February 1901

01 02
03 04 05 06 07 08 09
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28
February 7, 1901: Netherlands royal wedding of Queen Wilhelmina and Prince Henry
February 22, 1901: The City of Rio de Janeiro sinks as it arrives at San Francisco Bay, drowning 131 on board
February 21, 1901: GK Persei nova seen on Earth after 1,533 years

The following events occurred in February 1901:

February 1, 1901 (Friday)Edit

February 2, 1901 (Saturday)Edit

  • The funeral of Queen Victoria took place at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle after her body was transported from Portsmouth to London. The day before, the funeral procession had brought her from Osborne House to Portsmouth. Present at her funeral were the Kings of the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal and Greece, and the future kings of Denmark and Sweden.[5] According to contemporary accounts, the noise of the cannon firing at her funeral was not heard on the outskirts of London, "yet it was heard loudly at a number of villages in an approximate ring around 150 kilometres from the source",[6]
  • The U.S. Army Reorganization Bill, officially called "An Act To Increase the Efficiency of the Permanent Military Establishment of the United States", was signed into law by President McKinley.[7][8]
  • The United States Army Nurse Corps was established as a permanent part of the U.S. Army's Medical Department. Although they could not yet become officers, women could now enlist in the Army for three year terms.[9]
  • Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., who would become the first African-American General in the U.S. Army, received his first commission as an officer, when he was made a second lieutenant in the U.S. 9th Cavalry. Davis, who had enlisted as a private less than two years earlier, had been mentored by Major Charles Young, who, at the time, was the only other black officer in the Army.[10]
  • After starting only one week earlier, George Bernard Shaw completed the three act play The Admirable Bashville, a stage adaptation of his novel Cashel Byron's Profession.[11]
  • Born: Jascha Heifetz, Lithuanian violinist, in Vilna, Russian Empire (now Vilnius, Lithuania) (died 1987); and Edward D. Kuekes, American editorial cartoonist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and comic strip artist, in Pittsburgh

February 3, 1901 (Sunday)Edit

  • The Japanese ultra-nationalist Black Dragon Society (Kokuryukai) was formed by Ryōhei Uchida to advocate the conquest of Korea, war against Russia, and the expansion of the Japanese Empire's control of Asia.[12]
  • Eighteen members of the "Snake clan" of the Creek Indian tribe were charged with treason against the United States and jailed in Muskogee, Oklahoma.[5]
  • Born:
  • Died:
    • Fukuzawa Yukichi, 66, Japanese economist described as "the most influential thinker of the Meiji era in Japan after 1868" [13] who guided the modernization of Japan after the Meiji Restoration, founded Keio University, and promoted the introduction of Western ideas into Japan. It would later be written, "it was from the foundations laid down by Fukuzawa and others like him that Japan rose to become one of the economic leaders of the world".[14]
    • Francis V. Woodhouse, 96, the last survivor of the "Twelve Apostles" of the Catholic Apostolic Church that had been organized in 1835. The central tenet of that church's members, that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would take place before the death of the last of the new apostles, failed to be realized. No provision had been made for successors to any of the 12.[15]
    • Tom O'Brien, American baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, died of pneumonia caused by typhoid. O'Brien had been ill since a post-season player tour of Cuba, when he was persuaded to drink a bucket of salt water in order to "cleanse his system".[16]

February 4, 1901 (Monday)Edit

  • The Italian opera Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini, had its American premiere, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, with soprano Milka Ternina and tenor Giuseppe Cremonini as Floria Tosca and Mario Cavaradossi, respectively, and Luigi Mancinelli conducting the orchestra.[17] It would be an immediate success, and an author would later call it an opera "of apparently unflagging popularity... there must be scarcely a city or a town in the United States where opera has been given in the last eighty years that has not been exposed to at least one Tosca".[18]
  • On the same evening, the three-act comedy Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines, by Clyde Fitch, opened on Broadway theatre at the Garrick Theatre for the first of 168 performances. The play was a sensation, and made a star of Ethel Barrymore.[19][20]
  • The body of Queen Victoria was entombed at Frogmore Mausoleum in Windsor, next to that of her late husband, Albert, Prince Consort, whom she had survived for 39 years.[5]
  • With the signing into law of the "Canteen Act" two days earlier, the Department of War issued General Order Number 1 [21] implementing the Act's provision against "the sale of, or dealing in, beer, wine or any intoxicating liquors by any person in any exchange or canteen or army transport or upon any premises used for military purposes by the United States." [22] "Commanding officers will immediately carry the provisions of this law into full force and effect," the order stated, "and will be held strictly responsible that no exceptions or invasions are permitted."
  • Andrew Carnegie, who owned 54 percent of Carnegie Steel Company, sold all of his shares to J. P. Morgan and associates. Although the details were kept confidential, it was estimated that Carnegie received at least 85 million dollars,[23] equivalent to more than 2.4 billion dollars in 2016.
  • By a vote of 15–14, the Cuban Constitutional Convention approved an electoral college system for electing the nation's president, rather than a popular vote.[5]
  • "John Marshall Day" was celebrated in major cities across the United States in honor of the centennial of the day that Marshall became the Chief Justice of the United States.[24]
  • Died: Jefferson F. Long, 64, a former slave who became the first African-American elected to represent the state of Georgia in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served only two months, from January to March, 1871.

