#TodayInHistory – February 28

February 28 – Some important events on this day 202 BC 👉🏼 Coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty’s rule over China 1710 👉🏼 In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau are decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock 1854 👉🏼 Republican Party formally organized in Ripon, Wisconsin 1874 👉🏼 Arthur Orton, who became known as the Tichborne Claimant, was found guilty of perjury on this day after the longest…

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Snow Moon: February’s full moon

Every full moon has at least one nickname, dating back to the days when Native American tribes and Colonial Americans would name each moon based on weather conditions, farming routines and hunting trends. Do you remember, for istance, “Wolf Moon”, the first full moon of the year, or “Harvest Moon”? While January is traditionally the coldest month of the year in the northern hemisphere, the heaviest snow usually falls a month later, not by chance, on February. It’s not a coincidence then that the name for February’s full moon among…

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#TodayInHistory – February 27

February 27 – Some important events on this day 1693 👉🏼 1st women’s magazine “Ladies’ Mercury” published in London, England 1814 👉🏼 Ludwig van Beethoven’s 8th Symphony in F premieres 1827 👉🏼 1st Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans 1900 👉🏼 In London, the Trades Union Congress and the Independent Labour Party (formed in 1893) meet, results in a Labour Representative Committee and eventually the modern Labour Party in 1906 1933 👉🏼 The Reichstag, German parliament building, destroyed by fire; possibly set by the Nazis, who blame and execute Martin…

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#TodayInHistory – February 26

February 26 – Some important events on this day 1616 👉🏼 Roman Inquisition delivers injunction to Galileo demanding he abandon his belief in heliocentrism, which states the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun 1732 👉🏼 1st mass celebrated in 1st American Catholic church, St Joseph’s, Philadelphia 1797 👉🏼 Bank of England issues first £1 note 1815 👉🏼 Napoleon Bonaparte and his supporters leave Elba to start a 100 day re-conquest of France 1869 👉🏼 Franz Schubert’s Symphony number 4, “The Tragic”, premieres 1881 👉🏼 P&O’s SS Ceylon begins world’s…

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#TodayInHistory – February 25

February 25 – Some important events on this day 1570 👉🏼 Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth I of England for heresy and persecution of English Catholics during her reign. Also absolves her subjects from allegiance to the crown. 1793 👉🏼 1st US cabinet meeting, held at George Washington’s home 1836 👉🏼 Showman P. T. Barnum exhibits African American slave Joice Heth, claiming she was the 161 year-old nursemaid to George Washington 1862 👉🏼 First Legal Tender Act 1862 is passed by the US Congress, authorizing the United States note (greenback)…

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#TodayInHistory – February 24

February 24 – Some important events on this day 303 👉🏼 1st official Roman edict for persecution of Christians issued by Emperor Diocletian 1208 👉🏼 St Francis of Assisi, 26, received his vocation in Portiuncula Italy 1525 👉🏼 Battle of Pavia: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s troops beat the French. French King Francois I captured, 15,000 killed or wounded 1582 👉🏼 Pope Gregory XIII announces New Style (Gregorian) calendar 1739 👉🏼 Battle of Karnal: Army of Iranian ruler Nadir Shah defeats the forces of the Mughal emperor of India, Muhammad…

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#TodayInHistory – February 23

February 23 – Some important events on this day 303 👉🏼 Roman Emperor Diocletian begins his policy of persecuting Christians, razing the church at Nicomedia 1455 👉🏼 Johannes Gutenberg prints his first Bible (estimated date) 1540 👉🏼 Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s expedition sets off from Mexico in search of the 7 cities of Cibola 1836 👉🏼 Alamo besieged for 13 days until March 6 by Mexican army under General Santa Anna; entire garrison eventually killed 1886 👉🏼 “The Times” of London publishes world’s 1st classified ad 1904 👉🏼 United States…

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22nd February: the Roman Festival of Caristia.

