On Feb. 18, 1564, artist Michelangelo Buonarroti died in Rome, just weeks before his 89th birthday.
On this date:
In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.
In 1885, Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was published in the U.S. for the first time.
In 1913, Mexican President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President Jose Maria Pino Suarez were arrested during a military coup (both were shot to death on Feb. 22).
In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz.
In 1939, the Golden Gate International Exposition opened on Treasure Island in San Francisco.
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.
In 1953, “Bwana Devil,” the movie that heralded the 3D fad of the 1950s, had its New York opening.
In 1960, the 8th Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, Calif., by Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968 Democratic national convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968 (those convictions were later reversed).
In 1984, Italy and the Vatican signed an accord under which Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state religion of Italy.
In 1994, at the Winter Olympic Games in Norway, U.S. speedskater Dan Jansen finally won a gold medal, breaking the world record in the 1,000 meters.
In 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.
Ten years ago: Howard Dean’s quest for the presidency ended as the Democrat, winless in 17 contests, abandoned his bid. In Iran, runaway train cars carrying fuel and industrial chemicals derailed, setting off explosions that destroyed five villages and killed at least 200 people.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama launched a $75 billion foreclosure rescue plan aimed at saving homes. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton began a two-day visit to Indonesia. Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said in a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month that the United States was “a nation of cowards” on matters of race. Pope Benedict XVI received House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Vatican, telling her that Catholic politicians had a duty to protect life “at all stages of its development.” The remnants of New York’s Shea Stadium were demolished.
One year ago: The European Union imposed trade and economic sanctions on North Korea while condemning “in the strongest terms” the nation’s latest nuclear test. Robbers stole a reported $50 million worth of diamonds from the hold of a Swiss-bound plane at Brussels’ international airport; more than 30 people were later detained and some of the loot recovered. President Hugo Chavez returned to Venezuela after more than two months of treatment in Cuba following cancer surgery.
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