February 15

1758 - Mustard was advertised for the first time in America. 

1764 - The city of St. Louis was established. 

1799 - Printed ballots were authorized for use in elections in the state of Pennsylvania. 

1842 - Adhesive postage stamps were used for the first time by the City Dispatch Post (Office) in New York City. 

1879 - U.S. President Hayes signed a bill that allowed female attorneys to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

1898 - The USS Maine sank when it exploded in Havana Harbor for unknown reasons. More than 260 crew members were killed. 

1900 - The British threaten to use natives in their war with the Boers. 

1903 - Morris and Rose Michtom, Russian immigrants, introduced the first teddy bear in America. 

1932 - George Burns and Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on "The Guy Lombardo Show" on CBS radio. 

1933 - U.S. President-elect Franklin Roosevelt escaped an assination attempt in Miami. Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak was killed in the attack. 

1942 - During World War II, Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. 

1943 - "My True Story" was heard for the first time on ABC radio. 

1946 - Edith Houghton, at age 33, was signed as a baseball scout by the Philadelphia Phillies becoming the first female scout in themajor leagues. 

1953 - The first American to win the women’s world figure skating championship was 17-year-old Tenley Albright. 

1961 - A Boeing 707 crashed in Belgium killing 73 people. 

1962 - CBS-TV bought the exclusive rights to college football games from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for a figure of $10,200,000. 

1965 - Canada displayed its new red and white maple leaf flag. The flag was to replace the old Red Ensign standard. 

1982 - During a storm, the Ocean Ranger, a drilling rig, sank off the coast of Newfoundland. 84 men were killed. 

1985 - The Center for Disease Control reported that more than half of all nine-year-olds in the U.S. showed no sign of tooth decay. 

1989 - After nine years of intervention, the Soviet Union announced that the remainder of its troops had left Afghanistan. 

1991 - The leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland signed the Visegard agreement, in which they pledged to cooperate in transforming thier countties to free-market economies. 

1995 - The FBI arrested Kevin Mitnick and charged him with cracking security in some of the nation's most protected computers. He served five years in jail. 

2002 - U.S. President George W. Bush approved Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a site for long-term disposal of radioactive nuclear waste.

February 16

1741 - Benjamin Franklin published America’s second magazine, "The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle". 

1804 - A raid was led by Lt. Stephen Decatur to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia. The ship had been taken by pirates. 

1857 - The National Deaf Mute College was incorporated in Washington, DC. It was the first school in the world for advanced education of the deaf. The school was later renamed Gallaudet College. 

1862 - During the U.S. Civil War, about 14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Fort Donelson, TN. 

1868 - The Jolly Corks organization, in New York City, changed it name to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE). 

1883 - "Ladies Home Journal" began publication. 

1914 - The first airplane flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco took place. 

1918 - Lithuania proclaimed its independence. 

1923 - Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen. The next day he entered the chamber with several invited guests. He had originally found the tomb on November 4, 1922. 

1932 - The first fruit tree patent was issued to James E. Markham for a peach tree which ripens later than other varieties. 

1937 - Wallace H. Carothers received a patent for nylon. Carothers was a research chemist for Du Pont. 

1938 - The U.S. Federal Crop Insurance program was authorized. 

1945 - During World War II, U.S. troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines. 

1946 - The first commercially designed helicopter was tested in Connecticut. 

1948 - NBC-TV began airing its first nightly newscast, "The Camel Newsreel Theatre", which consisted of Fox Movietone newsreels. 

1959 - Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after the overthrow of President Fulgencio Batista. 

1960 - The U.S.S. Triton began the first circumnavigation of the globe under water. The trip ended on May 10. 

1962 - Jimmy Bostwick defeated his brother, Pete, to win the U.S. Open Court-Tennis championships for the third time. 

1963 - Paul Anka married Marie-Ann DeZogheb in Paris. 

1968 - In the U.S., the first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, AL. 

1970 - Joe Frazier began his reign as the undefeated heavyweight world champion when he knocked out Jimmy Ellis in five rounds. He lost the title on January 22, 1973, when he lost for the first time in his professional career to George Foreman. 

1972 - Wilt Chamberlain (Los Angeles Lakers) reached the 30,000-point mark in his NBA career during a game against the Phoenix Suns. 

1977 - The Anglican archbishop of Uganda, Janani Luwum, was killed in automobile accident. Two other men were also killed. 

