Today in History – February 23

303 – Roman emperor Diocletian ordered the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, which began eight years of Diocletianic Persecution.

1455 – Traditionally the date of publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.

1540 – Francisco Vázquez de Coronado’s expedition set off from Mexico in search of the 7 cities of Cibola,

1778 – American Revolutionary War: Baron von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to help to train the Continental Army.

1782 – Engineer James Watt’s patent for a rotary motion for the steam engine (his sun-and-planet gear) was granted.

1822 – Boston, Massachusetts, was incorporated as a city.

1836 – Texas Revolution: The Siege of the Alamo (prelude to the Battle of the Alamo) began in San Antonio, Texas.

1847 – Mexican–American War: Battle of Buena Vista: In Mexico, American troops under future president General Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.

1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.

1870 – Reconstruction Era: Post-U.S. Civil War military control of Mississippi ended and it was readmitted to the Union.

1883 – Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an anti-trust law.

1886 – Charles Martin Hall produced the first samples of aluminium from the electrolysis of aluminium oxide, after several years of intensive work. He was assisted in this project by his older sister, Julia Brainerd Hall.

1886 – “The Times” of London published world’s first classified ad.

1896 – Tootsie Roll was introduced by Leo Hirshfield.

1903 – Cuba leased Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.

1904 – The United States acquired control of the Panama Canal Zone for $10 million.

1905 – Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen met for lunch and formed the Rotary Club, the world’s first service club.

1927 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill by Congress which established the Federal Radio Commission (later replaced by the Federal Communications Commission) which was to regulate the use of radio frequencies in the United States.

1940 – Walt Disney’s animated movie “Pinocchio” was released.

1941 – Plutonium was first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg.

1942 – World War II: Japanese submarines fired artillery shells at the coastline near Santa Barbara, California.

1945 – World War II: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines reached the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and were photographed raising the American flag.

1945 – World War II: The 11th Airborne Division, with Filipino guerrillas, freed all 2,147 captives of the Los Baños internment camp, in what General Colin Powell later refered to as “the textbook airborne operation for all ages and all armies.”

1945 – World War II: The capital of the Philippines, Manila, was liberated by combined Filipino and American forces.

1954 – The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh.

1958 – Five-time Argentine Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio was kidnapped by rebels involved in the Cuban Revolution on the eve of the Cuban Grand Prix. He was released the following day after the race.

1974 – The Symbionese Liberation Army demanded $4 million more to release kidnap victim Patty Hearst.

1980 – Iran hostage crisis: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini stated that Iran’s parliament would decide the fate of the American embassy hostages.

1983 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announced its intent to buy out and evacuate the dioxin-contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.

1988 – Saddam Hussein began the Anfal genocide against Kurds and Assyrians in northern Iraq.

1998 – In the United States, tornadoes in central Florida destroyed or damaged 2,600 structures and killed 42 people.

2008 – A United States Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber crashed on Guam, which was the first operational loss of a B-2.

2019 – Atlas Air Flight 3591, a Boeing 767 freighter, crashed into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, and killed all three people on board.

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