It happened today – this day in history – February 1

1327: Teenager Edward III is crowned king of England buut the country is ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.

1587: Elizabeth I signs the death warrant of her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots.

1789: Chinese troops are driven out of the Vietnamese capital Thang Long.

1793: France declares war on Britain and The Netherlands.

1814: Lord Byron’s ‘Corsair’ sells 10,000 copies on its day of publication.

1851: Novelist Mary Shelley dies of a brain tumour aged 53.

1861: Texas secedes from the Union, precipitating the American Civil War.

1864: Prussian and Austrian forces cross into Schleswig challenging Danish control at the beginning of the Second Schleswig War.

1884: The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.

1893: Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Manon Lescaut” premieres in Turin.

1896: Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme premieres in Turin.

1902: Chinese empress Tzu-hsi forbids the binding of women’s feet.

1908: King Carlos I of Portugal and his heir Prince Luis Filipe are assassinated by republican sympathisers in Lisbon.

1910: The first British labour exchange opens.

1924: Ramsey MacDonald’s incoming Labour government officially recognises the Soviet Union.

1932: Australian batsman Don Bradman scores 299 not out in the 4th Test against South Africa.

1933: The German parliament is dissolved by President Paul von Hindenburg at the request of new chancellor Adolf Hitler.

1942: The Second Norwegian government of Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling forms.

1943: Nazi occupiers make Vidkun Quisling puppet premier of Norway.

1945: The US Army arrives at the German defensive wall, the Siegfried Line.

1946: Trygve Lie becomes the first Secretary General of the UN.

1948: Nine Malay sultanates and two British straits settlements (Penang and Malacca) form the Federation of Malaya.

1949: RCA releases the first 45rpm single.

1951: The UN condemns the People’s Republic of China as the aggressor in Korea.

1952: A new method for tracking down users of unlicensed television sets is unveiled in the UK – TV detector vans.

1953: The entire population of Canvey Island is evacuated as violent storms wreak havoc up and down the East coast of Britain claiming hundreds of lives.

1958: The first US satellite, Explorer I, is launched.


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1965: James Brown recorded ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’ at the Arthur Smith Studios in North Carolina. On the same day, Martin Luther King and 700 demonstrators are arrested in Selma, Alabama.

1966: Death of silent film star Buster Keaton aged 70.

1968: Richard Nixon announces his candidacy for US president. On the same day, Saigon police chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executes Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém with a pistol shot to head. The execution is captured by photographer Eddie Adams and becomes an anti-war icon.

1972: Prime Minister Edward Heath announces the appointment of Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery to undertake an inquiry into the 13 deaths on ‘Bloody Sunday’ two days earlier.

1978: Director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.

1979: Religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini makes a triumphant return to Iran after 14 years in exile. On the same day, Trevor Francis becomes the first £1million transfer with his move from Birmingham City to Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest.

1987: Singles chart:

  1. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) – George Michael and Aretha Franklin
  2. Heartache – Pepsi and Shirlie
  3. Jack Your Body – Steve Silk Hurley
  4. Almaz – Randy Crawford
  5. Down To Earth – Curiosity Killed The Cat
  6. C’est La Vie – Robbie Neville
  7. I Love My Radio – Taffy
  8. No More The Fool – Elkie Brooks
  9. Surrender – Swing Out Sister
  10. Is This Love? – Alison Moyet
1987: Eric Clapton – August

Album chart:

  1. Graceland – Paul Simon
  2. The Whole Story – Kate Bush
  3. Different Light – The Bangles
  4. Live Magic – Queen
  5. No More The Fool – Elkie Brooks
  6. Sweet Freedom – Michael McDonald
  7. August – Eric Clapton
  8. Get Close – The Pretenders
  9. True Blue – Madonna
  10. The Very Best Of… – Elkie Brooks

1988: Child actor Heather O’Rourke (Poltergeist) dies aged 12.

1989: Diana, Princess of Wales visits New York.

1991: South African President F W de Klerk says he will repeal all apartheid laws.

1994: Jeff Gillooly pleads guilty for his part in attack on American Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan; plea bargain, confesses to racketeering in exchange for testimony implicating ex-wife Tonya Harding.

1995: Richey Edwards, guitarist and lyricist with the Manic Street Preachers vanished leaving no clues to his whereabouts. His car was found on the Severn Bridge but a body has never been found.

2003: The Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts on board.

2004: The New England Patriots beat Carolina Panthers, 32-29 to win the Super Bowl. During the half time entertainment, Janet Jackson’s breast is exposed in a supposed wardrobe malfunction while performing a duet with Justin Timberlake.

2005: Arsenal’s English Premier League record 33-game unbeaten streak at home ends when the Gunners go down, 4-2 to Manchester United at Highbury.

2008: NASA announce that Across The Universe by The Beatles will be the first song beamed directly into space.

2009: Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland. On the same day the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Arizona Cardinals, 27-23 to win the Super Bowl in Tampa.

2013: John Kerry succeeds Hilary Clinton as US Secretary of State.

2015: The New England Patriots beat Seattle Seahawks, 28-24 to win the Super Bowl.

2016: Myanmar’s first freely elected parliament in 50 years has its opening session in Nay Pyi Taw.

2017: British MPs vote in favour of the European Union Bill, allowing the government to begin Brexit.

2018: Dennis Edwards of The Temptations dies following a stroke aged 74.

2020: Andy Gill, founding member and guitarist of post-punk band Gang Of Four, dies aged 64.

BIRTHDAYS: Don Everly, singer-songwriter, 84; Garrett Morris, comedian, 84; Mike Campbell, guitarist (The Heartbreakers/Fleetwood Mac) 71; Sherilyn Fenn, actress, 56; Lisa Marie Presley, singer, 53; Laura Marling, singer-songwriter, 31; Harry Styles, singer, 27.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]