This day in history (Feb. 4)

Staff Writer

211 – Roman Emperor Septimius Severus dies at Eboracum (modern York, England) while preparing to lead a campaign against the Caledonians. He leaves the empire in the control of his two quarrelling sons.
634 – Battle of Dathin: Rashidun forces under Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan defeat an outnumbered Byzantine force near Gaza in Palestine.
960 – The coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of Song, initiating the Song dynasty period of China that would last more than three centuries.
1169 – A strong earthquake struck the Ionian coast of Sicily, causing tens of thousands of injuries and deaths, especially in Catania.
1454 – In the Thirteen Years' War, the Secret Council of the Prussian Confederation sends a formal act of disobedience to the Grand Master.
1555 – John Rogers is burned at the stake, becoming the first English Protestant martyr under Mary I of England.
1703 – In Edo (now Tokyo), 46 of the Forty-seven Ronin commit seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master's death.
1758 – Macapá, Brazil is founded.
1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
1794 – The French legislature abolishes slavery throughout all territories of the French First Republic. It will be reestablished in the French West Indies in 1802.
1797 – The Riobamba earthquake strikes Ecuador, causing up to 40,000 casualties.
1801 – John Marshall is sworn in as Chief Justice of the United States.
1810 – The Royal Navy seizes Guadeloupe.
1820 – The Chilean Navy under the command of Lord Cochrane completes the 2-day long Capture of Valdivia with just 300 men and 2 ships.
1825 – The Ohio Legislature authorizes the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal and the Miami and Erie Canal.
1846 – The first Mormon pioneers make their exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, westward towards Salt Lake Valley.
1859 – The Codex Sinaiticus is discovered in Egypt.
1861 – American Civil War: In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from six break-away U.S. states meet and form the Confederate States of America.
1899 – The Philippine–American War begins with the Battle of Manila.
1932 – Second Sino-Japanese War: Harbin, Manchuria, falls to Japan.
1941 – The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops.
1945 – World War II: Santo Tomas Internment Camp is liberated from Japanese authority.
1945 – World War II: The Yalta Conference between the "Big Three" (Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin) opens at the Livadia Palace in the Crimea.
1945 – World War II: The British Indian Army and Imperial Japanese Army begin a series of battles known as the Battle of Pokoku and Irrawaddy River operations.
1948 – Ceylon (later renamed Sri Lanka) becomes independent within the British Commonwealth.
1961 – The Angolan War of Independence and the greater Portuguese Colonial War begin.
1966 – All Nippon Airways Flight 60 plunges into Tokyo Bay, killing 133.
1967 – Lunar Orbiter program: Lunar Orbiter 3 lifts off from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 13 on its mission to identify possible landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo spacecraft.
1969 – Yasser Arafat takes over as chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst in Berkeley, California.
1974 – M62 coach bombing: The Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) explodes a bomb on a bus carrying off-duty British Armed Forces personnel in Yorkshire, England. Nine soldiers and three civilians are killed.
1975 – Haicheng earthquake (magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale) occurs in Haicheng, Liaoning, China.
1976 – In Guatemala and Honduras an earthquake kills more than 22,000.
1977 – A Chicago Transit Authority elevated train rear-ends another and derails, killing 11 and injuring 180, the worst accident in the agency's history.
1992 – A coup d'état is led by Hugo Chávez against Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez.
1996 – Major snowstorm paralyzes Midwestern United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and ties all-time record low temperature at −26 °F (−32.2 °C)
1997 – En route to Lebanon, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 troop-transport helicopters collide in mid-air over northern Galilee, Israel killing 73.
1998 – The 5.9 Mw Afghanistan earthquake shakes the Takhar Province with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). With 2,323 killed, and 818 injured, damage is considered extreme.
1999 – Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot 41 times by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race relations in the city.
2003 – The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is officially renamed Serbia and Montenegro and adopts a new constitution.
2004 – Facebook, a mainstream online social networking site, is founded by Mark Zuckerberg.
