This Month in History February

According to the Greorgian calendar, February is the second month of the year, and also the shortest month. February has 28 days until Julius Caesar gave it 29, and 30 days every four years. According to tradition, Augustus, the Roman emperor, took one day off to add one day to August, the month named after him. We now have February with 28 days, and 29 on leap years.

In the northern half of the world, February is a very cold month. There are usually sunny days that show spring is not too far off. The Southern hemisphere usually enjoy midsummer weather during February.

The second day of February is often referred to as GROUND HOG’s DAY. The old stories told are that the ground hog comes out of it’s burrow on February 2, to look for it’s shadow. If there is sunshine and he sees his shadow, then he goes back to sleep and there will be more winter time. If he doesn’t, then the spring time will begin. This is a superstition.

VALENTINE’S DAY is celebrated on February 14 in most western countries. Children give valentines and have a party in school. Young and old exchange cards with loved ones. This custom is hundreds of years old, valetine greetings having been found that date back into the 1400s.

In subcontinent India and Pakistan the second week of February is celebrated as Basant. It is a spring festival marked with kite flying.

What happened in History in this month?

February 1
1978-Allama Iqbal’s house, Lahore is declared national monument.

2002-Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl killed in Karachi.

2003 – Sixteen minutes before it was scheduled to land, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart in flight over west Texas, killing all seven crew members.

Birthday – Hattie Caraway (1878-1950) the first woman elected to the US Senate, was born in Bakersville, Tennessee. Her husband became the US Senator from Arkansas. Following his death in 1931, she filled the remainder of his term, then was elected herself, serving a total of 14 years.

Birthday – Hollywood director John Ford (1895-1973) was born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Known for The Grapes of Wrath and The Searchers, he also served in World War II as chief of the Photographic Unit of OSS, and earned two Academy Awards for documentaries made during the war.

February 2
1990 – In South Africa, the 30-year-old ban on the African National Congress was lifted by President F.W. de Klerk, who also promised to free Nelson Mandela and remove restrictions on political opposition groups.

Birthday – Irish novelist and poet James Joyce (1882-1941) was born in Dublin, Ireland. His works include Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finegan’s Wake.

February 3
1962-Prominent poet and Pakistan’s Guinness world record holder Dr. Muhammad Saeed Fazal Karim Beebani born in Rawalpindi. He wrote Ghair Munqoot Naatia poetry book ‘Mumdooh-e-Kirdigar’ and Ghair Munqoot Hamdia poetry book ‘Alhumdolillah’.
1997-Nation goes to the polls. PML secures 135 seats.

February 4
World Cancer Day [WHO] Independence Day of Ceylon/Sri Lanka
1985 – Twenty countries in the United Nations signed a document entitled “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”

February 5
1990-Kashmir Solidarity Day observed for the first time.

February 6
National Day of  New Zealand
1952 – King George VI of England died. Upon his death, his daughter Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Her actual coronation took place on June 2, 1953.

1979-Supreme Court upholds Bhutto’s conviction in Mohammad Ahmad Khan murder case.
1982-Noted Urdu poet, Josh Maleh-abadi, passed away in Islamabad.

February 7
– Independence Day of Grenada
Birthday – British novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was born in Portsmouth, England. He examined social inequalities through his works including David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, and Nicholas Nickleby. In 1843, he wrote A Christmas Carol in just a few weeks, an enormously popular work even today.

Birthday – American social critic and novelist Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) was born in Sauk Center, Minnesota. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930. His works include Main Street, Babbit, and It Can’t Happen Here.

February 8
1949-Azad Kashmir Government shifts its capital to Muzaffarabad.
1994 ‘Kapil Dev sets world record for Test cricket wickets with 432

February 9
1943 – During World War II in the Pacific, US troops captured Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands after six months of battle, with 9,000 Japanese and 2,000 Americans killed.
1951-First census begins in Pakistan.
1984-Government of Pakistan imposed ban on all students unions.
1994-Israeli minister Shimon Perez signed accord with PLO’s Yasser Arafat.

