On this date in history:
In 1690, Massachusetts Colony issued the first paper money in America.
In 1783, Spain recognized the independence of the United States from Great Britain.
In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It decreed that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.
In 1913, the 16th Amendment, allowing establishment of an income tax, became part of the U.S. Constitution after ratification by Wyoming.
In 1917, the United States severed relations with Germany following the former's announcing its intention of waging unrestricted submarine warfare the previous day, on Feb. 2, 1917.
In 1924, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States, died in Washington at the age of 67.
In 1959, singers Buddy Holly, J.P. The Big Bopper Richardson and Ritchie Valens, and their pilot, Roger Peterson, were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.
In 1966, the Soviet Union accomplished the first controlled landing on the moon when the unmanned spacecraft Luna 9 touched down on the Ocean of Storms.
In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law by U.S. President Richard Nixon.
In 1994, the United States ended a trade embargo on Vietnam after 19 years.
In 1994, Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off into space with the first Russian cosmonaut aboard a U.S. spacecraft.
In 1998, Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker, the first female inmate to be put to death by the state in 135 years.
In 1998, a U.S. Marine jet clipped a cable car wire in a northern Italian ski resort, killing 20 people.
In 2004, the discovery of the lethal poison ricin in the mailroom of U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., the Senate majority leader, forced the temporary closing of three Senate office buildings in Washington.
In 2005, more than 50 people died when a train rammed a trailer carrying a wedding party at a railroad crossing in India.
In 2005, 104 people aboard an Afghan airliner died when it crashed in the mountains near Kabul. It was Afghanistan's worst air disaster.
In 2006, an Egyptian ferry sank in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, an accident that killed nearly 1,000 people.
In 2007, a truck bomb exploded in a Baghdad market killing at least 135 people and injuring more than 300.
In 2008, Serbian President Boris Tadic, a pro-Western leader who favored closer ties with the United States, won re-election over a hard-line Radical Party candidate.
In 2011, the New York City Council approved a measure banning smoking in 1,700 parks and along 14 miles of beaches.