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Have you ever pondered the historical events in February? February is a significant month in history with many important events occurring throughout the years.

From abolishing slavery, to Queen Elizabeth taking the throne, so much has happened. In this article, we explore amazing events in February throughout history and share important information.

February 1, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, officially abolishing slavery

February 1, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment

African slavery in the US started in 1619, when the British brought many African slaves to North America. This signalled the start of the slave trade, something that continued to last over two hundred years.

February 1865 saw the 13th Amendment signed which officially ended slavery. It stated, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

February 24, 1867: The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson

February 24, 1867: The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson became president of the US on the 15th April 1865, a tenure that lasted four years. In that time he became known for implementing his own form of Presidential Reconstruction. He famously said “Honest conviction is my courage; the constitution is my guide.”

Johnson was impeached due to charges against him related to his violation of the Tenure of Office act. He was the first U.S. president to be impeached.

February 25, 1870: Hiram Rhoades Revels, became the first African American to serve in the United States Senate

February 25, 1870: Hiram Rhoades Revels, became the first African American to serve in the United States Senate

Because of slavery in the US, there were few powerful African-Americans in the mid-1800s. This all changed when Hiram Rhoades Revels, a minister from Mississippi, became the first to serve in the US senate.

He was in charge for just over a year. During this time, he advocated for equal rights and opposed segregating people on public transportation. He played a key role in political representation at the time.

February 15, 1898: The USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, Cuba, contributing to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War

February 15, 1898: The USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor

The Spanish-American war lasted around four months. It had a significant impact on the US.

The sinking of the USS Maine caused public anger and blamed Spain for the explosion, which was important in the war.

Amid escalating tensions in Cuba with the Spanish, the US declared war and it officially began. The conflict ended when the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10th. Spain gave control of many territories to the US.

February 6, 1952: Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom

February 6, 1952: Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne of the United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth II took to the throne in February 1952. She had a huge impact not just on the UK, but also the rest of the commonwealth where she also reigned. This included Canada, Barbados, and Malta. 

February 28, 1953: James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA

February 28, 1953: James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA

James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of DNA’s structure in the 1950s was a major scientific milestone.

Their model showed that DNA is made up of two long chains of nucleotides going in opposite directions. The helical structure explains how genetic information can be copied and stored.

Furthermore, DNA discovery led to progress in genetic tests, molecular biology, and medical discoveries.

February 28, 1954: The first color television set on sale to the public

February 28, 1954: The first color television set on sale to the public

TVs became popular quickly in the 1950s. In 1950, only 9% of US homes had a TV, but by the end of 1954, 55% of homes had one. One of the main causes for this was the introduction of color TV sets.

The introduction of color TVs changed the way people got their news, consumed entertainment and opened their eyes to many new things. It had a huge impact on the future of the US and the world.

February 20, 1962: Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth

February 20, 1962: Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth

Another monumental event that happened in February took place in 1962. Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. He completed three orbits aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft.

The launch took place from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 9:47 am and took around 4 hours 55 minutes from take-off to landing. The ship splashed down in the Atlantic 800 miles southeast of Bermuda. The achievement served as a great stepping stone for the US in the space race with the Soviet Union.

February 21, 1965: Civil rights leader Malcolm X is assassinated

February 21, 1965: Civil rights leader Malcolm X is assassinated

Malcolm X was a key figure in the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s. He was a prominent minister and spokesperson for the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X was charismatic and influential, having a real impact on the rights of those at the time.

He was critical of MLK’s nonviolent methods and cited them as not being effective enough.

February 26, 1993: The World Trade Center in New York City is bombed

February 26, 1993: The World Trade Center in New York City is bombed

In February 1993, a car bomb exploded underneath the World Trade Center in New York. This was the first major terrorist attack on US soil and raised concerns about the security of the city. This attack helped to identify and potentially prevent other attacks.

For more interesting February events in history check out these free Learn Bright resources…

Blog article: Valentine’s Day Around the World: How Different Cultures Celebrate the Day of Love (February 14)

Lesson Plan: Why Black History Month High-Interest Reading Comprehension

Video: Black History Month for Kids

Lesson Plan: African American History

Lesson Plan: All about the Lincoln Memorial (construction began on February 12, 1914)

Video: Lincoln Memorial for Kids

Lesson Plan: Galileo Galilei (born on February 15, 1564)

Video: Galileo Galilei for Kids

Lesson Plan: Washington Monument (The formal dedication ceremony occurred on February 21, 1885.)

Video: Washington Monument for Kids

Lesson Plan: Supreme Court of the U.S. (The court held its first official meeting the next day, February 2, 1790.) 

In conclusion, we hope that you and your children have many fun learning opportunities this February!