February 27 Events in History

February 27th, a day like any other in the calendar, has been a silent witness to numerous pivotal moments that have shaped the course of human history.

From the coronation of kings to the clash of empires, and from the spark of revolutions to the silent whispers of change, this day encapsulates the diversity of our shared past.

In this article, we embark on a chronological journey through time, exploring twenty significant events that occurred on February 27th.

February 27th – On this Day in History

1594 – Henry IV is crowned King of France, ending the war of the three Henrys and beginning the Bourbon dynasty, which would last until the French Revolution

Henry IV, originally Henry of Navarre, became King of France after a tumultuous period known as the War of the Three Henrys, part of the wider French Wars of Religion. This war was primarily a conflict between Catholic and Protestant factions within France, with Henry IV initially leading the Protestant Huguenots.

Also Read: February 26 – On this Day in History

His coronation marked the end of the civil war, but it was his conversion to Catholicism, summarized by the famous statement “Paris is worth a Mass,” that significantly eased his path to the throne.

His reign began the Bourbon dynasty, which lasted until the French Revolution in 1789. Henry IV is remembered for his efforts to restore peace in France through the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which granted a degree of religious freedom to the Huguenots.

Henry IV

1700 – The island of New Britain is discovered

New Britain is a large island in the Bismarck Archipelago, part of Papua New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It was discovered by European explorers on February 27, 1700.

The island was named “Neu Pommern” (New Pomerania) during the German colonial period, but it reverted to its original name, New Britain, following World War I when the island came under Australian administration.

Also Read: February 28th Events in History

The island played a strategic role during World War II and was the scene of significant military campaigns between Japanese and Allied forces.

1776 – American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge in North Carolina breaks up a Loyalist militia

The Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge was a pivotal early battle in the Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War. It took place in North Carolina and involved a confrontation between Loyalist forces loyal to the British Crown and Patriot forces seeking independence.

The Patriots decisively defeated the Loyalists, preventing them from joining British forces in the region. This victory not only boosted Patriot morale but also helped sway North Carolina sentiment more firmly in favor of independence, leading to the state’s eventual decision to vote for independence from Britain.

1782 – The House of Commons of Great Britain votes against further war in America, effectively acknowledging the independence of the United States

In a significant turn of events that effectively signaled the beginning of the end of the American Revolutionary War, the British House of Commons voted against continuing the war in America on February 27, 1782.

This decision came after years of costly and unsuccessful military campaigns in the American colonies. The vote reflected growing war weariness in Britain and the realization that the conflict was unwinnable in practical terms.

This pivotal moment led to the resignation of Lord North’s government, peace negotiations, and ultimately, the recognition of American independence with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Treaty of Paris

1801 – Pursuant to the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801, Washington, D.C. is placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress

On February 27, 1801, the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 was enacted, officially placing Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress. This act organized the territory of the District, which had been selected to serve as the nation’s capital from a location along the Potomac River.

The legislation was crucial for establishing the federal government’s authority over the capital and ensuring that it would operate independently of any individual state. This move was in accordance with Article One, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution, which permits the establishment of a national capital under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress.

1812 – Poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire

George Gordon Byron, better known as Lord Byron, was a prominent English poet and a leading figure in the Romantic movement. On February 27, 1812, he made his maiden speech in the House of Lords, where he took a stand in defense of the Luddites.

The Luddites were a group of workers who were destroying industrial machinery in the Midlands, including Byron’s home county of Nottinghamshire, as they saw it as a threat to their jobs and skills. Byron’s speech was notable for its sympathy towards the working class and its critique of the harsh measures being used against the Luddite protesters.

His advocacy for social and economic reform and his eloquent defense of the workers’ cause highlighted the humanitarian concerns that often featured in his poetry and personal philosophy.

1844 – The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti

The Dominican Republic declared its independence from Haiti on February 27, 1844. This day marks the culmination of the Dominican War of Independence, which was fought between Dominican rebels and Haitian forces.

The struggle was led by Dominican nationalists Juan Pablo Duarte, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, and Ramón Matías Mella, who are today considered national heroes. The conflict arose after two decades of Haitian occupation, which began in 1822.