February 5, 1901 (Tuesday)Edit

  • Thomas Edison discovered and patented the rechargeable nickel–iron battery system and made plans to market it commercially, but would soon come into conflict with Swedish inventor Ernst Waldemar Jungner, who had filed a patent in Europe only two weeks earlier (January 22) for a process using nickel-iron storage cells. The technologies would later be superseded by improvements on Jungner's nickel–cadmium battery.[25]
  • The United States Senate voted to declassify all U.S. Department of State papers relating to the peace negotiations that ended the Spanish–American War, including President McKinley's instructions to the American negotiators. These would reveal, among other things, that the only territory that the United States originally had wanted Spain to completely give up was Puerto Rico and its surrounding islands. Other correspondence showed that the principal reason for acquiring "Porto Rico" was to expand the prestige of the United States in competition with other colonial powers.[26]
  • In Evansville, Indiana, a fire burned through the business district, causing $175,000 of damage.[27]
  • Henry E. Youtsey was sentenced to life imprisonment for being the principal conspirator in the 1900 assassination of Kentucky Governor-elect William Goebel.[28] After serving nearly 18 years of his sentence, however, Youtsey would be paroled on December 11, 1918 [29] and given a pardon by outgoing Governor James D. Black on December 1, 1919.[30]
  • By act of the Alabama State Legislature, the city of Daphne, Alabama ceased to be the county seat for Baldwin County and all county government offices and records were to moved to the smaller town of Bay Minette. The legislation would precipitate a fight between the two cities, all the way to the state supreme court, as well as a violent confrontation during the October removal of the records.[31]
  • The West Florida Annexation Association, a group of businessmen led by Colonel J. J. Sullivan of Pensacola, appeared before the Alabama Legislature and presented their proposal for annexation of that part of the state to Alabama.[32]
  • Born: Gaston Schoukens, Belgian film director who made numerous comedies, melodramas and documentaries, including the first Belgian sound film, La famille Kelpkens and the popular 1950 comedy Un Soir de Joie; as Felix Bell in Brussels (died 1961)
  • Died:
    • Abraham Esau, 35, coloured citizen of the Boer Cape Colony who worked as a British spy during the Second Boer War after local Boer commander refused to let the coloured citizens take up weapons to lead the fight. After the Boers retook the town of Calvinia, Esau was eliminated by being dragged to the outskirts of town and shot, and his body was then displayed in the village as a warning. When the British routed the Boers the next day, Esau was buried with full British Army honors.[33]
    • Addison Cammack, 74, former Wall Street magnate, known as "The Prince of Pessimists", who lost most of his fortune in the Panic of 1893.

February 6, 1901 (Wednesday)Edit

  • General Order Number 9 was put issued by U.S. Secretary of War Elihu Root as one of his first acts of business under the authority of the new Army Reorganization Act. The traditional practice of "permanent" appointments to staff departments was eliminated, and required that staff officers to be rotated out after four years so that others could gain experience.[34][35]
  • Albert Munsell applied for the patent for his new invention, the Lumenometer, which allowed the most accurate measurements at that time of measuring the hue, light and chroma of individual colors. The device, which would receive U.S. Patent No. 686,827 on November 19, would lead to his development of the Munsell color system.[36]
  • A vote of no confidence brought down the government of Italy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Saracco and his cabinet resigned the next day.[37]
  • In China, a list of 12 former Chinese government officials was made public by the ministers from the Eight-Nation Alliance, with the demand that nine of them be executed for crimes committed during the Boxer Rebellion of the year before. Three were, reportedly, already dead; Hau Chung Yu and Kih Siu had been taken prisoner by Japan, which planned to put them to death; and China had already agreed to put Yu Hsien and Prince Chuang to death. No decision had been made by China concerning Chao Hsu Kiao and Ying Lien. China had earlier noted that it would be impossible to kill General Tung Fu Siang, who was very popular among Muslims and western Chinese, and it was expected that Prince Tuan and Duke Lan would banished.[38]
  • Robert Borden was elected as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons of Canada by his fellow Conservative Party parliament members. In 1911, the Conservative Party would win control of the government, and Borden would become Prime Minister.[39]
  • The Boers succeeded in cutting off the Delagoa Bay Railroad at a point 30 miles from the Portuguese West Africa capital, Lourenço Marques (now Maputo, Angola).[5]
  • Stagecoach robber Joe Boot earned a place in Western lore by becoming one of the few inmates of the infamous Yuma Territorial Prison to successfully escape. Given a 30-year sentence on November 11, 1899, Boot gained the trust of the prison staff and was allowed the job of driving a horse-drawn wagon to deliver food to prisoners working outside the prison. After making his usual departure through the prison gates for his delivery, Boot kept going, and would never be recaptured.[40]
  • The Sacred Fount, a novel by Henry James, was first published. Charles Scribner's Sons of New York initially printed 3,000 copies, and on February 15, Methuen & Company would print 3,500 copies in London.[41]
  • Born:

