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History of the World

By Mark Andrews

Feb. 14: ON THIS DATE in 1929, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone's gang were gunned down.

Feb. 15: ON THIS DATE in 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt. In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba.

Feb. 16: ON THIS DATE in 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of pirates. In 1948, NBC began airing its first nightly newscast, "The Camel Newsreel Theatre," a 10-minute program of Fox Movietone newsreel clips with anchor John Cameron Swayze providing voiceovers.

Feb. 17: ON THIS DATE in 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an Electoral College tie and elected Thomas Jefferson president over Aaron Burr. In 1947, the Voice of America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.

Feb. 18: ON THIS DATE in 1885, Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published. In 2001, auto-racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed in a crash on the last lap of the Daytona 500.

Feb. 19: ON THIS DATE in 1878, Thomas Edison received a patent for his phonograph. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans.

Feb. 20: ON THIS DATE in 1809, the Supreme Court ruled that the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state. In 1965, the Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed into the moon after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.

( Mark Andrews can be reached via e-mail at mlandrews@embarq mail.com.)