Today in History
Today is Thursday, Feb. 16, the 47th day of 2023. There are 324 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History: On Feb. 16, 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba a month and a-half after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.
On this date:
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee ended as some 12,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered; Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s victory earned him the moniker “Unconditional Surrender Grant.”
In 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its independence from the Russian Empire. (Lithuania, which was occupied by the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, then the Soviet Union again during World War II, renewed its independence in 1990).
In 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen’s recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt by English archaeologist Howard Carter.
In 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.
In 1960, the nuclear-powered radar picket submarine USS Triton departed New London, Connecticut, on the first submerged circumnavigation by a vessel.
In 1961, the United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite.
In 1996, eleven people were killed in a fiery collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a Maryland commuter train in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In 1998, a China Airlines Airbus A300 trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board, plus seven on the ground.
In 2001, the United States and Britain staged air strikes against radar stations and air defense command centers in Iraq.
In 2009, in Stamford, Connecticut, a 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis went berserk, severely mauling its owner’s friend, Charla Nash; Travis was shot dead by police.
In 2011, bookstore chain Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it would close nearly a third of its stores. (Borders closed all of its remaining stores in September 2011.)
Ten years ago: Gunmen attacked a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven workers from Lebanon, Britain, Greece and Italy; the kidnappers later claimed to have killed the hostages. Billy Hunter was ousted as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association by NBA players. Tony Sheridan, 72, a British singer who performed with the Beatles during their early years in Germany, died in Hamburg.
Five years ago: In an indictment, special counsel Robert Mueller accused 13 Russians of an elaborate plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. presidential election with a huge but hidden social media trolling campaign aimed in part at helping Donald Trump. The FBI said it had received a tip in January that the suspect in the Parkland, Florida school shooting had a “desire to kill” and access to guns, but agents failed to investigate. Former presidential hopeful Mitt Romney officially launched his political comeback attempt, announcing that he was running for a Utah Senate seat. (Romney would be elected in November, handily defeating Democrat Jenny Wilson.)
One year ago: Ukrainians defied pressure from Moscow with a national show of flag-waving unity, while the West warned that it saw no sign of a promised pullback of Russian troops from Ukraine’s borders despite Kremlin declarations of a withdrawal. (Russia would invade Ukraine four days later.) The Catholic Church said baptisms performed by a priest who served in Arizona for 16 years are now presumed to be invalid because he used incorrect wording on a subtle but key component of the sacrament.
Today’s birthdays: Jazz/pop singer-actor Peggy King is 93. Actor William Katt is 72. Actor LeVar Burton is 66. Actor-rapper Ice-T is 65. International Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe is 64. Rock musician Andy Taylor is 62. Rock musician Dave Lombardo (Slayer) is 58. Actor Sarah Clarke is 52. Olympic gold medal runner Cathy Freeman is 50. Actor Mahershala Ali is 49. Electronic dance music artist Bassnectar is 45. Rapper Lupe Fiasco is 41. Actor Chloe Wepper is 37. Poprock singer Ryan Follese (Hot Chelle Rae) is 36. Sen. John Ossoff, D-Ga., is
36. Rock musician Danielle Haim is
34. Actor Elizabeth Olsen is 34.