February 7, 1901 (Thursday)Edit

  • German immunologist Paul Uhlenhuth published his paper A Method for Investigation of Different Types of Blood, Especially for the Differential Diagnosis of Human Blood. In an understatement about the significance of his findings, Uhlenhuth commented as an aside, "It is noteworthy... that, after drying blood samples from men, horses and cattle on a board for four weeks and dissolving them in physiological NaCl solution, I was able to identify the human blood at once using my serum— a fact that should be of particular importance for forensic medicine." As an author would note more than a century later, "With these few words, Uhlenhuth announced the world that he had found the Holy Grail of serology: a definitive test for the presence of human blood." [42]
  • Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was married to Prince Henry, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, with a civil ceremony at 11:00 a.m. at The Hague, and a religious ceremony at noon.[43][44]
  • American sailors from the USS Lancaster were attacked and beaten by a mob after they went ashore at the city of La Guaira in Venezuela.[5]
  • Representatives of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations in Oklahoma signed a draft of a proposed agreement with the United States Department of the Interior for division of their tribal lands in Indian Territory, but the initial plan would be rejected by the U.S. Congress. A binding agreement, as supplemented, would pass into law on July 1, 1902.[45]
  • Born: Alison Marjorie Ashby, Australian botanist and artist, in North Adelaide (died 1987)
  • Died: Benjamin Edward Woolf, 64, British-born American violinist, composer, and playwright, best known for the operas The Mighty Dollar and Westward Ho.

February 8, 1901 (Friday)Edit

  • In Saint Petersburg, the Russian Foreign Ministry received the Chinese ambassador and presented him with Russia's conditions for withdrawal of troops from Manchuria; a historian would note later, "this document was really an ultimatum that applied to all of Manchuria... Its provisions were largely unacceptable to China and its purport totally unacceptable to Japan.[46]
  • Indiana University began its college basketball program, losing 20–17 to Butler University at Irvington, Indiana (later annexed to Indianapolis). Ernest Strange was the high scorer for the Hoosiers in the first game, with nine points, including all seven of Indiana's free throws.[47]
  • Born:
    • Virginius Dabney, American teacher, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in Charlottesville, Virginia (died 1995);
    • Gustav Dahrendorf, German member of Parliament who would be arrested and charged with treason after being suspected of involvement in the 1944 assassination plot against Adolf Hitler; in Hamburg. Remarkably, Dahrendorf would be given a 7-year prison sentence rather than being executed, and be released after the German surrender (died 1954)
  • Died: Benjamin Prentiss, 81, U.S. Army major general who had distinguished himself at the Battle of Shiloh

February 9, 1901 (Saturday)Edit

  • U.S. Secretary of War Root notified Leonard Wood, the American Governor-General of Cuba, of five points that needed to go into the Constitution that Cuba was to adopt before independence could be granted. All of the points— American approval of Cuban treaties, limitations on Cuba's ability to borrow money, the American right of intervention to maintain a stable government, continuation of laws implemented by the American occupational government, and permission to establish naval bases in Cuba— meant that Cuba would function as an American protectorate rather than a fully independent nation.[48]
  • Taking inspiration from the crusade of Carrie Nation, an estimated 1,000 men and women in Holton, Kansas (out of a population of 3,082 that included children), assembled at local Methodist Church and then marched to the Hicks Saloon and destroyed its contents. According to reporters, "the gutters were deluged with a mixture of beer, whisky, and the usual poisonous decoctions dealt out by the Kansas jointists" [49] and then removed the bar fixtures, furniture, glassware, and a large mirror and destroyed them with sledgehammers. Thomas Balding and John Bimrod, two other proprietors, had removed their liquors earlier in anticipation of a raid, pledged that they would ship everything out of town by Monday, "and each gave his oath never to sell another drop of liquor in Holton".
  • Born:
  • Died:
    • Fred Harvey, 65, American entrepreneur who founded the first American restaurant chain, the Harvey House restaurants that were adjacent to railroad stations on the Santa Fe Railroad.
    • George Maney, 74, brigadier general for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, who later became the American ambassador to several different nations in South America after reaffirming his allegiance to the U.S.

