On This Day … 03 February


  • 1488 – Bartolomeu Dias of Portugal lands in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope, becoming the first known European to travel so far south.
  • 1509 – The Portuguese navy defeats a joint fleet of the Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Venice, the Sultan of Gujarat, the Mamlûk Burji Sultanate of Egypt, the Zamorin of Calicut, and the Republic of Ragusa at the Battle of Diu in Diu, India.
  • 1583 – Battle of São Vicente takes place off Portuguese Brazil – three English warships led by navigator Edward Fenton fight off three Spanish galleons sinking one in the process.
  • 1661 – Maratha forces under Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeat the Mughals in the Battle of Umberkhind.
  • 1706 – During the Battle of Fraustadt Swedish forces defeat a superior Saxon-Polish-Russian force by deploying a double envelopment.
  • 1781 – American Revolutionary War: British forces seize the Dutch-owned Caribbean island Sint Eustatius.
  • 1787 – Militia led by General Benjamin Lincoln crush the remnants of Shays’ Rebellion in Petersham, Massachusetts.
  • 1807 – A British military force, under Brigadier-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty captures the Spanish Empire city of Montevideo, now the capital of Uruguay.
  • 1813 – José de San Martín defeats a Spanish royalist army at the Battle of San Lorenzo, part of the Argentine War of Independence.
  • 1830 – The London Protocol of 1830 establishes the full independence and sovereignty of Greece from the Ottoman Empire as the final result of the Greek War of Independence.
  • 1917 – World War I: The American entry into World War I begins when diplomatic relations with Germany are severed due to its unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • 1927 – A revolt against the military dictatorship of Portugal breaks out at Oporto.
  • 1943 – World War II: The SS Dorchester is sunk by a German U-boat.
    • Only 230 of 902 men aboard survive.
  • 1944 – World War II: During the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, US Army and Marine forces seize Kwajalein Atoll from the defending Japanese garrison.
  • 1945 – World War II: As part of Operation Thunderclap, 1,000 B-17s of the Eighth Air Force bomb Berlin, a raid which kills between 2,500 and 3,000 and dehouses another 120,000.
  • 1945 – World War II: The United States and the Philippine Commonwealth begin a month-long battle to retake Manila from Japan.
  • 1958 – Founding of the Benelux Economic Union, creating a testing ground for a later European Economic Community.
  • 1960 – British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan speaks of “a wind of change”, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonisation.
  • 1961 – The United States Air Forces begins Operation Looking Glass, and over the next 30 years, a “Doomsday Plane” is always in the air, with the capability of taking direct control of the United States’ bombers and missiles in the event of the destruction of the Strategic Air Command’s command post.
  • 1989 – A military coup overthrows Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954.
  • 1998 – Cavalese cable car disaster: a United States military pilot causes the death of 20 people when his low-flying plane cuts the cable of a cable-car near Trento, Italy.
  • 2014 – Two people are shot and killed and 29 students are taken hostage at a high school in Moscow, Russia.
  • Four Chaplains Day (United States, also considered a Feast Day by the Episcopal Church).
  • Veterans’ Day (Thailand).

People (Births)

  • 1392 – Henry Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, English nobleman and military commander (d. 1455).
  • 1689 – Blas de Lezo, Spanish admiral (d. 1741).
  • 1721 – Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, Prussian general (d. 1773).
  • 1747 – Samuel Osgood, American soldier and politician, 1st United States Postmaster General (d. 1813).
  • 1795 – Antonio José de Sucre, Venezuelan general and politician, 2nd President of Bolivia (d. 1830).
  • 1807 – Joseph E. Johnston, American general and politician (d. 1891).
  • 1859 – Hugo Junkers, German engineer, designed the Junkers J 1 (d. 1935).
  • 1878 – Gordon Coates, New Zealand soldier and politician, 21st Prime Minister of New Zealand (d. 1943).
  • 1903 – Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, Scottish soldier, pilot, and politician (d. 1973).
  • 1917 – Shlomo Goren, Polish-Israeli rabbi and general (d. 1994).
  • 1918 – Helen Stephens, American runner, baseball player, and manager (d. 1994).
  • 1920 – Tony Gaze, Australian race car driver and RAF pilot (d. 2013).
  • 1958 – Joe F. Edwards, Jr., American commander, pilot, and astronaut.
  • 1969 – Beau Biden, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 44th Attorney General of Delaware (d. 2015).

People (Deaths)

  • 938 – Zhou Ben, Chinese general (b. 862).
  • 1428 – Ashikaga Yoshimochi, Japanese shōgun (b. 1386).
  • 1468 – Johannes Gutenberg, German publisher, invented the Printing press (b. 1398).
  • 1813 – Juan Bautista Cabral, Argentinian Army sergeant (b. 1789).
  • 1922 – Christiaan de Wet, South African general and politician, State President of the Orange Free State (b. 1854).
  • 1935 – Hugo Junkers, German engineer, designed the Junkers J 1 (b. 1859).
  • 1947 – Marc Mitscher, American admiral and pilot (b. 1887).
  • 1955 – Vasily Blokhin, Russian general (b. 1895).
  • 2012 – Terence Hildner, American general (b. 1962).
  • 2013 – James Muri, American soldier and pilot (b. 1918).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.