It happened today – this day in history – February 14

1076: Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV for the first time.

1349: 900 Jews are burned alive in Strasbourg and similar number banned from the city after being blamed for the spread of the Black Death.

1400: Richard II is murdered at Pontefract Castle.

1556: Archbishop Thomas Cranmer is declared a heretic.

1689: Parliament places Mary Stuart and Prince William III on the throne.

1743: Henry Pelham becomes Britain’s First Lord of the Treasury.

1747: James Bradley presents his discovery of the wobbling motion of the Earth on its axis to the Royal Society, London.

1779: Explorer James Cook is killed in a fight with Hawaiians, aged 50.

1831: Vicente Guerrero, second president of Mexico is executed by firing squad.

1849: James Knox Polk becomes the first serving US President to have his photograph taken.

1859: Oregon becomes the 33rd state of the Union.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray apply separately for telephone patents. The Supreme Court eventually rules Bell the rightful inventor.

1895: Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” opens in London.

1900: Russia responds to international pressure to free Finland by tightening imperial control over the country.

1912: Arizona becomes the 48th state of the USA.

1919: War breaks out between Poland and Russia.

1929: The St Valentine’s Day Massacre. Seven gangsters are killed in Chicago, allegedly on the orders of Al Capone.

1931: The original “Dracula” film starring Bela Lugosi is released.

1939: Victor Fleming replaces George Cukor as director on Gone With The Wind.

1941: The German Afrika Korps lands in Tripoli, Libya.

1942: The Battle of Pasir Panjang contributes to the fall of Singapore.

1943: The Soviet Union recaptures the city of Rostov-on-Don from the German 17th Army.

1945: Second day of the bombing of Dresden by Allied air forces. On the same day, Prague is bombed probably due to a mistake in the orientation of the pilots bombing Dresden.

1951: Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Jake LaMotta to take the middleweight title.

1952: The sixth Winter Olympic Games open in Oslo, Norway.

1967: Otis Redding records his song Respect at Atlantic Studio, New York City.

1971: Richard Nixon installs a secret taping system in the White House.


1973: David Bowie collapses on stage during a concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. On the same day, Muhammad Ali beats British heavyweight Joe Bugner by unanimous points decision in Las Vegas.

1974: Soviet authorities formally charge Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn with treason a day after forcing him to leave the USSR.

1975: Death of writer P G Wodehouse aged 93.

1979: The American ambassador to Afghanistan, Adolph Dubs, is kidnapped in Kabul.

1981: A fire in a Dublin nightclub kills 48 people.

1984: Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean skate off with a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo after dancing to Ravel’s Bolero. On the same day, Elton John marries recording engineer Renate Blauer in Sydney, Australia.

1985: Hostage CNN reporter Jeremy Levin is released in Beirut.

1988: Singles chart:

  1. I Should Be So Lucky – Kylie Minogue
  2. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
  3. Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayn
  4. Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean
  5. Beat Dis – Bomb The Bass
  6. When Will I Be Famous – Bros
  7. Candl In The Wind (Live) – Elton John
  8. Say It Again – Jermain Stewart
  9. Valentine – T’Pau
  10. Shake Your Love – Debbie Gibson
1988: Michael Jackson – BAD

Album chart:

  1. Introducing The Hardline According To… – Terence Trent d’Arby
  2. Bridge Of Spies – T’Pau
  3. The Christians – The Christians
  4. Popped In Souled Out – Wet Wet Wet
  5. Turn Back The Clock – Johnny Hates Jazz
  6. Whenever You Need Somebody – Rick Astley
  7. Come Into My Life – Joyce Sims
  8. Blow Up Your Video – AC/DC
  9. Bad – Michal Jackson
  10. Actually – The Pet Shop Boys

1989: Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa against British author Salman Rushdie and his publishers over the book Satanic Verses. On the same day, organist Vincent Crane of Atomic Rooster commits suicide aged 45. Also, Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million in damages for the Bhopol disaster.

1991: The film “The Silence Of The Lambs” is released.

1996: Prince (then known as The Artist Formerly Known As..) marries Mayte Garcia in Minneapolis.

1997: Jurors at the inquest into the death of Stephen Lawrence decide the teenager was unlawfully killed “in an unprovoked racist attack by five white youths”.

1999: Prince divorces Mayte Garcia on their third wedding anniversary.

2002: The fishing vessel Tullaghmurray Lass sinks off the coast of Kilkeel, Co Down, Northern Ireland killing three members of the same family on board. On the same day, The Sweet drummer, Mick Tucker, dies of leukaemia aged 54.

2003: Stolen reel-to-reel studio recordings by The Beatles in the late 60s are discovered in Australia after they are advertised for sale in a Sydney newspaper.

2004: Dave Holland, former drummer with Judas Priest is jailed for eight years for indecent assault and the attempted rape of a 17-year old boy with learning difficulties. On the same day, in a suburb of Moscow, the roof of the Transvaal water park collapses, killing more than 25 people, and wounding more than 100 others.

2005: Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is killed by a car bomb explosion in Beirut.

2008: Liam Gallagher marries All Saints singer Nicole Appleton at a civil ceremony at Westminster Register Office.

2012: Death of singer-songwriter Dory Previn aged 86.

2013: Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius is charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in South Africa.

2014: Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigns after less than a year in office. On the same day, Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold wins her first of two consecutive Olympic women’s skeleton gold medals in Sochi.

2018: Former student Nikolas Cruz shoots and kills 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. On the same day, comedian Amy Schumer marries chef Chris Fischer in Malibu.

2021: Snooker player Doug Mountjoy dies aged 78.

2022: Drummer Sandy Nelson dies aged 83.

2023: Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haly announces she will challenge Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for US President. On the same day, New Zealand declares a national state of emergency after Cyclone Gabrielle causes widespread flooding and devastation across North Island. Also, musician Pharrell Williams is appointed menswear designer for Louis Vuitton.

Simon Pegg

BIRTHDAYS: Maceo Parker, saxophonist, 81; Carl Bernstein, journalist, 80; (Raymond) Teller, magician, 76; Roger Fisher, guitarist (Heart) 74; Kevin Keegan, footballer, 73; Meg Tilly, actress, 64; Zach Galligan, actor, 61; Simon Pegg, actor/screenwriter, 54; Rob Thomas, singer, 62; Jim Jefferies (Geoff Nugent) comedian, 48; Dean Gaffney, actor, 46; Bacary Sagna, footballer, 41; Rhydian Roberts, singer, 41; Philippe Senderos, footballer, 39; Edinson Cavani, footballer, 37; Ángel Di María, footballer, 36; Christian Eriksen, footballer. 32; Freddie Highmore, actor, 32; Becky Hill, singer, 30.