Today in History: February 29 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: February 29

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


February 29

45 BC The first Leap Day is recognized by proclamation of Julius Caesar. Under the old Roman calendar, the last day of February was the last day of the year.
1692 Sarah Goode and Tituba are accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, sparking the hysteria that started the Salem Witch Trials.
1784 The Marquis de Sade is transferred from Vincennes fortress to the Bastille.
1856 Hostilities in Russo-Turkish War cease.
1864 Union Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick splits his forces at the Rapidan River ordering Col. Ulric Dahlgren to lead 500 men his men to Goochland Court House, while the remainder followed Kilpatrick in his raid on Richmond.
1864 Lt. William B. Cushing leads a landing party from the USS Monticello to Smithville, NC, in an attempt to capture Confederate Brig. Gen. Louis Hebert, only to discover that Hebert and his men had already moved on Wilmington.
1868 British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli forms his first cabinet.
1940 Hattie McDaniel is first African American to win an Academy Award–best supporting actress–for her performance in Gone With The Wind.
1944 US forces catch Japanese troops off-guard and easily take control of the Admiralty Islands in Papua New Guinea.
1944 Dorothy Vredenburgh accepts an appointment by the Democratic National Committee becoming the first woman secretary of a national political party in the U.S.
1952 The first pedestrian “Walk/Don’t Walk” signs are installed at 44th Street and Broadway at Times Square.
1956 President Dwight D. Eisenhower announces he will seek second term.
1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson reveals the U.S. secretly developed the Lockheed A-11 jet fighter.
1968 Jocelyn Burnell, of Cambridge University, discovers first pulsar.
1968 The Beatles win a Grammy Award for their album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
1972 Henry “Hank” Aaron becomes first baseball player to sign a baseball contract for $200,000 a year.
1988 A Nazi document is discovered that implicates participation of Austrian president and former U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim in WWII deportations.
Born on February 29
1712 Marquis Louis Joseph de Montcalm, Commander of French Forces in North America during French and Indian War.
1736 Anna Lee, founder of the Shaker movement in America.
1792 Gioacchino Rossini, Italian composer
1860 Herman Hollerith, inventor of a tabulation mechanism that was a forerunner to the computer.
1904 Jimmy Dorsey, orchestra leader
1930 Fran Tarkenton, NFL quarterback
1936 Jack R. Lousma, Astronaut