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What Happened on February 10?

  • The world chess champion lost to a computer. (1996) The IBM computer Deep Blue beat the reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a game on this day. It was the first game in a highly publicized six game tournament, and showed just how far computing and artificial intelligence had come. Kasparov eventually won the tournament 4-2, and demanded a rematch with Deep Blue, but IBM declined and retired the computer.

  • Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. (1840) The marriage was a very happy one; they had 9 children, and when Albert died, Victoria remained in mourning for the rest of her life. The two had known each other for a long time — they were actually first cousins.

  • The French and Indian War ended. (1763) The war was a global conflict known as the Seven Years War outside of America, and largely consisted of Britain and France fighting for dominance in various parts of the world. Their conflict in America became known as the French and Indian War, since the French allied with Native Americans to fight British and colonial American forces. After the war ended, France lost all claims to Canada, and Britain gained parts of Florida and Canada as well as various French territories around the world. It's partially because of the French losses in the war that they supported the American colonists in the revolution against Britain 15 years later.

  • The Mormons began their exodus to the American West. (1846) The Mormons, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had been persecuted in the East since the church was founded in the 1830s. After their leader Joseph Smith was assassinated, his protege, Brigham Young, began leading the members of the church out West, where they eventually settled in the Great Salt Lake Valley.

  • The first indoor sprinkler system was patented. (1863) Alanson Crane patented the predecessor to the modern sprinkler system on this day, which was particularly innovative at the time since it allowed the system to be turned on and off by someone outside of the building.

  • Poland was married to the sea. (1920) Poland has been symbolically married to the sea several times; each time it is done in order to emphasize the country's dependence on the sea for economic development. In each ceremony, a Polish flag is dipped into the Baltic Sea, and then a wedding ring is thrown in after it.

  • The Saint Scholastica Day riot began. (1355) The riot started when two students from the University of Oxford insulted and beat up a bartender. Residents responded violently, and a riot broke out between the students at Oxford and the residents of the surrounding town that lasted for two days, and left over 100 people dead.

  • General Tom Thumb married Lavinia Warren. (1863) Charles Sherwood Stratton, also known as General Tom Thumb, was a famous dwarf and a star attraction in P.T. Barnum's circus. His marriage to Lavinia Warren, another dwarf, made front page news — a fact that Barnum capitalized on by selling tickets to the event.

  • The US exchanged a Soviet spy for a captured US CIA agent. (1962) Francis Gary Powers had been shot down over Russia while flying a CIA spy plane. He was exchanged on this day for Rudolph Abel, who had been convicted of espionage in the US in a dramatic handover at the Gilenicker Bridge that linked East and West Germany.

  • Bob Dylan's album "The Times They Are A-Changing" debuted. (1964) Dylan became the voice of the 1960s counter-culture with his songs on race relations, social change, and the Vietnam War. "The Times..." was his third album, and the first one to only feature original compositions.

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