February 27 0280 Birth: Constantine the Great, Roman emperor (312-37), the first to be converted (0312) to the Christian faith. During interrogation, the young radical confesses that he set the fire "As a protest," but denies any connection with the Communist Party and swears he alone had set the fires inside the Reichstag. Rudolf Diels, chief of the Prussian political police, tells Hitler that van der Lubbe's (above) confession rings true, but Hitler refuses to believe the arsonist had acted alone and blames the Communist movement as a whole for the troubles that continue to plague Germany. Hitler and Goebbels work from midnight to dawn at the "Völkischer Beobachter" offices preparing the next day's edition, which accuses the Reds of a plot to seize power and setting fire to the Reichstag.
1526 League of Gotha: Saxony and Hesse form a league of Protestant princes.
1557 The first Russian Embassy opens in London.
1622 Birth: Carel Fabritius, painter. "Carel Fabritius was a great painter who died young in the explosion of the powder magazine in Delft in 1654 and whose pictures are too rare to perpetuate his reputation. He became a pupil of Rembrandt at an early age and it could be argued that he was the most original painter Rembrandt ever had in his studio. Fabritius appreciated Rembrandt's analytical approach to human character and interpreted it in his own quiet way instead of just imitating the outward bravado of brushwork. Fabritius has also occupied a peculiar position in the context of the painting style in Delft in the 1650s. This is caused by the fact that the rediscoverer of Vermeer, Thoré-Bürger, who owned Fabritius's Goldfinch, saw Fabritius as a link between Rembrandt and Vermeer. This has led most subsequent writers to see Fabritius as a forerunner of Vermeer and not as a painter in his own right. Indeed, Fabritius was already dead when Vermeer signed and dated his first pictures and they are all more or less..."
1665 Battle at Elmina: Vice-admiral De Ruyter defeats the English off the Gold Coast.
1670 All Jews are expelled from Austria by order of Leopold I.
1696 English and Welsh nobles lay down an Oath of Association.
1700 The Pacific island of New Britain is discovered.
1801 Washington DC is placed under Congressional jurisdiction.
1813 The first federal vaccination legislation is enacted in the US.
1813 The US Congress authorizes the use of steamboats to transport mail.
1832 Birth: Alfred Pollard Edward, Civil War journalist.
1844 The Dominican Republic gains its independence, from Haiti.
1844 Death: Nicholas Biddle, US lawyer, diplomat, statesman, financier.
1861 Birth: Rudolf Steiner, in Austria; philosopher who will found the anthroposophy movement.
1861 Warsaw Massacre: Russian troops shoot into a crowd of Poles protesting against Russian rule of Poland.
1864 US Civil War: The 6th and last day of battle at Dalton, Georgia brings about another 600 casualties.
1864 US Civil War: Near Andersonville, Georgia, rebels open a new POW camp; 'Camp Sumpter.'
1867 Birth: Irving Fisher, US economist; compensating dollar.
1877 The US Electoral College declares Rutherford B. Hayes winner of the presidential election.
1879 Constantine Fahlberg discovers saccharin, an artificial sweetener.
1881 First Boer War: The British are defeated at the Battle of Majuba.
1881 Death: George Colley, British governor of Natal, general; in battle at 46.
1883 Oscar Hammerstein patents the first practical cigar-rolling machine.
1887 Birth: James D. Innes, English painter.
1897 Birth: Bernard F. Lyot, French astronomer; will develop the Lyot filter.
1897 Birth: G. Paul H. Schuitema, graphic designer, photographer; System-O-Color.
1899 Birth: Charles H. Best, in Maine, physiologist, co-discoverer of Insulin.
1900 Boer War: General Piet Cronje surrenders at Paardeburg to the English, in South-Africa.
1900 The British Labour Party is founded with Kier Hardie as leader. Ramsay MacDonald is its secretary and later will be its first Prime Minister.
1901 Birth: Marino Marini, Italian sculptor, painter.
1902 Birth: John Steinbeck, in Salinas, California, Nobel prize winning US novelist; Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men. "In 1998, when the Modern Library published its list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century, it sparked considerable debate over what is and isn't a great novel. Exactly a third of the titles on the list of 'best' novels, including 6 of the top 10, have been removed or threatened with removal from bookstores, libraries and schools at some point. The Grapes of Wrath, number 10 on the list, has been one of the most vilified works since its publication in 1939. Burned at the St. Louis (Mo.) Public Library immediately after publication, it also was banned from the Buffalo (N.Y.) Public Library because of 'vulgar words.' It was challenged in the Greenville (S.C.) schools because it used the names of God and Jesus 'in a vain and profane manner' and was banned in Kern County (Calif.) where the story was set. It continues to be one of the most challenged books in schools and libraries."
