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19th February in history

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197 – Emperor Septimius Severus defeats usurper Clodius Albinus in the Battle of Lugdunum, the bloodiest battle between Roman armies.

356 – Emperor Constantius II issues a decree closing all pagan temples in the Roman Empire.

1600 – The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina explodes in the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America.

1674 – England and the Netherlands sign the Treaty of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transfers the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, and it is renamed New York.

1807 – Former Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr is arrested for treason in Wakefield, Alabama and confined to Fort Stoddert.

1861 – Serfdom is abolished in Russia.

1878 – Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.

1881 – Kansas became the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages.

1915 – World War I: The first naval attack on the Dardanelles begins when a strong Anglo-French task force bombards Ottoman artillery along the coast of Gallipoli.

1942 – World War II: Nearly 250 Japanese warplanes attack the northern Australian city of Darwin killing 243 people.

1948 – The Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convenes in Calcutta.

1959 – The United Kingdom grants Cyprus independence, which is then formally proclaimed on August 16, 1960.

1960 – China successfully launches the T-7, its first sounding rocket.

1985 – Mickey Mouse was welcomed to China as part of the 30th anniversary of Disneyland. The touring mouse played 30 cities in 30 days.

1985 – William J. Schroeder becomes the first recipient of an artificial heart to leave hospital.

1997 – Deng Xiaoping of China died at the age of 92. He was the last of China’s major revolutionaries.

2002 – NASA’s Mars Odyssey space probe begins to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.

2008 – Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency. His brother Raul was later named as his successor.

2011 – The debut exhibition of the Belitung shipwreck, containing the largest collection of Tang dynasty artefacts found in one location, begins in Singapore.

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