Today In History - Friday, February 5th

2008


A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States leaves 57 dead, the most since the May 31, 1985 outbreak that killed 88.
2004


Twenty-three Chinese people drown when a group of 35 cockle-pickers are trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England. Twenty-one bodies are recovered.
Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front capture the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.
2000


Russian forces massacre at least 60 civilians in the Novye Aldi suburb of Grozny, Chechnya.
1997


The so-called Big Three banks in Switzerland announce the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.
1994


Byron De La Beckwith is convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina more than 60 people are killed and some 200 wounded as a mortar shell slams into a downtown marketplace in Sarajevo.
1988


Manuel Noriega is indicted on drug smuggling and money laundering charges.
1985


Ugo Vetere, then the mayor of Rome, and Chedli Klibi, then the mayor of Carthage meet in Tunis to sign a treaty of friendship officially ending the Third Punic War which lasted 2,131 years.
1976


The 1976 swine flu outbreak begins at Fort Dix, NJ.
1975


Riots break in Lima, Peru after the police forces go on strike the day before. The uprising (locally known as the Limazo) is bloodily suppressed by the military dictatorship.
1972


Bob Douglas becomes the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
1971


Astronauts land on the moon in the Apollo 14 mission.
1968


Vietnam War: Battle of Khe Sanh begins.
1963


The European Court of Justice's ruling in Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen establishes the principle of direct effect, one of the most important, if not the most important, decisions in the development of European Union law.
1962


French President Charles De Gaulle calls for Algeria to be granted independence.
1958


Gamel Abdel Nasser is nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.
A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.
1953


Walt Disney "Peter Pan" premiers
1946


The Chondoist Chongu Party is founded in North Korea.
1945


World War II: General Douglas MacArthur returns to Manila.
1941


World War II: Allied forces begin the Battle of Keren to capture Keren, Eritrea.
1939


Generalísimo Francisco Franco becomes the 68th "Caudillo de España", or Leader of Spain.
1937


President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposes a plan to enlarge the Supreme Court of the United States.
1924


The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the "BBC pips".
1919


Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launch United Artists.
1918


Stephen W. Thompson shoots down a German airplane. It is the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.
SS Tuscania is torpedoed off the coast of Ireland; it is the first ship carrying American troops to Europe to be torpedoed and sunk.
1917


The current constitution of Mexico is adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
The United States Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 (also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act) with an overwhelming majority, overriding President Woodrow Wilson's December 14, 1916, veto. This act added to the number of undesirables banned from entering the country, including but not limited to “homosexuals”, “idiots”, “feeble-minded persons”, "criminals", “epileptics”, “insane persons”, alcoholics, “professional beggars”, all persons “mentally or physically defective”, polygamists, and anarchists. Furthermore, it barred all immigrants over the age of sixteen who were illiterate. The most controversial part of the law was the section that designated an "Asiatic Barred Zone", a region that included much of Asia and the Pacific Islands from which people could not immigrate. Previously, only the Chinese had been excluded from admission to the country. Attempts at introducing literacy tests were previously vetoed by Grover Cleveland in 1897 and William Taft in 1913. Wilson also objected to this clause in the Immigration Act, but it was still passed by Congress on the fourth attempt.

Anxiety in the United States about immigration has often been directed toward immigrants from China and Japan. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred Chinese from entering the US. The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907 was made with Japan to regulate Japanese immigration to the US. The Immigration Act of 1917 is one of many immigration acts during this time period which arose from nativist and xenophobic sentiment. These immigration laws were intentional efforts to control the composition of immigrant flow into the United States.
1913


Greek military aviators, Michael Moutoussis and Aristeidis Moraitinis perform the first naval air mission in history, with a Farman MF.7 hydroplane.
1909


Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world's first synthetic plastic.
1900


The United States and the United Kingdom sign a treaty for the Panama Canal
1885


King Leopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo as a personal possession.
1869


The largest alluvial gold nugget in history, called the "Welcome Stranger", is found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia.
1859


Wallachia and Moldavia are united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities, an autonomous region within the Ottoman Empire, which ushered the birth of the modern Romanian state.
1852


The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, opens to the public.
1849


University of Wisconsin-Madison's first class meets at Madison Female Academy.
1818


Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascends to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.
1810


Peninsular War: Siege of Cádiz begins.
1783


In Calabria a sequence of strong earthquakes begins.
1782


Spanish defeat British forces and capture Minorca.
1778


South Carolina becomes the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.
1649


The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland is declared King in his absence. Scotland is the first of the three kingdoms to recognize his claim to the throne.
1631


1597


A group of early Japanese Christians are killed by the new government of Japan for being seen as a threat to Japanese society.
1576


Henry of Navarre abjures Catholicism at Tours and rejoins the Protestant forces in the French Wars of Religion.
756


An Lushan, leader of a revolt against the Tang Dynasty, declares himself emperor and establishes the state of Yan.
62


Earthquake in Pompeii, Italy.