Today’s History Spotlight
The Great Siege of Gibraltar comes to an end. Beginning on June 16, 1779, Spain entered the American Revolution on behalf of the American Colonies. While the last fight of the war on American soil had ended at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781, French and Spanish forces continued engaging the British.
Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar was an important target for Spanish troops. From 1779-1783, Gibraltar was blockaded by the Spanish, with French forces providing reinforcements in 1782. The result of the siege proved a victory for the British, but the British nonetheless began peace talks in February 1783. The American Revolution officially ended on September 3 of that year.
What Happened On This Day – February 7
- 2009 The Black Saturday bushfires in Australia kill 173 people. The fires were the worst natural disaster in Australian history.
- 2005 Ellen MacArthur breaks the speed record for sailing solo around the world. The journey took her 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes, and 33 seconds.
- 1992 The European Union is established as the Maastricht Treaty is signed. The treaty also defined a single European currency: the Euro.
- 1986 Haiti’s president, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, flees the country, ending 28 years of family rule. On the same day 5 years later, the first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was sworn in.
- 1984 NASA astronauts take the first untethered spacewalk. The photographs of Bruce McCandless and Robert L. Stewart hovering freely in space became some of the most iconic images of the 1980s.
Births On This Day – February 7
- 1978 Ashton Kutcher – American model, actor, producer
- 1962 Eddie Izzard – Yemeni/English actor, comedian
- 1962 Garth Brooks – American singer-songwriter, guitarist
- 1906 Oleg Antonov – Soviet aircraft designer, founded the Antonov Aircraft Company
- 1812 Charles Dickens – English author
Deaths On This Day – February 7
- 2015 Dean Smith – American basketball player, coach
- 1994 Witold Lutosławski – Polish composer, conductor
- 1986 Cheikh Anta Diop – Senegalese historian, anthropologist, physicist
- 1959 Nap Lajoie – American baseball player
- 1938 Harvey Samuel Firestone – American businessman, founded the Firestone Tire, Rubber Company
The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at TimeandDate.com and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.
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