February 10, 1901 (Sunday)Edit

February 11, 1901 (Monday)Edit

  • Florence Maybrick, an American woman who had been imprisoned since 1889 in England after being convicted of poisoning her husband, was pardoned by King Edward VII after more than 11 years. At 10:00, she was released from the women's prison at Aylesbury.[58]
  • By a 15–14 vote, the Cuban constitutional convention changed an existing rule, making it possible for General Máximo Gómez to become eligible to be the nation's President.[5]
  • Born: Jimmy O'Connell, American baseball star who was banned from the game after two seasons when he admitted that he had attempted to bribe a rival player; in Sacramento, California (died 1976)
  • Died: Milan I, 47, King of Serbia from 1882 until his sudden and unexplained abdication in 1889, died in exile; and Ramón de Campoamor, 84 Spanish poet (born 1817)

February 12, 1901 (Tuesday)Edit

  • The state of Delaware ratified the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, more than 30 years after they had taken effect.[59] J. Frank Allee, a state Senator who would later be selected to represent Delaware in the United States Senate, introduced the legislation after discovering that his state had never ratified the three amendments.[60] The Senate voted its approval on January 30, and the House followed on January 31.[61] Despite Senator Albee's belief that Delaware was alone still having failed to ratify the three post-Civil War amendments, Kentucky would not formally approve the 13th, 14th and 15th until 1976. Mississippi's approval of the 13th (abolishing slavery) would not happen until 1995, and Tennessee's endorsement of the 15th (giving all races the right to vote) would not be remedied until 1997.[62]
  • As Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon created the new North-West Frontier Province in the north of the Punjab region, bordering Afghanistan.

February 13, 1901 (Wednesday)Edit

  • Shortly before 2:00 in the afternoon, William McKinley was formally declared the winner of the 1900 U.S. presidential election, as a joint session of Congress witnessed the formal counting of the electoral votes. After reading the returns from the 45 states, U.S. Senator William P. Frye of Maine, the President pro tempore of the United States Senate, announced that the McKinley/Roosevelt ticket had 202 votes and the Byran/Stevenson campaign had 155. The Chicago Tribune commented that "the gathering of the House and Senate with the brilliantly attired women in the gallery would never be taken by a foreigner for an official assemblage to determine the right of succession to the Chief Executive of 75,000,000 people" [63]
  • According to an account at the time by magistrate Gao Shaochen, an estimated 1,000 German troops arrived at the western entrance of the city of Yongqing and, without warning, opened fire on the population, killing 200 Chinese soldiers and civilians.[64]
  • At the Mengo Hospital in Uganda, British missionary doctors J. Howard Cook and Albert Cook first noticed the outbreak of an illness with mysterious symptoms, the first signs of what would become an epidemic of African trypanosomiasis, commonly called "sleeping sickness".[65]
  • Born:
  • Died: Bessie Taylor, English barmaid who became the second of three mistresses of George Chapman to die suddenly. After the death of Chapman's third mistress in 1902, Miss Taylor's body would be exhumed and found to be poisoned with antimony, and Chapman would be tried and convicted of her murder.[66]

February 14, 1901 (Thursday)Edit

  • Edward VII opened his first parliament of the United Kingdom, appearing in person before both houses.[67] The King insulted twelve million of his Roman Catholic subjects [68] when he uttered the exact words of the Accession Declaration (a requirement for a new monarch's first opening of Parliament) for the first time since 1837, as required by the Act of Settlement 1701. The words from 200 years earlier required the monarch to declare that "I do believe that... the invocation or adoration of the Virgin Mary or any other Saint, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, as they are now used in the Church of Rome, are superstitious and idolatrous".[69][70] Irish M.P. John Redmond, himself a Roman Catholic, said afterward that the oath was "wantonly insulting" and warned that "as long as... His Majesty swears that Roman Catholics are idolatrous, I, for one, will oppose His Majesty's salary." [71] Redmond's fellow Irish members of the House of Commons voted against the King on civil matters afterward.[72] The King subsequently made known his "disgust" with the wording and requested the government to revise the Declaration before any future monarch had to open Parliament, a change that would come about in the Accession Declaration Act 1910 on August 3, 1910, prior to the opening of Parliament by King George V.[73]
  • Martial law was declared in Madrid in order for the royal wedding between Mercedes, Princess of Asturias (the eldest daughter of King Alfonso XII of Spain) and Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.[5]
  • Giuseppe Zanardelli became the 16th Prime Minister of Italy.[74]

