Happenings at This Day in History

About a year ago I stopped making regular updates to this blog to concentrate on my Namnesia Antidote blog. While that is an ongoing effort, I am starting what should be about a year long effort to revitalize the concept of a "This Day in History" blog. I have decided to leave this blog intact and as-is, using a new "This Day in History 2.0" blog for my expanded and full version. Please feel free to email with your ideas. The two tables below should allow you to find a posting for the "Day in History" you wish to research.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February 29......

February 29 is the 60th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 306 days remaining in the year on this date.

February 29th, or bissextile day, is the 60th day of a leap year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 306 days remaining. A year which has a February 29 is, by definition, a leap year. This date only occurs every four years, in years evenly divisible by 4, such as 1988, 1996, or 2008, with the exceptions in century years not divisible by 400, such as 1900.

{Disclaimer: I have attempted to give credit to the many different sources that I get entries. Any failure to do so is unintentional. Any statement enclosed by brackets like these are the opinion of the blogger, A Proud Liberal.}


● Leap years come about mainly due to a technicality in the number of days in a year. Technically, a year consists of 365 days and approximately 6 hours. Therefore, every four years, an extra day is added to account for the extra twenty-four hours that have accumulated.

● A century year, that is, a year which ends in two zeros (1800, 1900, 2000, etc.), is not a leap year unless it is also evenly divisible by 400. This means that the year 2000 was a leap year and 2400 and 2800 will also be, but 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, and the years 2100, 2200, and 2300 will not be leap years either. To correct a slight inaccuracy that remains in the Gregorian Calendar, it has been proposed that years evenly divisible by 4000 should not be leap years, but this rule has not been officially adopted.

● Because of this, a leap day is more likely to fall on a Monday than on a Sunday. If, for example, February 29 falls on a Sunday, you would expect it to fall on Sunday again after 28 years, but if there's a century year in these 28 years, the pattern can become disrupted. The Gregorian calendar repeats itself every 400 years, and 400 years have 97 leap days, which is not divisible by seven, so these days can never be distributed evenly. A leap day on a Sunday occurs 13 times in these 400 years, so approximately every 30.8 years, a Monday however occurs 15 times, which is roughly every 26.7 years. The concepts of the leap year and 'leap day' are distinct from the leap second, which is necessitated by changes in the Earth's rotational speed.

● Those who are born on this day usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28 or March 1 during non-leap years. In the UK those born before noon on the 29th have their birth certificate dated the 28th, those born after noon are dated 1st March. In the comic musical The Pirates of Penzance, Frederic, born on February 29, was apprenticed to a band of pirates until his 21st birthday, in theory until he was 88 years old (as his lifetime included a non-leap centennial year).

● This day may be colloquially termed a leap day, though in the Roman calendar it was February 24 in a leap year which was added, giving the name of "bissextile" day or extra sixth day in the lead up to the 'Kalends' of March. The Romans, realizing the need for an extra day, chose February 24 in particular only because it followed the last day of their year, which at that point in history was February 23. An English law of 1256 decrees that in leap years the leap day and the day before are to be reckoned as one day for the purpose of calculating when a full year has passed; thus, in England and Wales a person born on February 29 legally reaches the age of 18 or 21 on February 28 of the relevant year. In the European Union, February 29 only officially became the leap day in 2000.

● There is a quaint tradition that women may make a proposal of marriage to men only on February 29; this is a tightening of an older tradition that such proposals may only occur in leap years. In 1288 the Scottish parliament legislated that any woman could propose in Leap Year. Another component of this tradition was that if the man rejects the proposal, he should soften the blow by providing a kiss, one pound currency and a pair of gloves (some later sources say a silk gown). There were similar notions in France and Switzerland.

● In France, there is a humorous periodical called La Bougie du Sapeur (the Sapper's Candle) published every February 29 since 1980. The name is a reference to the sapeur Camembert. In 2004, the seventh number of La Bougie du Sapeur, subtitled Dimanche, was published. The eighth issue will be published in 2008.


● 45 B.C. - Julius Caesar adjusts 46 B.C.--known as the Year of Confusion with its 445 days--by fixing 365 days and six hours as the length of a year, with one day intercalated every four years, a leap.

● 468 - Death of Pope St. Hilary (Hilarius), 46th Bishop of Rome. During his seven-year pontificate, he reaffirmed the earlier church councils of Nicea (325), Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451), at which the major creeds of the Early Church were hammered out.
● 1288 - Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man. In the event that he refused the proposal, he was required to pay a fine.

● 1504 - Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.

