Sunday Times

Feb 25 in History


1336 — Four thousand defenders of Pilenai, a hill fort in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, commit mass suicide rather than be taken captive by the Teutonic Knights.

1705 — George Frideric Handel ’ s opera “Nero” (“The love obtained through blood and murder; or, Nero”) premieres in Hamburg. While living in Hamburg from 1703-06, Handel composes four operas. Only “Almira” survives more or less intact; only short orchestral excerpts from “Florindo” and “Daphne” survive; and the music for “Nero” is lost. 1814 — Australia’s first currency, the holey dollar, is introduced for New South Wales to address a shortage of coins in the colony. Governor Lachlan Macquarie imported 40,000 Spanish reales and had convicted forger William Henshall cut the centre out of each to double the number of coins. Henshall countersta­mped them and the outer ring becomes known as the holey dollar, valued at five shillings. The 15-pence centre is named the dump. 1895 — President Paul Kruger proclaims the 600ha Groenkloof Nature Reserve, adjacent to the Fountains Valley at the southern entrance to Pretoria, a game sanctuary, the first in Africa.

1912 — Marie-Adélaïde, the eldest of six daughters of Guillaume IV, becomes the first reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.

1921 —The Georgian capital Tiflis (Tbilisi since 1936) falls to invading Russian forces and the Russians declare the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. Georgia was annexed by Russia on September 12 1801. It gained independen­ce from the Russian Empire on May 26 1918. It again declares independen­ce on April 9 1991.

1932 — Adolf Hitler, stateless since terminatin­g his Austrian citizenshi­p in 1925, obtains German citizenshi­p when fellow Nazi Dietrich Klagges appoints him a Brunswick state official, enabling him to run for Reichspräs­ident in the 1932 election. 1951 — The first Pan American Games opens in Buenos Aires, Argentina, offering the 2,513 entrants from 21 nations 140 events in 18 sports. 1956 — Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounces Josef Stalin in a speech titled “On the Cult of Personalit­y and Its Consequenc­es” (aka the Secret Speech) before the Congress of the Communist Party. It is leaked to the West and causes alarm across the communist world.

1991 — The Warsaw Pact (between the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslov­akia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania) is disbanded at a meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

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