ON THIS DAY: February 8, 2018

February 8th is

Boy Scouts Day *

Kite Flying Day

Molasses Bar Day

Opera Day *

Potato Lover’s Day


MORE! Jules Verne, Harry McAlpin and Oprah Winfrey, click



Congo Republic – Youth Day

Slovenia – Prešeren’s Day *

Trinidad & Tobago – Port
of Spain: Viva La Carnival


On This Day in HISTORY

1237 – The Russian city of Vladimir-on-Klyazma, originally a frontier outpost, but now the center of the Vladimir-Suzdal Principality, is in an ambitious building boom, but the Mongol-Tartars of the Golden Hoarde under Batu Khan overrun the city after an extended siege; the family of Grand Prince Yuri II is burned to death in the church where they sought refuge; only three of the major building projects survived, including the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site

1575 – Leiden University, the oldest university in the Netherlands, is founded by William, Prince of Orange; at the time, the only university in Holland was under the control of Spain, so the motto chosen for the new school, Libertatis Praesidium (bastion of freedom) had special meaning for the Dutch; there are an impressive 16 Nobel Laureates among Leiden’s alumni

1587 – Mary Queen of Scots is executed, after the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, is exposed

1590 – Luis de Carvajal, governor of the Spanish province of Nuevo León in Mexico, accused of capturing and selling Indians as slaves and, his descent from Portuguese conversos being exposed, is tortured by the Spanish Inquisition, and confesses that his  sister secretly still practices Judaism

1601 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, rebels against Queen Elizabeth I but the revolt is quickly crushed

1693 – The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, is granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II

1700 – Daniel Bernoulli born, Swiss mathematician and physicist; noted for Bernoulli’s Principle on the conservation of energy

1735 – Opera Day * – A performance of Flora is the first known opera to be seen by an American audience, in Charleston SC

1795 – Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge born, German chemist, got sugar from beet juice

1817 – Grand Marshal Juan Gregorio de Las Heras leads an army across the Andes to join San Martín and liberate Chile from Spain

1819 – John Ruskin born, English author, Art critic, and social thinker

1820 – William Tecumseh Sherman born, American Union general in the Civil War

1828 – Jules Verne born, French writer, pioneer in science fiction

1837 – Richard Johnson becomes the only Vice President of the United States chosen by the U.S. Senate under the provisions of the 12th Amendment, after falling one short of the electoral votes needed. When Virginia delegates deadlock the Electoral College by abstaining, the decision goes to the Senate. However, even his military exploits during the War of 1812 were negated by his relationship with Julia Chinn, an octoroon slave. Unlike other leaders who had African-American mistresses but never mentioned them, Johnson openly treated Chinn as his common law wife, and when he gave his surname to their two daughters, the scandal cost him re-nomination as Van Buren’s running mate in 1840

1849 – France Prešeren, Slovenia’s national poet, dies; author of Slovenia’s national anthem; his birthday is now commemorated as Prešeren’s Day * the national cultural holiday of Slovenia

1850 – Kate Chopin born, American author; her pioneering novel The Awakening took women’s conflicts between marriage-motherhood and their own desires seriously

1865 – Delaware refuses to ratify the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolishes Slavery, finally ratifying it along with the 14th and 15th Amendments on February 12, 1901

1865 – Martin Robison Delany becomes the first black major in the U.S. Army

1879 – Sandford Fleming first proposes adoption of Universal Standard Time at a meeting of the Royal Canadian Institute

1880 – Franz Marc born, German painter, a key figure in German Expressionism

1885 – The first U.S. government-approved Japanese immigrants arrive in Hawaii

1886 – Wilhelm Koppers born, cultural anthropologist; noted for human society origin theories derived from his studies of hunter-gatherer tribes

1887 – The Dawes General Allotment Act authorizes the U.S. President to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into allotments for individual Indians; those who accepted allotments and lived separately from their tribe would be granted U.S. citizenship; the act allows the government to classify as “excess” those Indian reservation lands remaining after allotments, and to sell those lands on the open market, allowing purchase and settlement by non-Native Americans

1894 – The Enforcement Act of 1870,  which prohibited discrimination by state officials in voter registration on the basis of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, establishing penalties for interfering with a person’s right to vote, and also gave federal courts and the President enforcement powers, is repealed, making it easier to disenfranchise black men

1895 – Tchaikovsky/Petipa’s ballet Swan Lake premieres in St. Petersburg

Production of Swan Lake at St. Petersburg with reproductions of the original sets and costumes from its premiere performance

1898 – John Sherman patents machine to fold and seal envelopes

1899 – Lonnie Johnson born, American blues-jazz songwriter, jazz guitar pioneer

1904 – Battle of Port Arthur: A surprise torpedo attack by the Japanese at Port Arthur, China starts the Russo-Japanese War

