Highlights in History
On Feb. 3, 1959, rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in a small plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa. An American Airlines Lockheed Electra crashed into New York’s East River, killing 65 of the 73 people on board.
On this date
In 1014, Sweyn I, the king of Denmark, Norway and England, died in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, just over a month after being declared ruler of the English.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, was ratified.
In 1924, the 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington, D.C., at age 67.
In 1930, the chief justice of the United States, William Howard Taft, resigned for health reasons. (He died just over a month later.)
In 1943, during World War II, the U.S. transport ship Dorchester, which was carrying troops to Greenland, sank after being hit by a German torpedo; of the more than 900 men aboard, only some 230 survived.
In 1966, the Soviet probe Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the moon.
In 1994, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off, carrying Sergei Krikalev, the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a U.S. spacecraft.
In 1998, Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker, 38, for the pickax killings of two people in 1983; she was the first woman executed in the United States since 1984. A U.S. Marine plane sliced through the cable of a ski gondola in Italy, sending the car plunging hundreds of feet, killing all 20 people inside.
Ten years ago
John Kerry won Democratic presidential contests in five out of seven states: Missouri, Arizona, North Dakota, New Mexico and Delaware; John Edwards easily won his native South Carolina while Wesley Clark eked out victory in Oklahoma. Work in the U.S. Senate slowed to a crawl, a day after ricin powder was found in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.