It happened today – this day in history – February 29

1504: Christopher Columbus uses a lunar eclipse to frighten hostile Jamaican Indians.

1644: Abel Tasman sets out on his second exploratory expedition to the south Pacific

1692: First people accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.

1784: The Marquis de Sade is transferred from Vincennes fortress to the Bastille.

1832: Charles Darwin walks through the tropical forests of Bahia in Brazil, describing the experience as being in “transports of pleasure”.

1880: Gotthard railway tunnel between Switzerland & Italy is completed.

1940: Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American woman to win an Oscar for “Gone with the Wind”.

1944: Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, is run down and injured by a Nazi truck in Krakow, Poland.

1952: The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.

1960: The first Playboy Club opens in Chicago. On the same day, an earthquake in Agadir, Morocco, kills a third of the population (12,000-15,000).

1968: Sgt Peppr’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles becomes the first rock album to win the Grammy for Album of the Year.


1976: Singles chart:

  1. I Love To Love – Tina Charles
  2. December ’63 (Oh What A Night) – The Four Seasons
  3. Convoy – C W McCall
  4. Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto de Aranjuez – Manuel and the Music of the Mountains
  5. It Should Have Been Me – Yvonne Fair
  6. Dat – Pluto Shervington
  7. Rain – Status Quo
  8. Love Really Hurts Without You – Billy Ocean
  9. Forever And Ever – Slik
  10. Funky Weekend – The Stylistics
1976: 10cc – How Dare You

Album chart:

  1. The Very Best Of – Slim Whitman
  2. The Best Of – Roy Orbison
  3. Music Express – Various Artists
  4. A Trick Of The Tale – Genesis
  5. The Best Of – Helen Rddy
  6. Carnival – Manuel and the Music of the Mountains
  7. Desire – Bob Dylan
  8. Run With The Pack – Bad Company
  9. How Dare You – 10cc
  10. A Night At The Opera – Queen

1980: The glasses that Buddy Holly had been wearing when he died were discovered in a police file in Mason, Iowa after 21 yeats.

1984: Pierre Trudeau announces he is stepping down after 15 years as Canadian Prime Minister.

1988: A Nazi document implicates President of Austria and former Secretary-general of the UN Kurt Waldheim in WW II deportations.

1996: Status Quo sue BBC Radio 1 for £250,000 on the grounds that the station was breaking the law by not including their new record on their playlist. On the same day, Serb forces withdraw from Sarajevo after 1,425 days, the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare.

2000: Sir Elton John stormed out of the opening of his new Broadway musical, ‘Aida’, after 15 minutes, complaining that his songs had been ruined.

2004: Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as President of Haiti following a rebel uprising.

2012: Davy Jones of The Monkees died aged 66 at his home in Florida after suffering a massive heart attack.

2020: The US and the Taliban sign a deal in Doha, Qatar, to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan which will see troops leave within 14 months.

BIRTHDAYS: Ja Rule (Jeffrey Bruce Atkins), rapper, 48; Emma Barton, actress, 44.