Today in History


Today is Wednesday, Feb. 8, the 39th day of 2023. There are 332 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 8, 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England after she was implicated in a plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.

On this date:

In 1693, a charter was granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg in the Virginia Colony.

In 1910, the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

In 1922, President Warren G. Harding had a radio installed in the White House.

In 1924, the first execution by gas in the United States took place at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City as Gee Jon, a Chinese immigrant convicted of murder, was put to death.

In 1952, Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed her accession to the British throne following the death of her father, King George VI.

In 1960, work began on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located on Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street in Los Angeles.

In 1965, Eastern Air Lines Flight 663, a DC-7, crashed shortly after takeoff from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport; all 84 people on board were killed. The Supremes’ record “Stop! In the Name of Love!” was released by Motown.

In 1968, three Black students were killed in a confrontation between demonstrators and highway patrolmen at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg in the wake of protests over a whites-only bowling alley.

In 1971, NASDAQ, the world’s first electronic stock exchange, held its first trading day.

In 1973, Senate leaders named seven members of a select committee to investigate the Watergate scandal, including its chairman, Democrat Sam J. Ervin of North Carolina.

In 2007, model, actor and tabloid sensation Anna Nicole Smith died in Hollywood, Florida, at age 39 of an accidental drug overdose.

In 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said a 60-year-old U.S. citizen who’d been diagnosed with the coronavirus had died on Feb. 5 in Wuhan; it was apparently the first American fatality from the virus.

Ten years ago: A massive storm packing hurricane-force winds and blizzard conditions began sweeping through the Northeast, dumping nearly 2 feet of snow on New England and knocking out power to more than a half a million customers.

Five years ago: The federal government stumbled into a shutdown that would end by morning, its second in less than a month, as rogue Senate Republicans blocked a speedy vote on a massive, bipartisan, budget-busting spending deal. For the second time in a week, the Dow Jones industrials plunged by more than 1,000 points as a sell-off in the stock market deepened. Hundreds of thousands lined the streets of Philadelphia as the Eagles celebrated their Super Bowl victory with a parade.

One year ago: Retired Pope Benedict XVI asked forgiveness for any “grievous faults” in his handling of clergy sex abuse cases, but denied any personal or specific wrongdoing after an independent report criticized his actions in four cases while he was archbishop of Munich, Germany. “The Power of the Dog” topped the 2022 Oscar nominations with 10. (It would go on to win just one, best director for Jane Campion.)

Today’s birthdays: Composer-conductor John Williams is 91. Broadcast journalist Ted Koppel is 83. Actor Nick Nolte is 82. Comedian Robert Klein is 81. Actor-rock musician Creed Bratton is 80. Singer Ron Tyson is 75. Actor Brooke Adams is 74. Actor Mary Steenburgen is 70. Author John Grisham is 68. Retired NBA All-Star and College Basketball Hall of Famer Marques Johnson is 67. Actor Henry Czerny is 64. Rock singer Vince Neil (Motley Crue) is 62. Former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson is 61. Movie producer Toby Emmerich is 60. Actor Missy Yager is 55. Actor Mary McCormack is 54. Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning is 53. Actor Susan Misner is 52. Dance musician Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (Daft Punk) is 49. Actor Seth Green is 49. Actor Joshua Morrow is 49. Rock musician Phoenix (Linkin Park) is 46. Actor William Jackson Harper is 43. Actor Jim Parrack is 42. Folk singer-musician Joey Ryan (Milk Carton Kids) is 41. Actor-comedian Cecily Strong is 39. Rock musician Jeremy Davis is 38. Hip-hop artist Anderson.Paak is 37. Actor Ryan Pinkston is 35. NBA star Klay Thompson is 33. Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton is 33. Actor Karle Warren is 31.

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