February 10 
2010 – Afghan officials removed 150 bodies of people killed by avalanches in the Salang Pass in the Hindu Kush mountains.
2011 – An undersea fiber-optic cable arrived in Cuba, linking it to Venezuela. Venezuela offered to help Cuba speed its internet connection when the US refused

February 11
– National Day of Iran
Celebrated in Japan as the founding date of the Japanese nation, which occurred with the accession to the throne of the first Emperor, Jimmu, in 660 BC.

1929 – Italian dictator Benito Mussolini granted political independence to Vatican City and recognised the sovereignty of the Pope (Holy See) over the area, measuring about 110 acres.

1973 ‘First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam took place.
1978 ‘The People’s Republic of China lifted a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

1990 – In South Africa, Nelson Mandela, at age 71, was released from prison after serving 27 years of a life sentence on charges of attempting to overthrow the apartheid government. In April 1994, he was elected president in the first all-race elections.

1996-Cricket World Cup jointely hosted by Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

2011 – In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned amid a massive protest calling for his ouster. Thousands of young Egyptians and others had protested non-stop for 18 days in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere. Mubarak had ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years, functioning as a virtual dictator.

Birthday – American inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931) was born in Milan, Ohio. Throughout his lifetime he acquired over 1,200 patents including the incandescent bulb, phonograph and movie camera. Best known for his quote, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

February 12
1966-Sheikh Mujeeb, chief of Awami League, announced his six points in Karachi.
Birthday – Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) the 16th US president was born in Hardin County, Kentucky. He led the nation through the tumultuous Civil War, freed the slaves, composed the Gettysburg Address, and established Thanksgiving.

Birthday – Author and naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was born in Shrewsbury, England. Best known for his work Origin of the Species concerning the theory of evolution.

February 13
1931 ‘New Delhi became the capital of India.(British India)
1973-Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali became first woman to assume office of Sindh governor.
Birthday ‘Renowned intellectual and Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz born in 1911 at Kala Kadir, Sialkot.

February 14
Celebrated as (Saint) Valentine’s Day around the world, now one of the most widely observed unofficial holidays in which romantic greeting cards and gifts are exchanged.
1929 – The St. Valentine’s Day massacre occurred in Chicago as seven members of the Bugs Moran gang were gunned down by five of Al Capone’s mobsters posing as police.
1958-Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, vetern leader of Pakistan Movement passed away in Karachi.
1989 ‘Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie.

February 15
1869 – Renowned Urdu and Persian poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib died in Delhi.
1989 – Soviet Russia completed its military withdrawal from Afghanistan after nine years of unsuccessful involvement in the civil war between Muslim rebel groups and the Russian-backed Afghan government. Over 15,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in the fighting.

2001 ‘First draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature.
2003 ‘Protests against the Iraq war took place in over 600 cities worldwide. It was estimated that between 8 million to 30 million people participate, making this the largest peace demonstration in history.

Birthday – Astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was born in Pisa, Italy. He was the first astronomer to use a telescope and advanced the theory that the sun, not the earth, was the centre of the solar system.

Birthday – Inventor Cyrus McCormick
(1809-1884) was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia. He invented the horse-drawn mechanical reaper, a machine that freed farmers from hard labour and contributed to the development and cultivation of vast areas of the American Great Plains.

Birthday – Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was born in Adams, Massachusetts. A pioneer in women’s rights, she worked tirelessly for woman’s suffrage (right to vote) and in 1872 was arrested after voting (illegally) in the presidential election. She was commemorated in 1979 with the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin, thus became the first American woman to have her image on a US coin.

February 16

– Independence Day of Lithuania
1971-Korakaram Highway, linking China and Pakistan, opened.
2005 ‘The Kyoto Protocol came into force, following its ratification by Russia.
2009-Pakistan government announced a truce with Taliban, accepting a system of Islamic law in the Swat valley, conceding the area as a Taliban sanctuary.

February 17
1997-Nawaz Sharif sworn in as 19th prime minister.
1979 ‘Snowfalls in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria for the only time in recorded history.