The declaration of independence led to the establishment of the Dominican Republic as a sovereign state, separate from Haiti, which occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola. The day is celebrated annually in the Dominican Republic as Independence Day.

1861 – Russian Tsar Alexander II signs the Emancipation Reform into law, abolishing serfdom in Russia

On February 27, 1861, Tsar Alexander II of Russia enacted the Emancipation Reform, one of the most significant legal changes in Russia since the reign of Peter the Great. This reform legally freed the serfs, peasants who were bound to the land and under the control of the landowners.

The emancipation of the serfs granted them the civil rights to marry without having to gain consent, to own property, and to conduct business. The reform also provided the serfs with allocations of land, which they were required to repay the state in a form of credit known as “redemption payments.”

While the reform aimed to alleviate social tensions and modernize Russia, it also led to many economic difficulties and dissatisfaction among the peasants, laying some of the groundwork for future social upheavals.

Tsar Alexander II

1900 – The British Labour Party is founded

The British Labour Party was founded on February 27, 1900, at a meeting of trade unionists, socialist groups, and individuals committed to social justice in London. This meeting led to the creation of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), which later became the Labour Party.

The party’s formation was driven by the desire to give a political voice to the working class, a segment of the population that had become increasingly politicized and organized due to the industrial revolution and the growth of urban working communities.

The Labour Party aimed to represent the interests of the working class within Parliament, advocating for workers’ rights, social equality, and the redistribution of wealth. Over time, it has grown to become one of the two major political parties in the United Kingdom, with a significant impact on British politics and society.

1922 – The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously holds, in Leser v. Garnett, that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is constitutional

In the case of Leser v. Garnett, decided on February 27, 1922, the United States Supreme Court unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the 19th Amendment, which had been ratified on August 18, 1920. The amendment granted women the right to vote, marking a pivotal moment in the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.

The case was brought by Oscar Leser and others, who argued that the amendment had not been legally ratified. They claimed that some states that ratified the amendment did not have the authority to do so, and that the amendment’s ratification process had not met certain procedural requirements.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Leser v. Garnett rejected these arguments, affirming the legality of the amendment’s ratification process and securing women’s suffrage as a constitutional right. This ruling was a significant victory for the women’s suffrage movement and an important step toward gender equality in voting rights.

1933 – The Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, is set on fire, a pivotal event in the establishment of the Nazi regime

On the evening of February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building, home to the German Parliament, was set ablaze. The fire was a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany.

Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch council communist, was found inside the building and claimed responsibility for the fire, stating it was an act of protest against the rising fascist power. However, the Nazis used the incident to claim that communists were plotting against the German government.

Adolf Hitler, who had been appointed Chancellor just a month earlier, persuaded President Paul von Hindenburg to sign the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended most civil liberties and allowed for the arrest of political opponents, primarily communists. This event significantly facilitated the Nazi’s consolidation of power, leading to the establishment of a totalitarian regime.

1942 – World War II: During the Battle of the Java Sea, an allied strike force is defeated by a Japanese task force in the Java Sea in the Dutch East Indies

The Battle of the Java Sea took place on February 27, 1942, and was a decisive naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II. An Allied fleet, composed of ships from the American, British, Dutch, and Australian navies, engaged a Japanese task force in the Java Sea, northeast of the Java Island in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

The Allied forces were attempting to prevent the Japanese from transporting troops to Java as part of their wider strategy to conquer Southeast Asia. The battle resulted in a significant defeat for the Allies, with the loss of several ships and a failure to stop the Japanese advance.

The Japanese success in the Battle of the Java Sea allowed them to complete their invasion of the Dutch East Indies, securing vital resources for their war effort.

1951 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified

The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on February 27, 1951, limiting Presidents to two terms in office. This amendment was largely a reaction to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four consecutive terms (1933-1945), which broke the longstanding tradition established by George Washington of serving only two terms.

The amendment specifies that no person can be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and a person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President may not be elected to the office of the President more than once.

This amendment was intended to formalize the two-term limit as a safeguard against any single person holding too much power for too long.

1963 – The Dominican Republic receives its first democratically elected president, Juan Bosch, after 38 years of dictatorial rule

Juan Bosch became the Dominican Republic’s first democratically elected president in nearly four decades on February 27, 1963. His inauguration marked the end of a long period of dictatorship under Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the country from 1930 until his assassination in 1961.

Bosch, a renowned intellectual and writer, had founded the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and was known for his progressive and reformist ideas. His presidency, however, was short-lived; he was ousted by a military coup in September of the same year.

Bosch’s government attempted to implement social reforms, including land reform, civil liberties, and reductions in military power, which were met with opposition from conservative factions within the country. His brief tenure is remembered for its democratic ideals in a time of political turbulence.

1973 – The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota

On February 27, 1973, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and Oglala Lakota (Sioux) from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, to protest against the United States government’s failure to fulfill treaties with Native American people and injustices against their communities.

Wounded Knee was the site of an 1890 massacre, where hundreds of Lakota men, women, and children were killed by the U.S. Army, making it a symbolically significant location for the protest. The occupation lasted for 71 days, during which there were exchanges of gunfire resulting in deaths on both sides.

The stand-off drew international attention to the plight of Native Americans, leading to negotiations with federal officials. The Wounded Knee incident is considered a pivotal moment in the Native American civil rights movement, highlighting issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and self-determination.

1986 – The United States Senate allows its debates to be televised on a trial basis

On February 27, 1986, the United States Senate agreed to allow its debates to be televised to the public on a trial basis, a significant step toward making the legislative process more transparent and accessible to American citizens.

This decision followed the lead of the House of Representatives, which had started televising its proceedings in 1979. The move to broadcast Senate debates was seen as a way to improve public understanding of the issues and processes within the legislative branch of government.

Initially, some Senators were hesitant, fearing that television could alter the nature of debate or that it might be used for political grandstanding.

However, the trial was deemed a success, leading to the establishment of permanent television coverage. The broadcasting of debates has since become an integral part of the political landscape in the United States, facilitated by networks such as C-SPAN.

1991 – President George H. W. Bush announces that “Kuwait is liberated” during the Gulf War

On February 27, 1991, President George H. W. Bush announced that Kuwait had been liberated from Iraqi occupation, marking the end of the combat phase of the Gulf War. This conflict had begun in August 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, leading to a broad coalition of nations led by the United States to intervene to expel Iraqi forces.

The liberation of Kuwait followed a brief but intense campaign known as Operation Desert Storm, which saw significant aerial and ground combat.

The announcement of Kuwait’s liberation was a moment of triumph for the coalition forces and marked a significant achievement in international efforts to uphold the principle of national sovereignty against aggression.

2002 – Godhra train burning: A Muslim mob kills 59 Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya

On February 27, 2002, a tragic and violent incident occurred at the Godhra railway station in Gujarat, India, where a train carrying Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya was set on fire, leading to the deaths of 59 people.

The train was attacked by a mob, which led to a nationwide outcry and sparked one of the worst communal riots in Indian history, known as the Gujarat riots. The violence predominantly targeted the Muslim community and resulted in extensive loss of life, displacement of thousands, and widespread destruction of property.

The Godhra train burning and the subsequent riots have had a lasting impact on communal relations in India and remain a deeply controversial topic, with debates over the causes, consequences, and the state’s response to the violence.

2004 – The initial version of the John Jay Report, with details about the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in the United States, is released

The John Jay Report, formally known as The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States, was released on February 27, 2004.

Commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the report was an exhaustive study of the patterns of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in the United States between 1950 and 2002.

The findings revealed that over 4,000 U.S. Roman Catholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations during this period, with the allegations involving over 10,000 children, mostly boys.

The report’s publication marked a critical moment in the Catholic Church’s ongoing sexual abuse scandal, highlighting the need for significant reforms in how the Church addresses and prevents sexual abuse.

2010 – An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale strikes off the coast of central Chile, killing over 500 people

On February 27, 2010, a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 struck off the coast of central Chile, causing widespread destruction across much of the country. It was one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded and triggered a massive tsunami that affected coastal towns and villages.

The disaster resulted in the deaths of more than 500 people, with many more injured and displaced from their homes. The earthquake caused significant damage to infrastructure, including buildings, roads, and bridges, leading to a long and challenging recovery process. The international community responded with aid and support to help Chile in its efforts to rebuild and recover from the catastrophe.