This Day In History – February 4


Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.


  • Ancient History 211 AD – Roman Emperor Severus dies during Caledonian invasion
  • American Revolution 1789 – Washington elected as president
  • Ameican Civil War 1861 – Confederate States of America formed
  • Old West 1861 – Apache leader Cochise escapes confinement Apache Wars begin
  • 1899 – Philippine-American War Begins
  • Science 1915 – Cure for deadly pellagra developed
  • WWI 1915 – Germany declares war zone around British Isles
  • WWII 1945 – Yalta Conference commences

    Plow & Hearth



    Septimus Severus

    Ancient History 211 (Roots of America) – Roman Emperor Septimius Severus falls ill and dies during invasion of Caledonia (modern Scotland)

    Roman Emperor Septimius Severus dies at Eboracum (modern York, England) while preparing to lead a campaign against the Caledonians. He leaves the empire in the control of his two quarrelling sons.

    Septimius Severus (Latin: Lucius Septimius Severus Augustus; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211), also known as Severus, was Roman Emperor from 193 to 211. Severus was born in Leptis Magna in the province of Africa. As a young man he advanced through the customary succession of offices under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia. Later that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years later at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul.

    A Caledonian or Pict, as represented in a 19th century history book

    After solidifying his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris. Furthermore, he enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202, he campaigned in Africa and Mauretania against the Garamantes; capturing their capital Garama and expanding the Limes Tripolitanus along the southern frontier of the empire.

    Late in his reign he traveled to Britain, strengthening Hadrian’s Wall and reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In 208 he began the conquest of Caledonia (modern Scotland), but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill in late 210. Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum, succeeded by his sons Caracalla and Geta. With the succession of his sons, Severus founded the Severan dynasty, the last dynasty of the empire before the Crisis of the Third Century.

    Read more at Wikipedia >>


    Septimius Severus – The First African emperor of Rome

    The Picts Of Scotland – Last Of The Free (1/6)

    Roman conquest of Britain (Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire) 1/5

    Roman conquest of Britain (Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire) 2/5


    ‘Wishing to subjugate the whole of Britain, he invaded Caledonia’: the British expedition of Septimius Severus, AD 208-11

    Lecture by Dr Nick Hodgson, TWM Archaeology
    The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (Website >>)




    George Washington

    American Revolution 1789 – Washington unanimously elected by Electoral College to first and second terms

    On this day in 1789, George Washington becomes the first and only president to be unanimously elected by the Electoral College. He repeated this notable feat on the same day in 1792.

    The peculiarities of early American voting procedure meant that although Washington won unanimous election, he still had a runner-up, John Adams, who served as vice president during both of Washington’s terms. Electors in what is now called the Electoral College named two choices for president. They each cast two ballots without noting a distinction between their choice for president and vice president. Washington was chosen by all of the electors and therefore is considered to have been unanimously elected. Of those also named on the electors’ ballots, Adams had the most votes and became vice president.

    Read more at This Day in History >>




    American Civil War 1861 – In Montgomery, Alabama, delegates from six break-away U.S. states meet and form the Confederate States of America

    On this day in 1861, the Confederacy is open for business when the Provisional Confederate Congress convenes in Montgomery, Alabama.

    The official record read: “Be it remembered that on the fourth day of February, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the Capitol of the State of Alabama, in the city of Montgomery, at the hour of noon, there assembled certain deputies and delegates from the several independent South States of North America…”

    The first order of business was drafting a constitution. The congress used the U.S. Constitution as a model, taking most of it verbatim. In just four days, a tentative document to govern the new nation was hammered out. The president was limited to one six-year term. Unlike the U.S. Constitution, the word “slave” was used and the institution protected in all states and any territories to be added later. Importation of slaves was prohibited, as this would alienate European nations and would detract from the profitable “internal slave trade” in the South. Other components of the constitution were designed to enhance the power of the states–governmental money for internal improvements was banned and the president was given a line-item veto on appropriations bills.


    Jefferson Davis

    I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came.
    Jefferson Davis


    The congress then turned its attention to selecting a president, with delegates settling on Jefferson Davis, a West Point graduate and former U.S. senator from Mississippi who served as the U.S. secretary of war in the 1850s.

