February 15

1798 The first serious fist fight occurs in Congress.
1804 New Jersey becomes the last northern state to abolish slavery.
1862 Union General Ulysses S. Grant launches a major assault on Fort Donelson, TN.
1869 Charges of treason against Jefferson Davis are dropped.
1898 The U.S. battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, killing 268 sailors and bringing hordes of Western cowboys and gunfighters rushing to enlist in the Spanish-American War.
1900 The British threaten to use natives in the Boer War.
1925 The London Zoo announces it will install lights to cheer up fogged-in animals.
1934 The U.S. Congress passes the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, allotting new funds for Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
1940 Hitler orders that all British merchant ships will be considered warships.
1942 British forces in Singapore surrender to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
1943 The Germans break the American Army’s lines at the Fanid-Sened Sector in Tunisia, North Africa.
1944 American bombers attack the Abbey of Monte Cassino in an effort to neutralize it as a German observation post in central Italy.
1946 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrest 22 as Soviet spies.
1950 Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung sign a mutual defense treaty in Moscow.
1957 Andrei Gromyko replaces Dmitri T. Shepilov as the Soviet Foreign Minister.
1961 Eighteen members of the U.S. figure skating team are lost in an airplane crash in Belgium.
1965 Canada’s maple leaf flag is raised for the first time.
1967 Thirteen U.S. helicopters are shot down in one day in Vietnam.
1974 U.S. gas stations threaten to close because of federal fuel policies.
Born on February 15
1564 Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and mathematician.
1710 Louis XV, King of France.
1726 Abraham Clark, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1797 Henry Steinway, a piano maker.
1820 Susan B. Anthony, suffragette and political activist.
1882 John Barrymore, actor, sibling to actors Lionel Barrymore & Ethel Barrymore, father of actors John Drew Barrymore & Diana Barrymore and grandfather of actor Drew Barrymore.
1905 Harold Arlen, composer, arranger and pianist (“Stormy Weather,” “It’s Only a Paper Moon”).
1954 Matt Groening, cartoonist (The Simpsons).

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