February 4

1783 - Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America. 

1789 - Electors unanimously chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States. 

1824 - J.W. Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes to the public. 

1847 - In Maryland, the first U.S. Telegraph Company was established. 

1861 - Delegates from six southern states met in Montgomery, AL, to form the Confederate States of America. 

1865 - The Hawaiian Board of Education was formed. 

1895 - The Van Buren Street Bridge opened in Chicago, IL. 

1901 - "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines" opened in New York City. 

1904 - The Russo-Japanese War began after Japan laid siege to Port Arthur. 

1913 - Louis Perlman received a patent for his demountable tire-carrying rims. 

1932 - The first Winter Olympics were held in the United States at Lake Placid, NY. 

1935 - CBS radio presented "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch" for the first time. 

1936 - Radium E. became the first radioactive substance to be produced synthetically. 

1938 - The play "Our Town", by Thornton Wilder, opened in New York City. 

1941 - The United Service Organizations (USO) was created. 

1945 - During World War II, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began a conference at Yalta to outline plans for Germany's defeat. 

1948 - Ceylon gained independence within the British Commonwealth. The country later became known as Sri Lanka. 

1952 - Jackie Robinson was named Director of Communication for NBC. He was the first black executive of a major radio-TV network. 

1953 - "The Stooge" premiered at the Paramount Theatre in New York City. 

1957 - Smith-Corona Manufacturing Inc., of New York, began selling portable electric typewriters. The first machine weighed 19 pounds. 

1964 - The Administrator of General Services announced that the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution had been ratified. The amendment banned the poll tax. 

1968 - The world's largest hovercraft was launched at Cowes, Isle of Wight. 

1973 - The Reshef was unveiled as Israel's missile boat. 

1974 - Patricia (Patty) Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, CA, by the Symbionese Liberation Army. 

1976 - An earthquake in Guatemala and Honduras killed more than 22,000 people. 

1985 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan's defense budget called for a tripling of the expenditure on the "Star Wars" research program. 

1993 - Russian scientists unfurled a giant mirror in orbit and flashed a beam of sunlight across Europe during the night. Observers saw it only as a momentary flash. 

1997 - A civil jury in California found O.J. Simpson liable in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Goldman's parents were awarded $8.5 million in compensatory damages. 

1997 - Two Israeli troop-carrying helicopters collided on their way to Lebanon, all 73 soldiers and airmen aboard were killed. 

1997 - President Milosevic of Serbia apparently surrendered to the will of his people, ordering his government to recognize opposition victories in local elections held in November 1996. 

1997 - Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins) scored his 600th National Hockey League (NHL) goal during his 719th game. Lemieux reached the milestone second fastest in history. Gretzky had reached the plateau during his 718th game. 

1998 - In northeast Afghanistan, at least 5,000 people were killed in an earthquake that measured 6.1 on the Richter Scale. 

1999 - Warplanes from Israel attacked south Lebanon just after rockets were fired toward Israel. No casualies were claimed on either side. 

1999 - Gary Coleman was sentenced to a $400 fine, a suspended 90-day jail sentence, and ordered to attend 52 anger-management classes. The sentence stemmed from Coleman assaulting an autograph seeker on July 30, 1998. 

1999 - Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, was shot and killed in front of his Bronx home by four plainclothes New York City police officers. The officers had been conducting a nighttime search for a rape suspect. 

2000 - Austrian President Thomas Klestil swore in a coalition government that included Joerg Haider's far-right Freedom Party. European Union sanctions were a result of the action. 

2003 - Yugoslavia was formally dissolved by lawmakers. The country was replaced with a loose union of its remaining two republics, Serbia and Montenegro. 

February 5

1782 - The Spanish captured Minorca from the British. 

1783 - Sweden recognized the independence of the United States. 

1846 - "The Oregon Spectator", based in Oregon City, became the first newspaper published on the Pacific coast. 

1861 - Samuel Goodale patented the moving picture peep show machine. 

1885 - Congo State was established under Leopold II of Belgium, as a personal possession. 

1881 - Phoenix, AZ, was incorporated. 

1917 - Mexico's constitution was adopted. 

1917 - The U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 (Asiatic Barred Zone Act) with an overwhelming majority. The action overrode President Woodrow Wilson's December 14, 1916 veto. 

1924 - The BBC time signals, or "pips", from Greenwich Observatory were heard for the first time. They are broadcast every hour. 

1931 - Maxine Dunlap became the first woman licensed as a glider pilot. 

