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Today in History

Today in History

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 16, the 47th day of 2022. There are 318 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.)

In 2019, the Vatican announced that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who served as archbishop of Washington, D.C., had been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse and had been defrocked; McCarrick was the highest-ranking churchman and the first cardinal to face that punishment as the church dealt with clerical sex abuse.

Ten years ago: A federal judge in Detroit ordered life in prison for “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO’-mahr fah-ROOK’ ahb-DOOL’-moo-TAH’-lahb), a Nigerian who had tried to blow up a packed Northwest jetliner. New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, died of an apparent asthma attack in Syria while reporting on the uprising against its president; he was 43. Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter died in West Palm Beach, Florida, at age 57.

Five years ago: In the first full-length news conference of his presidency, Donald Trump denounced what he called the “criminal” leaks that took down his top national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump named Alexander Acosta as his new choice for labor secretary, a day after Andrew Puzder abruptly withdrew. Immigrants around the U.S. stayed home from work and school to demonstrate how important they were to America’s economy, and many businesses closed in solidarity.

One year ago: A winter storm that left millions without power in record-breaking cold weather claimed more lives, including four family members who perished in a Houston-area house fire while using a fireplace to stay warm. FEMA opened its first COVID-19 mass vaccination sites, setting up in Los Angeles and Oakland as part of a stepped-up effort by the Biden administration to reach minority communities. Amy Cooper, the white woman who was arrested for calling 911 on a Black birdwatcher in New York’s Central Park, had her criminal case thrown out after completing a diversionary counseling program.

Today’s Birthdays: Jazz/pop singer-actor Peggy King is 92. Actor William Katt is 71. Actor LeVar Burton is 65. Actor-rapper Ice-T is 64. Actor Lisa Loring is 64. International Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe is 63. Rock musician Andy Taylor is 61. Rock musician Dave Lombardo (Slayer) is 57. Actor Sarah Clarke is 51. Olympic gold medal runner Cathy Freeman is 49. Actor Mahershala Ali is 48. Electronic dance music artist Bassnectar is 44. Rapper Lupe Fiasco is 40. Actor Chloe Wepper is 36. Pop-rock singer Ryan Follese (FAHL’-eh-say) (Hot Chelle (SHEL) Rae) is 35. Sen. John Ossoff, D-Ga., is 35. Rock musician Danielle Haim (HYM) is 33. Actor Elizabeth Olsen is 33.