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1980–Buddy Holly's glasses and The Big Bopper's wrist watch are discovered at the Sheriff’s office in Mason City, Iowa. They had been recovered from the wreckage of the artists’ plane after it crashed in 1959, and been filed away ever since. After a lengthy court battle, the glasses were deemed the property of Buddy's widow, Maria Elena, and are on permanent display at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas.



BC 45–The leap year begins when Julius Caesar adds an extra day to the Julian calendar every fourth year upon the advice of astronomer, Sosigenes. Other possible beginnings of leap year are: in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered every fourth year to be a leap year (leap year brought the Gregorian calendar closer to the Earth's orbital period of 365.2422 days) unless it is a century year that cannot be divisible by 400; in 1698, Protestant rulers of Germany and the Netherlands thought it was time they agreed with the Pope; in 1752, the English made the calendar change; and in 1918, when the Russians picked up on the Gregorian calendar. Regardless, it is called leap year because it is not a common year. A common year consists of exactly 52 weeks plus one day, while a leap year consists of exactly 52 weeks plus two days.

1288–It becomes legal in Scotland for a woman to propose marriage to a man.

1468–Pope Paul III is born Alessandro Farnese in Canino, Lazio, Papal States, Italy.

1504–Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse to convince frightened Native Americans to provide him with supplies.

1644–Abel Tasman's second Pacific voyage begins.

1704–French forces and Native Americans stage a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 villagers and taking more than 100 people captive.

1712–February 29th is followed by February 30th 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 favor of her husband, who will become King Frederick I on March 24th.

1736–Ann Lee is born in Manchester, England. She was the leader of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, or The Shakers. The Shakers were founded in the 18th century in England, having branched off from a Quaker community. They were known as "Shaking Quakers" because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. Shakers settled in colonial America, with initial settlements in New Lebanon, New York, and are mostly known for their celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalized in their society in the 1780s. They are also known for their simple living, architecture, and furniture.

1752–King Alaungpaya founds Konbaung Dynasty, the last dynasty of Burmese monarchy.

1780–The Omicron Delta Omega fraternity is founded by Benjamin Franklin at James Madison University.

1784–Marquis de Sade is transferred from a Vincennes fortress to the Bastille in Paris, France.

1792–Composer, Gioacchino Antonio Rossini, is born in Pesaro, Italy. He was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas, as well as sacred music, chamber music, and some instrumental and piano pieces. His best known operas include the Italian comedies The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola, and the French-language epics Moïse et Pharaon and William Tell. A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout his scores, which led to the nickname "The Italian Mozart."

1792–Piano builder, Johann Andreas Stein, dies in Augsburg, Germany. He was an outstanding German maker of keyboard instruments and a central figure in the history of the piano. He was primarily responsible for the design of the so-called "Viennese" forte-piano, on which the music of Haydn, Mozart, and the early Beethoven was written. Stein was the founder of an important piano-making dynasty. His daughter, Nannette, was a skilled builder, and continued the family business under her husband's name, Streicher. The Streicher firm built pianos for Beethoven and played an important role in the technological development of the piano until 1894.

1796–The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain comes into force, facilitating 10 years of peaceful trade between the two nations.

1840–Engineer, John Philip Holland, is born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland. He developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the U.S. Navy, and the first Royal Navy submarine, the Holland 1. He is widely regarded as the “father of the modern submarine” for his designs.

1860–Statistician and businessman, Herman Hollerith, is born in Buffalo, New York. He co-founded the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, later remaned IBM (International Business Machines Corporation). Hollerith is regarded as one of the seminal figures in the development of data processing. His invention of the punched card tabulating machine marks the beginning of the era of semiautomatic data processing systems that dominated in business for nearly a century.

1868–Ludwig I of Bavaria dies in Nice, France, at age 81.

1880–The Gotthard Railway Tunnel connecting Switzerland and Italy opens.

1892–The city of St. Petersburg, Florida, is incorporated.

1896–Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India (1977-1979), is born in Bhadeli, Bombay Presidency, British India.

1904–President Theodore Roosevelt appointed a seven-member commission to facilitate completion of the Panama Canal.