    Source This Day In History


    A map of the United States at the time of the Civil War

    Causes of the Civil War Part 1

    President Jefferson Davis




    Cohise Apache

    Old West 1861 – Apache leader Cochise escapes after being tricked into detainment – the start of 25 years of Southwest Apache Indian Wars

    New Mexico Territory- Cochise, the Chiricahua Apache leader, meets Second Lieutenant George Bascom under a white flag. Bascom tries to detain Cochise who cut his way through the tent and escaped. This Day In Old West History

    Cochise ( /koʊˈtʃiːs/; Apache K’uu-ch’ish “oak”; c. 1805–June 8, 1874) was a chief (a nantan) of the Chokonen (“central” or “real” Chiricahua) band of the Chiricahua Apache and the leader of an uprising that began in 1861. Cochise County, Arizona is named after him.

    Cochise (or “Cheis”) was one of the most famous Apache leaders (along with Geronimo and Mangas Coloradas) to resist intrusions by Americans during the 19th century. He was described as a large man (for the time), with a muscular frame, classical features, and long black hair which he wore in traditional Apache style. He was about 1.78 m (5’10”) tall and weighed about 175 lbs. In his own language, his name “Cheis” meant “having the quality or strength of oak.”

    Cochise and wife

    Cochise and the Chokonen-Chiricahua lived in the area that is now the northern Mexican region of Sonora, New Mexico, and Arizona, which they had moved into sometime before the coming of the Europeans.[5] As Spain and later Mexico attempted to gain dominion over their lands, the various Chiricahua groups became increasingly resistant. Cycles of warfare developed, which the Apaches mostly won. Eventually, the Spanish tried a different approach; they tried to make the Apaches dependent (thereby placating them) upon poor-quality firearms and liquor rations issued by the colonial government (this was called the “Galvez Peace Policy”). After Mexico wrested control of the territory from Spain, and didn’t have the resources (and/or possibly the will) to continue it, the practice was ended. It had worked for quite a number of years, but the various Chiricahua bands resumed traditional raiding to acquire what they needed after the Mexicans no longer made provisions for them (in the 1830s).

    Read more at Wikipedia >>

    Indian Wars : South West and Cochise


    1889- Sundance, Wyoming Territory- Harry Longabaugh is released from the Sundance Prison , thereby acquiring the famous nickname, “the Sundance Kid.”

    Sitting (l to r): Harry A. Longabaugh, alias the Sundance Kid, Ben Kilpatrick, alias the Tall Texan, Robert Leroy Parker, alias Butch Cassidy; Standing (l to r): Will Carver, alias News Carver and Harvey Logan, alias Kid Curry; Fort Worth, Texas, 1900.




    The Battle of Manila Bay

    1899 – The Philippine-American War begins

    After its defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded its longstanding colony of the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. On February 4, 1899, just two days before the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty, fighting broke out between American forces and Filipino nationalists led by Emilio Aguinaldo who sought independence rather than a change in colonial rulers. The ensuing Philippine-American War lasted three years and resulted in the death of over 4,200 American and over 20,000 Filipino combatants. As many as 200,000 Filipino civilians died from violence, famine, and disease.

    Read more at The Office of the Historian, The U.S. Department of State >>

    The Battle of Manila, February 1899.




    Dr. Joseph Goldberger

    Science 1915 – Cure for deadly pellagra developed

    In 1915, experiments began to find the cause of the disease, pellagra. In 1915 more than 10,000 people died of pellagra in the United States alone. The work is conducted by Dr. Joseph Goldberger upon a dozen vounteers from the inmates of a Mississippi state prison at Jackson. By adjusting the food in their meals, it is eventually found that pellagra is caused by poor diet. Improving diet remedies the potentially fatal disease. The experiment is a medical classic. Goldberger’s studies alerted people to the importance of essential nutrients found in diets and it began the “biological age” in nutrition research during which the connection was made between disease and lack of essential nutrients in the diet which we call vitamins. Today In Science

    Pellagra Presentation


    Other American Science developments this day February 4, read more at Today In Science:

