Famous Events on this Day in History, February 16:374 - 9th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet
600 - Pope Gregory the Great decreea saying "God bless You" is the correct response to a sneeze
1249 - Andrew of Longjumeau is dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with the Khan of the Mongols.
1486 - Diet of Frankfort
1512 - Battle at Valeggio: French troops beat Venetianen
1559 - Pope Paul IV calls for deposition of sovereigns supporting heresy
1641 - English king Charles I accept Triennial Act
1646 - Battle of Great Torrington, Devon - the last major battle of the first English Civil War.
1655 - Dutch Grand Pensionary advisor Johan de Witt marries Wendela Bicker
1659 - 1st known check (£400) (on display at Westminster Abbey)
1666 - Netherlands & Brandenburg sign treaty
1677 - Earl of Shaftesbury arrested/confined in London Tower
1741 - Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine (2nd US Mag) begins publishing
1742 - Earl of Wilmington becomes British premier
1751 - 1st publication of Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard"
1760 - Native American hostages killed in Ft Prince George SC
1771 - Messier presents his original list of 45 M-objects to French Academy
1777 - Messier adds M53 to his catalog (globular cluster in Coma Berenice)
1804 - Lt Stephen Decatur raids Tripoli Harbor & burns Navy frigate "Philadelphia" after pirates seized it
1824 - Athenaeum founded
1832 - HMS Beagle/Charles Darwin reaches St-Pauls (1°N, 29°W)
1838 - Kentucky passes law permitting women to attend school under conditions
1838 - Weenen Massacre: Hundreds of Voortrekkers along the Blaukraans River, Natal are killed by Zulus.
1840 - American Charles Wilkes discovers Shackleton Ice Shelf, Antarctica
1846 - Battle of Sobraon ends 1st Sikh War in India
1852 - Studebaker Brothers wagon company, precursor of the automobile manufacturer, is established.
1854 - Franz Liszts symphony "Orpheus," premieres
1857 - Gallaudet College (Natl Deaf Mute college) forms (Wash DC)
1859 - The French Government passes a law to set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch.
1860 - Dutch Rochussen/Van Bosse govt resigns
1862 - Ft Donelson captured by Gen Grant (1,400 confederates surrender)
1864 - Battle of Mobile, AL - operations by Union Army
1866 - Spencer Compton Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington becomes the British Secretary of State for War.
1868 - Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks forms (NY)
1878 - Silver dollar became US legal tender
1880 - American Society of Mechanical Engineers forms (NYC)
1883 - "Ladies Home Journal" begins publishing
1887 - 1st newspaper convention (Rochester NY)
1887 - Eduard Douwes Dekker writes his last text (Lf8-c5)
1892 - Opera "Werther," premieres in Vienna
1894 - British troops occupy Ilorin, Gold Coast
1899 - Pelham Warner scores 132 on Test Cricket debut (Eng v SA Johannesburg)
1899 - President Félix Faure of France dies in office.
1899 - Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur Iceland's first football club is founded.
1900 - 1st Chinese daily newspaper in US publishes (Chung Sai Yat Po-SF)
1900 - Stanley Cup: Montreal Shamrocks beat Winnipeg Victorias, 3 games to 1
1903 - -59°F (-51°C), Pokegama Dam, Minnesota (state record)
1905 - 1st US Esperanto club organizes in Boston
1909 - 1st subway car with side doors goes into service (NYC)
1909 - Serbia mobilizes against Austria-Hungary
1912 - VSV soccer team forms in Ijmuiden
1913 - President Taft agrees not to intervene in Mexico
1914 - 1st airplane flight (LA to SF)
1915 - Frank Home Run Baker, 28, announces retirement following a contract dispute with Connie Mack. He sits out 1915 season
1916 - Russian troops conquer Erzurum Armenia
1917 - 1st synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid
1918 - Lithuania declares independence from Russia & Germany (National Day)
1923 - Allies accept Latvia's occupation of Memel territory
1923 - Howard Carter finds Pharoah Tutankhamen
1923 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Theresa Weld Blanchard
1923 - US male Figure Skating championship won by Sherwin Badger
1926 - Suzanne Lenglen defeats Helen Wills in Tennis at Cannes France
1927 - Noel Coward's "Marquise," premieres in London
1927 - US restores diplomatic relations with Turkey
1929 - KID-AM in Idaho Falls ID begins radio transmissions
1931 - Extreme right wing Svinhufvud becomes president of Finland
1932 - 1st patent issued for a tree, to James Markham for a peach tree
1933 - Catholic newspaper Germania warns against nazis/communists
1933 - England regains the Ashes, thanks to bodyline tactics
1934 - Austrian Civil War ends with the defeat of the Social Democrats and the Republican Schutzbund.
