On This Day in History February 29

February 29 – Events:

  • 1504 – Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.
  • 1704 – Queen Anne’s War: French forces and Native Americans stage a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 100 men, women, and children.
  • 1712 – February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style.
  • 1720 – Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicates in favor of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I.
  • 1848 – Neufchatel declares independence of Switzerland
  • 1856 – Hostilities in Russo-Turkish War cease
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid fails – plans to free 15,000 Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Virginia are thwarted.
  • 1892 – St. Petersburg, Florida is incorporated.
  • 1916 – Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old.
  • 1932 – TIME magazine features eccentric American politician William “Alfalfa” Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States.
  • 1936 – Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice, debuts on the radio program The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.
  • 1936 – FDR signs second neutrality act.
  • 1940 – “Gone with the Wind,” wins 8 Oscars.
  • 1940 – For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American to win an Academy Award.
  • 1940 – Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations.
  • 1940 – In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Admiralty Islands are invaded in Operation Brewer led by American General Douglas MacArthur.
  • 1952 – The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.
  • 1956 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces to the nation he is running for a second term.
  • 1960 – First Playboy Club, featuring bunnies, opens in Chicago.
  • 1960 – An earthquake in Morocco kills over 3,000 people and nearly destroys Agadir in the southern part of the country.
  • 1960 – Family Circus makes its debut.
  • 1964 – Frank Rugani sets badminton shuttlecock distance record, 24.3 meters.
  • 1964 - LBJ reveals US secretly developed the A-11 jet fighter.
  • 1964 – In Sydney, Australian swimmer Dawn Fraser sets a new world record in the 100-meter freestyle swimming competition (58.9 seconds).
  • 1972 – Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract.
  • 1980 – Gordie Howe of the then Hartford Whalers makes NHL history as he scores his 800th goal.
  • 1980 - Michael Bracey ends 59 hours, 55 minutes, trapped in an elevator, England.
  • 1988 – South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town.
  • 1996 – A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashes in the Andes, killing 123 people.
  • 2004 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as President of Haiti following popular rebel uprising.

February 29 – Birthdays:

A person who was born on February 29th may be called a “leapling.” In non-leap years they may celebrate their birthday on 28 February or 1 March. For legal purposes, their legal birthdays depend on how different laws count time intervals. In England and Wales the legal birthday of a leapling is 28 February in common years. In Taiwan the legal birthday of a leapling is also February 28 in common years. In both cases, a person born on February 29, 1980 would have legally reached 18 years old on February 28, 1998.  “If a period fixed by weeks, months, and years does not commence from the beginning of a week, month, or year, it ends with the ending of the day which proceeds the day of the last week, month, or year which corresponds to that on which it began to commence. But if there is no corresponding day in the last month, the period ends with the ending of the last day of the last month.”

