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660BC: The traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.
55: Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome, clearing the way for Nero to become emperor.
1503: Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, dies on her 38th birthday.
1650: French philosopher Rene Descartes dies of pneumonia aged 53.
1659: The assault on Copenhagen by Swedish forces is beaten back with heavy losses.
1806: William Grenville becomes Prime Minister following the death of William Pitt the Younger.
1809: Robert Fulton patents the steamboat.
1810: Napoleon I marries second wife, Marie-Louise of Austria.
1811: President Madison prohibits trade with Britain for the third time in four years.
1847: Birth of inventor Thomas Edison.
1852: The first British public female toilet opens in Bedford Street, London.
1878: The first weekly weather report in published in the UK.
1896: Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” premieres in Paris.
1903: Anton Bruckner’s 9th Symphony premieres in Vienna.
1916: Germany and Austria-Hungary notify the US that they will sink any armed merchant ships from March 1.
1928: The second Winter Olympic Games open in St Moritz, Switzerland.
1940: Death of author John Buchan, First Baron Tweedsmuir and Governor General of Canada.
1945: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin sign the Declaration of Liberated Europe at the end of the Yalta Conference.
1948: Death of Russian director Sergei Eisenstein aged 50.
1956: British diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean deny working as spies for Soviet Russia after reappearing in the Soviet Union after going missing five years earlier.
1963: In less than ten hours, The Beatles record their first album, Please Please Me in its entirety, plus four other tracks which would be the next two singles and B sides. John Lennon’s vocal on The Isley Brothers’ ‘Twist & Shout’ was recorded in one take to complete the album. On the same day, poet Sylvia Plath commits suicide aged 30.
1964: The Beatles made their live concert debut in the US at the Washington Coliseum. Over 350 police surrounded the stage to keep the 8,000 plus screaming fans under control.
1965: Ringo Starr marries hairdresser Maureen Cox.
1975: Margaret Thatcher defeats Edward Heath to become leader of the Conservative Party.
1976: John Curry wins Britain’s first Olympic gold medal in figure skating at the Innsbruck Winter Games.
1978: China lifts a ban on Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens.
1979: Ayatollah Khomeini seizes power in Iran.
1990: Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years imprisonment in South Africa. On the same day, James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson in Japan to win the world heavyweight boxing title.
2000: Death of French director Roger Vadim aged 71.
2006: Jaws author Peter Benchley dies aged 65.
2009: Ronettes singer Estelle Bennett died at her home in New Jersey. She was 67.
2010: Fashion designer Alexander McQueen commits suicide aged 40.
2011: A revolution in Egypt culminates in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests (Arab Spring).
2012: Whitney Houston was found dead, submerged in the bath of her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
2013: Pope Benedicxt XVI announces his resignation from February 28, the first pope to resign since 1415.
BIRTHDAYS: Denis Skinner, politician, 88; Mary Quant, fashion designer, 86; Sergio Mendes, musician, 79; Sheryl Crow, singer/songwriter 58; Jennifer Aniston, actress, 51; Damian Lewis, actor, 49; #5.Jones (Craig Jones), musician (Slipknot) 48; Steve McManaman, former footballer, 48; Kelly Rowland, singer, 39; Taylor Lautner, actor, 28.