1934 - Commission of Government is sworn in as form of direct rule for the Dominion of Newfoundland.
1936 - 4th Winter Olympic games close at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
1936 - Spanish Frente Popular (People's Front) wins elections
1937 - DuPont Corp patents nylon, developed by employee Wallace H Carothers
1937 - Jean Anouilh's "Le Voyageur Sans Baggage," premieres in Paris
1938 - US Federal Crop Insurance program authorized
1940 - British search plane finds German Altmark off Norway
1942 - German submarines attack Aruba oil refinery
1943 - -32°F (-36°C), Falls Village, Connecticut (state record)
1943 - British premier Winston Churchill gets pneumonia
1943 - Red army conquers Kharkov
1943 - Withdrawing Africa Corps reaches Mareth-line in North-Africa
1943 - Sign on Munich facade: "Out with Hitler! Long live freedom!" done by "White Rose" student group, caught on 2/18, beheaded on 2/22
1943 - World War II: The USSR reconquers Kharkov.
1945 - US forces land on Corregidor, complete conquest on March 3
1945 - Venezuela declares war on nazi-Germany
1946 - "Duchess Misbehaves" closes at Adelphi Theater NYC after 5 perfs
1946 - 1st commercially designed helicopter tested, Bridgeport Ct
1947 - Morton Gould's 3rd Symphony, premieres
1948 - 1st newsreel telecast, "20th Century Fox-Movietone News" shown on NBC
1948 - Miranda, famous moon of Uranus, photographed for 1st time
1950 - Longest-running prime-time game show, "What's My Line" begins on CBS
1950 - Writers fail to elect anyone to Baseball's Hall of Fame
1951 - NYC passes bill prohibiting racism in city-assisted housing
1951 - SF City Hall dome fire
1952 - Hall of Famer Honus Wagner, 77, retires; Pirates retire his #33
1952 - Ian Craig makes NSW cricket debut aged 16 years 249 days (NSW record)
1954 - WNEM TV channel 5 in Bay City, MI (NBC) begins broadcasting
1956 - Britain abolishes death penalty
1957 - The "Toddlers' Truce", a controversial television closedown between 6.00pm and 7.00pm was abolished in the United Kingdom.
1958 - Betsy Rawls wins LPGA St Petersburg Golf Open
1959 - Fidel Castro named himself Cuba's premier after overthrowing Batista
1959 - Leonard Spigelgass' "Majority of One," premieres in NYC
1960 - US nuclear submarine USS Triton set off on underwater round-world trip
1961 - 1st all-solid-propellant rocket put in orbit, Wallops Island, Va
1961 - China uses it's 1st nuclear reactor
1961 - US satellite Explorer 9 is launched
1962 - Darius Milhaud's 12th Symphony, premieres
1962 - US Open Tennis: Jimmy Bostwick defeats brother Pete to win
1963 - 1st round-trip swim of Strait of Messina, Italy (Mary Revell of US)
1963 - Beatles top British rock charts with "Please, Please Me"
1963 - C & A Building in Amsterdam burns down
1964 - "Foxy" opens at Ziegfeld Theater NYC for 72 performances
1964 - Beatles' 2nd appearance on "Ed Sullivan Show"
1965 - "Baker Street" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 313 performances
1965 - Pegasus 1 launched to detect micro-meteors
1966 - Bob Cowper makes 307 v England at the MCG, 727 mins, 20 fours
1966 - End of Wally Grout's Test Cricket career, 187 dismissals as Aust WK
1966 - France performs underground nuclear test at Ecker Algeria
1967 - Red Ruffing selected to Hall of Fame
1968 - Country's 1st 911 phone system went into service in Haleyville, Ala
1968 - Elvis Presley receives gold record for "How Great Thou Art"
1968 - Beatles George Harrison & John Lennon & wives fly to India for transcendental meditation study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
1970 - Joe Frazier TKOs Jimmy Ellis in 5 for heavyweight boxing title
1972 - 1st NBA to score 30,000 points (Wilt Chamberlain in 940 games)
1972 - German mass murderers "Three of Breda" freed
1972 - Test Cricket debut of Lawrence Rowe WI v NZ Kingston, 214 & 100
1972 - Wilt Chamberlain hit 30,000 point mark during a game with Phoenix Suns
1973 - WI v Australia at Kingston, 1st time since 1955 without Sobers
1975 - Washington Capitals 1st NHL shutout, beating KC Scouts 3-0
1977 - USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan USSR
1978 - 1st Computer Bulletin Board System (Ward & Randy's CBBS, Chicago)
1979 - George Harrison releases "Blow Away"
1979 - USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
1980 - Continuous traffic jam extends 176 km north of Lyons, France
1980 - Eric Heiden skates 5k in 7:02.29 (Olympic Record)
1982 - Agatha Barbara elected as 1st female president of Malta
1982 - Assembled STS-3 vehicle moves from Vandenberg AFB to launch pad
1982 - Lee Majors & Farrah Fawcett Majors divorce
1983 - The Ash Wednesday bushfires in Victoria and South Australia claim the lives of 75 people in Australia's worst ever fires.