February 18
Independence Day of Gambia
2008-Elections were held amidst tight security. PPP, PML-N, Q and ANP win 124, 91, 54 and 13 seats respectively.

February 19
1921 ‘Reza Shah took control of Tehran during a successful coup
Birthday – Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was born in Torun, Poland. Considered the founder of modern astronomy, he theorised that the sun, not the earth, was the centre of the solar system.

February 20
World Day of Social Justice
1943 – German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel broke through American lines at Kasserine Pass in North Africa as inexperienced US Troops lost their first major battle of World War II in Europe, with 1,000 Americans killed.
1999-Pakistan crushed India by 46 runs in inaugural Asian test championship

February 21
International Mother Language Day [UNESCO] 1956-Constituent Assembly decided the country shall be a Federal Republic known as Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
1965 – Former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X (1925-1965) was shot and killed while delivering a speech in a ballroom in New York City.
1972 – President Richard Nixon arrived in China for historic meetings with Chairman Mao Tse-tung and Premier Chou En-lai.
1974-Pakistan recognised Bangladesh.
1987-President Zia made a surprise to India, met premier minister Rajiv Gandhi.
1999-Lahore Declaration signed by Nawaz Sharif and A. B. Vajpayee.

February 22
1974-Islamic Summit Conference started in Lahore; 22 heads of state participate.
1992- Nawaz Sharif introduced yellow-cab taxi scheme.
Birthday – George Washington (1732-1799) was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He served as commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and became the first US president.

February 23
1947 ‘The International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) was founded
1997-Nawaz Sharif launched “Qarz utaro Mulk sanwaro” scheme. Declared Sunday, instead of Friday as weekly holiday.

February 24
1582 – Pope Gregory XIII corrected mistakes on the Julian calendar by dropping 10 days and directing that the day after October 4, 1582 would be October 15. The Gregorian, or New Style calendar, was then adopted by Catholic countries, followed gradually by Protestant and other nations.
1960-Cabinet of Pakistan decided to name the new capital as Islamabad.
2003-Senate elections in Pakistan: Ruling party won most seats in voting to the upper house.

February 25
1948- Urdu declared the national language of Pakistan.
1985-Partyless national elections held in Pakistan.
1986 ‘People Power Revolution: President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos fleed the nation after 20 years of rule; Corazon Aquino becames the Philippines’ first woman president.

February 26
1848 – The Communist Manifesto pamphlet was published by two young socialists, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It advocated the abolition of all private property and a system in which workers own all means of production, land, factories and machinery.
1980 ‘Egypt and Israel established full diplomatic relations.
1993 ‘World Trade Center bombing: In New York City, a truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center exploded, killing 6 and injuring over a thousand.
1994 – Political foes of Russian President Boris Yeltsin were freed by a general amnesty granted by the new Russian Parliament.

February 27
Independence Day of Dominican Republic
1900 ‘The British Labour Party was founded.
1991 – In Desert Storm, the 100-hour ground war ended as Allied troops entered Kuwait just four days after launching their offensive against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces.
Birthday – American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) was born in Portland, Maine. Best known for Paul Revere’s Ride, The Song of Hiawatha, and The Wreck of the Hesperus.

February 28
1986 – Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme (1927-1986) was assassinated in Stockholm while exiting a movie theater with his wife.
1994 ‘NATO conducted its first combat action in its 45 year history as four Bosnian Serb jets were shot down by American fighters in a no-fly zone.
2004 ‘Over one million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally form a 500-kilometre (310 mi) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947

February 29
1908 – Dutch scientists produce solid helium
1940 – Hattie McDaniel became first black woman to win an Oscar
1944 – 5 leaders of Indonesia Communist Party sentenced to death
1948 – Stern-group bomb Cairo-Haifa train, 27 British soldiers died
1956 – Islamic Republic formed in Pakistan
1960 – Earthquake killed one-third of Agadir Morocco population (12,000) in 15 sec
2000 At least 700 died in flooding in Mozambique
Birthday: 1692 – John Byrom, English poet (d. 1763)

By: Zaheer Ahmad Anjum

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