February 15, 1901 (Friday)Edit

  • At about 11:00 in the morning, 69 coal miners at the Wellington Colliery Company, near Cumberland, British Columbia were killed in an explosion.[75] More than half of the fatalities (37 Chinese and nine Japanese) were Asian, and the other 27 were white. In the aftermath, the white miners at who lived at nearby Nanaimo blamed the Chinese workers, and signed petitions protesting that the foreign-born workers were "dangerously incompetent" and demanded that all employees take a test to show their proficiency in either English or French. Soon afterward, calls were made for excluding all Asian immigrants from British Columbia, and James H. Hawthornthwaite would win a by-election to the provincial legislature to champion the anti-Asian cause.[76]
  • The Right-of-Way Act of 1901 was signed into law by President McKinley and permitted the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to grant rights of way through any federally owned-land, including the Indian reservations and the four national parks then in existence (Yellowstone, Sequoia, Yosemite, and Mount Rainier), the sole standard being whether it was "incompatible with the public interest". A conservationist would write later, "The act was in most respects perfectly tailored for looters of the parks, for it authorized the Secretary to grant rights of way... for practically any sort of business that might want a right of way." [77]
  • The Alianza Lima soccer football team was founded in Peru.
  • Born: João Branco Núncio, Portuguese bullfighter, in Alcácer do Sal (died 1976)
  • Died: Karl G. Maeser, 73, German-American immigrant who was the first principal of the Brigham Young Academy and considered to be the founder of Brigham Young University.

February 16, 1901 (Saturday)Edit

  • Most of the members of both houses of the Alabama State Legislature arrived in Pensacola, Florida, at the invitation of the West Florida Annexation Association, to discuss the possibility of the western portion of that state being annexed. There were enough interested legislators to fill six passenger cars on a specially chartered train.[78] The plan envisioned by a committee was for Alabama to pay two million dollars to Florida to purchase Calhoun, Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington Counties "if the rest of Florida and the Congress of the United States are willing, and if Governor Sanford of Alabama endorses the project, as do a majority of the Alabama legislators".[79]
  • At St. Petersburg, Russian Foreign Minister Vladimir Lamsdorf presented a revised treaty proposal to China's Ambassador to the Russian Empire, Prince Yang-ju. Under the 12-article treaty, China would retain ownership of Manchuria, but Russian troops would be allowed to occupy the territory to guard the railways there, and China would be forbidden from granting rail or mining privileges to anyone without Russian consent. The Chinese then "decided to try their hand at balance-of-power politics", leaking various versions of the treaties to the Russian Empire's rivals, the Japanese and British Empires.[80]
  • After the United States raised the tariff on imported Russian sugar, Russia retaliated with a 30 percent increase on the tariff on American goods made of iron or steel.[81][82] 8-12-15-17-19-20-25-47
  • The town of South Hill, Virginia, was chartered, after having been laid out in 1889.[83]
  • Born:

February 17, 1901 (Sunday)Edit

  • William K. Thorn became the first person to drive a Mercedes automobile in a race, when he entered his recently purchased Daimler-Mercedes in the Circuit du Sud-Ouest that started at the French city of Pau. Only two kilometers in to the 330 kilometer race, Thorn's car flipped after a horse-drawn cart crossed into his path.[84]
  • Das klagende Lied, composed by Gustav Mahler in 1883 and then revised several times afterward, was performed for the very first time. Mahler himself conducted the Wiener Singakademie choir and the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra at the Musikvereinssaal in Vienna, nearly 18 years after writing it.[85]
  • Born: Philotheus Boehner, German Franciscan priest and scholar, as Heinrich Boehner in Lichtenau, Westphalia (died 1955)
  • Died:
    • Carlos Casagemas, 19, an art student and the best friend of artist Pablo Picasso, shot himself in the head after being rejected in love. Picasso's "Blue Period" started, and for the next three years, Picasso, depressed at the loss of his friend, would paint his works in various shades of blue and blue-green.
    • Ethelbert Nevin, 39, American composer, from a stroke.

