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What Happened on February 6?

  • Elizabeth II became Queen of the United Kingdom. (1952) Elizabeth was in Kenya when she received the news of her father's death. She would go on to displace Victoria as Great Britain's oldest ruler later in life, and was also one of the longest-ruling British monarchs in history.

  • The international arbitration court at The Hague was established. (1900) The court at the Hague is one of the foremost global courts in the world. The court was created as one of the provisions of the Hague Peace Conference of 1899, and has arbitrated on issues ranging from maritime borders to human rights issues.

  • The Union won its first battle. (1862) Ulysses S. Grant won the Battle of Fort Henry on this day, giving the Union its first victory in the war. Before Grant's victory, there were real fears that the Confederate forces would win the war within a few months.

  • Jack Kilby applied for a patent for the integrated circuit. (1959) The integrated circuit went on to become the basis of all modern computers, cell phones, and many other electronic items.

  • The Round Table talks began in Poland. (1989) The Polish Round Table resulted in the Round Table Agreement, which was one of the first steps away from Communism in Eastern Europe. Among other things, the Round Table Agreement legalized independent trade unions, and also introduced the position of President into the government, replacing the Communist party secretary.

  • The first group of freed slaves departed for West Africa. (1820) The slaves eventually founded the nation of Liberia, largely due to the influence of the American Colonization Society. The trip was also funded in part by the US Congress as part of an effort to return illegally imported slaves to Africa. The importation of slaves to America had been outlawed some years earlier.

  • Anastasia arrived in America. (1928) A woman claiming to be Anastasia, the daughter of the deposed Czar of Russia, arrived in New York City on this day, and immediately held a press conference to announce her identity. She was feted and treated as a celebrity, despite the many holes in her story. Scientists later performed a DNA analysis in 1994 that proved she was not Anastasia, or even related to the family.

  • The first railroad charter was granted in America. (1815) The charter was granted to John Stevens for the New Jersey Railroad Company, one of the first railroads in the US. This line would go on to become the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company, which remains a heavily used railroad in New England.

  • Singapore was founded. (1819) Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, a British statesman, founded Singapore on this day after long negotiations with the surrounding Malay tribesmen. It became a major British stronghold in the area, and later grew into a prosperous metropolis.

  • Reggae musician Bob Marley was born. (1945) Marley was an extremely influential musician, bringing reggae to the mainstream in America. He was also a symbol of black pride and Rastafarianism for many of his fans, and gained a substantial following before his death from cancer in 1981.

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