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The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

Today in History - Feb. 21

Today in History for Feb. 21:

On this date:

In 1109, Anselm, founder of Scholasticism and the archbishop of Canterbury, died. His treatise "Why Did God Become Man" is recognized by scholars as the greatest medieval treatise on the atonement.

In 1741, English agriculturist Jethro Tull died. He invented the seed drill and pioneered the planting of seeds in rows.

In 1801, Cardinal John Henry Newman was born in London. While a student at Oxford University, he became a leader of the Oxford Movement, which attempted to reform the Church of England. He later left the Anglican church and joined the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1824, 18-year-old Patrick Bergen of Saint John, N.B., was hanged for stealing 25 cents.

In 1838, Samuel Morse gave the first public demonstration of the telegraph.

In 1878, the first telephone directory was issued, in New Haven, Conn. It listed 58 names.

In 1891, an explosion in a coal mine at Springhill, N.S. killed 125 miners. Coal gas was suspected as the cause of the blast. The accident was the first of several that occurred over the years in Springhill. The mines were shut forever after a rock surge on Oct. 23, 1958, in which 74 miners died.

In 1915, Sgt.-Major Fred Hall won the Victoria Cross during the First World War battle of Ypres in Belgium. He died trying to rescue a wounded comrade. Hall was one of three V.C. winners from the war who lived on the same Winnipeg street. After the war, Pine Street was renamed Valour Road in honour of Hall, Cpl. Leo Clarke and Lt. Robert Shankland. Only Shankland survived the war.

In 1916, a bloody First World War battle began as German guns opened fire on 40 kilometres of French lines around Verdun. An estimated 420,000 men were killed at Verdun and 800,000 wounded in 1916-17.

In 1921, Quebec passed legislation making it the first Canadian province to establish government control of liquor.

In 1925, "The New Yorker" magazine made its debut.

In 1935, John Buchan was appointed Governor General of Canada and made Baron Tweedsmuir. He served from Nov. 2, 1935, until Feb. 11, 1940. He was the first governor general to visit the Arctic. Buchan was also an author, writing biographies and thrillers such as "The Thirty-Nine Steps." He died in Montreal in 1940.

In 1941, Sir Frederick Banting died at age 49 in an airplane crash in Newfoundland while heading to England on a wartime medical mission. Banting shared the 1923 Nobel Prize in medicine for a University of Toronto team's discovery of insulin to treat diabetes.

In 1947, American inventor Edwin Land demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which produced a black-and-white picture in 60 seconds. A colour process hit the market in 1963.

In 1952, Canada and the U.S. agreed to use radio as a safety measure on the Great Lakes.

In 1961, an Ontario Royal Commission report endorsed the fluoridation of drinking water to reduce tooth decay.

In 1965, Malcolm X, leader of the black Nationalist Movement in the U.S., was assassinated as he was about to address a New York City rally, 11 months after his split from Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam. He was 39.

In 1966, Quebec Lt.-Gov. Paul Comptois was killed in a fire at his official residence.

In 1969, Montreal lawyer Rejane Laberge-Colas became the first female Superior Court judge in Canada when she was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court.

In 1972, a major breakthrough in international diplomacy occurred when Richard Nixon began an eight-day visit to China. Nixon's arrival in Beijing made him the first American president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by Washington. His visit ended with a joint communique pledging both powers to work towards normal relations, which came a few years later.  The U.S. had refused to recognize the Communist regime in Beijing since it took power in 1949.

In 1973, Israel shot down a Libyan airliner, killing 107 people for failing to land after it overflew an Israeli military airfield in the Sinai.

In 1974, new immigration policies stipulated that immigrants would need a firm job offer, or be prepared to go to an area where their skills are in demand, before they would be allowed into the country.

In 1975, John Mitchell, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman were sentenced for their part in the Watergate cover-up.

In 1980, Prime Minister Joe Clark submitted his resignation three days after his Progressive Conservative government was defeated in a general election.

In 1988, television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart temporarily stepped down from his ministry after telling viewers, "I have sinned against you." He was responding to reports he had visited a prostitute.

In 1993, Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau gave thumbs-down to a proposal from the youth wing of the Parti Quebecois that immigrants to the province be forced to learn French.

In 1995, Chicago millionaire Steve Fossett ended the first solo balloon flight across the Pacific Ocean when he touched down near Leader, Sask.

In 1998, Toronto Archbishop Aloysius Ambrozic was elevated to the rank of cardinal by Pope John Paul II, in a ceremony at Vatican City, attended by 20,000 people.

In 1999, India and Pakistan pledged to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict in south Asia at a historic two-day summit in Lahore, Pakistan. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was the first Indian leader to visit Pakistan in a decade.

In 1999, the United Alternative convention in Ottawa, sponsored by the Reform Party, voted to create a new political party to fight the Liberals. It became the Canadian Alliance.

In 2000, Boston Bruins defenceman Marty McSorley slashed Vancouver forward Donald Brashear across the temple late in a game won by the host Canucks 5-2. Brashear suffered a concussion. McSorley received the NHL's longest suspension for on-ice violence -- one year -- and never returned to the league. He was also convicted of assault with a weapon but received an absolute discharge from a Vancouver judge.

In 2000, a B.C. judge threw out the government's ground-breaking suit against tobacco companies.

In 2000, truckers staged Canada-wide protests over high fuel prices.

In 2002, the Canadian women's hockey team beat the United States 3-2 to win the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics, avenging the American victory in the 1998 final in Nagano, Japan.

In 2007, Torstar and Metro International announced the launch of free "Metro" daily newspapers in Calgary and Edmonton.

In 2014, Ukraine's embattled president Viktor Yanukovych fled Kyiv after opposition protesters took control of the capital in the wake of three days of deadly clashes with police. More than 80 people were killed and hundreds injured in the worst violence in nearly three months of protests sparked by Yanukovych's decision to abort a pact with the European Union in favour of close ties with Russia.

In 2018, the Rev. Billy Graham, who transformed American religious life through his preaching and activism, becoming a counsellor to presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died at age 99.

In 2018, at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, Canadian freestyle skier Brady Leman won gold in men's skicross while two-time defending Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries, this year with two-time summer Olympian Phylicia George, won bronze in the two-woman's bobsled competition.

In 2018, Marit Bjoergen became the most-decorated Winter Olympian of all time with 14 career medals when Norway won the bronze in the women's team sprint in cross-country skiing.

In 2019, mixed martial arts star Georges St-Pierre announced his retirement at Montreal's Bell Centre.  The 37-year-old put mixed martial arts on the map in Canada and helped fuel the U-F-C's worldwide expansion. 


(The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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