1904–Orchestra leader, Jimmy Dorsey, is born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. He was considered one of the most important and influential alto saxophone players of the Big Band and Swing era. His hits include Maria Elena, Blue Champagne, Tangerine, Besame Mucho, and Pennies From Heaven. Dorsey was awarded a gold record for So Rare, which was recorded on November 11, 1956.

1908–Dutch scientists produce solid helium.

1908–Lawman and gunslinger, Pat Garrett, dies of gunshot wounds in a disagreement over goats grazing on his land in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at age 57. He had been the Sheriff of Lincoln County, New Mexico. Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid on July 14, 1881, at a private home (now know as the “Maxwell House”) at Fort Sumner, in southeastern New Mexico.

1912–The Piedra Movediza (Moving Stone) of Tandil, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, falls and breaks. No one could specify the true time or cause of the fall as there were no witnesses. Its weight was about 300 tons. It attracted attention, especially from tourists, because of the way it was balanced on the edge of a hill. The stone rocked from morning to evening, so slowly that it was imperceptible to the eye.

1916–Tokelau is annexed by the United Kingdom.

1916–In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from 12 to 14 years old.

1916–Singer, Dinah Shore, is born Frances Rose Shore in Winchester, Tennessee. She was an actress, television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. TV Guide magazine ranked her at #16 on their list of the “Top 50” television stars of all time. Her own program, The Dinah Shore Show, debuted on NBC-TV in 1951. From 1970 through 1980, Shore hosted two daytime programs, Dinah's Place (1970–1974) and Dinah! (later Dinah and Friends) in syndication (1974-1980). She was married to actor, George Montgomery, and in the early 1970s, Shore had a long, public romance with actor, Burt Reynolds, who was 20 years her junior.

1920–Poet, novelist, and critic, Howard Nemerov, is born in New York, New York. He will become Poet Laureate of the United States (1988-1989). For The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov, he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize. His sister was photographer Diane Arbus.

1924–Politician, Carlos Humberto Romero, is born in Chalatenango, El Salvador. He was President of El Salvador and held power until October 1979, when he was deposed with a reformist coup d'état by dissident, politically leftist and moderate military officers and civilians.

1928–Seymour Papert, mathematician and computer scientist, is born in Pretoria, South Africa. He is one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, and co-inventor, with Wally Feurzeig, of the Logo programming language.

1928–Entertainer, Tempest Storm, is born born Annie Banks in Eastman, Georgia. She is an exotic dancer and burlesque star. Along with Lili St. Cyr, Sally Rand, and Blaze Starr, she was one of the best known burlesque performers of the 1950s and 1960s. She is regarded as having one of the longest careers as a burlesque performer, spanning more than 60 years.

1936–The character of “Baby Snooks,” played by Fanny Brice, first appears on the radio program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.

1936–Astronaut, Jack R. Lousma, is born Jack Robert Lousma in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was a member of the second manned crew on the Skylab space station in 1973. In 1982, he commanded STS-3, the third Space Shuttle mission.

1936–Actor, Alex Rocco, is born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He appeared in the films The St. Valentines’s Day Massacre, The Boston Strangler, The Godfather, Slither, Freebie and the Bean, Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins, Hearts of the West, The Stunt Man, and That Thing You Do!

1940–The 12th Annual Academy Awards announces its winners. Best Picture: Gone with the Wind; Best Actor: Robert Donat for Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Best Actress: Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind; Best Director: Victor Fleming for Gone with the Wind. The ceremonies are held at the Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, California. The host is Bob Hope. Hattie McDaniel, becomes first black woman to win an Oscar. She wins for her supporting role in Gone with the Wind.

1940–Bartholomew I of Constantinople is born Dimitrios Arhondonis in the village of Agios Theodoros, Imbros, Turkey. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, he is regarded as the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.

1944–Actor, Dennis Farina, is born in Chicago, Illinois. Before becoming an actor, Farina served three years in the U.S. Army, followed by 18 years in the Chicago Police Department's burglary division, from 1967 to 1985. He appeared in the films Thief, Code of Silence, Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling, Midnight Run, Another Stakeout, Get Shorty, and Saving Private Ryan.

1952–The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.

1952–Politician, Bart Stupak, is born Bartholomew Thomas Stupak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A member of the Democratic Party, Stupak served as the U.S. Representative from Michigan's 1st Congressional District from 1993 to 2011. Stupak chose not to seek re-election in 2010.

