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History of the World

By Mark Andrews

Feb. 21: ON THIS DATE in 1916, the World War I Battle of Verdun began in France; it resulted in 1 million casualties. In 1947, Edwin H. Land demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera, which could produce a black-and-white photograph in 60 seconds.

Feb. 22: ON THIS DATE in 1732, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born at his parents' plantation in the Virginia Colony. In 1924, Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential radio broadcast from the White House.

Feb. 23: ON THIS DATE in 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas. In 1954, the first mass inoculation of children with the Salk polio vaccine began in Pittsburgh.

Feb. 24: ON THIS DATE in 1868, the House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson after his attempt to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate. Feb. 25: ON THIS DATE in 1964, boxer Cassius Clay, a 7-to-1 underdog, beat Sonny Liston on a technical knockout in the seventh round to win the world heavyweight championship.

Feb. 26: ON THIS DATE in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from the Island of Elba to begin his second conquest of France. In 1993, a bomb built by Islamic extremists exploded in the parking garage of New York's World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000.

Feb. 27: ON THIS DATE in 1922, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed the right of women to vote. In 1933, Germany's parliament building, the Reichstag, was gutted by fire. The Nazis, blaming the communists, used the fire as justification for suspending civil liberties.

( Mark Andrews can be reached via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)