This Day in February
Here is a snapshot of historical events which took place in the month of February, with links to pages with further information, where available on the Web.
February 1 1708
Alexander Selkirk, a sailor from Lower Largo, Fife, rescued after four years on the island of Juan Fernandez, 400 miles off the coast of Chile; his story inspired Daniel Defoe to write "Robinson Crusoe".
February 1 1865
Highland Railway formed from the amalgamation of Inverness and Perth Junction and the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railways.
February 1 1919
Tanks and army patrol the streets of Glasgow after "Bloody Friday" when 20,000 strikers gathered in George Square.
February 1 1918
Author >Muriel Spark born.
Feast and legal Quarter Day of Candlemass.
February 2 1424
James I> married Lady Jane Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset, in London.
February 2 1645
Battle of Inverlochy, one of the Duke of Montrose's victories over the Covenanters>, killing 1,300.
February 2 1782
Birth of James Chalmers in Arbroath - he devised the adhesive postage stamp.
February 2 1987
Novelist Alistair Maclean> died. His books "The Guns of Navarone", "Ice Station Zebra" and "Where Eagles Dare" were made into films.
February 4 1649
Charles II proclaimed king in Edinburgh - but not in England.
February 4 1716
Prince James Francis Stuart, the Old Pretender, left Scotland after a stay of only three weeks, effectively bringing the first Jacobite Uprising to an end.
February 4 1818
Honours of Scotland> put on display in Edinburgh Castle after being rediscovered by Sir Walter Scott>.
February 4 1941
SS "Politician" ran aground on Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, creating the basis for Sir Compton MacKenzie's novel "Whisky Galore".
February 4 1953
Rationing of chocolate and sweets finally ended. It had to be re-introduced in 1949 after a short spell due to excessive demand.
February 5 1723
John Witherspoon>, clergyman, writer, President of Princeton University 1768-94, signatory to American Declaration of Independence 1776, born in Gifford, East Lothian.
February 5 1846
John Boyd Dunlop>, who patented the first practical pneumatic tyre, born Ayrshire.
February 5 1881
Writer and historian Thomas Carlyle> died in London.
February 6 1605
The Trades House of Glasgow was founded to represent the interests of the craftsmen of the city.
February 6 1665
Queen Anne>, last of the Stuart monarchs, born.
February 6 1685
King Charles II, the "merry monarch" died. His last words to his brother James were "Don't let poor Nellie starve" - a reference to his favourite mistress, Nell Gwynne.
February 6 1918
Representation of the people Act received Royal assent, granting votes to women over the age of 30.
February 6 1952
King George VI dies and Queen Elizabeth II becomes monarch.
February 7 1313
Robert the Bruce> captured Dumfries.
February 7 1592
Earl of Moray> murdered at Donibristle.
February 7 1603
Battle at Glenfruin when the MacGregors slaughtered a number of Colquhouns - the origins of the banning of the MacGregor name.
February 8 1587
Mary Queen of Scots> beheaded at Fotheringay Castle.
February 9 1958
Golfer Sandy Lyle> born.
February 10 1306
Robert the Bruce> murdered Red Comyn.
February 10 1495
A bull from Pope Alexander VI confirmed the foundation of Aberdeen University.
February 10 1567
Lord Darnley>, husband of Mary Queen of Scots>, assassinated.
February 10 1723
Rev John Witherspoon, President of Princeton College, signatory to the US Declaration of Independence, baptised at Yester.
February 10 1794
The 4th Duke of Gordon was authorised to raise the Gordon Highlanders.
February 10 1868
David Brewster>, scientist, inventor (including the kaleidoscope) died.
February 10 1912
Death of Lord Joseph Lister>, pioneer of surgery and antiseptic at the University of Glasgow and Glasgow and Edinburgh Royal Infirmaries.
February 10 1972
The uninhabited island of Rockall, 290 miles out in the Atlantic from the Western Isles, was formally incorporated as part of Scotland. It had been annexed by a boarding party from HMS Vidal in 1955. It was on the flight path of rockets being test flown from Benbecula.
February 11 1800
William H Fox Talbot>, pioneering photographer, born.
February 11 1895
Coldest temperature ever recorded in Scotland, -27.2C at Braemar.
February 11 1940
Author and politician John Buchan> died in Canada.
February 12 1624
George Heriot, goldsmith to King James VI and founder of George Heriot's School>, died.
February 12 1846
Rev Henry Duncan>, founder of the world-wide savings bank movement, died near Ruthwell.