1937 - U.S. President Roosevelt proposed enlarging the U.S. Supreme Court. The plan failed. 

1940 - "Amanda of Honeymoon Hill" debuted on radio. 

1952 - In New York City, four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square that told pedestrians "don't walk." 

1953 - The Walt Disney’s film "Peter Pan" opened at the Roxy Theatre in New York City. 
Disney movies, music and books 

1958 - Gamel Abdel Nasser was formally nominated to become the first president of the United Arab Republic. 

1961 - The first issue of the "Sunday Telegraph" was published. 

1962 - French President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria's independence. 

1972 - Bob Douglas became the first black man elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. 

1982 - Great Britain imposed economic sanctions against Poland and Russia in protest against martial law in Poland. 

1987 - The Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 2,200-point for the first time. The market closed at 2201.49. 

1988 - A pair of indictments were unsealed in Florida, accusing Panama's military leader, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, of bribery and drug trafficking. 

1994 - White separatist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in Jackson, MS, of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. 

1997 - Switzerland's "Big Three" banks announced they would create a $71 million fund for Holocaust victims and their families. 

1997 - Investment bank Morgan Stanley announced a $10 billion merger with Dean Witter. 

1999 - Mike Tyson was sentenced to a year in jail for assaulting two people after a car accident on August 31, 1998. Tyson was also fined $5,000, had to serve 2 years of probation, and had to perform 200 hours of community service upon release. 

2001 - It was announced the Kelly Ripa would be Regis Philbin's cohost. The show was renamed to "Live! With Regis and Kelly." 

2001 - Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman announced their separation. 

2003 - U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence to the U.N. concerning Iraq's material breach of U.N. Resolution 1441.

February 6

1778 - The United States gained official recognition from France as the two nations signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris. 

1788 - Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. 

1815 - The state of New Jersey issued the first American railroad charter to John Stevens. 

1843 - "The Virginia Minstrels" opened at the Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City. It was the first minstrel show in America. 

1899 - The U.S. Senate ratified a peace treaty between the U.S. and Spain. 

1900 - The Holland Senate ratified the 1899 peace conference decree that created in international arbitration court at The Hague. 

1900 - U.S. President McKinley appointed W.H. Taft as commissioner to report on the Philippines. 

1911 - The first old-age home for pioneers opened in Prescott, AZ. 

1926 - The National Football League adopted a rule that made players ineligible for competition until their college class graduated. 

1932 - Dog sled racing happened for the first time in Olympic competition. 

1933 - The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment moved the start of presidential, vice-presidential and congressional terms from March to January. 

1937 - K. Elizabeth Ohi became the first Japanese woman lawyer when she received her degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL. 

1950 - NBC radio debuted "Dangerous Assignment". 

1952 - Britain's King George VI died. His daughter, Elizabeth II, succeeded him. 

1956 - St. Patrick Center opened in Kankakee, IL. It was the first circular school building in the United States. 

1959 - The U.S., for the first time, successfully test-fired a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral. 

1971 - NASA Astronaut Alan B. Shepard used a six-iron that he had brought inside his spacecraft and swung at three golf balls on the surface of the moon. 

1972 - Over 500,000 pieces of irate mail arrived at the mail room of CBS-TV, when word leaked out that an edited-for-TV version of the X-rated movie, "The Demand," would be shown. 

1985 - The French mineral water company, Perrier, debuted its first new product in 123 years. The new items were water with a twist of lemon, lime or orange. 

1987 - President Ronald Reagan turned 76 years old this day and became the oldest U.S. President in history. 

1998 - Washington National Airport was renamed for U.S. President Ronald Reagan with the signing of a bill by U.S. President Clinton. 

1999 - King Hussein of Jordan transferred full political power to his oldest son the Crown Prince Abdullah. 

1999 - Excerpts of former White House intern Monica Lewinsky's videotaped testimony were shown at President Clinton's impeachment trial. 

1999 - Heavy fighting resumed along the common border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. 

2000 - Russia's acting President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian forces had captured Grozny, Chechnya. The capital city had been under the control of Chechen rebels. 

2000 - In Finland, Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen became the first woman to be elected president. 

2000 - U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton formally declared that she was a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from the state of New York. 

2001 - Ariel Sharon was elected Israeli prime minister. 

2002 - A federal judge ordered John Walker Lindh to be held without bail pending trial. Lindh was known as the "American Taliban."

