On This Day … 19 February


  • 197 – Emperor Septimius Severus defeats usurper Clodius Albinus in the Battle of Lugdunum, the bloodiest battle between Roman armies.
  • 356 – Emperor Constantius II issues a decree closing all pagan temples in the Roman Empire.
  • 1594 – Having already been elected to the throne of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1587, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa is crowned King of Sweden, having succeeded his father John III of Sweden in 1592.
  • 1649 – The Second Battle of Guararapes takes place, effectively ending Dutch colonization efforts in Brazil.
  • 1674 – England and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transfers the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, and it is renamed New York.
  • 1807 – Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr is arrested for treason in Wakefield, Alabama and confined to Fort Stoddert.
  • 1819 – British explorer William Smith discovers the South Shetland Islands and claims them in the name of King George III.
  • 1846 – In Austin, Texas the newly formed Texas state government is officially installed. The Republic of Texas government officially transfers power to the State of Texas government following the annexation of Texas by the United States.
  • 1913 – Pedro Lascuráin becomes President of Mexico for 45 minutes; this is the shortest term to date of any person as president of any country.
  • 1915 – World War I: The first naval attack on the Dardanelles begins when a strong Anglo-French task force bombards Ottoman artillery along the coast of Gallipoli.
  • 1937 – Yekatit 12: During a public ceremony at the Viceregal Palace (the former Imperial residence) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, two Ethiopian nationalists of Eritrean origin attempt to kill viceroy Rodolfo Graziani with a number of grenades.
  • 1942 – World War II: Nearly 250 Japanese warplanes attack the northern Australian city of Darwin, killing 243 people.
  • 1942 – World War II: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs executive order 9066, allowing the United States military to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps.
  • 1943 – World War II: Battle of Kasserine Pass in Tunisia begins.
  • 1945 – World War II: Battle of Iwo Jima: About 30,000 United States Marines land on the island of Iwo Jima.
  • 1948 – The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convenes in Calcutta.
  • 1954 – Transfer of Crimea: The Soviet Politburo of the Soviet Union orders the transfer of the Crimean Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.
  • 1959 – The United Kingdom grants Cyprus independence, which is formally proclaimed on August 16, 1960.
  • 1960 – China successfully launches the T-7, its first sounding rocket.
  • 1965 – Colonel Phạm Ngọc Thảo of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, and a communist spy of the North Vietnamese Viet Minh, along with Generals Lâm Văn Phát and Trần Thiện Khiêm, all Catholics, attempt a coup against the military junta of the Buddhist Nguyễn Khánh.
  • 1976 – Executive Order 9066, which led to the relocation of Japanese Americans to internment camps, is rescinded by President Gerald Ford’s Proclamation 4417.
  • 1978 – Egyptian forces raid Larnaca International Airport in an attempt to intervene in a hijacking, without authorisation from the Republic of Cyprus authorities. The Cypriot National Guard and Police forces kill 15 Egyptian commandos and destroy the Egyptian C-130 transport plane in open combat.
  • 1986 – Akkaraipattu massacre: the Sri Lankan Army massacres 80 Tamil farm workers in eastern Sri Lanka.
  • 2003 – An Ilyushin Il-76 military aircraft crashes near Kerman, Iran, killing 275.
  • Armed Forces Day (Mexico).

People (Births)

  • 1630 – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Indian warrior king and the founder of Maratha Empire.
  • 1798 – Allan MacNab, Canadian soldier, lawyer, and politician, Premier of Canada West (d. 1862).
  • 1872 – Johan Pitka, Estonian admiral (d. 1944).
  • 1880 – Álvaro Obregón, Mexican general and politician, 39th President of Mexico (d. 1928).
  • 1932 – Joseph P. Kerwin, American captain, physician, and astronaut.

People (Deaths)

  • 197 – Clodius Albinus, Roman usurper (b. 150).
  • 1408 – Thomas Bardolf, 5th Baron Bardolf, English rebel.
  • 1709 – Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, Japanese shōgun (b. 1646).
  • 1936 – Billy Mitchell, American general and pilot (b. 1879).
  • 1945 – John Basilone, American sergeant, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1916).
  • 1959 – Willard Miller, American sailor, Medal of Honour recipient (b. 1877).
  • 1977 – Anthony Crosland, English captain and politician, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (b. 1918).
  • 2014 – Dale Gardner, American captain and astronaut (b. 1948).

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