● 1528 - Martyrdom of Scottish reformer Patrick Hamilton, 24. Having spent time with Martin Luther and William Tyndale, Hamilton began promoting Reformation in Scotland. He was afterward arrested and burned at the stake one of the first martyrs of the Scottish Reformation.

● 1692 - The Salem Witch Trials began on this Leap Day when Tituba, the female Indian servant of the Rev. Samuel Parris, and one Sarah Goode were both arrested and accused of witchcraft.

● 1696 - English ex-premier Earl Danby accused of corruption

● 1704 - Forty-seven people killed when the town of Deerfield, Mass. is raided by French Canadians and Indians trying to retrieve their church bell that had been shipped from France. The bell was to hang in the Canadian Indians' village church. Neither the raiders nor the residents of Deerfield were aware that the bell had been stolen from the ship. The Deerfield folks had purchased the bell from a privateer, unaware that it belonged to the Indian congregation. 47 people were killed in the incident.

● 1712 - February 29 is followed by February 30 in Sweden, in a move to abolish the Swedish calendar for a return to the Old style.

● 1720 - Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden abdicates in favour of her husband, who becomes King Frederick I.

● 1736 - Birth of Anna Lee (Ann the Word or Mother Ann), Manchester, England, founder of the Shaker movement in America.

● 1784 - Marquis de Sade transferred from Vincennes fortress to the Bastille

● 1792 - Composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini was born in Pesaro, Italy.

● 1796 - Jay's Treaty proclaimed, settles some differences with England

● 1816 - Dutch (King) Willem II marries Russian grand-duchess Anna Paulowna

● 1832 - Charles Darwin visits jungle near Bahia Brazil

● 1840 - John Philip Holland, the Irish-born American inventor known as the father of the modern submarine, was born.

● 1848 - Neufchatel declares independence of Switzerland

● 1856 - Hostilities in Russo-Turkish War cease

● 1860 - The first electric tabulating machine was invented by Herman Hollerith.

● 1864 - American Civil War: Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid fails - Plans to free 15,000 Union soldiers being held near Richmond, Virginia are thwarted.

● 1868 - 1st British government of Disraeli forms

● 1880 - American evangelist Frank Sandford, 18, was converted to a believing Christian faith. As an adult Sandford became an instrumental figure in Holiness and Pentecostal history.

● 1880 - Gotthard railway tunnel between Switzerland & Italy opens

● 1892 - Britain & US sign treaty on seal hunting in Bering Sea

● 1892 - St. Petersburg, Florida incorporated.

● 1904 - Theodore Roosevelt, appoints 7 man committee to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal.

● 1904 - Bandleader Jimmy Dorsey was born in Shenandoah, Pa.

● 1908 - Dutch scientists produce solid helium

● 1916 - Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old.

● 1924 - Charles R. Forbes, former head of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, indicted for defrauding the government of $250 million.

● 1932 - TIME magazine features eccentric American politician William "Alfalfa" Murray on its cover after Murray stated his intention to run for President of the United States.

● 1932 - Failed coup attempt by fascist Lapua Movement in Finland

● 1936 - FDR signs 2nd neutrality act

● 1940 - 45 U boats sunk this month (170,000 ton)

● 1940 - Finland initiates Winter War peace negotiations

● 1940 - In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California due to the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives his 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Sweden's Consul General in San Francisco.

● 1940 - Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to win an Oscar. She won Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind."

● 1944 - The invasion of the Admiralty Islands began with "Operation Brewer." U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces onto Los Negros.

● 1944 - Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama became the first woman to be appointed secretary of a national political party. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee.

● 1944 - The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year in a row, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area. This was an effort to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime.

● 1944 - 5 leaders of Indonesia Communist Party sentenced to death

● 1948 - American missionary and martyr Jim Elliot wrote in his journal: 'Redemption marks the new beginning of life. Men and women do not live at all until they have life eternal.'

● 1948 - Stern-group bomb Cairo-Haifa train, 27 British soldiers died

● 1952 - The island of Heligoland is restored to German authority.

● 1952 - In New York City, four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square that told pedestrians when to walk.

● 1956 - U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces to the nation that he is running for a second term. (He defeats Adlai E. Stevenson that November 6, in a rematch of the 1952 election.)

● 1956 - Hopes for Mid East peace mission; The British Foreign Secretary, John Selwyn Lloyd, leaves London for a tour of the Middle East and Asia.