The Caristia, also called Cara Cognatio, was one of several days in February that Ancient Romans honored family or ancestors. It followed the Parentalia, nine days of remembrance which began on February 13 and concluded with the Feralia on February 21. If for the Parentalia families visited the tombs of their ancestors and shared cake and wine both in the form of offerings and as a meal among themselves, the Feralia was a more somber occasion, a public festival of sacrifices and offerings to the Manes, the spirits of the…

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#TodayInHistory – February 22

February 22 – Some important events on this day 1632 👉🏼 Galileo’s “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” is published 1774 👉🏼 British House of Lords rules authors do not have perpetual copyright 1797 👉🏼 The Last Invasion of Britain, launched by the French during the Revolutionary Wars, begins near Fishguard, Wales. In 1797, the European continent was engaged in a struggle with the France, which had deposed its monarchy following the French Revolution in 1787. This first conflict, between 1792 and 1797, consisted of a lightly-allied coalition (now…

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#TodayInHistory – February 21

February 21 – Some important events on this day 1173 👉🏼 Pope Alexander III canonizes Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury 1583 👉🏼 Groningen, Netherlands, begins using Gregorian calendar 1613 👉🏼 Michael Romanov, son of Patriarch of Moscow, elected first Russian Tsar of the house of Romanov 1804 👉🏼 1st locomotive, Richard Trevithick’s, runs for the 1st time, along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales 1821 👉🏼 Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire begins 1828 👉🏼 1st American Indian newspaper in US, “Cherokee Phoenix”, published…

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#TodayInHistory – February 20

February 20 – Some important events on this day 1280 👉🏼 Japanese Imperial Court orders all temples and shrines to pray for victory in the impending second Mongol invasion. In 1274 the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan launched the first of two failed invasions of Japan. Eight years before, Kublai had sent a letter to the Japanese emperor (who in the letter he called the “King of Japan”), threatening the use of force unless Japan submitted. The Japanese did not respond. So it was that five years later the Mongol…

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#TodayInHistory – February 19

February 19 – Some important events on this day 356 👉🏼 Emperor Constantius II shuts all heathen temples 1594 👉🏼 Having already inherited the throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth through his mother, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland, Sigismund III of the House of Vasa is crowned King of Sweden, succeeding his father John III of Sweden. 1600 👉🏼 Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in South American recorded history. 1878 👉🏼 Thomas Edison is granted a patent for his gramophone (phonograph). 1906 👉🏼 Will Keith Kellogg and Charles…

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#TodayInHistory – February 18

February 18 – Some important events on this day 1519 👉🏼 Hernán Cortés leaves Cuba for the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico with 11 ships and 500 men 1678 👉🏼 John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” is published in Holborn, London, by Nathaniel Ponder 1685 👉🏼 Fort St. Louis is established by a Frenchman at Matagorda Bay thus forming the basis for France’s claim to Texas. 1861 👉🏼 King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia becomes first King of Italy 1968 👉🏼 X Winter Olympic Games close in Grenoble, France 1879 👉🏼 Sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi…

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February 17: International Cat’s day

In Norse mythology, Freyja is a goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, sex, war, gold, and seiðr, a type of magic practiced in Norse society during the Late Scandinavian Iron Age relating to telling and shaping of the future. She was also associated with war and death, and It was said that after a battle, she would lead a band of Valkyries to gather the fallen warriors—or half of them, at least. She would take her share of the dead to Folkvang, her hall in the home of the gods,…

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#TodayInHistory – February 17

February 17 – Some important events on this day 1510 👉🏼 Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque first conquers the city of Goa, entering it with little conflict 1568 👉🏼 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II agrees to pay tribute to the Ottoman Empire for peace 1815 👉🏼 Treaty of Ghent ratified by the US Senate and signed by President James Madison ending War of 1812, over a month after it was signed in Europe. The Treaty of Ghent, signed in the city of Ghent, Belgium, ended the War of 1812 between…

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#TodayInHistory – February 16