February 18, 1901 (Monday)Edit

  • Britain's Dr. Ronald Ross, in a letter to the British Indian colonial government, became the first person to propose bringing malaria epidemics under control by extermination of mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. In 1902, he would perfect the organization of the campaign against the Anopheles insects in a book Mosquito Brigades, and would receive the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine later in that year.[86]
  • German Field Marshal Alfred von Waldersee announced that he would conduct new military campaigns to secure territory in China. In their first engagement at Paoting-fu (now Baoding), the Germans lost one soldier and killed 200 Chinese soldiers after a patrol allegedly came under attack.[81]
  • Four days after becoming a member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom future Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his maiden speech, a rebuttal to an address given by another future Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. At 10:30 when Lloyd George had finished an eloquent speech decrying the carnage against the Boers during the Boer War, Churchill responded that British policy should be "to make it easy and honourable for the Boers to surrender, and painful and perilous for them to continue in the field." [87] Churchill would say later that "It was a terrible, thrilling yet delicious experience".[88]
  • Died: Gaëtan Henri Léon de Viaris, 54, French cryptanalyst who invented a printing cipher machine, and furthered the use of mathematical relations to cryptology, particularly linear substiutions.

February 19, 1901 (Tuesday)Edit

  • Thomas O'Donnell, an Irish Nationalist member of the United Kingdom's House of Commons, stunned his fellow MPs when he rose to speak, and then started to address the group in the Irish language.[89] A representative for the constituency of West Kerry, began by saying, in Irish, "As an Irishman from an Irish-speaking constituency, a member of a nation which still preserves a language of its own and is still striving bravely for freedom..." [90] before he was interrupted by the House Speaker, William Gully, who recognized what O'Donnell was doing. As O'Donnell's fellow Irish MPs applauded, Gully called for order and informed him that he was "not entitled to address the Commons in a language which they did not understand". O'Donnell then asked the Speaker, in Irish, "Is it not true that Irish is my native language, the language of my ancestors, the language of my country?" John Redmond then pointed out that there was "no written or unwritten rule against a member using the language which is most familiar to him", and Gully replied that there was no precedent for a member of Commons to give a speech in anything but English, and that "Not in the one hundred years of union has any Irishman tried to speak in Irish in this House until now." [91] The next day, The Times of London commented that "Public gratitude is due to one ingenious Irish gentleman— Mr. Thomas O'Donnell, M.P., for West Kerry, for relaxing the severity of the Parliamentary situation last night" during a bitter debate over the Boer War.[92]
  • After criticizing General Carrington in print, the Rhodesian Times was seized by British authorities under martial law and the staff was evicted.[81]
  • Born: Florence Green, last surviving World War I veteran, in Edmonton, London. She was a member of the Women's Royal Air Force and died in 2012, only two weeks before her 111th birthday.
  • Died: Paul Armand Silvestre, 64, French poet

February 20, 1901 (Wednesday)Edit

Butch Cassidy
The Sundance Kid and Etta Place

February 21, 1901 (Thursday)Edit

  • Scottish clergyman and amateur astronomer Thomas D. Anderson became the first person to notice the nova GK Persei.[94] By February 23, it was the brightest star in the sky, reaching zero magnitude, but faded to 4th magnitude by March 15, and to a 7 by year's end. Photographs taken from Harvard University of the Perseus constellation, on February 19, did not show GK Persei among stars as dim as the 11th magnitude, indicating that its explosion had been very rapid, increasing by at least eight magnitudes within 48 hours. Later identified as being 1,533 light years from Earth, GK Persei had apparently exploded in the year 367 AD.[95]
  • Delegates in Havana signed the final version of the new Constitution for Cuba, in preparation from its transition from a United States possession to a quasi-independent republic under American protection.[96][97]
  • By a margin of 26 to 37, the U.S. Senate defeated a measure that would have provided funds for post offices to create pneumatic tube delivery systems in American cities. The vote was on a proposed amendment to the post office appropriation bill that would have budgeted $500,000 toward the technology. Besides stopping the expansion of the service, the vote also meant that the pneumatic tube systems operating in New York, Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia would halt at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.[98]
  • At the insistence of the United States, the Eight-Nation Alliance occupying China agreed that none of their nations would acquire any additional Chinese territory without the approval of the others. Count von Waldensee called off his intended expedition the following day.[99]
  • China's Imperial government began turning over the North China Railway to British control.[81]
  • In Zurich, German-born physicist Albert Einstein became a citizen of Switzerland.[100] In 1922, the Swiss legation to Berlin would respond to an inquiry and notify Germany's Foreign Office that Einstein had renounced his German citizenship.[101]

