On February 8:
1575 Universiteit Leiden was founded and given the motto “Praesidium Libertatis”.
1587 Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at suspicion of having been involved in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England.
1612 Samuel Butler, English poet, was born (d. 1680).
1622 King James I disbanded the English Parliament.
1692 – A doctor in Salem Village suggeseds that two girls in the family of the village minister may be suffering from bewitchment, leading to the Salem witch trials.
1693 The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia was granted a charter by King William III and Queen Mary II.
1726 The Supreme Privy Council was established in Russia.
1807 Battle of Eylau – Napoleon defeated Russians under General Benigssen.
1828 Jules Verne, French author, was born (d. 1905).
1837 Richard Johnson became the first Vice President of the United States chosen by the United States Senate.
1849 New Roman Republic established.
1865 Delaware voters rejected the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and voted to continue the practice of slavery.
1882 Thomas Selfridge, first person to die in an airplane crash, was born (d. 1908).
1924 The first state execution using gas in the United States took place in Nevada.
1931 James Dean, American actor, was born (d. 1955).
1931 All three people on board a Dominion Airline DeSoutter were killed in a crash near Wairoa. This was the first fatal air service accident in New Zealand.
1952 Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of the UK.
1955 John Grisham, American writer, was born.
1955 The Government of Sindh abolished the Jagirdari system in the province. One million acres (4000 km²) of land thus acquired was to be distributed among the landless peasants.
1963 Mohammad Azharuddin, Indian cricketer, was born.
1963 Travel, financial and commercial transactions by United States citizens to Cuba were made illegal by the John F. Kennedy administration.
1968 The Orangeburg massacre, a mass killing in Orangeburg, South Carolina of black students from South Carolina State University who were protesting racial segregation at the town’s only bowling alley.
1974 – Military coup in Upper Volta.
1978 Proceedings of the United States Senate were broadcast on radio for the first time.
1983 The Melbourne dust storm .The result of the worst drought on record and a day of severe weather conditions, the 320m deep dust cloud enveloped the city, turning day to night.
1989 An Independent Air Boeing 707 crashed into Santa Maria mountain in Azores Islands killing 144.
1996 The U.S. Congress passes the Communications Decency Act.
1996 – The massive Internet collaboration “24 Hours in Cyberspace” took place.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.