February 16 – Some important events on this day 374 👉🏼 9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet 600 👉🏼 Pope Gregory the Great decrees saying “God bless You” is the correct response to a sneeze 1659 👉🏼 1st known cheque (£400) (on display at Westminster Abbey) 1838 👉🏼 Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulu warriors 1840 👉🏼 American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica 1861 👉🏼 Abraham Lincoln stops his train at Westfield on his way to Washington to thank…

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February 15: The Roman Festival of Lupercalia

Lupercalia was one of the most ancient of the Roman holidays, one of the feriae listed on ancient calendars from even before the time Julius Caesar reformed the calendar. It was held each year in Rome on this day, February 15. Although Valentine’s Day shares its name with a (well, one of many) martyred Christian saint, some historians believe the holiday is actually an offshoot of Lupercalia. Unlike our modern Valentine’s Day, however, Lupercalia was a bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration filled with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking and coupling in…

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#TodayInHistory – February 15

February 15 – Some important events on this day 399 BC 👉🏼 Philosopher Socrates is sentenced to death by the city of Athens for corrupting the minds of the youth of the city and for impiety 590 👉🏼 Khosrau II, the last great Sasanian king is crowned King of Persia 1763 👉🏼 Austria, Prussia & Saxony sign the Treaty of Hubertusburg, marking the end of the French and Indian War and of the Seven Years’ War 1903 👉🏼 1st Teddy Bear introduced in America, made by Morris & Rose Michtom…

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The rude and insulting ‘Vinegar Valentines’ of the Victorian Era

In the Victorian era, and also into the 20th century, lovers exchanged elaborate lace-trimmed cards on Valentine’s Day, expressing their supposedly undying love and devotion with sentiments and poems. But what to do if you didn’t love the person who had set their eyes on you? For those not on good terms or who wanted to fend off an unwanted suitor, “vinegar valentines” offered a stinging alternative. “To My Valentine / Tis a lemon that I hand you and bid you now skidoo, Because I love another—there is no chance…

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#TodayInHistory – February 14

February 14 – Some important events on this day 270 👉🏼 One of many St. Valentine beheaded. 1014 👉🏼 Pope Benedict VIII crowns Henry II Holy Roman Emperor 1076 👉🏼 Pope Gregory VII excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV (for the 1st time) 1349 👉🏼 900 Jews are burned alive in Strasbourg and similar number banned from the city after being blamed for the spread of the Black Death 1779 👉🏼 Captain James Cook killed in Hawaii | READ THE ARTICLE! 1794 👉🏼 1st US textile machinery patent granted, to…

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Appeasing the Ancestors: The Parentalia and Feralia in Ancient Rome

The Romans held their dead in great respect. They were “di manes”, the “good” dead, or honoured ancestors never to be forgotten. As such, it was customary for living relatives to visit family graves on the deceased’s birthday, to celebrate the day and remember the life of the departed one. However, Roman society as a whole also honoured the dead publicly especially in February, that was the month of the Parentalia, a festival dedicated todi parentes or dies parentales, the family dead. The Parentalia was a nine-day religious festival began…

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#TodayInHistory – February 13

February 13 – Some important events on this day 1258 👉🏼 Baghdad, then a city of 1 million, falls to the Mongols as the abbasid Caliphate is destroyed, tens of thousands slaughtered, ending the Islamic Golden Age. Baghdad, now the second-largest city in the Arab world, was founded in the 8th century by Abbasid caliph Al-Mansur and eventually became the capital of the Abbasid caliphate. Baghdad in this era was a hub of learning and commerce, particularly during a period known as the Islamic Golden Age. From shortly after its…

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#TodayInHistory – February 12

February 12 – Some important events on this day 1700 👉🏼 The Great Northern War begins in Northern Europe between Denmark–Norway, Saxony and Russia and the Swedish Empire. 1865 👉🏼 Henry Highland Garnet becomes the 1st African American minister to preach to the US House of Representatives, he talks about the end of slavery 1912 👉🏼 The last Qing Emperor of China, Puyi abdicates after losing the support of the Chinese people and thus the mandate of heaven 1912 👉🏼 China adopts the Gregorian calendar 1947 👉🏼 French fashion designer…