1956–President Eisenhower announces he will seek a second term in office.

1956–The Islamic Republic is established in Pakistan.

1956–Celebrity journalist, J. Randy Taraborrelli, is born John Randall Taraborrelli in California. He is known for biographies of contemporary entertainers and political figures. Among his subjects are Princess Diana, Cher, Carol Burnett, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, and Michael Jackson.

1956–Serial killer, Aileen (Carol) Wuornos, is born in Rochester, Michigan. She killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. Wuornos claimed that her victims had either raped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a prostitute, and that all of the homicides were committed in self-defense. She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders. The theatrical film, Monster, starred Charlize Theron as Wuornos. The TV movie, Overkill: The Aileen Wuornos Story, starred Jean Smart.

1960–Hugh Hefner opens the first Playboy Club, featuring the infamous Playboy Bunnies, in Chicago, Ilinois.

1960–A 5.7 earthquake shakes coastal Morocco, killing 12,000 people and injuring 12,000 others.

1960–Serial killer, Richard Ramirez, is born Ricardo Leyva Muñoz Ramírez in El Paso, Texas. He was known as the “Night Stalker.” His highly publicized home invasion crime spree terrorized the residents of the greater Los Angeles area, and later the residents of the San Francisco area, from June 1984 until August 1985. He was convicted of 13 counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, 11 counts of sexual assault, and 14 counts of burglary.

1960–Motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, is born Anthony J. Mahavorick in North Hollywood, California. He taught neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and Ericksonian Hypnosis after training with NLP co-founder John Grinder. Robbins promoted his services as a "peak performance coach" through his books and TV infomercials, gaining strong public recognition and lucrative sales. By the age of 24, he was a millionaire. Robbins published two best-selling books, Unlimited Power and Awaken the Giant Within.

1964–Swimmer Dawn Fraser sets a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition (at 58.9 seconds) in Sydney, Australia.

1968–In Cambridge, England, Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell announces the discovery of the first pulsar (a star that emits regular radio waves).

1968–The U.S. conducts a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1968–President Lyndon B. Johnson's National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (also known as the Kerner Commission) warns that racism is causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white: separate and unequal.”

1968–The 10th Annual Grammy Awards announces its winners. Record of the Year: The 5th Dimension for Up, Up and Away; Album of the Year: The Beatles and George Martin for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; Song of the Year: Jimmy Webb (songwriter) for Up, Up and Away; Best Vocal Performance, Male: Glen Campbell for By the Time I Get to Phoenix; Best Vocal Performance, Female: Bobbie Gentry for Ode to Billie Joe; Best Performance by a Vocal Group: The 5th Dimension for Up, Up and Away; Best Country & Western Performance: Glen Campbell for Gentle on My Mind; Best Rhythm & Blues Performance: Aretha Franklin for Respect; Best Instrumental Performance: Chet Atkins for Chet Atkins Picks the Best; Best New Artist: Bobbie Gentry. The ceremonies are held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York. There is no host.

1972–South Korea withdraws 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.

1972–John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s six-month U.S. visitor's visas expire. They are allowed only a 15-day extension. This is the beginning of a three-and-one-half-year struggle by Lennon to continue to reside in America.

1972–Model and actor, Antonio Sabato, Jr., is born in Sicily. He is best known as a Calvin Klein underwear model. His father was actor, Antonio Sabato, Sr.

1980–Buddy Holly's glasses and The Big Bopper's wrist watch are discovered at the Sheriff’s office in Mason City, Iowa. They had been recovered from the wreckage of the artists’ plane after it crashed in 1959, and been filed away ever since. After a lengthy court battle, the glasses were deemed the property of Buddy's widow, Maria Elena, and are on permanent display at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas.

1980–Yigal Allon, Prime Minister of Israel, dies of heart failure in Afula, Israel, at age 61.

1984–Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, announces he is leaving office after serving over 15 years.

1984–EMI officially deletes The Beatles’ compilation albums, Rarities and Reel Music, from their catalogue, the latter being scraped by EMI less than two years after its original release.

1988–New York City Mayor, Ed Koch, calls President Reagan a “wimp” in the war on drugs.