1904 Birth: James Thomas Farrell, US author; Studs Lonigan trilogy.
1906 France and Britain agrees to joint control of New Hebrides.
1910 Birth: Peter De Vries, in Chicago, Illinois, author; Reuben Reuben, Prick of Noon.
1912 Birth: Lawrence Durrell, in Darjeeling, India, writer; Alexandria Quartet.
1913 Birth: Irwin Shaw, US novelist; Rich Man Poor Man.
1922 US Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover convenes the first National Radio Conference.
1922 The US Supreme Court unanimously upholds the 19th Amendment guaranteeing a woman's right to vote.
1925 Weimar: Hitler makes an inflammatory speech and revives the NSDAP.
1927 For the second Sunday in a row, golfers in South Carolina are arrested for violating the Sabbath.
1929 Turkey signs the Litvinov pact with the USSR.
1933 Church and Reich: A law is announced recognizing seven Catholic feast days as legal German holidays. (Lewy)
1933 A huge fire destroys the Reichstag, the seat of German government. Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch Communist, is arrested after he is found bare to the waist inside the Reichstag.
1935 Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg denies that his government intends to expel eastern-European Jews or reduce the number of professional Jews. (Edelheit)
1936 Death: Ivan P. Pavlov, Russian physiologist; reflexes, Nobel 1904.
1936 The French Parliament ratifies the Franco-Soviet military alliance.
1936 Mussolini protests the Five-Power Mediterranean Pact.
1937 France establishes a ministry of defense.
1937 Anti-Jewish violence again breaks out in Romania.
1938 Britain and France recognize the Franco government in Spain.
1939 Britain's most famous haunted house, Borley Rectory, is destroyed by fire.
1939 The US Supreme Court outlaws sit-down strikes.
1940 Holocaust: 389 Jews are deported from Amsterdam to Buchenwald concentration camp. (Atlas)
1942 WW2: The Battle of Java Sea begins as 13 US warships sink 2 Japanese ships.
1942 Those Vichy French: The first French Jews are transported to Nazi Germany.
1942 J.S. Hey discovers radio emissions from the Sun.
1942 Death: Karel W.F.M. Doorman, spy.
1943 Holocaust: During the course of deporting the last German Jews, the Gestapo in Berlin seizes 6,000 Christian "non-Aryan" men married to "Aryan" women. Then something unexpected and unparalleled happens: their "Aryan" wives follow their husbands to the place of temporary detention and stand for several hours screaming and howling for their men. With the secrecy of the whole machinery of destruction threatened, the Gestapo yields and the "non-Aryan" husbands are released. (Andreas-Friedrich; Lewy)
1943 Holocaust: The SS puts into operation the "Factory Action," deporting more than 10,000 Jewish factory workers in Germany to the east. Only a few survive. (Atlas)
1945 Death: H.J. Lochtman, Dutch chaplin, resistance fighter, in the Belsen camp.
1949 Chaim Weizmann becomes the first Israeli president.
1950 General Chang Kai-shek is elected president of Nationalist China.
1952 The UN holds its first session in its new permanent headquarters in New York City.
1956 Women in Egypt gain the right to vote.
1957 Mao's speech 'On Correct Handling of Contradictions Among People' is heard.
1962 The Nam: The palace of South-Vietnam president Ngo Dinh Diems is bombed.
1967 Antigua and St Christopher-Nevis become associated states of the Commonwealth.
1967 Dominica gains independence from England.
1969 General Hafez al-Assad becomes head of Syria via military coup.
1969 President Nixon visits West Berlin.
1970 The New York Times, falsely, reports that the US army has ended domestic surveillance.
1972 President Nixon and Chinese Premier Chou En-lai issue the Shanghai Communique.
1973 The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
1975 CDU-politician Peter Lorentz is kidnapped in West Berlin.
1975 The US House of Representatives passes a $21.3 billion antirecession tax-cut bill.
1976 A final meeting between Mao tse Tung and President Richard Nixon occurs.
1980 Terrorists occupy the Dominican embassy in Bogota.
1985 US farmers converge in Washington to demand economic relief.
1985 Death: Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, republican, diplomat, unilateralist, at 82.
1987 Donald Regan resigns as White House chief of staff.
1990 Valdez: Exxon Corp and Exxon Shipping are indicted on 5 criminal counts.
1991 Desert Storm: President George H Bush announces on TV. "Kuwait is liberated, Iraq's army is defeated." The Allied ceasefire comes just six weeks after the start of operation Desert Storm and 100 hours after the land war began.
1991 Death: Robert-John Akkerman, US diplomat to Tunis, murdered.
1995 A car bomb explodes in Zakho, North-Iraq. 54-80 are killed.
2002 Death: Spike Milligan, one of Britain's most famous comics, at 83, from kidney failure at his home in Rye, East Sussex. "I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens."
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0280 Birth: Constantine the Great, Roman emperor (312-37), the first to be converted (0312) to the Christian faith.
During interrogation, the young radical confesses that he set the fire "As a protest," but denies any connection with the Communist Party and swears he alone had set the fires inside the Reichstag.
Rudolf Diels, chief of the Prussian political police, tells Hitler that van der Lubbe's (above) confession rings true, but Hitler refuses to believe the arsonist had acted alone and blames the Communist movement as a whole for the troubles that continue to plague Germany. Hitler and Goebbels work from midnight to dawn at the "Völkischer Beobachter" offices preparing the next day's edition, which accuses the Reds of a plot to seize power and setting fire to the Reichstag.