February 22, 1901 (Friday)Edit

  • The SS City of Rio de Janeiro, a passenger liner operated by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, struck a reef as it was entering San Francisco Bay on its way through a dense fog as it was arriving from Honolulu, and sank within 20 minutes. Of the 208 people on board, 131 drowned.[102] The sinking happened so quickly that lifeboats that could not be lowered in time went down with the ship, along with the people inside the boats. Other people jumped overboard as the ship steamer went down, and were pulled down by the suction of the sinking vessel.[103]
  • As General Christiaan de Wet led a force of 5,000 Boers toward Prieska, General John French of the British Army intercepted the group and forced them to retreat.[81]
  • A breakthrough in food preservation was demonstrated by a Dr. Von Olden in Copenhagen, who showed potential investors proof that he had sealed a container of butter a year earlier, in front of a notary public, and then opened it in front of dairymen, who found it to be untainted. News of the Von Olden Process would soon go outside of Denmark, and the Associated Press would cable the report to American readers on March 25.[104][105][106] Soon afterward, Dr. Von Olden was exposed as a con man whose real name was Christianson; after the notary had certified that the container had been sealed in his presence "on February 22, 1901", Christianson carefully altered the 1901 to "1900".[107]
  • Born:
  • Died:

February 23, 1901 (Saturday)Edit

  • In a battle at Disselfontein in South Africa, the fleeing Boer troops commanded by General De Wet were overtaken by British forces under Colonel Herbert Plumer. De Wet escaped, but 50 of his men were taken prisoner.[81]
  • The United Kingdom and Germany agreed on the boundary between their African colonies, setting a line running between Lake Nyasa to Lake Tanganyika. At the time, Malawi was known as the British protectorate of Nyasaland, while Tanzania was part of German East Africa.[110]
  • The U.S. Senate approved a $5,000,000 budget toward the Louisiana Purchase Exposition to open in St. Louis for 1904, conditioned upon that world's fair being closed on Sundays.[81] The budget proposal had passed the House, 191-41, on February 17, without the Sunday closing requirement.[111]
  • Born: Federico Chabod, Italian historian, in Aosta (died 1960)

February 24, 1901 (Sunday)Edit

  • After 53 ballots without any single candidate attaining a majority, the legislature of Oregon elected former Senator John H. Mitchell to be one of its two United States Senators.[81]
  • Given a choice between committing suicide or being put to death, former Imperial Chinese officials Ying Lien and Chao Shu Chao chose the former, cutting their throats in the presence of the Governor of the Shensi Province.[112]

February 25, 1901 (Monday)Edit

Johnson and Choynski
U.S. Steel
  • The United States Steel Corporation was incorporated in New Jersey by industrialist J. P. Morgan, as the first billion-dollar corporation, with total capital valued at more than $1,400,000,000.[113]
  • Professional boxers Jack Johnson and Joe Choynski fought a bout inside Harmony Hall in Galveston, Texas, and were both arrested after Choynski knocked out Johnson in the third round, for violating the state law against fighting for professional gain.[114] The arrest would prove to be a big break for Johnson, an African-American rookie; he and Choynski, a white 33-year old boxer described as "the first Jewish American athlete to rise to international repute",[115] shared a jail cell for the next 24 days, during which "Choynski taught Johnson the defensive style that he would perfect during his career".[116] The two men were freed after a grand jury declined to indict them, and Johnson would go on to become the world heavyweight boxing champion.
  • Arizona's territorial Capitol Building, which would continue as the state capitol building when Arizona became a state in 1912, was dedicated in Phoenix.[117]
  • Marcelo Azcárraga Palmero resigned as Prime Minister of Spain, along with his entire cabinet, after he declared that the group "regarded the mission for which it took office being accomplished by the marriage of the Infanta Maria de las Mercedes to Prince Charles of Bourbon".[118]
  • Thirty-two miners at the Diamondville Coal and Coke Company, in Diamondville, Wyoming, were killed in a fire in a mine shaft.[119]
  • George M. Cohan's first Broadway, The Governor's Son (starring the Four Cohans), opened, but would close after a month because of a disastrous first night in front of the critics.[120]
  • After again posting bail and being released from jail, Carrie Nation set off on another destructive raid on a saloon. During the fracas, a Topeka citizen was shot and seriously wounded.[81]
  • The town of Buhl, Minnesota (motto "The Finest Water in America") was incorporated.[121]
  • Born:

February 26, 1901 (Tuesday)Edit

  • Chi-hsui and Hsu-cheng-yu, Boxer Rebellion leaders, were publicly beheaded in Beijing in front of a crowd of about 10,000. The two had been in the custody of the Japanese Army, and were remanded to China's "Board of Punishments" for the executions. According to Lt. Col. Goro Shiba, the Japanese legation's military attaché, he treated the two condemned men to champagne, and Chi-hsui told him "I do not know what I have done to make me deserving of death, but if beheading me will make the foreign troops evacuate Pekin and my Emperor return, I am satisfied to die. I will die a patriot." [122]
  • Reports from Bombay (now Mumbai in British India showed that 400 people had died in a plague epidemic in just two days.[81]
  • Figures from the latest census of the German Empire were released from Berlin. As of December 1, 1900, the German population was 56,345,014 "of which number 27,731,067 were males". The growth rate of 7.70% in five years was the highest increase in 30 years.[123]
  • Died: Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa, 82, Polish writer