● 1956 - Islamic Republic established in Pakistan

● 1960 - 1st Playboy Club, featuring bunnies, opens in Chicago

● 1960 - Earthquake kills 1/3 of Agadir Morocco population (12,000) in 15 seconds

● 1960 - JFK makes "missile gap" the Presidential campaign issue

● 1964 - Royal baby for leap year day; The Queen's cousin, Princess Alexandra, has given birth to a son at her home in Surrey.

● 1964 - LBJ reveals US secretly developed the A-11 jet fighter

● 1968 - 1st pulsar discovered (CP 1919 by Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell at Cambridge)

● 1968 - The summary report of the Kerner Commission on Civil Disorders faults excessive police force in U.S. ghettos. Warns that the nation is "moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate & unequal." It recommends sweeping reforms in federal and local law enforcement, welfare, employment, housing, and education.

● 1968 - US end regular flights with nuclear bombs {As if they should have begun in the first place!}

● 1968 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

● 1972 - Columnist Jack Anderson reveals a memo from lobbyist Dita Beard stating that an ITT pledge of $400,000 to support the Republican National Convention was made in exchange for a recent favorable antitrust settlement.

● 1972 - Vietnam War: Vietnamization - South Korea withdraws 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.

● 1984 - Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau announces he will retire as soon as the Liberals can elect another leader after more than 15 years in power.

● 1988 - Nazi document implicates Waldheim in WWII deportations

● 1988 - NYC Mayor Koch calls Reagan a "WIMP" in the war on drugs

● 1988 - South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town

● 1996 - Siege of Sarajevo is lifted; The siege of Sarajevo is officially over - four years to the day since Bosnian Muslims and Croats voted in a referendum to break away from Yugoslavia.

● 1996 - Soyuz TM-23, lands

● 1996 - Novelist Joan Collins awarded US $1 million from Random House for breach of contract.

● 1996 - A Peruvian Boeing 737 crashes in the Andes, killing 123 people.

● 2000 - Appeal for Mozambique flood victims; International aid agencies in Mozambique say they need extra helicopters to rescue thousands trapped by rising flood waters.

● 2000 - Six year old Dedrick Owens shoots and kills Kayla Rolland, also six years old, at Theo J. Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan. Rolland is currently the youngest victim of a school shooting

● 2004 - Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigns as President of Haiti following popular rebel uprising.


● A person who was born on 29 February may be called a "leapling". In non-leap years they usually celebrate their birthday on 28 February or 1 March.

● For legal purposes, their legal birthdays depend on how different laws count time intervals. In Taiwan, for example, the legal birthday of a leapling is 28 February in common years, so a Taiwanese leapling born on 29 February 1980 would have legally reached 18 years old on 28 February 1998.

● "If a period fixed by weeks, months, and years does not commence from the beginning of a week, month, or year, it ends with the ending of the day which proceeds the day of the last week, month, or year which corresponds to that on which it began to commence. But if there is no corresponding day in the last month, the period ends with the ending of the last day of the last month."

● There are many instances in children's literature where a person's claim to be only a quarter of their actual age turns out to be based on counting their leap-year birthdays. A similar device is used in the plot of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance.

● 1468 - Pope Paul III, Italian noble and last Renaissance Pope (d. 1549)

● 1692 - John Byrom, English poet (d. 1763)

● 1736 - Ann Lee, American founder of Shakers (d. 1784)

● 1792 - Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer (d. 1868)

● 1792 - Karl Ernst Baer, Prussian-Estonian embryologist (d. 1876)

● 1840 - John Philip Holland, Irish-born American "father of the modern submarine" (d. 1914)

● 1852 - Frank Gavan Duffy, Australian judge (d. 1936)

● 1860 - Herman Hollerith, American statistician (d. 1929)

● 1892 - Augusta Savage, American sculptor and educator (d. 1962)

● 1896 - Morarji Desai, Prime Minister of India (1977-79) (d. 1995)

● 1896 - William A. Wellman, American film director (d. 1975)

● 1904 - Jimmy Dorsey, American bandleader (d. 1957)

● 1904 - Pepper Martin, baseball player (d. 1965)

● 1908 - Balthus, French-Polish painter (d. 2001)

● 1908 - Dee Brown, American writer (d. 2002)

● 1908 - Alf Gover, English cricketer (d. 2001)

● 1916 - Dinah Shore, American singer (d. 1994)

● 1920 - James Mitchell, American actor

● 1920 - Michèle Morgan, French actress

● 1920 - Howard Nemerov, American poet (d. 1991)

