[This February 1937 cover of Bernarr Macfadden's Physical Culture
magazine describes marijuana as a 'sex-crazing drug menace' -
almost as though that were a bad thing!]
1100 - England's King William II - better known as William Rufus - died while on a hunting trip in New Forest, when his companion Walter Tyrrel accidentally struck him in the chest with a stray arrow intended for a buck; he was succeeded by his younger brother, who reigned as Henry I.
1589 - France's King Henri III (shown, at right) died, having been stabbed by a Dominican friar named Jacques Clément the previous day while lodged with his army at Saint-Cloud during preparations for an impending siege of Paris... Clément himself was killed on the spot by the King's bodyguard. The last of the Valois kings (his own marriage to Louise of Lorraine being childless likely due to his rather open homosexuality) the fourth son of Henri II and Catherine de' Medici was succeeded by the Huguenot King of Navarre Henri III, who would reign as the first of the Bourbon kings under the name Henri IV - although he wouldn't be crowned until February 1594, having been forced first by the Catholic League and then by Spain to win the throne through a rather arduous conquest.
1610 - Henry Hudson reached what would later be called Hudson Bay on board Discovery, thinking he'd passed through the Northwest Passage into the Pacific Ocean.
1790 - The first US Census was conducted.
1798 - During the French Revolutionary Wars the Battle of the Nile (Battle of Aboukir Bay) concluded in a British victory for Sir Horatio Nelson over French vice-admiral François-Paul Brueys D'Aigalliers, who died in battle.
1870 - Tower Subway, the first underground tube railway in the world, opened in London; not a subway in the modern sense but more a horizontal lift, it connected Tower Hill to Vine Lane south of the River Thames.
1903 - The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization led an unsuccessful rebellion against the rule of the Ottoman Empire, an event now known as the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising.
1916 - Austro-Hungarian sabotage was blamed for causing the sinking of the Italian battleship Leonardo da Vinci in the harbour at Taranto, killing 249 of the thousand men aboard; although the vessel was salvaged after World War I, planned repairs were never finished, and it was sold for scrap in 1923.
1923 - Following the sudden death, at San Francisco's Palace Hotel, of Warren G. Harding - who took ill a week earlier during a visit to Vancouver - his Vice President Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President of the United States.
1934 - Adolf Hitler became Führer of Germany following the death of Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg.
1937 - Marijuana was made illegal in the United States following passage of the Marihuana Tax Act.
1943 - PT-109 was rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri in the Blackett Strait between the Solomon Islands of Kolombangara and Arundel; in charge of the vessel was Lieutenant, junior grade (LTJG) John F. Kennedy, future US President, who managed to save all but two* of his crew from the ship, which sank. Kennedy then led his crew to safety by swimming to uninhabited Plum Pudding Island** (deep in enemy waters which were also shark- and crocodile-infested) before they could be rescued, six days later, from the more resource rich Olasana Island nearby.
*Seamen Andrew Jackson Kirksey and Harold W. Marney.
**Which was renamed Kennedy Island in his honour.
1945 - The Dutch Royal Family returned to Holland from their exile in Canada, apparently.
1964 - During the Gulf of Tonkin Incident North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fired on US destroyers USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy, an event which President Lyndon B. Johnson used as a justification for the Vietnam War (despite the fact that it may have never happened) under the terms of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
1967 - The second Blackwall Tunnel opened, connecting the London boroughs of Greenwich and Tower Hamlets.
1973 - A flash fire killed 51 at the Summerland amusement centre at Douglas on the Isle of Man.
1980 - The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game ended with 5:24 remaining when it was canceled due to severe lightning, ending the game in a 0-0 tie.
1990 - Iraq invaded Kuwait - or 'Province 19' as Saddam Hussein liked to call it - sparking the first Gulf War.
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