  • 1468 – Pope Paul III (d. 1549)
  • 1692 – John Byrom, English poet (d. 1763)
  • 1724 – Eva Marie Veigel, ballet dancer and wife of actor David Garrick (d.1822)
  • 1736 – Ann Lee, American founder of Shakers (d. 1784)
  • 1792 – Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer (d. 1868)
  • 1840 – John Philip Holland, Irish inventor (d. 1914)
  • 1852 – Frank Gavan Duffy, Australian judge (d. 1936)
  • 1860 – Herman Hollerith, American statistician (d. 1929)
  • 1896 – Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India (d. 1995)
  • 1896 – William A. Wellman, American film director (d. 1975)
  • 1904 – Jimmy Dorsey, American bandleader (d. 1957)
  • 1904 – Pepper Martin, baseball player (d. 1965)
  • 1904 – Rukmini Devi Arundale, Indian dancer and founder of Kalakshetra (d. 1986)
  • 1908 – Balthus, French-Polish painter (d. 2001)
  • 1908 – Dee Brown, American writer (d. 2002)
  • 1908 – Alf Gover, English cricketer (d. 2001)
  • 1916 – Dinah Shore, American singer and actress (d. 1994)
  • 1920 – Arthur Franz, American actor (d. 2006)
  • 1920 – James Mitchell, American actor
  • 1920 – Michèle Morgan, French actress
  • 1920 – Howard Nemerov, American poet (d. 1991)
  • 1924 – Al Rosen, American baseball player
  • 1924 – David Beattie, New Zealand Governor General (d. 2001)
  • 1924 – Carlos Humberto Romero, President of El Salvador
  • 1928 – Joss Ackland, English actor
  • 1928 – Tempest Storm, American burlesque performer
  • 1932 – Jaguar, Brazilian cartoonist
  • 1932 – Gene Golub, American mathematician (d. 2007)
  • 1932 – Masten Gregory, American F1 Driver (d. 1985)
  • 1936 – Jack Lousma, American astronaut
  • 1936 – Henri Richard, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1936 – Alex Rocco, American actor
  • 1940 – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
  • 1940 – William H. Turner, Jr. American horse trainer
  • 1944 – Phyllis Frelich, American actress
  • 1944 – Dennis Farina, American actor
  • 1944 – Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Italian illustrator
  • 1944 – Ene Ergma, Estonian politician
  • 1948 – Jiro Akagawa, Japanese novelist
  • 1952 – Sharon Dahlonega Raiford Bush, American television personality
  • 1952 – Tim Powers, American writer
  • 1952 – Raisa Smetanina, Russian cross-country skier
  • 1952 – Bart Stupak, American politician
  • 1956 – Jonathan Coleman, Anglo-Australian entertainer
  • 1956 – Bob Speller, Canadian politician
  • 1956 – Aileen Wuornos, American serial killer (d. 2002)
  • 1956 – J. Randy Taraborrelli, American celebritiy journalist
  • 1960 – Ian McKenzie Anderson, British musician
  • 1960 – Khaled, Algerian raï musician
  • 1960 – Richard Ramirez, American serial killer
  • 1960 – Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker
  • 1964 – Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player and Boston radio personality.
  • 1964 – Jahred Shane, Afro-Brazilian rapper/singer of (h?d) p.e.
  • 1968 – Suanne Braun, South African actress
  • 1968 – Chucky Brown, American basketball player
  • 1968 – Pete Fenson, American curler
  • 1968 – Naoko Iijima, Japanese actress
  • 1968 – Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist
  • 1968 – Bryce Paup, American football player
  • 1968 – Wendi Peters, British actress
  • 1972 – Antonio Sabàto, Jr., Italian-born actor
  • 1972 – Dave Williams, American singer (Drowning Pool) (d. 2002)
  • 1972 – Saul Williams, American rapper, poet, and actor
  • 1972 – Pedro Zamora, Cuban-born American Real World housemate and AIDS activist (d. 1994)
  • 1976 – Ja Rule, American rapper and actor
  • 1976 – Emma Barton, English actress
  • 1976 – Terrence Long, American baseball player
  • 1980 – Simon Gagné, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1980 – Taylor Twellman, American soccer player
  • 1980 – Clinton Toopi, New Zealand rugby league footballer
  • 1980 – Chris Conley, American musician
  • 1980 – Ruben Plaza, Spanish cyclist
  • 1984 – Cam Ward, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1984 – Darren Ambrose, English footballer
  • 1984 – Adam Sinclair, Indian field hockey player
  • 1988 – Scott Golbourne, English footballer

February 29 – Deaths:

  • 1528 – Patrick Hamilton, Scottish religious reformer (martyred) (b. 1504)
  • 1592 – Alessandro Striggio, Italian composer (b. 1540)
  • 1604 – John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1530)
  • 1740 – Pietro Ottoboni, Italian cardinal (b. 1667)
  • 1744 – John Theophilus Desaguliers, French philosopher (b. 1683)
  • 1820 – Johann Joachim Eschenburg, German literary critic (b. 1743)
  • 1868 – Ludwig I of Bavaria (b. 1786)
  • 1928 – Ina Coolbrith, first poet laureate of California (b. 1841)
  • 1940 – Edward Frederic Benson, English writer (b. 1867)
  • 1944 – Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, President of Finland (b. 1861)
  • 1956 – Elpidio Quirino, President of the Philippines (b. 1890)
  • 1964 – Frank Albertson, American actor (b. 1909)
  • 1968 – Tore Ørjasæter, Norwegian poet (b. 1886)
  • 1980 – Gil Elvgren, American artist (b. 1914)
  • 1992 – Ruth Pitter, English poet (b. 1897)
  • 1992 – Earl Scheib, American car repainter (b. 1908)
  • 2000 – Dennis Danell, American artist (b. 1961)
  • 2004 – Jerome Lawrence, American playwright (b. 1915)

February 29 – Holidays:

  • Bahá’í Faith – Day 4 of Ayyám-i-Há (Intercalary Days) (in leap years only) – days in the Bahá’í calendar devoted to service and gift giving.
  • Discordianism – St. Tib’s Day.

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