Here's what happened on February 2nd!
- Yearly: Happy Groundhog Day! The woodchuck is one of the earliest animals to go into winter quarters and one of the first to emerge for spring. This is why the popular legend emerged that, on this day, if the groundhog sees his shadow he will return to his burrow for 6 more weeks of winter.
(American History, Science)
- 1727: William Prendergast was born in Kilkenny, Ireland. His family moved to the American colonies. He was a tenant farmer in Duchess County, New York. He is considered an Irish American colonial reformer because he took a stand against the wealthy landowners that forced tenants into unfair and cruel leases.
- 1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo was signed. This formal agreement ended the Mexican War. By the treaty, Mexico acknowledged the annexation of the disputed Texas territory, and ceded all of the New Mexico territory and upper California to the United States.
(American History, Defining Moments)
- 1895: George Halas was born in Chicago, Illinois. The football coach put together the Staleys, the pro football team that would eventually become the Chicago Bears. This team was a member of the original National Football League (NFL) and Halas is credited with holding together the NFL in its early years. In 1963, Halas was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- 1925: Sled-dog hero Balto led musher Gunnar Kaasen’s team into Nome, Alaska. The team traveled through blinding snow and fierce wind to get the much-needed anti-diphtheria serum to the town. Balto and his team have gone down in history as heroes. Balto's body is on display at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
- 1931: Judith Viorst was born in Newark, New Jersey. Viorist is best known for her children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
(Biography for Beginners)
- 1990: South African President de Klerk lifted the ban on the African National Congress (ANC). This ban played a part in sending Nelson Mandela to prison for 27 years. Mandela and de Klerk negotiated terms to transform the South African system of apartheid into a fully representative democracy, and also negotiated the terms of Mandela's release from prison. Nine days after the ban was lifted Mandela walked out of prison.
(Shapers of Society)
- 2010: Professional skier Lindsey Vonn crashed during a practice run in Austria weeks before the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Despite suffering a serious and painful injury, she refused an x-ray and tried any quick fix. She went on to win gold and a bronze medals.