  • In 1941, Roy Plunkett received a U.S. patent for “Tetrafluoroethylene Polymers,” now known under the trade name Teflon, which he assigned to his employer, Kinetic Chemicals Inc of Wilmington, Delaware.
  • In 1936, the first radioactive substance to be produced in the U.S. synthetically was radium E, by bombarding the element bismuth with neutrons. This was achieved by Dr. John Jacob Livingood at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • In 1913, a patent for a “demountable tire-carrying rim”, No. 1,052,270, was issued to Louis Henry Perlman of New York City. This was the first automobile tire rim that was designed to be removed and remounted.
  • In 1902, Thomas A. Edison was issued a U.S. patent for a “Reversible Galvanic Battery” (No. 692,507), a design for a permanent battery with a large capacity per unit of weight. Finely divided cadmium is used as the oxidizable element.
  • In 1896, black American inventor, Willie H. Johnson, of Navasota, Texas, was issued a U.S. patent for “A Mechanism for Overcoming Dead Centers” which occur in machines when a shaft is driven by a crank (No. 554,223).
  • In 1895, the first rolling lift bridge opened over the Chicago River at Van Buren Street, Chicago. This type was popular around 1900, designed and patented by William Scherzer of Chicago.
  • In 1890, Thomas A. Edison was issued a U.S. patent for a “Quadruplex Telegraph” (No. 420,594). This invention was designed to transmit and receive four independent messages over a single wire, without interference with each other, two in one direction and two in the opposite direction.
  • In 1873, Thomas A. Edison was issued a U.S. patent for an “Improvement to Circuits for Chemical Telegraphs” (No. 135,531). It concerned a method to reduce the problem of marks running together on the chemical paper from the electric action of one pulsation from the telegraph wire not clearing before the next followed. Edison utilized electromagnets in local or branch circuits to sharpen the pulses.



    Kaiser Wilhelm II

    World War I 1915 – Germany declares war zone around British Isles

    A full two years before Germany’s aggressive naval policy would draw the United States into the war against them, Kaiser Wilhelm announces an important step in the development of that policy, proclaiming the North Sea a war zone, in which all merchant ships, including those from neutral countries, were liable to be sunk without warning.

    In widening the boundaries of naval warfare, Germany was retaliating against the Allies for the British-imposed blockade of Germany in the North Sea, an important part of Britain’s war strategy aimed at strangling its enemy economically. By war’s end—according to official British counts—the so-called hunger blockade would take some 770,000 German lives.

    The German navy, despite its attempts to build itself up in the pre-war years, was far inferior in strength to the peerless British Royal Navy. After resounding defeats of its battle cruisers, such as that suffered in the Falkland Islands in December 1914, Germany began to look to its dangerous U-boat submarines as its best hope at sea. Hermann Bauer, the leader of the German submarine service, had suggested in October 1914 that the U-boats could be used to attack commerce ships and raid their cargoes, thus scaring off imports to Britain, including those from neutral countries. Early the following month, Britain declared the North Sea a military area, warning neutral countries that areas would be mined and that all ships must first put into British ports, where they would be searched for possible supplies bound for Germany, stripped of these, and escorted through the British minefields. With this intensification of the blockade, Bauer’s idea gained greater support within Germany as the only appropriate response to Britain’s actions.

    Read more at This Day In History >>


    Submarine Warfare in World War I

    The Hunt for U12, broadcast BBC Radio Scotland

    WW I U-Boat sinking vessel




    President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin

    World War II 1945 – The Yalta Conference commences

    On this day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Premier Joseph Stalin meet at Yalta, in the Crimea, to discuss and plan the postwar world—namely, to address the redistribution of power and influence. It is at Yalta that many place the birth of the Cold War.

    It had already been determined that a defeated Germany would be sliced up into zones occupied by the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union, the principal Allied powers. Once in Germany, the Allies would see to the deconstruction of the German military and the prosecution of war criminals. A special commission would also determine war reparations.

    But the most significant issue, the one that marked the conference in history, was Joseph Stalin’s designs on Eastern Europe.

    Read more a This Day In History >>

    Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt meet in Yalta



    1941 – The United Service Organization (USO) is created to entertain American troops


    1945 – World War II: The British Indian Army and Imperial Japanese Army begin a series of battles known as the Battle of Pokoku and Irrawaddy River operations.


    A soldier from the 5th Infantry Division (India) stands guard over Japanese prisoners who surrendered during the liberation of Singapore. September 1945.




    Never be haughty to the humble or humble to the haughty.
    Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America


    America remember and honor your history – it will give direction,
    purpose and security to your future.


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