1985 - "Kojak" returned to network television after an absence of seven years with the CBS-TV special, "Kojak: The Belarus File." 

1987 - John Demjanjuk went on trial in Jerusalem. He was accused of being "Ivan the Terrible", a guard at the Treblinka concentration camp. He was convicted, but the Israeli Supreme Court overturned the ruling. 

1989 - Investigators in Lockerbie, Scotland, announced that a bomb hidden inside a radio-cassette player was the reason that Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down the previous December. All 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground were killed. 

1999 - A bomb exploded at the government headquarters in Uzbekistan. Gunfire followed the incident. The event apparently was an attempt on the life of President Islam Karimov. 

1999 - Kurds seized embassies and held hostages across Europe following Turkey's arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan. 

1999 - Testimony began in the Jasper, TX, trial of John William King. He was charged with murder in the gruesome dragging death of James Byrd Jr. King was later convicted and sentenced to death. 

2002 - The operator of a crematory in Noble, GA, was arrested after dozens of corpses were found stacked in storage sheds and scattered around in the surrounding woods. 

2005 - The Kyoto global warming pact went into effect in 140 nations. 

2005 - The NHL announced the cancellation of the 2004-2005 season due to a labor dispute. It was the first time a major sports league in North America lost an entire season to a labor dispute.

February 17

1801 - The U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. Jefferson was elected president and Burr became vice president. 

1817 - The first gaslit streetlights appeared on the streets of Baltimore, MD. 

1865 - Columbia, SC, burned. The Confederates were evacuating and the Union Forces were moving in. 

1876 - Julius Wolff was credited with being the first to can sardines. 

1878 - In San Francisco, CA, the first large city telephone exchange opened. It had only 18 phones. 

1897 - The National Congress of Mothers was organized in Washington, DC, by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. It was the forerunner of the National PTA. 

1913 - The Armory Show opened at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. The full-scale exhibition was of contemporary paintings and was organized by the Association of Painters and Sculptors. 

1924 - Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 100-yard freestyle. He did it with a time of 57-2/5 seconds in Miami,FL. 

1933 - "Newsweek" was first published. 

1933 - Blondie Boopadoop married Dagwood Bumstead three years after Chic Young’s popular strip first debuted. 

1934 - The first high school automobile driver’s education course was introduced in State College, PA. 

1944 - During World War II, the Battle of Eniwetok Atoll began. U.S. forces won the battle on February 22, 1944. 

1947 - The Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union. 

1964 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be approximately equal in population. (Westberry v. Sanders) 

1965 - Comedienne Joan Rivers made her first guest appearances on " The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson" on NBC-TV. 

1968 - The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opened in Springfield, MA. 

1985 - U.S. Postage stamp prices were raised from 20 cents to 22 cents for first class mail. 

1992 - In Milwaukee, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to life in prison. In November of 1994, he was beaten to death in prison. 

1995 - Colin Ferguson was convicted of six counts of murder in the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings. He was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison. 

1996 - World chess champion Garry Kasparov beat the IBM supercomputer "Deep Blue" in Philadelphia, PA. 

1997 - Pepperdine University announced that Kenneth Starr was leaving the Whitewater probe to take a full-time job at the school. Starr reversed the announcement four days later. 

2005 - U.S. President George W. Bush named John Negroponte as the first national intelligence director.

February 18

1564 - The artist Michelanglelo died in Rome. 

1685 - Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, and thus formed the basis for France's claim toTexas. 

1735 - The first opera performed in America. The work was "Flora" (or "Hob in the Well") was presented in Charleston, SC. 

1841 - The first continuous filibuster in the U.S. Senate began. It lasted until March 11th. 

1861 - In Montgomery, AL, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the President of the Confederate States. 

1885 - Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published in the U.S. for the first time. 

1913 - The famous French painting "Nude Descending a Staircase", by the French artist, Marcel Duchamp, was displayed at an "Armory Show" in New York City. 

1930 - Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly in an airplane. 

1930 - The planet Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh. The discovery was made as a result of photographs taken in January 1930. 

1932 - Sonja Henie won her 6th world women’s figure skating title in Montreal, Canada. 

1938 - "The Big Broadcast of 1938" was released. 

1949 - "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar" debuted on CBS radio. 

1952 - Greece and Turkey became members of NATO. 

