Russia: Defender of the Fatherland Day
1455 - Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type.
1660 - Charles XI becomes King of Sweden.
1778 - American Revolution: Baron von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help to train the Continental Army.
1820 - Cato Street Conspiracy: A plot to murder all the British cabinet ministers is exposed.
1836 - The Battle of the Alamo begins in San Antonio, Texas.
1847 - Mexican-American War: Battle of Buena Vista – In Mexico, American troops under General Zachary Taylor defeat Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
1854 - The official independence of the Orange Free State is declared.
1861 - President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.
1870 - In the United States, post-Civil War military control of Mississippi ends and it is readmitted to the Union.
1883 - Alabama becomes the first U.S. state to enact an antitrust law.
1887 - The French Riviera is hit by a large earthquake, killing around 2,000.
1898 - Émile Zola is imprisoned in France after writing "J'accuse," a letter accusing the French government of anti-Semitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
1900 - In South Africa, the Boers and British troops fight in the Battle of Hart's Hill.
1903 - Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States "in perpetuity".
1905 - Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen meet for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world's first service club.
1909 - The AEA Silver Dart makes the first powered flight in Canada and the British Empire.
1917 - First demonstrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The beginning of the February Revolution.
1918 - First victory of Red Army over the Kaiser's German troops near Narva and Pskov. In honor of this victory, the date is celebrated from 1923 onward as "Red Army Day"; it is renamed Defender of the Fatherland Day after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and is colloquially known as "Men's Day".
1919 - Benito Mussolini forms the Fascist Party in Italy.
1927 - The Federal Radio Commission (later renamed the Federal Communications Commission) begins to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States.
1934 - Léopold III becomes King of Belgium.
1941 - Plutonium is first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.
1943 - A fire breaks out at St. Joseph's Orphanage, Co Cavan, Ireland, killing 36 people (35 of whom are children).
1944 - The Soviet Union begins forced deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people from the North Caucasus to Central Asia.
1945 - World War II: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a commonly forgotten U.S. Navy Corpsman, reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag. The photo would later win a Pulitzer Prize and become the model for the national USMC War Memorial.
1945 - World War II: The capital of the Philippines, Manila, is liberated by American forces.
1945 - World War II: Capitulation of German garrison in Poznań. The city is liberated by Soviet and Polish forces.
1945 - World War II: The German town of Pforzheim is completely destroyed by a raid of 379 British bombers.
1945 - World War II: The Verona Philharmonic Theatre is bombed by Allied forces. It would later be re-opened in 1975.
1947 - The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is founded.
1954 - The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.
1955 - First meeting of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
1957 - The founding congress of the Senegalese Popular Bloc is opened in Dakar.
1958 - Cuban rebels kidnap 5-time world driving champion Juan Manuel Fangio.
1966 - In Syria, Baath party member Salah Jadid leads an intra-party military coup that replaces the previous government of General Amin Hafiz, also a Baathist.
1974 - The Symbionese Liberation Army demands $4 million more to release kidnap victim Patty Hearst.
1980 - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini states that Iran's parliament will decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.
1981 - In Spain, Antonio Tejero attempts a coup d'état by capturing the Spanish Congress of Deputies.
1983 - The Spanish Socialist government of Felipe González and Miguel Boyer nationalizes Rumasa, a holding company founded by entrepreneur José María Ruiz Mateos.
1983 - The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.
1987 - Supernova 1987a is seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
1991 - Gulf War: Ground troops cross the Saudi Arabian border and enter Iraq, thus starting the ground phase of the war.
1991 - In Thailand, General Sunthorn Kongsompong leads a bloodless coup d'état, deposing Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan.
1992 - The Socialist Labour Party is founded in the nation of Georgia.
1997 - A small fire occurs in the Russian Space station, Mir.
1998 - In the United States, tornadoes in central Florida destroy or damage 2,600 structures and kill 42.
1998 - Osama bin Laden publishes a fatwa declaring jihad against all Jews and "Crusaders"; the latter term is commonly interpreted to refer to the people of Europe and the United States.
1999 - Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Öcalan is charged with treason in Ankara, Turkey.
1999 - An avalanche destroys the Austrian village of Galtür, killing 31.
2005 - In Slovakia, a two-day meeting dubbed "Slovakia Summit 2005" takes place between U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. This occasion marks the first visit of a sitting American President to the Slovak Republic since its establishment in 1993.
2005 - The controversial French law on colonialism is passed, requiring teachers to teach the "positive values of colonialism". After public outcry, it is repealed at the beginning of 2006.
2006 - Dubai Ports World agrees to postpone its plans to take over management of six U.S. ports after the proposal ignited harsh bipartisan criticism.
2007 - A train derails on an evening express service near Grayrigg, Cumbria, England, killing one person and injuring 22. This results in hundreds of points being checked over the UK after a few similar accidents.
2008 - A United States Air Force B-2 Spirit crashes on Guam. It is the first operational loss of a B-2.