On Feb. 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation are finally ratified. The Articles had been signed by Congress and sent to the individual states on Nov. 15, 1777, but bickering between Virginia and Maryland delayed final ratification.
On Feb. 2, 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into its burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather.
On Feb. 3, 1950, Klaus Fuchs, a German-born British scientist who helped develop the atomic bomb, is arrested in Great Britain for passing top-secret information to the Soviet Union. His arrest led authorities to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and their subsequent execution.
On Feb. 4, 1913, Rosa Parks is born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama. Parks’ name has become synonymous with her refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in 1955.
On Feb. 5, 1934, Henry Louis Aaron Jr., the baseball slugger who broke Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers, is born in Mobile, Alabama.
On Feb. 6, 1928, a woman calling herself Anastasia Tschaikovsky and claiming to be the youngest daughter of the murdered Russian czar Nicholas II Romanov arrives in New York City. It wasn’t until 1994 that Anastasia’s DNA showed her to be Franziska Schanzkowska, a Polish-German factory worker.
On Feb. 7, 1984, while in orbit 170 miles above Earth, Navy Capt. Bruce McCandless becomes the first human to perform an untethered spacewalk. McCandless flew up to 320 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger while testing a rocket backpack he designed.
On Feb. 8, 1587, after 19 years of imprisonment, Mary Queen of Scots is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England for her complicity in a plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I. In 1542, while just six days old, Mary had ascended to the Scottish throne upon the death of her father, King James V.
On Feb. 9, 1960, Adolph Coors disappears while driving to work from his Morrison, Colorado, home. Adolph, grandson of Coors’ founder and the chairman of the Golden, Colorado, brewery, was kidnapped and held for ransom before being shot to death.