Today in History: 4th February

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Holidays and observances

  • Day of the Armed Struggle (Angola)
  • Earliest day on which Ash Wednesday can fall, while March 10 is the latest; celebrated on the first day of Lent (Christianity)
  • Independence Day (Sri Lanka)
  • World Cancer Day

Events

  • 1169 – A strong earthquake struck the Ionian coast of Sicily, causing tens of thousands of injuries and deaths, especially in Catania.
  • 1758 – Macapá, Brazil is founded.
  • 1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
  • 1794 – The French legislature abolishes slavery throughout all territories of the French First Republic. It will be reestablished in the French West Indies in 1802.
  • 1797 – The Riobamba earthquake strikes Ecuador, causing up to 40,000 casualties.
  • 1938 – Adolf Hitler appoints himself as head of the Armed Forces High Command.
  • 1961 – The Angolan War of Independence and the greater Portuguese Colonial War begin.
  • 1966 – All Nippon Airways Flight 60 plunges into Tokyo Bay, killing 133.
  • 1976 – In Guatemala and Honduras an earthquake kills more than 22,000.
  • 1992 – A coup d’état is led by Hugo Chávez against Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez.
  • 1997 – En route to Lebanon, two Israeli Sikorsky CH-53 troop-transport helicopters collide in mid-air over northern Galilee, Israel killing 73.
  • 1998 – The 5.9 Mw Afghanistan earthquake shakes the Takhar Province with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII (Very strong). With 2,323 killed, and 818 injured, damage is considered extreme.
  • 1999 – Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot 41 times by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race relations in the city.
  • 2003 – The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia adopts a new constitution, becoming a loose confederacy between Montenegro and Serbia.
  • 2004 – Facebook, a mainstream online social networking site, is founded by Mark Zuckerberg.

Births

  • 1818 – Emperor Norton, San Francisco eccentric and visionary (d. 1880)
  • 1868 – Constance Markievicz, Irish revolutionary and first woman elected to the UK House of Commons (d. 1927)
  • 1871 – Friedrich Ebert, German lawyer and politician, 1st President of Germany (d. 1925)
  • 1881 – Eulalio Gutiérrez, Mexican general and politician, President of Mexico (d. 1939)
  • 1883 – Reinhold Rudenberg, German-American inventor and a pioneer of electron microscopy (d. 1961)
  • 1892 – E. J. Pratt, Canadian poet and academic (d. 1964)
  • 1895 – Nigel Bruce, English actor (d. 1953)
  • 1897 – Ludwig Erhard, German soldier and politician, 2nd Chancellor of West Germany (d. 1977)
  • 1899 – Virginia M. Alexander, American physician and founder of the Aspiranto Health Home(d. 1949)
  • 1906 – Clyde Tombaugh, American astronomer and academic, discovered Pluto (d. 1997)
  • 1917 – Yahya Khan, Pakistan general and politician, 3rd President of Pakistan (d. 1980)
  • 1921 – Lotfi Zadeh, Iranian-American mathematician and computer scientist and founder of fuzzy logic (d. 2017)
  • 1931 – Isabel Martínez de Perón, Argentinian dancer and politician, 41st President of Argentina
  • 1936 – Claude Nobs, Swiss businessman, founded the Montreux Jazz Festival (d. 2013)
  • 1947 – Dan Quayle, American sergeant, lawyer, and politician, 44th Vice President of the United States
  • 1948 – Alice Cooper, American singer-songwriter
  • 1955 – Mikuláš Dzurinda, Slovak politician, Prime Minister of Slovakia
  • 1965 – Jerome Brown, American Football Player (d. 1992)
  • 1986 – Mahmudullah Riyad, Bangladeshi cricketer
  • 1987 – Darren O’Dea, Irish footballer
  • 1987 – Lucie Šafářová, Czech tennis player
  • 1988 – Carly Patterson, American gymnast and singer
  • 1993 – Bae Noo-ri, South Korean actress
  • 1998 – Maximilian Wöber, Austrian footballer
  • Deaths
  • 1987 – Meena Keshwar Kamal, Afghan activist, founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (b. 1956)
  • 1987 – Carl Rogers, American psychologist and academic (b. 1902)
  • 1990 – Whipper Billy Watson, Canadian-American wrestler and trainer (b. 1915)
  • 2011 – Martial Célestin, Haitian lawyer and politician, 1st Prime Minister of Haiti (b. 1913)
  • 2018 – John Mahoney, English-American actor, voice artist, and comedian (b. 1940)

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