re told that eight out of ten people obeyed the signs … not bad for New Yorkers who will walk right through one door of a car and out the other to get across the street quickly.
1952 – Dick Button wins his 5th consecutive world figure skating title
1952 – The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.
1956 – Islamic Republic established in Pakistan
1956 – President Eisenhower announces he will seek a 2nd term
1960 – A report from the White House stated that America’s kids were getting too fat! I’ll have a cheeseburger, fries and a shake.
1960 – "An earthquake in Morocco kills over 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country."
1960 – Hugh Hefner opens the first Playboy Club in Chicago.
1960 – JFK makes "missile gap" a Presidential campaign issue
1964 – Dawn Fraser got her 36th world record this day. The Australian swimmer was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia.
1964 – The United States was in the grip of Beatlemania! "I Want to Hold Your Hand", by the lads from Liverpool, was in its 5th week at #1 on the pop charts. It stayed there until March 21, when it was replaced by "She Loves You", which was replaced by "Can’t Buy Me Love", which was finally replaced by "Hello Dolly", by Louis Armstrong, on May 9, 1964. 14 straight weeks of #1 stuff by the Beatles! Yeah, yeah, yeah…
1964 – Hang on to your racquets on this one, sports fans: A shuttlecock drive record was set by Frank Rugani this day. Mr. Rugani slammed the birdie 79-feet, 8-1/2 inches in a test at San Jose, CA. A giant leap for badminton. A little leap for all mankind.
1964 – LBJ reveals US secretly developed the A-11 jet fighter
1964 – North Carolina high school basketball teams play to 56-54 score in 13 overtime
1968 – The Beatles’ "Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" wins a Grammy
1968 – Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell announces the discovery of the first pulsar (a blinking star).
1972 – Hank Aaron becomes first baseball player to sign for $200,000 a year
1972 – Columnist Jack Anderson discloses Dita Beard (ITT) memo indicating antitrust charges were dropped for $400,000 contribution to Republican Party
1972 – "Vietnamization" – South Korea withdraws 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.
1972 – Swimmer Mark Spitz was named the 1971 James E. Sullivan Memorial Trophy winner as the top amateur athlete in America.
1972 – Karen and Richard Carpenter received a gold record for the hit single "Hurting Each Other". When they tore the golden platter from its protective frame and plunked it on the player, they heard, "Hurt So Bad", by Little Anthony and the Imperials. They were so upset by this that they ran out to the back yard and used the record as a Frisbee for the rest of the day. (Some of the preceding is based upon actual fact.)
1980 – Gordie Howe becomes first NHL player to score 800 career goals
1980 – Michael Bracey ends 59 hours 55 minutes trapped in an elevator, England
1980 – Yigal Allon, former Israeli foreign minister and supporter of Israeli independence, dies at age 61.
1984 – Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he is leaving office after serving over 15 years.
1988 – Mark Greatbatch scores 107 vs England on Test Cricket debut
1988 – Nazi document implicates Kurt Waldheim in WWII deportations
1988 – NYC Mayor Koch calls Reagan a "WIMP" in the war on drugs
1988 – South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town
1988 – "Day by Day", a situation comedy, premiered on this date on NBC-TV. It was one of the "yuppie sitcoms" that were all over the TV dial in the late ’80s. This particular one was about a suburban overachieving couple who dropped out and opened up a day-care center in their home to spend more quality time with their children. The quality time lasted just under five months.
1992 – Dawn Coe wins LPGA Women’s Kemper Golf Open
1992 – The Professional Spring Football League begins
1992 – Mr. Big hit it big this day, moving to #1 with, "To Be with You". It would be the biggest hit in the U.S. for three big weeks.
1996 – A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashes in the Andes, killing all 123 people aboard.
1996 – Daniel Green is convicted of murdering the father of basketball star Michael Jordan during a 1993 holdup, and is sentenced to life in prison.
1996 – Kenya defeats West Indies (all out 93) in Cricket World Cup
1996 – Novelist Joan Collins awarded US $1 million from Random House for breach of contract.
1996 – Soyuz TM-23 lands
2000 – Six year old Dedrick Owens shoots and kills Kayla Rolland, also six years old, at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan. Rolland is currently the youngest victim of a school shooting.
And if there isn’t something for everybody in the above list, here are some leap year birthday boys and girls. I just know that if my birthday was on February 29, I’d be a thirteen-year-old grandfather. How about that!
Birthday Board: February 29
1736 – Ann Lee (religious zealot: founder of Shakerism in U.S.)
1792 – Gioacchino Rossini (operatic composer: The Barber of Seville). Rossini got today’s Google picture!
1876 – Theodore ‘Theo’ Hardeen (magician)
1904 – Jimmy Dorsey (bandleader: So Rare, Contrasts, June Night)
1904 – Pepper (John) Martin (baseball: St. Louis Cardinals CF)
1920 – Arthur Franz (actor: The Member of the Wedding, Dream No Evil)
1920 – Michele Morgan (Simone Roussel) (actress: The Fallen Idol, Joan of Paris, Bluebeard, Everybody’s Fine)
1920 – Howard Nemerov (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: Collected Works ; 3rd poet laureate of U.S. [1988-1990])
1924 – Al Rosen (baseball: Cleveland Indians 3rd Baseman)
1928 – Joss Ackland (actor: The Hunt for Red October, The House that Dripped Blood, The Sicilian, A Woman Named Jackie)
1936 – Jack Lousma (astronaut)
1936 – Henri Richard (The Pocket Rocket) (hockey player: Montreal Canadiens: 4-time All-Star, played on 11 Stanley Cup champion teams [1955 – 1975])
1940 – Gretchen Christopher (singer: group: The Fleetwoods: Mr. Blue, Come Softly to Me, Tragedy)
1944 – Steve Mingori (baseball)
1944 – John Niland (football: Dallas Cowboys Guard, Super Bowl V, VI)
1948 – Al Clark (football)
1952 – Al Autry (baseball)
1972 – Antonio Sabato, Jr. (actor: Earth 2, Beyond the Law, War of the Robots, Thundersquad)