February 7

1795 - The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. 

1818 - "Academician" began publication in New York City. 

1877 - The first Guernsey Cattle Club was organized in New York City. 

1882 - The last bareknuckle fight for the heavyweight boxing championship took place in Mississippi City. 

1893 - Elisha Gray patented a machine called the telautograph. It automatically signed autographs to documents. 

1913 - The Turks lost 5,000 men in a battle with the Bulgarian army in Gallipoli. 

1922 - DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace offered 5,000 copies of "Reader's Digest" magazine for the first time. 

1931 - The American opera "Peter Ibbetson," by Deems Taylor, premiered in New York City. 

1936 - The U.S. Vice President’s flag was established by executive order. 

1940 - "Pinocchio" world premiered at the Center Theatre in Manhattan. 

1941 - The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Frank Sinatra recorded "Everything Happens to Me." 

1943 - The U.S. government announced that shoe rationing would go into effect in two days. 

1944 - During World War II, the Germans launched a counteroffensive at Anzio, Italy. 

1959 - The play "The Rivalry" opened in New York City. 

1962 - The U.S. government banned all Cuban imports and re-export of U.S. products to Cuba from other countries. 

1966 - "Crawdaddy" magazine was published by Paul Williams for the first time. 

1974 - The nation of Grenada gained independence from Britain. 

1976 - Darryl Sittler (Toronto Maple Leafs) set a National Hockey League (NHL) record when he scored 10 points in a game against the Boston Bruins. He scored six goals and four assists. 

1977 - Russia launched Soyuz 24. 

1984 - Space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered space walk. 

1985 - "Sports Illustrated" released its annual swimsuit edition. It was the largest regular edition in the magazine’s history at 218 pages. 

1985 - "New York, New York" became the official anthem of New York City. 

1986 - Haitian President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled his country ending 28 years of family rule. 

1991 - The Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide was sworn in as Haiti's first democratically elected president. 

1999 - King Hussein of Jordan died. His son was sworn in as king four hours after the announcement that his father had died. 

2000 - California's legislature declared that February 13 would be "Charels M. Schulz Day." 

February 8

1693 - A charter was granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. 

1802 - Simon Willard patented the banjo clock. 

1861 - The Confederate States of America was formed. 

1861 - A Cheyenne delegation and some Arapaho leaders accepted a new settlement (Treaty of Fort Wise) with the U.S. Federal government. The deal ceded most of their land but secured a 600-square mile reservation and annuity payments. 

1896 - The Western Conference was formed by representatives of Midwestern universities. The group changed its name to the Big 10 Conference. 

1900 - In South Africa, British troops under Gen. Buller were beaten at Ladysmith. The British fled over the Tugela River. 

1904 - The Russo-Japanese War began with Japan attacking Russian forces in Manchuria. 

1910 - William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America. 

1918 - "The Stars and Stripes" newspaper was published for the first time. 

1922 - The White House began using radio after U.S. President Harding had it installed. 

1927 - The original version of "Getting Gertie’s Garter" opened at the Hippodrome Theatre in New York City. 

1936 - The first National Football League draft was held. Jay Berwanger was the first to be selected. He went to the Philadelphia Eagles. 

1952 - Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the British throne. Her father, George VI, had died on February 6. 

1963 - The Kennedy administration prohibited travel to Cuba and made financial and commercial transactions with Cuba illegal for U.S. citizens. 

1963 - Lamar Hunt, owner of the American Football League franchise in Dallas, TX, moved the operation to Kansas City. The new team was named the Chiefs. 

1969 - The last issue of the "Saturday Evening Post" was published. It was revived in 1971 as a quarterly publication and later a 6 times a year. 

1971 - The Nasdaq stock-market index debuted. 

1973 - U.S. Senate leaders named seven members of a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal. 

1974 - The three-man crew of the Skylab space station returned to Earth after 84 days. 

1978 - The U.S. Senate deliberations were broadcast on radio for the first time. The subject was the Panama Canal treaties. 

1980 - U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced a plan to re-introduce draft registration. 

1985 - "The Dukes of Hazzard" ended its 6-1/2 year run on CBS television. 

1993 - General Motors sued NBC, alleging that "Dateline NBC" had rigged two car-truck crashes to show that some GM pickups were prone to fires after certain types of crashes. The suit was settled the following day by NBC. 

2002 - The exhibit "Places of Their Own" opened at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. The works displayed were by Geogia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo and Emily Carr.