1454 At a grand feast, Philip the Good of Burgundy takes the "vow of the pheasant," by which he swears to fight the Turks.
1598 Boris Godunov, the boyar of Tarar origin, is elected czar in succession to his brother-in-law Fydor.
1720 Spain signs the Treaty of the Hague with the Quadruple Alliance ending a war that was begun in 1718.
1801 The House of Representatives breaks an electoral college tie and chooses Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr.
1864 The Confederate submarine Hunley sinks the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
1865 The South Carolina capital city, Columbia, is destroyed by fire as Major General William Tecumseh Sherman marches through.
1909 Apache chief Geronimo dies of pneumonia at age 80, while still in captivity at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
1919 Germany signs an armistice giving up territory in Poland.
1925 The first issue of Harold Ross’ magazine, The New Yorker, hits the stands, selling for 15 cents a copy.
1933 The League of Nations censures Japan in a worldwide broadcast.
1935 Thirty-one prisoners escape an Oklahoma prison after murdering a guard.
1938 The first color television is demonstrated at the Dominion Theatre in London.
1944 U.S forces land on Eniwetok atoll in the South Pacific.
1945 Gen. MacArthur’s troops land on Corregidor in the Philippines.
1951 Packard introduces its "250" Chassis Convertible.
1955 Britain announces its ability to make hydrogen bombs.
1959 The United States launches its first weather station in space, Vanguard II.
1960 Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested in the Alabama bus boycott.
1963 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visits the Berlin Wall.
1969 Russia and Peru sign their first trade accord.
1973 President Richard Nixon names Patrick Gray director of the FBI.
1975 Art by Cezanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and van Gogh, valued at $5 million, is stolen from the Municipal Museum in Milan.
1979 China begins a "pedagogical" war against Vietnam. It will last until March.
1985 Murray Haydon becomes the third person to receive an artificial heart.
Born on February 17
1774 Raphaelle Peale, U.S. painter
1864 A(ndrew) B(arton) "Banjo" Paterson, Australian poet and journalist.
1874 Thomas J. Watson Sr., U.S. industrialist.
1902 Marian Anderson, American singer.
1908 Walter Lanier "Red" Barber, baseball announcer for the Cincinnati Reds, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees.
1929 Chaim Potok, novelist (The Chosen, The Promise).
1963 Michael Jordan, basketball player for the Chicago Bulls.