On This Day … 15 February


  • 706 – Byzantine emperor Justinian II has his predecessors Leontios and Tiberios III publicly executed in the Hippodrome of Constantinople.
  • 1214 – During the Anglo-French War (1213–1214), an English invasion force led by John, King of England, lands at La Rochelle in France.
  • 1798 – The Roman Republic is proclaimed after Louis-Alexandre Berthier, a general of Napoleon, had invaded the city of Rome five days earlier.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Confederates commanded by Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd attack General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union forces Fort Donelson, Tennessee. Unable to break the fort’s encirclement, Lloyd surrenders the following day.
  • 1898 – The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbour in Cuba, killing 274. This event leads the United States to declare war on Spain.
  • 1942 – World War II: Fall of Singapore. Following an assault by Japanese forces, the British General Arthur Percival surrenders. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history.
  • 1944 – World War II: The assault on Monte Cassino, Italy begins.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Narva Offensive begins.
  • 1945 – World War II: Third day of bombing in Dresden.
  • 1954 – Canada and the United States agree to construct the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska.
  • 1989 – Soviet–Afghan War: The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.
  • Total Defence Day (Singapore).

People (Births)

  • 1519 – Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, first Spanish Governor of Florida (d. 1574).
  • 1612 – Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, French soldier, founded Montreal (d. 1676).
  • 1892 – James Forrestal, American lieutenant and politician, 1st United States Secretary of Defense (d. 1949).
  • 1920 – Endicott Peabody, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 62nd Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1997).
  • 1935 – Roger B. Chaffee, American lieutenant, engineer, and astronaut (d. 1967).

People (Deaths)

  • 1417 – Richard de Vere, 11th Earl of Oxford, English commander (b. 1385).
  • 1848 – Hermann von Boyen, Prussian general and politician, Prussian Minister of War (b. 1771).
  • 1905 – Lew Wallace, American author, general, and politician, 11th Governor of New Mexico Territory (b. 1827).
  • 1970 – Hugh Dowding, 1st Baron Dowding, Scottish air marshal (b. 1882).
  • 2000 – Angus MacLean, Canadian commander and politician, 25th Premier of Prince Edward Island (b. 1914).
  • 2010 – Jeanne M. Holm, American general (b. 1921).
  • 2013 – Sanan Kachornprasart, Thai general and politician (b. 1935).

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