1953 - "Bwana Devil" opened. It was the first three-dimensional feature. 

1953 - Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz signed a contract worth $8,000,000 to continue the "I Love Lucy" TV show through 1955. 

1964 - "Any Wednesday" opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York City. The play established Gene Hackman as an actor. 

1970 - The Chicago Seven defendants were found innocent of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention. 

1972 - The California Supreme Court struck down the state's death penalty. 

1977 - The space shuttle Enterprise went on its maiden "flight" sitting on top of a Boeing 747. 

1984 - Reed Larson (Detroit Red Wings) got two assists to become the highest scoring, American-born player in the history of theNational Hockey League. Larson broke the record by scoring his 432nd point. 

1987 - The executives of the Girl Scout movement decided to change the color of the scout uniform from the traditional Girl Scout green to the newer Girl Scout blue. 

1998 - In Russia, money shortages resulted in the shutting down of three plants that produced nuclear weapons. 

1998 - In Nevada, two white separatists were arrested and accused of plotting a bacterial attack on subways in New York City. 

2000 - The U.S. Commerce Department reported a deficit in trade goods and services of $271.3 billion for 1999. It was the largest calender-year trade gap in U.S. history. 

2001 - NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Sr., was killed in a crash during the Daytona 500 race. 

2001 - FBI agent Robert Philip Hanssen was arrested and accused of spying for Russia for more than 15 years. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

2003 - In South Korea, at least 120 people were killed when a man lit a fire on a subway train. 

2006 - American Shani Davis won the men's 1,000-meter speedskating in Turin. He was the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history. 

February 19

1807 - Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested in Alabama. He was later tried and acquitted on charges of treason. 

1846 - The formal transfer of government between Texas and the United States took place. Texas had officially become a state on December 29, 1845. 

1856 - The tintype camera was patented by Professor Hamilton L. Smith. 

1864 - The Knights of Pythias was founded in Washington, DC. A dozen members formed what became Lodge No. 1. 

1878 - Thomas Alva Edison patented a music player (the phonograph). 

1881 - Kansas became the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages. 

1922 - Ed Wynn became the first big-name, vaudeville talent to sign on as a radio talent. 

1942 - U.S. President Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans. 

1942 - The New York Yankees announced that they would admit 5,000 uniformed servicemen free to each of their home ball games during the coming season. 

1942 - Approximately 150 Japanese warplanes attacked the Australian city of Darwin. 

1945 - During World War II, about 30,000 U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima. 

1949 - Bollingen Foundation and Yale University awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry ($5,000) to Ezra Pound. 

1953 - The State of Georgia approved the first literature censorship board in the U.S. Newspapers were excluded from the new legislation. 

1959 - Cyprus was granted its independence with the signing of an agreement with Britain, Turkey and Greece. 

1963 - The Soviet Union informed U.S. President Kennedy it would withdraw "several thousand" of its troops in Cuba. 

1981 - The U.S. State Department call El Savador a "textbook case" of a Communist plot. 

1981 - Ford Motor Company announced its loss of $1.5 billion. 

1985 - Mickey Mouse was welcomed to China as part of the 30th anniversary of Disneyland. The touring mouse played 30 cities in 30 days. 

1985 - William Schroeder became the first artificial-heart patient to leave the confines of the hospital. 

1985 - Cherry Coke was introduced by the Coca-Cola Company. 

1986 - The U.S. Senate approved a treaty outlawing genocide. The pact had been submitted 37 years earlier for ratification. 

1986 - The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station. 

1987 - A controversial, anti-smoking publice service announcement aired for the first time on television. Yul Brynner filmed the ad shortly before dying of lung cancer. Brynner made it clear in the ad that he would have died from cigarette smoking before ad aired. 

1997 - Deng Xiaoping of China died at the age of 92. He was the last of China's major revolutionaries. 

1999 - Dennis Franz received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

2001 - The museum at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Center was dedicated. 

2002 - NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft began using its thermal emission imaging system to map Mars. 

2004 - Former Enron Corp. chief executive Jeffrey Skilling was charged with fraud, insider trading and other crimes in connection with the energy trader's collapse. Skilling was later convicted and sentenced to more than 24 years in prison. 

2005 - The USS Jimmy Carter was commissioned at Groton, CT. It was the last of the Seawolf class of attack submarines. 

2008 - Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency. His brother Raul was later named as his successor.