February 27, 1901 (Wednesday)Edit

  • German chemist Wilhelm Normann applied for the patent on his new discovery, the creation of the first trans fatty acids through the hydrogenation of the oleic acid in vegetable oil, using hydrogen and a nickel-based catalyst, from liquid into a solid stearic acid.[124] German patent No. 141,029 ("Process for the conversion of unsaturated fatty acids or their glycerides into saturated compounds"), for what Normann called Fetthärtung (fat hardening) was made effective August 14, 1902. The first trans-fact product, Crisco shortening, would be introduced to the public in 1911.[125]
  • The threat of an attack on Britain's Cape Colony by 2,500 Orange Free State troops was ended after heavy rains and Lord Kitchener's defense forced Generals Christiaan de Wet and J. B. M. Hertzog to order a retreat.[126]
  • Nikolay Bogolepov, the Russian Minister of Public Instruction, was shot and mortally wounded by a student who had recently been expelled from a university. Bogolepov, wounded in the neck by a revolver, would survive for more than two weeks before succumbing on March 15.[127]
  • National League owners approved a change in the hit by pitch rule, and as an author would note later, "Baseball's intelligentsia had not thought this one through".[128] Passed in order to stop batters from stepping in to the path of a ball in order to take a base, the new rule provided that a blow to the body would be called as a ball.[129] Theoretically, a pitcher could deliberately hit a batter four times before the batter could take a base; the owners reversed themselves on the morning of the opening day of the season.[130] One rule change, still be in place more than a century later, was to provide that "the first and second foul balls hit by the batsman, unless two strikes have already been called against him, shall henceforth be counted as strikes".[129]
  • At the same meeting in New York, the NL dropped its sponsorship for a planned American Association minor league with teams in six of the eight American League locations, and waited until the end of the day to inform league organizers Charles Power and W. H. Watkins of their decision. By the two men did get to make their presentation for the AA, "most of its members had left for home".[131] However, the owners of the Indianapolis, Louisville and Milwaukee franchises would organize a new American Association in 1902 with teams in the Midwest, and it would quickly become one of the strongest of the minor leagues, with the same eight teams for more than 50 years.
  • Alabama became the first American state to create a cabinet level department devoted to historical preservation, with the creation of its Department of Archives and History.[132]
  • The Sultan of Turkey ordered 50,000 troops to the Bulgarian frontier because of unrest in Macedonia.[133]
  • In the United Kingdom, the cost of the nation's continued involvement in the Boer War was estimated to have reached $650,000,000.[81]
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the Bell Telephone Company in the patent infringement case filed by Emile Berliner.[81]
  • Born: Horatio Luro, Argentine horse trainer and honoree of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame (died 1991)
  • Died: James Huddart, 54, British ship builder

February 28, 1901 (Thursday)Edit

  • At 10:00 in the morning, peace negotiations began between Britain's General Herbert Kitchener and the Boers' General Louis Botha at Middelburg, located within a British-occupied section of the Boers' South African Republic.[134] General Botha's initial condition, the continued independence of the South Africa and the Orange Free State under Boer rule, was rejected immediately, and Botha's second peace proposal had ten conditions, including Afrikaans and English being the official language, that British insistence for black African voting rights be deferred, that the Dutch Church retain its property, that the United Kingdom assume the Boer republics war debts, an amnesty for everyone and a release of prisoners, financial aid for farmers whose land was ruined by the British invasion, and that the Boers be allowed to retain rifles for protection from the black African natives.[135] After the talks failed, the Second Boer War continued and Kitchener continued the conquest of the Boers, including burning farms and placing prisoners of war into concentration camps.[136]
  • Major P. B. Molesworth, a British astronomer and member of the Royal Engineers first observed the South Tropical Disturbance on the same latitude as the Great Red Spot on the planet Jupiter, but with a shorter rotation period that periodically brought the two in conjunction.[137] Molesworth, who had been born in the island colony of British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), had made the discovery from the telescope at the Trincomalee observatory; the disturbance on Jupiter would continue for more than 38 years, and would last be observed in 1939.[138]
  • Congress rejected the proposed agreement that had been signed by the U.S. Department of the Interior with the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, and negotiations had to begin again.[45]
  • The United States Army Nurse Corps, created on February 2, was formally organized with 202 nurses as charter members.[139]
  • Born: Linus Pauling, American chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962; in Portland, Oregon (died 1994)
  • Died:


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