1988–Svend Robinson becomes the first member of the Canadian House of Commons to come out as gay.

1988–South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-Apartheid demonstration in Cape Town.

1992–Entrepreneur, Earl Scheib, dies at age 85. In 1937, he founded Earl Scheib Auto Paint, a company that specialized in repainting and collision repair of automobiles. He was famous for his slogan, "I'm Earl Scheib, and I'll paint any car, any color for $19.95." With locations in 23 states in the U.S., the company ceased operation on July 16, 2010.

1996–Daniel Green is convicted of murdering the father of basketball star, Michael Jordan, during a 1993 holdup. He is sentenced to life in prison.

1996–Faucett Flight 251 crashes in the Andes, in Peru, killing all 123 passengers and crew that are on board.

1996–Singer-songwriter, Wes Farrell, dies of cancer in Coconut Grove, Florida, at age 56. Farrell was one of the most prolific and influential songwriters, producers, publishers, and music executives of the 1960s and 1970s. To date Farrell's catalogue includes close to 500 songs that he wrote, produced, or published. His hit songs include Boys, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Baby Let Me Take You Home, Hang on Sloopy, Come a Little Bit Closer, Come on Down to My Boat, and I'll Meet You Halfway.

2004–Jean-Bertrand Aristide is removed as President of Haiti following a coup d'état. He was forced into exile, being flown directly out of Haiti to the Central African Republic. He eventually settled in South Africa.

2004–The 76th Annual Academy Awards announces its winners. Best Picture: The Lord of the Rings–The Return of the King; Best Actor: Sean Penn for Mystic River; Best Actress: Charlize Theron for Monster; Best Director: Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings–The Return of the King; Best Foreign Film: The Barbarian Invasions (Canada). The ceremonies are held at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood, California. The host is Billy Crystal.

2008–The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence decides to withdraw Prince Harry from a tour of Afghanistan immediately after a leak led to his deployment being reported by foreign media.

2008–Misha Defonseca admits to fabricating her memoir, Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years, in which she claimed to have lived in the woods with a pack of wolves during the Holocaust.

2012–Construction is completed on Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world at 634 meters high.

2012–Actor, Dick Van Dyke, marries make-up artist, Arlene Silver, in Malibu, California.

2012–Singer-actor, Davy Jones, of the pop group, The Monkees, dies from a heart attack in Stuart, Florida, at age 66. Prior to The Monkees, he played the Artful Dodger in the original London and Broadway productions of Oliver! On February 9, 1964, he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show with Georgia Brown to perform songs from Oliver!: it was the same night that The Beatles made their first appearance on the show. On December 10, 1971, Jones performed the song, Girl, on an episode of The Brady Bunch, and it became his best remembered solo hit. In December 2008, Yahoo! Music named Jones the "Number 1 Teen Idol of All Time."

2016–U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, breaks 10 years of courtroom silence, posing questions during a Supreme Court oral argument, provoking gasps from the audience. He “peppered” Justice Department lawyer, Ilana Eisenstein, who was trying to wind up her argument, with 10 or so questions that seemed to be a vigorous defense of the Constitutional right to own a gun. Thomas last asked a question in court on February 22, 2006, and his unusual silence over the years had become a curiosity. Every other justice regularly poses questions from the bench.

2016–A woman is arrested in Moscow, Russia, after beheading an infant left in her care and parading the severed head to police.

2016–Macedonian police use tear gas after hundreds of migrants frustrated with long delays break a gate and temporarily cross the border out of Greece into Macedonia.

2016–The media company, VICE, launches its new television channel VICELAND, a joint venture with A+E Networks. It will move into the home previously occupied by H2, a History Channel spinoff. The debut comes with the company's explosive growth across online and mobile, where it has become the preeminent destination for young people around the world. The new channel will air content 24 hours a day.


PHOTOS TOP TO BOTTOM: Leap year graphic; Ann Lee; Gioacchino Antonio Rossini; Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India; the Piedra Movediza (Moving Stone) of Tandil, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina; Dinah shore on the cover of TV Guide; Tempest Storm; President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post; Hugh Hefner on the street with the Playboy Bunnies; The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album; Buddy Holly's glasses; picture sleeve for Hang on Sloopy; and Davy Jones.

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