2015 – A TransAsia Airways aircraft with 58 people on board, en route from the Taiwanese capital Taipei to Kinmen, crashes into the Keelung River just after take-off, killing at least 31 people.
Births[edit]
1447 – Lodovico Lazzarelli, Italian poet (d. 1500)
1465 – Frans van Brederode, Dutch rebel (d. 1490)
1495 – Francesco II Sforza, Duke of Milan (d. 1535)
1495 – Jean Parisot de Valette, Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller (d. 1568)
1505 – Mikołaj Rej, Polish poet and author (d. 1580)
1575 – Pierre de Bérulle, French cardinal and theologian, founded the French school of spirituality (d. 1629)
1646 – Hans Erasmus Aßmann, German poet and politician (d. 1699)
1676 – Giacomo Facco, Italian violinist and composer (d. 1753)
1677 – Johann Ludwig Bach, German violinist and composer (d. 1731)
1688 – Pierre de Marivaux, French author and playwright (d. 1763)
1725 – Dru Drury, English entomologist and author (d. 1804)
1740 – Carl Michael Bellman, Swedish poet and composer (d. 1795)
1778 – Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, Swiss botanist, mycologist, and academic (d. 1841)
1799 – Almeida Garrett, Portuguese journalist and author (d. 1854)
1831 – Oliver Ames, American financier and politician, 35th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1895)
1848 – Jean Aicard, French poet, author, and playwright (d. 1921)
1849 – Jean Richepin, French poet, author, and playwright (d. 1926)
1862 – Édouard Estaunié, French novelist (d. 1942)
1865 – Abe Isoo, Japanese minister and politician (d. 1949)
1871 – Friedrich Ebert, German lawyer and politician, 1st President of Germany (d. 1925)
1872 – Gotse Delchev, Bulgarian and Macedonian revolutionary activist (d. 1903)
1873 – Étienne Desmarteau, Canadian shot putter and discus thrower (d. 1905)
1875 – Ludwig Prandtl, German physicist and engineer (d. 1953)
1877 – Eddie Cochems, American football player and coach (d. 1953)
1881 – Eulalio Gutiérrez, Mexican general and politician, President of Mexico (d. 1939)
1881 – Fernand Léger, French painter and sculptor (d. 1955)
1883 – Reinhold Rudenberg, German-American inventor and a pioneer of electron microscopy (d. 1961)
1891 – M. A. Ayyangar, Indian lawyer and politician, 2nd Speaker of the Lok Sabha (d. 1978)
1892 – E. J. Pratt, Canadian poet and academic (d. 1964)
1895 – Nigel Bruce, English actor (d. 1953)
1896 – Friedrich Glauser, Austrian-Swiss author (d. 1938)
1896 – Friedrich Hund, German physicist and academic (d. 1997)
1897 – Ludwig Erhard, German soldier and politician, 2nd Chancellor of West Germany (d. 1977)
1899 – Virginia M. Alexander, American physician and founder of the Aspiranto Health Home(d. 1949)
1900 – Jacques Prévert, French poet and screenwriter (d. 1977)
1902 – Charles Lindbergh, American pilot and explorer (d. 1974)
1902 – Hartley Shawcross, Baron Shawcross, German-English lawyer and politician, Attorney General for England and Wales (d. 2003)
1903 – Alexander Imich, Polish-American chemist, parapsychologist, and academic (d. 2014)
1904 – MacKinlay Kantor, American author and screenwriter (d. 1977)
1906 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and theologian (d. 1945)
1906 – Clyde Tombaugh, American astronomer and academic, discovered Pluto (d. 1997)
1908 – Julian Bell, English poet and academic (d. 1937)
1912 – Ola Skjåk Bræk, Norwegian banker and politician, Norwegian Minister of Industry (d. 1999)
1912 – Erich Leinsdorf, Austrian-American conductor (d. 1993)
1912 – Byron Nelson, American golfer and sportscaster (d. 2006)
1913 – Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist (d. 2005)
1913 – Richard Seaman, English race car driver (d. 1939)
1914 – Alfred Andersch, German-Swiss author and publisher (d. 1980)