1984 - Bill Johnson becomes 1st American to win Olympic downhill skiing gold
1984 - NJ Devils 1st OT goal, Jan Ludvig beats Hartford Whalers 6-5
1985 - Largest NBA crowd to date, 43,816, sees Phila at Detroit
1985 - Livingston Bramble defeats Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini to win WBA champ
1985 - NJ Devils score their fastest hat trick in 42 seconds
1985 - The founding of Hezbollah.
1986 - "Uptown... It's Hot!" closes at Lunt-Fontanne NYC after 24 perfs
1986 - French air force bombs Ouadi Doum airport in Chad
1986 - Hein Vergeer becomes world champion skater
1986 - Karlstad skates world record 10 km (14:12.14)
1986 - Mario Soares (Socialist) elected Portugal's 1st civilian pres
1987 - John Demjanjuk, accused of being "Ivan the Terrible" trial begins
1988 - 1st documented combat action by US military advisors in El Salvador
1989 - Egypt, Iraq, Jordan & North Yemen form common market
1989 - Jane Fonda & Tom Hayden separate after 16 years of marriage
1989 - Orel Hershiser, Dodger pitcher signs $7.9M-3 year contract
1989 - Roger Clemens, Red Sox pitcher signs $7.5M-3 year contract
1989 - William Hayden becomes governor-general of Australia
1991 - Dutch PPR, Political Party Radicals, disbands
1991 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Tonya Harding
1992 - Former silver Goodyear blimps are now painted yellow & blue
1992 - LA Lakers retire Magic Johnson's #32 uniform
1993 - Sandra V"lker swims world record 50m backstroke (28.33 sec)
1993 - Western Australia's and Australia's first woman Premier, Carmen Lawrence, is voted out of office.
1994 - 6.5 earthquake strikes SE Sumatra, kills 200
1994 - Johann Olav Koss skates world record 1500m (1:51.29)
1994 - Premier Alfonso Bustamente ends govt in Peru
1996 - Gary Kirsten scores 188* for S Africa v UAE at Rawalpindi
1997 - At age 25, Jeff Gordon is youngest winner in Daytona 500 history
1997 - GTE Suncoast Senior Golf Classic
1997 - Paul Stankowski wins Hawaiian Golf Open
1997 - Terry-Jo Myers wins LPGA Los Angeles Women's Championship
1998 - Tellabs Inc acquires Coherent Communications Systems for $670 million
1999 - O.J. Simpson's 1968 Heisman Trophy is sold for $230,000 to help settle a $33.5 million civil judgement against Simpson for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend
1999 - Across Europe, Kurdish rebels take over embassies and hold hostages after Turkey arrested one of their rebel leaders, Abdullah Öcalan.
2003 - Michael Waltrip wins motor racing's Daytona 500 after rain stops the race for a second time at lap 109
2004 - The Pittsburgh Penguins lose their 12th consecutive home game, a NHL record
2005 - 2004-05 NHL season is canceled by league commissioner Gary Bettman. This was the first time that a North American professional sports league had to cancel a season due to a labor dispute
2005 - The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia.
2006 - The last Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.