On This Day … 08 February


  • 21 – Constantius III becomes co-Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 1238 – The Mongols burn the Russian city of Vladimir.
  • 1250 – Seventh Crusade: Crusaders engage Ayyubid forces in the Battle of Al Mansurah.
  • 1347 – The Byzantine civil war of 1341–47 ends with a power-sharing agreement between John VI Kantakouzenos and John V Palaiologos.
  • 1575 – Leiden University is founded, and given the motto Praesidium Libertatis.
  • 1587 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed on suspicion of having been involved in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.
  • 1601 – Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, rebels against Queen Elizabeth I and the revolt is quickly crushed.
  • 1807 – After two days of bitter fighting, the Russians under Bennigsen and the Prussians under L’Estocq concede the Battle of Eylau to Napoleon.
  • 1904 – Battle of Port Arthur: A surprise torpedo attack by the Japanese at Port Arthur, China starts the Russo-Japanese War.
  • 1904 – Aceh War: Dutch Colonial Army’s Marechaussee regiment led by General G.C.E. van Daalen launch military campaign to capture Gayo Highland, Alas Highland, and Batak Highland in Dutch East Indies’ Northern Sumatra region, which ends with genocide to Acehnese and Bataks people.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japan invades Singapore.
  • 1942 – World War II: Dutch Colonial Army General Destruction Unit (AVC, Algemene Vernielings Corps) burns Banjarmasin, South Borneo to avoid Japanese capture.
  • 1945 – World War II: The United Kingdom and Canada commence Operation Veritable to occupy the west bank of the Rhine.
  • 1945 – World War II: Mikhail Devyataev escapes with nine other Soviet inmates from a Nazi concentration camp in Peenemünde on the island of Usedom by hijacking the camp commandant’s Heinkel He 111.
  • 1950 – Cold War: The Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, is established.
  • 1962 – Charonne massacre. Nine trade unionists are killed by French police at the instigation of Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Paris Prefecture of Police.
  • 1963 – The regime of Prime Minister of Iraq, Brigadier General Abd al-Karim Qasim is overthrown by the Ba’ath Party.
  • 1971 – South Vietnamese ground troops launch an incursion into Laos to try to cut off the Ho Chi Minh trail and stop communist infiltration.
  • 1993 – An Iran Air Tours Tupolev Tu-154 and an Iranian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 collide in mid-air near Qods, Iran, killing all 133 people on board both aircraft.
  • 2005 – Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lankan Tamil politician and former MP A. Chandranehru dies of injuries sustained in an ambush the previous day.

People (Births)

  • 882 – Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid, Egyptian commander and politician, Abbasid Governor of Egypt (d. 946).
  • 1552 – Agrippa d’Aubigné, French poet and soldier (d. 1630).
  • 1817 – Richard S. Ewell, American general (d. 1872).
  • 1820 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (d. 1891).
  • 1880 – Franz Marc, German soldier and painter (d. 1916).
  • 1882 – Thomas Selfridge, American lieutenant and pilot (d. 1908).
  • 1888 – Giuseppe Ungaretti, Egyptian-Italian soldier, journalist, and poet (d. 1970).
  • 1921 – Barney Danson, Canadian colonel and politician, 21st Canadian Minister of National Defence (d. 2011).

People (Deaths)

  • 1623 – Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, English soldier and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire (b. 1546).
  • 1725 – Peter the Great, Russian emperor (b. 1672).
  • 1959 – William J. Donovan, American head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) (b. 1883).
  • 1992 – Stanley Armour Dunham, American sergeant (b. 1918).
  • 1998 – Enoch Powell, English soldier and politician, Secretary of State for Health (b. 1912).
  • 2010 – John Murtha, American colonel and politician (b. 1932).

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