1915 – William Talman, American actor and screenwriter (d. 1968)
1915 – Norman Wisdom, English singer-songwriter and actor (d. 2010)
1917 – Yahya Khan, Pakistan general and politician, 3rd President of Pakistan (d. 1980)
1918 – Ida Lupino, English-American actress and director (d. 1995)
1918 – Luigi Pareyson, Italian philosopher and author (d. 1991)
1920 – Janet Waldo, American actress and voice artist (d. 2016)
1921 – Betty Friedan, American author and feminist (d. 2006)
1921 – Lotfi Zadeh, Iranian-American mathematician and computer scientist and founder of fuzzy logic (d. 2017)
1923 – Conrad Bain, Canadian-American actor (d. 2013)
1923 – James Dibble, Australian journalist (d. 2010)
1925 – Russell Hoban, American author and illustrator (d. 2011)
1925 – Stanley Karnow, American journalist and historian (d. 2013)
1925 – Christopher Zeeman, English mathematician and academic (d. 2016)
1926 – Gyula Grosics, Hungarian footballer and manager (d. 2014)
1926 – Dave Sands, Australian boxer (d. 1952)
1927 – Rolf Landauer, German-American physicist and academic (d. 1999)
1928 – Oscar Cabalén, Argentinian race car driver (d. 1967)
1928 – Osmo Antero Wiio, Finnish journalist, academic, and politician (d. 2013)
1929 – Paul Burlison, American rockabilly guitarist (d. 2003)
1930 – Tibor Antalpéter, Hungarian volleyball player and diplomat, Hungarian Ambassador to the United Kingdom (d. 2012)
1930 – Arthur E. Chase, American businessman and politician (d. 2015)
1930 – Jim Loscutoff, American basketball player (d. 2015)
1931 – Isabel Martínez de Perón, Argentinian dancer and politician, 41st President of Argentina
1935 – Wallis Mathias, Pakistani cricketer (d. 1994)
1935 – Martti Talvela, Finnish opera singer (d. 1989)
1935 – Collin Wilcox, American actress (d. 2009)
1936 – David Brenner, American comedian, actor, and author (d. 2014)
1936 – Claude Nobs, Swiss businessman, founded the Montreux Jazz Festival (d. 2013)
1937 – David Newman, American director and screenwriter (d. 2003)
1938 – Frank J. Dodd, American businessman and politician, president of the New Jersey Senate (d. 2010)
1939 – Stan Lundine, American lawyer and politician, Lieutenant Governor of New York
1940 – George A. Romero, American director and producer (d. 2017)
1941 – Ron Rangi, New Zealand rugby player (d. 1988)
1941 – Jiří Raška, Czech skier and coach (d. 2012)
1941 – John Steel, English drummer
1943 – Alberto João Jardim, Portuguese journalist and politician, 2nd President of the Regional Government of Madeira
1943 – Wanda Rutkiewicz, Lithuanian-Polish mountaineer (d. 1992)
1943 – Ken Thompson, American computer scientist and programmer, co-developed the B programming language
1944 – Florence LaRue, American singer and actress
1947 – Dennis C. Blair, American admiral and politician, 3rd Director of National Intelligence
1947 – Dan Quayle, American sergeant, lawyer, and politician, 44th Vice President of the United States
1948 – Alice Cooper, American singer-songwriter
1948 – Rod Grams, American journalist and politician (d. 2013)
1948 – Mienoumi Tsuyoshi, Japanese sumo wrestler
1949 – Michael Beck, American actor
1949 – Rasim Delić, Bosnian general (d. 2010)
1951 – Patrick Bergin, Irish actor
1951 – Phil Ehart, American rock drummer and songwriter
1952 – Jenny Shipley, New Zealand educator and politician, 36th Prime Minister of New Zealand
1952 – Thomas Silverstein, American prisoner, founder and former leader of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang
1955 – Mikuláš Dzurinda, Slovak politician, Prime Minister of Slovakia
1957 – Don Davis, American composer and conductor
1958 – Tomasz Pacyński, Polish journalist and author (d. 2005)
1959 – Christian Schreier, German footballer and manager