February 13 858
Kenneth MacAlpin>, King of Dalriada and the Picts, died at Forteviot.
February 13 1462
Treaty of Westminster-Ardtornish between the Lord of the Isles and Edward IV, the King of England.
February 13 1692
Massacre of 38 of the Clan Macdonald by government order at Glencoe>.
February 13 1931
Scottish Youth Hostel Association formed.
February 14 1565
Mary Queen of Scots> meets Lord Darnley for the first time. They married in July 1565.
February 14 1876
Alexander Graham Bell> patented the telephone (Patent 174461). Two hours after it was lodged, his rival, Elisha Gray, applied for a similar patent. Bell's was granted.
February 15 1848
The Caledonian Railway company opened.
February 15 1971
Decimal currency introduced, abandoning 12 pennies to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.
February 16 1746
An attempt to capture Prince Charles Edward Stewart at Moy Hall was unsuccessful and the government forces were surprised and routed by a handful of Jacobites. Duncan Bam MacCrimmon, Hereditory Piper to the MacLeods of Dunvegan, fighting on the Hanoverian side, was the only fatality in the skirmish.
February 16 1992
Journalist and poet George Mann MacBeth ("A War Quartet") died.
February 17 1540
King James V passed a law which recognised Scotland's gipsies.
February 17 1688
James Renwick, last Covenanter> to be executed.
February 18 1958
Writer Ian Banks born in Dunfermline, Fife.
February 19 1972
Death of film director and producer John Grierson, a pioneer of documentary film making. He is credited with being the first person to use the word 'documentary' (in 1926). He produced one of British cinema's most famous documentary films, "Night Mail" and later produced the Oscar winning film "Seawards the Great Ships". In 1939, he left Britain to set up the National Film Board of Canada.
February 20 1437
King James I> murdered in Perth by a group led by Sir Robert Graham.
February 20 1472
Orkney and Shetland annexed from Norway.
February 20 1951
Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, born.
February 21 1842
Intercity railway between Glasgow and Edinburgh opened by Queen Victoria.
February 21 1945
Eric Liddell>, "Chariots of Fire" athlete, winner of 1924 Olympics 400 metres, died in Japanese internment camp in China.
February 21 1952
Identity cards, introduced at a wartime security measure, were abolished in Britain.
February 21 2002
The all-Scots curling team won gold at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, watched by over 5 million TV viewers in the small hours of the morning.
February 22 1371
David II> died at Edinburgh Castle.
February 22 1371
King Robert II> crowned.
February 22 1452
King James II killed William Douglas at Stirling.
February 22 664
Death of St Boisel (after whom the village of St Boswells is named), the second prior of Melrose Abbey (after St Aidan).
February 23 1303
Battle of Roslin in which a Scots army of 8,000, led by Sir Simon Fraser, Sinclair of Rosslyn and the Red Comyn, surprised an English army of 30,000 led by Sir John Seagrave and defeated them.
February 23 1995
James Herriot> (pen name of James Alfred Wight), author of "All Creatures Great and Small", died aged 78.
February 24 1923
Steam train, the "Flying Scotsman" went into service with London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), on the London (King's Cross) to Edinburgh route.
February 24 1940
Footballer Denis Law who played for Manchester United and Scotland, born.
February 25 1412
Bishop Henry Wardlaw established St Andrews as a "university" although it was not officially inaugurated until 4 February 1414 when a Bull of Foundation was promulgated by Pope Benedict XIII.
February 25 1957
Stuart "Woody" Wood, guitarist with the Bay City Rollers, born.
February 26 1672
Philip van der Straten, a Fleming, was granted Scots naturalisation and set up a factory in Kelso, thus starting the Border woollen industry.
February 26 1931
Scotland football manager Ally MacLeod born in Glasgow. Long remembered, unfairly, for the disaster of the World Cup in Argentina in 1978.
February 26 1935
Robert Watson Watt> demonstrated radar for the first time.
February 26 1950
Entertainer and song writer Sir Harry Lauder> died.
February 27 1545
Battle of Ancrum Moor in which Scottish forces, led by Earl of Douglas, defeated an English army twice their size.
February 27 1560
Second Treaty of Berwick between England and Scotland, providing English assistance to remove French forces of Mary of Guise> from Scotland.
February 28 1638
Second National Covenant signed in Greyfriars Churchyard.
February 28 1946
Robin Cook>, Foreign Secretary, born.
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