It happened today – on this day in history – February 16

600: Pope Gregory the Great decrees saying “God bless You” is the correct response to a sneeze.

1646: Battle of Great Torrington, Devon – the last major battle of the first English Civil War.

1677: Earl of Shaftesbury arrested and confined in the Tower of London.

1742: Spencer Compton becomes Prime Minister.

1760: Native American hostages are killed in Fort Prince George, South Carolina.

1854: Franz Liszt’s symphony “Orpheus” premieres.

1859: The French Government passes a law to set the A above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize pitch.

1899: President of France Félix Faure dies in office.

1916: The US rejects the right of Germany and Austria-Hungary to sink armed merchant ships. On the same day, The German ambassador in Washington announces that Germany will pay an indemnity for American lives lost on the Lusitania.

1918: Lithuania declares independence from Russia and Germany.

1923: Howard Carter opens the inner burial chamber of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb and finds the sarcophagus.

1933: England regains the Ashes, thanks to “bodyline” tactics.

1943: Winston Churchill contracts pneumonia.

1945: Venezuela declares war on Nazi Germany.

1959: Fidel Castro becomes Prime Minister of Cuba after overthrowing Fulgencio Batista.

1961: US satellite Explorer 9 is launched.

1969: Tammy Wynette marries fellow country artist George Jones.

1970: Joe Frazier defeats Jimmy Ellis for the heavyweight boxing title.

1974: Emerson, Lake & Palmer were arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah, after swimming naked in the hotel pool. They were each fined $75.

1984: Men’s figure skating world champion Scott Hamilton of the US wins the gold medal at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics.

1985: Hezbollah is founded.

1992: The remains of former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie are found on the grounds of the Imperial Palace under the private lavatory of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who overthrew the Emperor.

1999: Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.

2002: Thieves broke into George Michael’s London home and stole over £100,000 worth of paintings, jewellery and designer clothes then drove off in his £80,000 Aston Martin DB7. They also caused £200,000 worth of damage. On the same day, former England football manager Walter Winterbottom died.

2005: The Apprentice starts on the BBC.

2013: Angelina Jolie undergoes a preventive double mastectomy after learning she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer.

2015: Singer, songwriter, actress and activist, Lesley Gore, died of lung cancer aged 68.

2016: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former secretary general of the UN, dies aged 93.

2019: Pope Francis defrocks ex-cardinal and archbishop of Washington Theodore McCarrick for sexually abusing minors and adults.

BIRTHDAYS: June Brown, actress, 93; Ian Lavender, actor, 74; Janice Dickinson, model, 67; LeVar Burton, actor, 63; Ice-T, (Tracy Morrow), rapper/actor, 61; John McEnroe, tennis legend, 61; Andy Taylor, guitarist (Duran Duran) 59; Christopher Ecclestone, actor, 56; Dave Lombardo, drummer (Slayer) 55; Damon Reece, drummer (Spiritualized) 53; Mahershala Ali, actor, 46; Valentino Rossi, motorbike racer, 41; The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye) singer, 30.


Mick Ferris

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