1959 – Lawrence Taylor, American football player and sportscaster
1960 – Siobhan Dowd, English author and activist (d. 2007)
1960 – Adrienne King, American actress, dancer, and painter
1960 – Jonathan Larson, American composer and playwright (d. 1996)
1961 – Stewart O'Nan, American novelist
1961 – Denis Savard, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
1962 – Clint Black, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
1962 – Stephen Hammond, English banker and politician
1963 – Pirmin Zurbriggen, Swiss skier
1966 – Tony Butterfield, Australian rugby league player
1966 – Viatcheslav Ekimov, Russian cyclist
1967 – Sergei Grinkov, Russian figure skater (d. 1995)
1970 – Gabrielle Anwar, English actress
1971 – Rob Corddry, American actor, producer, and screenwriter
1971 – Eric Garcetti, American lieutenant and politician, 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles
1972 – Dara Ó Briain, Irish comedian and television host
1972 – Giovanni Silva de Oliveira, Brazilian footballer and manager
1973 – Oscar De La Hoya, American boxer
1973 – James Hird, Australian footballer and coach
1973 – Manny Legace, Canadian ice hockey player and sportscaster
1975 – Natalie Imbruglia, Australian singer-songwriter and actress
1977 – Gavin DeGraw, American singer-songwriter
1979 – Giorgio Pantano, Italian race car driver
1980 – Raimonds Vaikulis, Latvian basketball player
1981 – Jason Kapono, American basketball player
1981 – Johan Vansummeren, Belgian cyclist
1982 – Chris Sabin, American wrestler
1982 – Ivars Timermanis, Latvian basketball player
1982 – Tomas Vaitkus, Lithuanian cyclist
1983 – Lee Stempniak, American ice hockey player
1984 – Sandeep Acharya, Indian singer (d. 2013)
1984 – Mauricio Pinilla, Chilean footballer
1986 – Maximilian Götz, German race car driver
1986 – Mahmudullah Riyad, Bangladeshi cricketer
1987 – Darren O'Dea, Irish footballer
1987 – Lucie Šafářová, Czech tennis player
1988 – Carly Patterson, American gymnast and singer
1989 – Kevin Naiqama, Australian-Fijian rugby league player
1990 – Jake Friend, Australian rugby league player
1993 – Bae Noo-ri, South Korean actress
1993 – Jack Wighton, Australian rugby league player
1996 – Tevita Pangai Junior, Australian rugby league player
Deaths[edit]
211 – Septimius Severus, Roman emperor (b. 145)
708 – Pope Sisinnius (b. 650)
856 – Rabanus Maurus, Frankish archbishop and theologian (b. 780)
870 – Ceolnoth, archbishop of Canterbury
1169 – John of Ajello, Bishop of Catania
1498 – Antonio del Pollaiolo, Italian artist (b. 1429/1433)
1505 – Jeanne de Valois, daughter of Louis XI of France (b. 1464)
1508 – Conrad Celtes, German poet and scholar (b. 1459)
1555 – John Rogers, English clergyman and translator (b. 1505)
1590 – Gioseffo Zarlino, Italian composer and theorist (b. 1517)
1615 – Giambattista della Porta, Italian playwright and scholar (b. 1535)
1617 – Lodewijk Elzevir, Dutch publisher, co-founded the House of Elzevir (b. 1546)
1713 – Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury, English philosopher and politician (b. 1671)
1774 – Charles Marie de La Condamine, French mathematician and geographer (b. 1701)
1799 – Étienne-Louis Boullée, French architect and educator (b. 1728)
1781 – Josef Mysliveček, Czech composer (b. 1737)
1843 – Theodoros Kolokotronis, Greek general (b. 1770)
1894 – Adolphe Sax, Belgian instrument maker, invented the Saxophone (b. 1814)
1905 – Louis-Ernest Barrias, French sculptor and academic (b. 1841)
1926 – İskilipli Mehmed Atıf Hoca, Turkish author and scholar (b. 1875)
1928 – Hendrik Lorentz, Dutch physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1853)
1933 – Archibald Sayce, English linguist and educator (b. 1846)
1940 – Nikolai Yezhov, Russian police officer and politician (b. 1895)
