In 1779, British navigator and explorer James Cook, first known European to reach the Hawaiian Islands, was stabbed to death by Hawaiian natives while investigating the theft of a boat.
In 1849, James Polk became the first U.S. president to be photographed while in office. The photographer was Mathew Brady, who is famous for his Civil War pictures.
In 1859, Oregon was admitted as the 33rd member of the United States.
In 1886, the West Coast citrus industry was born. The first trainload of oranges left Los Angeles for eastern markets.
In 1903, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signed a law creating the Department of Commerce and Labor.
In 1912, Arizona was admitted to the 48th member of the United States.
In 1920, the League of Women Voters was formed in Chicago.
In 1929, in what became known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, gunmen believed to be working for Prohibition-era crime lord Al Capone killed seven members of the rival George Bugs Moran gang in a Chicago garage.
In 1933, an eight-day bank holiday was declared in Michigan in a Depression-era move to avert a financial panic. A total of $50 million was rushed to Detroit to bolster bank assets.
In 1949, Israel's legislature, the Knesset, was convened for the first time.
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