Today is Valentine’s Day, the feast day of St. Valentine, a priest and physician who was martyred about 270 ce in Rome, and the tradition of exchanging greetings of love on Valentine’s Day is based on the legend that Valentine had signed a letter to his jailer’s daughter, with whom he had fallen in love, “from your Valentine.”
Amid scandals and corruption allegations, South African President Jacob Zuma resigned and was later replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa.
Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim registered YouTube, a Web site for sharing videos; it would become hugely popular, with more than one billion unique users visiting the site every month.
The psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs was released in American theatres; widely regarded as a classic, it won five Academy Awards, including best picture, actor (Anthony Hopkins), actress (Jodie Foster), and director (Jonathan Demme).
American dancer, choreographer, and actor Gregory Hines, a major figure in the revitalization of tap dancing in the late 20th century, was born.
The first general-purpose high-speed electronic digital computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), was demonstrated to the public by its creators, J. Presper Eckert, Jr., and John W. Mauchly.
Members of Al Capone’s gang of bootleggers massacred a rival gang run by George Moran in Chicago during the Prohibition era.
With the establishment of women’s suffrage in the United States, Carrie Chapman Catt formed the League of Women Voters in Chicago.
American entertainer Jack Benny, whose unusual comedic method and expert timing made him a legendary success in radio and television, was born.
Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone.
Captain James Cook was killed by Hawaiians in a dispute over the theft of a cutter.
Thomas Malthus, the English economist and demographer best known for his theory that population growth will always tend to outrun the food supply and should be checked by stern limits on reproduction, is believed to have been born this day.
Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Philadelphia.