February 1 is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 333 days remaining, (334 in leap years).
- 1662 - The Chinese pirate Koxinga seizes the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.
- 1713 - The Kalabalik or Tumult in Bendery results from the Ottoman sultan's order that his unwelcome guest, King Charles XII of Sweden, be seized.
- 1788 - Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patent the steamboat.
- 1790 - In New York City the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.
- 1793 - France declares war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
- 1796 - The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York.
- 1814 - Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupts, killing around 1,200 people; most devastating eruption of Mayon Volcano.
- 1861 - American Civil War: Texas secedes from the United States.
- 1862 - Julia Ward Howe's Battle Hymn of the Republic is published for the first time (Atlantic Monthly).
- 1880 - First edition of theatrical newspaper The Stage is published.
- 1884 - Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
- 1893 - Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio (West Orange, New Jersey).
- 1896 - The opera La Bohème premieres (Turin).
- 1908 - King Carlos I of Portugal and his son, Prince Luis Filipe are killed in Terreiro do Paco, Lisbon.
- 1913 - New York City's Grand Central Terminal opens as the world's largest train station.
- 1918 - Russia adopts the Gregorian Calendar.
- 1919 - The first Miss America is crowned (New York City).
- 1920 - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin operations.
- 1924 - United Kingdom recognizes USSR.
- 1929 - Frenchman Charles Rigoulet is the first weightlifter to lift over 400 pounds (181 kg) in the "clean and jerk" method.
- 1943 - World War II: Vidkun Quisling appointed Premier of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.
- 1946 - Trygve Lie of Norway is picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.
- 1958 - Merger of Egypt and Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.
- 1960 - Four black students stage a sit-in at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
- 1968 - Vietnam War: Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem is executed by Nguyen Ngoc Loan a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. The execution was videotaped and photographed by Eddie Adams and helped sway public opinion against the war.
- 1974 - In São Paulo, Brazil, a fire in a 25-story office building kills 189 and injures 293. Kuala Lumpur declared a Federal Territory.
- 1978 - Director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.
- 1979 - Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter.
- 1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back into Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.
- 1982 - Senegal and Gambia form a loose confederation known as Senegambia.
- 1992 - The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal Disaster case.
- 1994 - In Portland, Oregon Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly pleads guilty for his role in attacking figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.
- 1995 - Manic Street Preachers lyricist Richey James Edwards goes missing from the Embasy Hotel in London, UK.
- 1996 - Communications Decency Act is passed by the U.S. Congress
- 1999 - North Dakota Public Radio is launched.
- 2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas upon reentry killing all seven astronauts onboard.
- 2004 - At least 244 people trampled to death in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
- 1690 - Francesco Maria Veracini, composer (d. 1768)
- 1761 - Christian Hendrik Persoon, mycologist (d. 1836)
- 1844 - G. Stanley Hall, psychologist (d. 1844)
- 1859 - Victor Herbert, composer (d. 1924)
- 1874 - Hugo von Hofmannsthal, lyricist, dramatist, narrator, and essayist (d. 1929)
- 1882 - Louis Stephen St. Laurent, twelfth Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1973)
- 1887 - Charles Nordhoff, author (d. 1947)
- 1894 - John Ford, director, producer (d. 1973)
- 1894 - James P. Johnson, pianist, composer (d. 1955)
- 1901 - Clark Gable, actor (d. 1960)
- 1902 - Langston Hughes writer (d. 1967)
- 1904 - S. J. Perelman, humorist, author (d. 1979)
- 1906 - Hildegarde, actress, singer
- 1907 - Günter Eich , lyricist (d. 1972)
- 1908 - George Pál, director, producer (d. 1980)
- 1909 - George Beverly Shea , Canadian singer
- 1915 - Stanley Matthews, English football player
- 1918 - Dame Muriel Spark, author
- 1922 - Renata Tebaldi, Italian soprano (d. 2004)
- 1925 - Alfred Grosser , political scientist and publicist
- 1928 (or 1928 or 1929) - Stuart Whitman, American actor
- 1931 - Boris Yeltsin, Russian president 1991-1999
- 1935 - Dieter Kühn , narrator, dramatist and essayist
- 1937 - Don Everly, musician
- 1937 - Garrett Morris, comedian
- 1938 - Sherman Hemsley, comedian, actor
- 1940 - Bibi Besch, Austrian-American actress (d. 1996)
- 1942 - Terry Jones, actor, writer (Monty Python's Flying Circus)
- 1946 - Bart Braverman , American actor
- 1947 - Jessica Savitch, journalist (d. 1983)
- 1948 - Rick James, American musician, composer (d. 2004)
- 1954 - Bill Mumy, actor, musician
- 1956 - Exene Cervenka, musician (X)
- 1962 - Tomoyasu Hotei, Japanese rock guitarist
- 1965 - Sherilyn Fenn, actress
- 1965 - Brandon Lee, actor (d. 1993)
- 1965 - Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
- 1965 - Sherilyn Fenn, American actress
- 1966 - Michelle Akers, American soccer player
- 1968 - Lisa Marie Presley, actress
- 1968 - Pauly Shore, comedian
- 1969 - Gabriel Batistuta, Argentine football player
- 1969 - Joshua Redman, American jazz musician
- 1971 - Jill Kelly, erotic actress
- 1971 - Yoshi DeHerrera, former 'Mad Modder' on The Screen Savers
- 1971 - Zlatko Zahovič, Slovenian football player
- 1975 - Big Boi, American musician (Outkast)
- 1978 - Julie Roberts , country music singer
- 1328 - King Charles IV of France (b. 1294)
- 1563 - Menas , Emperor of Ethiopia (died of fever)
- 1691 - Pope Alexander VIII (b. 1610)
- 1793 - William Wildman Shute Barrington, British statesman (b. 1717)
- 1851 - Mary Shelley, English author (b. 1797)
- 1908 - King Carlos I of Portugal (b. 1863)
- 1928 - Hughie Jennings, Baseball Hall of Famer (b. 1869)
- 1944 - Piet Mondriaan, Dutch painter (b. 1872)
- 1957 - Friedrich Paulus, German general
- 1966 - Hedda Hopper, American gossip columnist (b. 1885)
- 1966 - Buster Keaton, American actor (b. 1895)
- 1976 - Werner Heisenberg, German physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics
- 1980 - Jack Bailey , American television announcer
- 1981 - Geirr Tveitt, Norwegian composer (b. 1908)
- 1981 - Donald Wills Douglas, Sr., American aircraft manufacturer
- 1988 - Heather O'Rourke, child actress (b. 1975)
- 1997 - Herb Caen, American newspaper columnist (b. 1916)
- 1997 - Marjorie Reynolds , American actress
- 1999 - Paul Mellon , American philanthropist
- 2002 - Hildegard Knef, German actress, singer, writer (b. 1925)
- 2002 - Irish McCalla , American actress, model
- 2003 - The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, astronauts: Michael P. Anderson (b. 1959), David Brown (b. 1956), Kalpana Chawla (b. 1961), Laurel Clark (b. 1961), Rick D. Husband (b. 1957), Willie McCool (b. 1961), Ilan Ramon (b. 1954)
- 2003 - Mongo Santamaria, percussionist, band leader, Latin jazz musician
- 2005 - John Vernon, Canadian actor
Holidays and observances
January 31 - February 2 - January 1 - March 1 -- listing of all days
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