On February 21:
1245 Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, resigned after confessing to torture and forgery.
1440 The Prussian Confederation was formed.
1543 Battle of Wayna Daga – A combined army of Ethiopian and Portuguese troops defeats a Muslim army led by Ahmed Gragn.
1613 Mikhail I was elected unanimously as Tsar, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.
1842 John Greenough was granted the first U.S.A. patent for the sewing machine.
1879 An explosion in a Kaitangata coal mine killed 34 men.
1885 The newly completed Washington Monument was dedicated.
1903 Anaïs Nin, French writer, was born.
1907 W. H. Auden, English poet, was born.
1910 Douglas Bader, British pilot (, was born.
1916 Battle of Verdun started.
1918 The last Carolina parakeet died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.
1919 Kurt Eisner, German socialist, was assassinated.
1924 Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbambwe, was born.
1925 The New Yorker published its first issue.
1927 Erma Bombeck, American humorist, was born.
1927 Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion designer, was born.
1933 – Nina Simone, American singer, was born.
1935 Mark McManus, Scottish actor, was born.
1952 In Dhaka, East Pakistan (present Bangladesh) police opened fire on a procession of students that was demanding the establishment of Bengali as the official language, killing four people and starting a country-wide protest which led to the recognition of Bengali as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The day was later declared as “International Mother Language Day” by UNESCO.
1960 Cuban leader Fidel Castro nationalised all businesses in Cuba.
1965 Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam.
1970 A mid-air bomb explosion in Swissair Flight 330 and subsequent crash killed 38 passengers and nine crew members near Zürich.
1971 The Convention on Psychotropic Substances was signed at Vienna.
1972 The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon.
1986 Charlotte Church, Welsh singer, was born.
1995 Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to make a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.