15 February 2020 (MIA)
– International Childhood Cancer Day
706 – Byzantine emperor Justinian II has his predecessors Leontios and Tiberios III publicly executed in the Hippodrome of Constantinople.
1113 – Pope Paschal II issues a bill sanctioning the establishment of the Order of Hospitallers.
1214 – During the Anglo-French War (1213–1214), an English invasion force lands at La Rochelle in France.
1493 – While on board the Niña, Christopher Columbus writes an open letter (widely distributed upon his return to Portugal) describing his discoveries and the unexpected items he came across in the New World.
1637 – Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor.
1690 – Constantin Cantemir, Prince of Moldavia, and the Holy Roman Empire sign a secret treaty in Sibiu, stipulating that Moldavia would support the actions led by the House of Habsburg against the Ottoman Empire.
1764 – The city of St. Louis is established in Spanish Louisiana (now in Missouri, USA).
1798 – The Roman Republic is proclaimed after Louis-Alexandre Berthier, a general of Napoleon, had invaded the city of Rome five days earlier.
1804 – The Serbian Revolution begins.
1835 – The first constitutional law in modern Serbia is adopted.
1879 – Women’s rights: US President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
1898 – The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana harbor in Cuba, killing 274. This event leads the United States to declare war on Spain.
1909 – The Flores Theater fire in Acapulco, Mexico kills 250.
1921 – Kingdom of Romania establishes its legation in Helsinki.
1923 – Greece becomes the last European country to adopt the Gregorian calendar.
1933 – In Miami, Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate US President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, but instead shoots Chicago mayor Anton J. Cermak, who dies of his wounds on March 6, 1933.
1942 – World War II: Fall of Singapore. Following an assault by Japanese forces, the British General Arthur Percival surrenders. About 80,000 Indian, United Kingdom and Australian soldiers become prisoners of war, the largest surrender of British-led military personnel in history.
1944 – World War II: The assault on Monte Cassino, Italy begins.
1944 – World War II: The Narva Offensive begins.
1945 – World War II: Third day of bombing in Dresden.
1946 – ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer, is formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
1949 – Gerald Lankester Harding and Roland de Vaux begin excavations at Cave 1 of the Qumran Caves, where they will eventually discover the first seven Dead Sea Scrolls.
1952 – King George VI of the United Kingdom is buried in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
1953 – Parliamentary elections held in Liechtenstein.
1954 – Canada and the United States agree to construct the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada and Alaska.
1961 – Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium, killing 73, including the entire United States figure skating team along with several of their coaches and family members.
1965 – A new red-and-white maple leaf design is adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner.
1971 – The decimalisation of British coinage is completed on Decimal Day.
1972 – José María Velasco Ibarra, serving as President of Ecuador for the fifth time, is overthrown by the military for the fourth time.
1982 – The drilling rig Ocean Ranger sinks during a storm off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 84 workers.
1989 – Soviet war in Afghanistan: The Soviet Union officially announces that all of its troops have left Afghanistan.
1991 – The Visegrád Agreement, establishing cooperation to move toward free-market systems, is signed by the leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland.
1992 – Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced in Milwaukee to life in prison.
1994 – Australia announced it has recognized the Republic of Macedonia.
1996 – At the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China, a Long March 3 rocket, carrying an Intelsat 708, crashes into a rural village after liftoff, killing many people.
2001 – The first draft of the complete human genome is published in Nature.
2001 – The joint commission of diplomats and experts, formed to define and describe the state border between Macedonia and Yugoslavia, completes its four-year task.
2003 – Protests against the Iraq war take place in over 600 cities worldwide. It is estimated that between eight million to 30 million people participate, making this the largest peace demonstration in history.
2012 – 360 people die in a fire at a Honduran prison in the city of Comayagua.
2013 – A meteor explodes over Russia, injuring 1,500 people as a shock wave blows out windows and rocks buildings. This happens unexpectedly only hours before the expected closest ever approach of the larger and unrelated asteroid 2012 DA14.