On This Day … 05 February


  • AD 62 – Earthquake in Pompeii, Italy.
  • 756 – An Lushan, leader of a revolt against the Tang Dynasty, declares himself emperor and establishes the state of Yan.
  • 789 – Idris I reaches Volubilis and founds the Idrisid dynasty, ceding Morocco from the Abbasid caliphate and founding the first Moroccan state.
  • 1576 – Henry of Navarre abjures Catholicism at Tours and rejoins the Protestant forces in the French Wars of Religion.
  • 1649 – Charles Stuart, the son of King Charles I, is declared King Charles II of England and Scotland by the Scottish Parliament.
  • 1782 – Spanish defeat British forces and capture Menorca.
  • 1807 – HMS Blenheim and HMS Java disappear off the coast of Rodrigues.
  • 1810 – Peninsular War: Siege of Cádiz begins.
  • 1818 – Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascends to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.
  • 1859 – Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Prince of Moldavia, is also elected as prince of Wallachia, joining the two principalities as a personal union called the United Principalities, an autonomous region within the Ottoman Empire, which ushered the birth of the modern Romanian state.
  • 1862 – Moldavia and Wallachia formally unite to create the Romanian United Principalities.
  • 1885 – King Leopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo as a personal possession.
  • 1907 – Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world’s first synthetic plastic.
  • 1913 – Greek military aviators, Michael Moutoussis and Aristeidis Moraitinis perform the first naval air mission in history, with a Farman MF.7 hydroplane.
  • 1917 – The current constitution of Mexico is adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
  • 1918 – Stephen W. Thompson shoots down a German airplane; this is the first aerial victory by the US military.
  • 1918 – SS Tuscania is torpedoed off the coast of Ireland; it is the first ship carrying American troops to Europe to be torpedoed and sunk.
  • 1924 – The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal.
  • 1933 – Mutiny on Royal Netherlands Navy warship HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën off the coast of Sumatra, Dutch East Indies.
  • 1939 – Generalísimo Francisco Franco becomes the 68th “Caudillo de España”, or Leader of Spain.
  • 1941 – World War II: Allied forces begin the Battle of Keren to capture Keren, Eritrea.
  • 1945 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur returns to Manila.
  • 1958 – Gamal Abdel Nasser is nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.
  • 1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.
  • 1962 – French President Charles de Gaulle calls for Algeria to be granted independence.
  • 1975 – Riots break in Lima, Peru after the police forces go on strike the day before. The uprising (locally known as the Limazo) is bloodily suppressed by the military dictatorship.
  • 1985 – Ugo Vetere, then the mayor of Rome, and Chedli Klibi, then the mayor of Carthage meet in Tunis to sign a treaty of friendship officially ending the Third Punic War which lasted 2,131 years.
  • 2000 – Russian forces massacre at least 60 civilians in the Novye Aldi suburb of Grozny, Chechnya.
  • 2004 – Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front capture the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.
  • Liberation Day (San Marino).

People (Births)

  • 1534 – Giovanni de’ Bardi, Italian soldier, composer, and critic (d. 1612).
  • 1650 – Anne Jules de Noailles, French general (d. 1708).
  • 1840 – Hiram Maxim, American engineer, invented the Maxim gun (d. 1916).
  • 1848 – Ignacio Carrera Pinto, Chilean lieutenant (d. 1882).
  • 1852 – Terauchi Masatake, Japanese field marshal and politician, 9th Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1919).
  • 1866 – Domhnall Ua Buachalla, Irish politician, 3rd and last Governor-General of the Irish Free State (d. 1963).
  • 1880 – Gabriel Voisin, French pilot and engineer (d. 1973).
  • 1889 – Recep Peker, Turkish officer and politician (d. 1950).
  • 1897 – Dirk Stikker, Dutch businessman and politician, 3rd Secretary General of NATO (d. 1979).
  • 1900 – Adlai Stevenson II, American soldier, politician, and diplomat, 5th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (d. 1965).
  • 1908 – Marie Baron, Dutch swimmer and diver (d. 1948).
  • 1935 – Johannes Geldenhuys, South African military commander (d. 2018).
  • 1978 – Samuel Sánchez, Spanish cyclist.
  • 1987 – Donald Sanford, American-Israeli sprinter.

People (Deaths)

  • 1766 – Count Leopold Joseph von Daun, Austrian field marshal (b. 1705).
  • 1807 – Pasquale Paoli, Corsican commander and politician (b. 1725).
  • 1922 – Christiaan de Wet, South African general and politician, State President of the Orange Free State (b. 1854).
  • 1922 – Slavoljub Eduard Penkala, Croatian engineer, invented the mechanical pencil (b. 1871).
  • 1948 – Johannes Blaskowitz, German general (b. 1883).
  • 2005 – Gnassingbé Eyadéma, Togolese general and politician, President of Togo (b. 1937).
  • 2007 – Leo T. McCarthy, New Zealand-American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 43rd Lieutenant Governor of California (b. 1930).
  • 2012 – Jo Zwaan, Dutch sprinter (b. 1922).
  • 2013 – Tom McGuigan, New Zealand soldier and politician, 23rd New Zealand Minister of Health (b. 1921).

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