On February 3:
1377 More than 2,000 people of Cesena were slaughtered by Papal Troops (Cesena Bloodbath).
1637 Tulip mania collapsed in the United Provinces (now the Netherlands) by government order.
An allegory of tulip mania by Hendrik Gerritsz Pot, circa 1640.
1690 The colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper money in America.
1777 John Cheyne, British physician, surgeon and author, was born (d. 1836).
1809 Felix Mendelssohn, German composer, was born (d. 1847).
1821 Elizabeth Blackwell, first female American physician, was born (d. 1910)
1867 Emperor Meiji became the 122nd emperor of Japan.
1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of race.
1874 Gertrude Stein, American writer, was born (d. 1946).
1894 Norman Rockwell, American illustrator, was born (d. 1978).
1899 Doris Speed, English actress, was born (d. 1994).
1907 James Michener, American author, was born (d. 1997).
1913 The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect an income tax.
1916 Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada burned down.
1918 The Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco started service as the longest streetcar tunnel in the world at 11,920 feet (3,633 meters) long.
1927 Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer, was born.
1931 The Hawkes Bay earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck – New Zealand’s worst natural disaster killed 258 people.
1932 Peggy Ann Garner, American actress, was born (d. 1984).
1943 Dennis Edwards, American singer (The Temptations), was born.
Live at the Copa (1968), the first Temptations album to feature new lead singer Dennis Edwards. Pictured left to right: Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Otis Williams, and Eddie Kendricks
1944 Trisha Noble, Australian singer and actress, was born.
1947 Dave Davies, English musician (The Kinks), was born.
1947 The lowest temperature in North America was recorded in Snag, Yukon.
1950 Morgan Fairchild, American actress, was born.
1958 Founding of the Benelux Economic Union.
1959 Lol Tolhurst, English musician (The Cure), was born.
1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan spoke of the “a wind of change” of increasing national consciousness blowing through colonial Africa, signalling that his Government was likely to support decolonisation.
1966 The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft made the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon.
1967 Ronald Ryan, the last person to be executed in Australia was hanged in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne.
1969 Yasser Arafat was appointed Palestine Liberation Organisation leader at the Palestinian National Congress.
1971 New York Police Officer Frank Serpico was shot during a drug bust in Brooklyn and survived to later testify against police corruption. Many believe the incident proves that NYPD officers tried to kill him.
1976 Isla Fisher, Australian actress, was born.
1988 Iran-Contra Affair: The United States House of Representatives rejected President Ronald Reagan’s request for $36.25 million to aid Nicaraguan Contras.
1989 P.W. Botha resigned party leadership and the presidency of South Africa.
1989 A military coup overthrew Alfredo Stroessner, dictator of Paraguay since 1954.
1996 The Lijiang earthquake in China struck, killing 200 people.
1998 – Cavalese cable-car disaster: a United States Military pilot caused the death of 20 people when his low-flying plane cuts the cable of a cable-car near Trento, Italy.
2007 A Baghdad market bombing killed at least 135 people and injured a further 339.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.