21 February 2008

This day in history: 21 Feb

1613: Mikhail Feodorovich Romanov was unanimously elected tsar of Russia (as Mikhail I) by a national assembly. His coronation would be held on 22 July of that year.

1804: Richard Trevithick's steam locomotive successfully carried five waggons, ten tons of iron and 70 men over nine miles through Wales, at an average speed of nearly 5 mph.

1885: The Washington Monument was dedicated.

1916: The Battle of Verdun began. (It would finally end on 18 December.)

1918: Incas, the last surviving Carolina paroquet (Conuropsis carolinensis), died at the Cincinnati Zoo.*

1945: USS Bismarck Sea (CVE 95) was sunk, and USS Saratoga (CV 3) damaged, by Japanese kamikaze planes near Iwo Jima.

1971: The Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed in Vienna.

1972: The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20, launched on 14 February, landed on the Moon.

1995: Steve Fossett, who had taken off from Seoul, South Korea, on 17 February, landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, thus becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific in a balloon.

James I of Scotland (1394–1437), Tim Horton** (1930-1974) and Murray the K (1922–1982) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794–1876), Jeanne Calment (1875–1997), Andrés Segovia (1893–1987), Sir Douglas Bader CBE DSO* DFC* (1910–1982), Sam Peckinpah (1925–1984), Erma Bombeck (1927–1996), Harald V of Norway (1937-TBD), Anthony Daniels (1946-TBD), Alan Rickman (1946-TBD) and Mary Chapin Carpenter (1958-TBD).

* Incas was a male. The last known female - his mate, Lady Jane - had died a few months earlier. The last known wild specimen was killed in Okeechobee County, Florida, in 1904.

** I was rather surprised to find out that Tim Horton was a famous hockey player. I, of course, know him as a doughnut maker.

No comments: