February 16, 1923
KING TUT’S BURIAL CHAMBER OPENED IN EGYPT
British archaeologist Howard Carter entered the last of 4 chambers of Egyptian King Tutankhamen’s tomb today in Thebes. This is the chamber where the king’s remains rest.
Tutankhamen, who ruled Egypt around 1400 B.C., died as a teen. He is sometimes called “The Boy King”.
Carter had searched in vain for 5 years when steps were uncovered by his team near the entrance of another tomb.
He 1st entered the tomb on November 26, 1922. King Tut’s mummified body was discovered in a coffin of pure gold.
February 16, 1959
FIDEL CASTRO SWORN IN AS PM OF CUBA
After having driven dictator Fulgencio Batista into exile, Fidel Castro was sworn in today as prime minister of Cuba.
Castro, who has a history of being anti-American, 1st failed in an attempt at a coup in 1953. He was serving a 15 year sentence in prison when, in 1955, Batista pardoned all political prisoners.
With his brother, Raul & Argentine Marxist Che Guevara, another attempt to depose Batista was made but their small force was driven into the Sierra Maestra Mountains. There they waged guerrilla warfare until Batista was overthrown.
February 16, 1951
STALIN CONDEMNS UN ROLE IN KOREA
Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin says the United Nations has become “a weapon of aggressive war”.
This is his 1st statement since the conflict in Korea started. He went on to say that the UN is “burying its moral prestige & dooming itself to disintegration.”
February 16, 1947
CANADIANS GRANTED CITIZENSHIP
After being subjects of Great Britain for 80 years, Canadians were today granted Canadian citizenship.
Prime Minister William Lloyd Mackenzie King became the 1st official citizen of Canada.
February 16, 1862
TENNESSEE FORT SURRENDERED TO GRANT
Confederate General Gideon Pillow accepted terms of unconditional surrender from Federal General Ulysses S. Grant today.
Pillow’s army at Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River north of Nashville had been under siege for several days.
During the siege about 5000 Rebs were able to escape including cavalry led by Nathan Bedford Forrest.
When Pillow 1st asked for terms, General Grant answered that no terms except “unconditional & immediate surrender” would be accepted.
February 16, 1804
DECATUR DESTROYS CAPTURED FRIGATE
Lt. Stephen Decatur led a force of 74 men on a mission in Tripoli harbor today in the war with the “Barbary pirates”.
The objective of the mission was to destroy the captured frigate, USS Philadelphia, so that the pirates would not be able to use it against US forces.
Disguised as Maltese sailors, Decatur’s men were able to capture or kill the pirates on board the Philadelphia & then set it on fire. *
*Later in 1804, Decatur returned to Tripoli & became the hero of the “Battle of the Gunboats”.
Stephen Decatur House, Washington
Photo by John White