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#TodayInHistory – February 11

February 11 – Some important events on this day 55 👉🏼 Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome. This clears the way for Nero to become Emperor. 660 👉🏼 Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu 1809 👉🏼 Robert Fulton patents steamboat 1858 First vision of the Virgin Mary to 14-year-old Bernadette of Lourdes, France 1929 👉🏼 Vatican City (world’s smallest country) made an enclave of Rome 1858 👉🏼 Virgin Mary appears to St. Bernadette, a 14-year-old French peasant…

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#TodayInHistory – February 10

February 10 – Some important events on this day 60 👉🏼 St Paul thought to have been shipwrecked at Malta 1720 👉🏼 Edmond Halley appointed as the second Astronomer Royal at the Greenwich Observatory 1763 👉🏼 Treaty of Paris ends French-Indian War, surrendering Canada to Britain 1824 👉🏼 Simón Bolívar named dictator by the Congress of Peru 1859 👉🏼 General Horsford defeats Begum of Oude and Nana Sahib in Indian Mutiny. 1879 👉🏼 Henry Morton Stanley departs for the Congo 1906 👉🏼 British battleship HMS Dreadnought launches after only 100…

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#TodayInHistory – February 9

February 9 – Some important events on this day 474 👉🏼 Zeno crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire together with his son Leo II 1775 👉🏼 British Parliament declares Massachusetts colony is in rebellion 1891 👉🏼 1891 1st shipment of asparagus arrives in San Francisco from Sacramento 1895 👉🏼 Volleyball invented by W G Morgan in Massachusetts 1904 👉🏼 Japanese land troops at Chemulpo (Inchon), near Seoul, Korea; within the next three weeks they will have advanced to the Yalu River, the border of Manchuria 1943 👉🏼 Japanese troops…

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#TodayInHistory – February 8

February 8 – Some important events on this day 1587 👉🏼 Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle aged 44 after being convicted of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth I in the Babington Plot. Mary Stuart was Queen of Scots from 1547 until she was deposed in 1567. She spent the next twenty years of her life in exile or imprisoned. After she was deposed, she sought the assistance of her first cousin once removed, Elizabeth I, who reigned over England. This complicated matters however as Elizabeth perceived Mary…

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#TodayInHistory – February 7

February 7 – Some important events on this day 1238 👉🏼 The Mongols burn the Russian city of Vladimir 1301 👉🏼 Edward of Caernarion (later Edward II) becomes first (English) Prince of Wales 1783 👉🏼 Great Siege of Gibraltar launched by France and Spain against the British colony during American War of Independence is lifted after 3 years and 7 months. The longest siege endured by the British Armed Forces and one of the longest sieges in history, the battle at Gibraltar was one part of the American War of…

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#TodayInHistory – February 6

February 6 – Some important events on this day 1508 👉🏼 Maximilian I proclaimed Holy Roman Emperor, 1st Emperor in centuries not to be crowned by the Pope 1778 👉🏼 France recognizes USA, signs Treaty of Alliance in Paris, 1st US treaty 1819 👉🏼 Stamford Raffles founds Singapore as a British trading port 1840 👉🏼 The Treaty of Waitangi is signed between 40 Māori Chiefs (later signed by 500) and representatives of the British crown in Waitangi, New Zealand. The treaty was designed to share sovereignty between the two groups.…

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#TodayInHistory – February 5

February 5 – Some important events on this day 146 BCE 👉🏼 Punic Wars, between Rome and Carthage, come to an end 1576 👉🏼 Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV of France) abjures Catholicism at Tours. 1597 👉🏼 A group of early Japanese Christians, known as the 26 Martyrs, are killed by the new government of Japan for being seen as a threat to Japanese society. By 1597, Christianity in Japan was a relatively small but growing religion, with estimates of around 300,000 Catholics in the country. However this was…

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