On February 1:
1662 Chinese general Koxinga seized the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.
1663 Mother Ignacia del Espiritu Santo, Filipino foundress of the Religious of the Virgin Mary, was born (d. 1748).
1790 The Supreme Court of the United States attempted to convene for the first time.
1793 French Revolutionary Wars: France declared war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
1814 Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupted, killing around 1,200 people.
1842 The Fifeshire arrived in Nelson with the first immigrants for the New Zealand Company’s latest venture, which followed the settlement of Wellington, New Plymouth and Wanganui.
1861 Texas seceded from the United States.
1862 Julia Ward Howe‘s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.
1865 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1873 John Barry, Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, was born (d. 1901).
1884 Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary was published.
1893 Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey.
1896 The opera La bohème premieresd in Turin.
1897 Shinhan Bank, the oldest bank in South Korea, opened in Seoul.
1901 Clark Gable, American actor, was born (d. 1960).
1918 Muriel Spark, Scottish author, was born (d. 2006).
1920 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began operations.
1931 Boris Yeltsin, 1st President of the Russian Federation, was born.
1934 Bob Shane, American folk singer (The Kingston Trio), was born.
1937 Don Everly, American musician (Everly Brothers), was born.
1937 Ray Sawyer, American singer (Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show), was born.
1942 Vidkun Quisling was appointed Premier of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.
1943 The German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad.
1946 Trygve Lie of Norway was picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.
1958 The United States Army launched Explorer 1.
1960 Four black students staged the first of the Greensboro sit-ins.
1965 The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada was renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.
1974 A fire in the 25-story Joelma Building in Sao Paulo killed 189 and injures 293.
1979 – The Ayatollah Khomeini was welcomed back into Tehran after nearly 15 years of exile.
1981 Trans-Tasman sporting relations reached breaking point at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his brother Trevor to bowl underarm (along the ground) for the final delivery of a limited-overs cricket international against New Zealand.
1989 The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
1996 The Communications Decency Act was passed by the U.S. Congress.
1998 Rear Admiral Lillian E. Fishburne became the first female African American to be promoted to rear admiral.
2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
2005 King Gyanendra exercised a coup d’état to capture Neapl, becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.
2005 – Canada introduced the Civil Marriage Act, making Canada the fourth country to sanction same-sex marriage.
2009 Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Iceland, becoming the first openly gay head of state in the modern world.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia