This Week in History: February 2-8

Featured Article, History, This Week in History
on February 2, 2014

This week in 1985, the Third Punic War ended. The same Third Punic War waged between Rome and Carthage that you learned about during ancient history class. Find out why things took so long to resolve by reading below:

February 2:
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The border war between the U.S. and Mexico ended on this day in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty called for a cessation of fighting, gave the U.S. some 500,000 square miles of territory (including parts of California and the state of New Mexico) and set the border between the nations at the Rio Grande River in Texas. The war lasted nearly two years with total casualties numbering near 30,000. Future presidents Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce earned their military muster during the war.

February 3:Jefferson-Davis

Civil War Peace Talks
The North and South tried to reconcile and failed on this day in 1865. Meeting aboard the steamer River Queen near Hampton, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward met with Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, Sen. Robert M.T. Hunter and Secretary of War John A. Campbell. Union delegates urged that any peace had to begin with submission to federal authority. There was discussion about an alliance against France’s advances in Mexico. Slavery was optioned as a condition of rejoining the Union. The only decision made was over the treatment and return of prisoners of war.

Buddy-holly-monumentThe Day the Music Died
Immortalized by Don McLean’s “American Pie,” on February 3, 1959, three rock and roll stars died in a tragic plane crash. Musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were flying from Clear Lake, Iowa to Moorhead, Minnesota as part of a Midwest tour. The plane crashed soon after takeoff due to poor visibility. The three stars and the pilot died on impact. The accident left a lasting mark on rock and roll and its fans, many of whom have yet to forget the incident.

February 4:
Mark-Zuckerberg-FacebookFacebook Goes Online
Connecting with your friends to share pictures, links, and thoughts became easier than ever on this day in 2004 with the launch of the world’s largest social media website, Facebook. Founder Mark Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook” from his Harvard dorm room with fellow students Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin. The website has nearly a billion registered profiles and 500 million daily users. Facebook went public in May 2012. The company’s origins were the subject of the 2010 film “The Social Network.”

February 5:
Third Punic War Ends
Though all major battles and engagement ended in 146 B.C. when the Roman general Scipio burned Carthage, the Third Punic War was not actually settled until this day in 1985. Rome’s Mayor, Ugo Vetere, and his Carthaginian counterpart, Chedli Klibi met in Tunis to sign a friendship pact and end the aggression that stretched back over 2000 years. The Third Punic War began in 149 B.C.

February 6:
First Minstrel Show in America
America’s first original theatrical form, the minstrel show, was first performed on this day in 1843. The Virginia Minstrels, a group of four white men in blackface, performed at New York City’s Bowery Amphitheater. Minstrel shows caricatured blacks and their culture. After the Civil War, the prevalence of black performers, in blackface, performing in minstrel shows rapidly increased. Vaudeville replaced minstrel shows as the popular form of theatrical entertainment. Minstrel shows were eradicated with the 1960s civil rights movement. Some of the songs featured in shows have translated into American folk music.

February 7:
Charlie-ChaplinCharlie Chapin’s Tramp
Legendary silent film actor Charlie Chaplin introduced one of film’s most enduring icons, “the Tramp,” on this day in 1914. In the film “Kid Auto Races at Venice,” Chaplin first portrayed the bumbling, down-on-his-luck character that quickly endeared himself to viewers. Chaplin used the character in many silent films and further solidified himself as a cinema star. Dolls and merchandise with “Tramp” images sold well.

February 8:
Birth-of-a-Nation-poster“The Birth of a Nation”
One of the most important films ever made, D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation,” was released on this day in 1915. Chronicling the origin story of the Ku Klux Klan, “The Birth of a Nation” was a commercial success despite cultural outcry. Advanced filming techniques for the time set it above anything else released to that point. “The Birth of a Nation” was the most commercially successful film until “Gone with the Wind.” It is credited, too, with helping aid in the reformation of the KKK in the same year as the film’s release.

Boy Scouts Founded
Boys and young men around the country learned to “be prepared” on this day in 1910 with the formation of the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts, with nearly 3 million youth members and 1 million adult leaders and volunteers, seek to train members in citizenship, adventuring and self-reliance. William Boyce, who was influenced by the British Scout Association, founded the organization in Washington, D.C.