1943 – Frank Calder, English-Canadian ice hockey player and journalist (b. 1877)
1944 – Arsen Kotsoyev, Russian author and translator (b. 1872)
1956 – Savielly Tartakower, Russian-French chess player, journalist, and author (b. 1887)
1958 – Henry Kuttner, American author and screenwriter (b. 1915)
1959 – Una O'Connor, Irish-American actress (b. 1880)
1968 – Neal Cassady, American novelist and poet (b. 1926)
1970 – Louise Bogan, American poet and critic (b. 1897)
1974 – Satyendra Nath Bose, Indian physicist, mathematician, and academic (b. 1894)
1975 – Louis Jordan, American singer-songwriter and saxophonist (b. 1908)
1982 – Alex Harvey, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1935)
1982 – Georg Konrad Morgen, German lawyer and judge (b. 1909)
1983 – Karen Carpenter, American singer (b. 1950)
1987 – Liberace, American singer-songwriter and pianist, (b. 1919)
1987 – Meena Keshwar Kamal, Afghan activist, founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (b. 1956)
1987 – Carl Rogers, American psychologist and academic (b. 1902)
1990 – Whipper Billy Watson, Canadian-American wrestler and trainer (b. 1915)
1992 – John Dehner, American actor (b. 1915)
1995 – Patricia Highsmith, American novelist and short story writer (b. 1921)
2000 – Carl Albert, American lawyer and politician, 54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (b. 1908)
2002 – Count Sigvard Bernadotte of Wisborg (b. 1907)
2003 – Benyoucef Benkhedda, Algerian pharmacist and politician (b. 1920)
2005 – Ossie Davis, American actor, director, and playwright (b. 1917)
2006 – Betty Friedan, American author and activist (b. 1921)
2007 – José Carlos Bauer, Brazilian footballer and manager (b. 1925)
2007 – Ilya Kormiltsev, Russian-English poet and translator (b. 1959)
2007 – Barbara McNair, American singer and actress (b. 1934)
2007 – Jules Olitski, Ukrainian-American painter and sculptor (b. 1922)
2008 – Augusta Dabney, American actress (b. 1918)
2008 – Stefan Meller, Polish academic and politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland (b. 1942)
2010 – Kostas Axelos, Greek-French philosopher and author (b. 1924)
2010 – Helen Tobias-Duesberg, Estonian-American composer (b. 1919)
2011 – Martial Célestin, Haitian lawyer and politician, 1st Prime Minister of Haiti (b. 1913)
2012 – István Csurka, Hungarian journalist and politician (b. 1934)
2012 – Florence Green, English soldier (b. 1901)
2012 – Robert Daniel, American farmer, soldier, and politician (b. 1936)
2012 – Mike deGruy, American director, producer, and cinematographer (b. 1951)
2013 – Donald Byrd, American trumpet player (b. 1932)
2013 – Reg Presley, English singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
2014 – Keith Allen, Canadian-American ice hockey player, coach, and manager (b. 1923)
2014 – Eugenio Corti, Italian soldier, author, and playwright (b. 1921)
2014 – Dennis Lota, Zambian footballer (b. 1973)
2015 – Wes Cooley, American soldier and politician (b. 1932)
2015 – Fitzhugh L. Fulton, American colonel and pilot (b. 1925)
2016 – Edgar Mitchell, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1930)
2017 – Steve Lang, Canadian bass player (b. 1949)
2017 – Bano Qudsia, Pakistani writer (b. 1928)
Holidays and observances[edit]
Christian feast day:
Andrew Corsini
Gilbert of Sempringham
John de Brito
Rabanus Maurus
Rimbert
Veronica
February 4 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
Earliest day on which Ash Wednesday can fall, while March 10 is the latest; celebrated on the first day of Lent (western Christianity)
Day of the Armed Struggle (Angola)
Independence Day (Sri Lanka)
Rosa Parks Day (California and Missouri, United States)
World Cancer Day

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