● 1924 - Al Rosen, American baseball player

● 1924 - Carlos Humberto Romero, President of El Salvador

● 1928 - Joss Ackland, English actor

● 1928 - Tempest Storm, American burlesque performer

● 1932 - Jaguar, Brazilian cartoonist

● 1936 - Jack Lousma, astronaut

● 1936 - Henri Richard, Canadian hockey player

● 1936 - Alex Rocco, American actor

● 1940 - Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople

● 1944 - Phyllis Frelich, American actress

● 1944 - Dennis Farina, American actor

● 1944 - Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri, Italian illustrator

● 1944 - Ene Ergma, Estonian politician

● 1952 - Tim Powers, American writer

● 1952 - Raisa Smetanina, Russian cross-country skier

● 1952 - Bart Stupak, American politician

● 1956 - Jonathan Coleman, Anglo-Australian entertainer

● 1956 - Bob Speller, Canadian politician

● 1956 - Aileen Wuornos, American serial killer (d. 2002)

● 1956 - J. Randy Taraborrelli, American celebritiy journalist

● 1960 - Ian McKenzie Anderson, British musician

● 1960 - Richard Ramirez, American serial killer

● 1960 - Tony Robbins, American motivational speaker

● 1964 - Lyndon Byers, Canadian hockey player

● 1968 - Chucky Brown, American basketball player

● 1968 - Pete Fenson, American curler

● 1968 - Gonzalo Lira, Chilean-American novelist

● 1968 - Bryce Paup, American football player

● 1972 - Antonio Sabato Jr., Italian-born actor

● 1972 - Dave Williams, American singer (Drowning Pool) (d. 2002)

● 1972 - Pedro Zamora, Cuban-born American AIDS activist (d. 1994)

● 1976 - Ja Rule, American rapper and actor

● 1980 - Patrick Côté, Canadian mixed martial artist

● 1980 - Simon Gagné, Canadian hockey player

● 1980 - Taylor Twellman, American soccer player

● 1984 - Darren Ambrose, English footballer

● 1984 - Cam Ward, Canadian hockey player


● 1528 - Patrick Hamilton, Scottish religious reformer (martyred) (b. 1504)

● 1592 - Alessandro Striggio, Italian composer (b. 1540)

● 1604 - John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1530)

● 1740 - Pietro Ottoboni, Italian cardinal (b. 1667)

● 1744 - John Theophilus Desaguliers, French philosopher (b. 1683)

● 1820 - Johann Joachim Eschenburg, German literary critic (b. 1743)

● 1868 - Ludwig I of Bavaria (b. 1786)

● 1928 - Ina Coolbrith, first poet laureate of California (b. 1841)

● 1940 - Edward Frederic Benson, American writer (b. 1867)

● 1944 - Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, President of Finland (b. 1861)

● 1956 - Elpidio Quirino, President of the Philippines (b. 1890)

● 1968 - Tore Ørjasæter, Norwegian poet (b. 1886)

● 1980 - Gil Elvgren, American artist (b. 1914)

● 1992 - Ruth Pitter, English poet (b. 1897)

● 2000 - Kayla Rolland, (b. 1993)

● 2004 - Jerome Lawrence, American playwright (b. 1915)


● Roman Catholic:
● St. Hilarius, Pope (461-68), calendar reformer (leap years)

● Russian Orthodox Christian Menaion Calendar for February 16 (Civil Date: February 29)
● Martyrs Pamphilus presbyter, Valens deacon, Paul, Seleucus, Porphyrius, Julian, Theodulus, Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel and Danial, at Caesaria in Palestine.
● St. Marutha, Bishop of Martyropolis in Mesopotamia.
● Persian Martyrs with St. Maruthas.
● Martyr Romanus of Mt. Athos.
● New-Martyrs Priest Elias (1934) and Priest Peter Lagov (1931).

● Greek Calendar:
● St. Flavian the hermit.
● Repose of Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow, Apostle to the Altai (1926).

● Christian:
● St. Oswald, archbishop of York

● Bahá'í Faith - Day 4 of Ayyám-i-Há (Intercalary Days) (in leap years only) - days in the Bahá'í calendar devoted to service and gift giving.

● Discordianism - St. Tib's Day.


● In some calendar reform proposals like The 30x11 Calendar, February 29 occurs every year and is an advantage to people born on February 29, but in The 30x11 Calendar, there is a new leap day called December 36.

Click on this LINK to see original Wikipedia list with many having links with details.

Additional facts taken from:

On this day in the New York Times

The BBC’s Take on the day

On This Day Website

Geov Parrish's this Day in Radical History, things that happened on this day that you never had to memorize in school.

Scope Systems Any Day Website

Roman Catholic Saint of the Day

Russian Orthodox Christian Menaion Calendar

Permanent Backlink to Post

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