Feb. 21– 1848: “The Communist Manifesto,” authored by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is published in London. 1878: The first phone directory, containing fifty names and numbers, became available in New Harbor, CT. (It’s highly unlikely that this phone book was ever used as a booster seat for children at the dining table). 1916: The Battle of Verdun begins in France during WW I. It would last for nearly nine months and kill an estimated one million people, making it the longest and deadliest battle of the war. 1972: President Richard M. Nixon arrives in China, becoming the first U.S. president to visit the country.

Feb. 22– 1512: Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci dies in Seville, Spain, never knowing that his first name would become permanently attached to two continents! 1732: George Washington, the man who would become known as “the father of his country,” was born in Westmoreland County in the colony of Virginia. 1819: Spain cedes Florida to the United States. The territory had become a burden to the Spanish government, which could not afford to settle the land or defend it. 2017: Jay-Z (born Shawn Corey Carter) becomes the first rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Feb. 23– 1455: Johannes Gutenberg prints the first Bible using movable type on his printing press in Mainz, Germany. 1904: The United States acquires control of the canal zone in Panama for $10 million, allowing President Theodore Roosevelt to move ahead with plans to build the canal through the isthmus. 1945: Marines raise the U.S. flag atop Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima. The event becomes etched in history when photographer Joe Rosenthall’s iconic picture appears worldwide the following day, winning him a Pulitzer Prize and inspiring the Marine Corp Memorial outside Washington, DC.

1954: The first mass inoculation against polio, using the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, takes place in Pittsburgh, PA.1968: Wilt Chamberlain becomes the first NBA basketball player to record 25,000 points.

Feb 24– 1841: Former President John Quincy argues the Amistad slave ship case before the U.S. Supreme Court. 1868: The U.S. House of Representatives votes 126-47 to impeach President Andrew Johnson. 1998: Singer/songwriter Elton John is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, making him SIR Elton forevermore. 2008: Fidel Castro steps down as president of Cuba after ruling the island nation for nearly 50 years. His vice-president (and brother) Raul Castro succeeds him.

Feb. 25– 1862: The U.S. Congress passes the “Legal Tender Act;” the “greenback” becomes the first flat paper money. 1943: Future Beatle George Harrison is born in Liverpool, England.
1964: Boxer Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammed Ali) defeats Sonny Liston in Miami Beach, FL for his first heavyweight boxing championship.

Feb. 26– 1732: The first mass takes place at the first Catholic Church in Philadelphia, PA. 1935: Sir Robert Watson-Watt demonstrates his “Radio Detection and Ranging” device (RADAR) for the British Air Ministry. 1993: A bomb planted by terrorists explodes in an underground parking garage at the World Trade Center in New York, killing six, injuring nearly 1,000, and causing more that $500 million damage.

Feb. 27– 1827: Mardi Gras is first celebrated in New Orleans, LA. 1902: American novelist John Steinback is born in Salinas, CA. 1933: The German Parliament building (Reichstag) is destroyed by fire. It was widely believed, but never proved, that NAZI supporters were behind the conflagration. 1996: The character known as “Pokémon” first appears in a role-play video game in Japan. 2015: American actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock in “Star Trek,” dies at his home in Bel Air, CA at age 83. He lived long and prospered.