1904 – Dutch Colonial troops of General van Daalen’s Marechaussee regiment launch a military campaign employing ‘scorched earth’ tactics against the Achehnese and Bataks people, committing genocide with few casualties among the Dutch troops, consolidating Dutch power in the East Indies

1906 – Chester Carlson born, American physicist-inventor of  Xerography, precursor to the invention of the photocopier

1910 – Boy Scouts Day * – Boy Scouts of America incorporated by William Boyce

1911 – Elizabeth Bishop born, American poet; Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1949 to 1950, 1956 Pulitzer Prize winner for Poetry

1914 – Bill Finger born, American comic book writer, co-creator of Batman

1915 – D. W. Griffith’s biased silent film, The Birth of a Nation, originally called The Clansman,  premieres in Los Angeles, with some of the black characters portrayed by white men wearing blackface makeup

1918 – The weekly U.S. Army newspaper Stars & Stripes begins publication

1920 – Swiss men vote against women having the right to vote

1922 – U. S. President Harding introduces the first radio set in the White House

1924 – The first state execution in the U. S.  by gas chamber takes place in Nevada

1926 – Sean O’Casey’s play Plough & Stars opens at Abbey Theater Dublin

1930 – Benny Mereoff hits #1 with his version of “Happy Days Are Here Again”

1932 – John Williams born, American composer and conductor

1944 – Harry S. McAlpin, former war correspondent, now a reporter for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta Daily World, becomes the first African American to be admitted to a White House Press Conference; after the conference, President Franklin Roosevelt shakes his hand and says, “Harry, I’m glad you are here.”

1946 – The first portion of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the first serious challenge to the popularity of the Authorized King James Version, is published

1948 – The formal creation of the Korean People’s Army of North Korea is announced.

1949 – Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary, outspoken activist against political oppression and lack of religious freedom under the Communist regime, is sentenced to life imprisonment for treason; despite international outcry, the Cardinal remained in prison until 1956, when the short-lived reformist government took over; as Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest, Mindszenty took refuge in the U.S. embassy, staying inside the embassy grounds until 1971 when he was recalled by the Vatican and settled in Vienna, where he remained in exile until his death in 1975

1950 – The Stasi is established, East Germany’s effective and oppressive secret police/intelligence agency

1955 – John Grisham born, American attorney-turned-best-selling author

1958 – Karine Chemla born, French historian; noted for research on Chinese mathematics and 19th century French geometry

1958 – Marina Silva born, Brazilian politician and environmentalist; Spokesperson of Sustainability Network since 2015; Senator from Acre (2008-2011); Minister of the Environment (2003-2008)

1962 – Charonne massacre: 9 peaceful trade unionists demonstrating against the OAS are killed by French police, directed by Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police. The previous October, police broke up another peaceful demonstration of Algerian French citizens, by shooting some of them and shoving them into the Siene to drown, while detaining others who were beaten and tortured by the Prefecture’s infamous ‘welcoming committee’

1963 – Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba are made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration

1964 – Representative Martha Griffiths (D-MI) makes an address to the House which helps sway votes to add civil rights protection for women to the 1964 Civil Rights Act

1965 – The Supremes release “Stop In the Name of Love”

1968 – Black students at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg SC , after protesting racial segregation at the town’s only bowling alley, are attacked on campus by South Carolina Highway Patrolmen; 3 students are killed and 27 injured

1971 – The NASDAQ stock market index opens for the first time

1971 – South Vietnamese ground troops launch an incursion into the neighboring country of Laos to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration

1974 – After 84 days in space, the crew of Skylab 4, the last crew to visit American space station Skylab, come back to Earth

1976 – Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, is released

1978 – Proceedings of the United States Senate are broadcast on radio for the first time

1983 – The Melbourne dust storm hits Australia’s second largest city during the worst drought on record, on a day of severe weather conditions; a 320 metres (1,050 ft) deep dust cloud envelops the city, turning day to night

1984 – The Olympic Winter Games open in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia

1986 – Oprah Winfrey becomes the first African American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show

1993 – General Motors sues NBC after Dateline NBC allegedly rigs two crashes to demonstrate that some GM pickups can easily catch fire if hit in certain places. NBC settles the lawsuit the next day

1996 – The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act, called by some legislators the “Great Internet Sex Panic Act of 1995”; the first notable attempt to regulate pornography on the Internet, its anti-indecency provisions are struck down in 1997 by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the landmark cyberlaw case Reno v ACLU

2002 – Winter Olympics open in Salt Lake City UT

2010 – A freak storm in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan
triggers a series of at least 36 avalanches, burying over two miles of road, killing at least 172 people and trapping over 2,000 travelers

2013 – A blizzard disrupts transportation and leaves hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern United States and parts of Canada


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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