Today is Wednesday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2012. There are 327 days left in the year.
On Feb. 8, 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England after she was implicated in a plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.
On this date:
In 1693, a charter was granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg in the Virginia Colony.
In 1837, the Senate selected the vice president of the United States, choosing Richard Mentor Johnson after no candidate received a majority of electoral votes.
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Roanoke Island, N.C, ended in victory for Union forces led by Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside.
In 1904, the Russo-Japanese War, a conflict over control of Manchuria and Korea, began as Japanese forces attacked Port Arthur.
In 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.
In 1922, President Warren G. Harding had a radio installed in the White House.
In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces began invading Singapore, which fell a week later.
In 1952, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed her accession to the British throne following the death of her father, King George VI.
In 1968, three college students were killed in a confrontation with highway patrolmen in Orangeburg, S.C., during a civil rights protest against a whites-only bowling alley.
In 1971, Nasdaq, the world’s first electronic stock exchange, held its first trading day.
In 1989, 144 people were killed when an American-chartered Boeing 707 filled with Italian tourists slammed into a fog-covered mountain in the Azores.
In 1992, the XVI Olympic Winter Games opened in Albertville, France.
Ten years ago: The Winter Olympics opened in Salt Lake City with an emotional tribute to America’s heroes, from the pioneers of the West to past Olympic champions to the thousands who’d perished on Sept. 11. The Taliban’s foreign minister (Mullah Abdul Wakil Muttawakil) turned himself in to authorities in Afghanistan. William T. Dillard Sr., founder of one of the nation’s largest retail chains, died in Little Rock, Ark., at age 87.
Five years ago: Model, actress and tabloid sensation Anna Nicole Smith died in Florida at age 39 of an accidental drug overdose. A federal judge in Fargo, N.D., sentenced Alfonso Rodriguez Jr. to death for the slaying of college student Dru Sjodin. Rival Palestinian leaders signed an agreement on a power-sharing government at Saudi-brokered talks in Mecca.
One year ago: Wael Ghonim, a Google executive who’d helped ignite Egypt’s uprising, appeared before protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for the first time after being released from detention; he told them, “We won’t give up.”