1411 - Peace of Toruń 1411 signed in Toruń, Poland
1662 - The Chinese general Koxinga seizes the island of Taiwan after a nine-month siege.
1713 - The Kalabalik or Tumult in Bendery results from the Ottoman sultan's order that his unwelcome guest, King Charles XII of Sweden, be seized.
1788 - Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patent the steamboat.
1790 - In New York City the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.
1793 - France declares war on the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
1796 - The capital of Upper Canada is moved from Newark to York.
1814 - Mayon Volcano, in the Philippines, erupts, killing around 1,200 people; most devastating eruption of Mayon Volcano.
1856 - Auburn University is chartered as the East Alabama Male College.
1861 - American Civil War: Texas secedes from the United States.
1862 - Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is published for the first time in the Atlantic Monthly.
1880 - The first edition of theatrical newspaper The Stage is published.
1884 - Edition one of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.
1893 - Thomas A. Edison finishes construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria (West Orange, New Jersey).
1896 - The opera La bohème premieres (Turin).
1908 - King Carlos I of Portugal and his son, Prince Luis Filipe are killed in Terreiro do Paco, Lisbon.
1913 - New York City's Grand Central Terminal opens as the world's largest train station.
1918 - Russia adopts the Gregorian Calendar.
1920 - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin operations.
1924 - United Kingdom recognizes USSR.
1929 - Frenchman Charles Rigoulet is the first weightlifter to lift over 400 pounds (181 kg) in the "clean and jerk" method.
1943 - World War II: Vidkun Quisling is appointed Premier of Norway by the Nazi occupiers.
1946 - Trygve Lie of Norway is picked to be the first United Nations Secretary General.
1958 - Merger of Egypt and Syria to form the United Arab Republic, which lasted until 1961.
1960 - Four black students stage a sit-in at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
1965 - Churchill River, Newfoundland - Hamilton River in Labrador renamed Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.
1968 - Vietnam War: Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem is executed by Nguyen Ngoc Loan a South Vietnamese National Police Chief. The execution was videotaped and photographed by Eddie Adams and helped sway public opinion against the war.
1968 - Official unification of the three former military services of Canada, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force became the united Canadian Armed Forces.
1968 - Merger of the historic New York Central Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad to form ill-fated Penn Central Transportation.
1974 - In São Paulo, Brazil, a fire in a 25-story office building kills 189 and injures 293.
1974 - Kuala Lumpur declared a Federal Territory.
1978 - Director Roman Polanski skips bail and flees to France after pleading guilty to charges of engaging in sex with a 13-year-old girl.
1979 - Convicted bank robber Patty Hearst is released from prison after her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter.
1979 - Ayatollah Khomeini is welcomed back into Tehran, Iran after nearly 15 years of exile.
1981 - Trevor Chappell bowls his infamous "Underarm Ball" to Brian McKechnie to prevent New Zealand scoring a 6, and tying the ODI, on the last ball of the third match in the final of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup. It directly led to the banning of underarm bowling by the International Cricket Council as not within the spirit of the game.
1982 - Senegal and Gambia form a loose confederation known as Senegambia.
1989 - The Western Australian towns of Kalgoorlie and Boulder amalgamate to form the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
1992 - The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bhopal court declares Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide, a fugitive under Indian law for failing to appear in the Bhopal Disaster case.
1994 - In Portland, Oregon Tonya Harding's ex-husband Jeff Gillooly pleads guilty for his role in attacking figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.
1995 - Manic Street Preachers lyricist Richey James Edwards goes missing from the Embassy Hotel in London, UK.
1996 - Communications Decency Act is passed by the U.S. Congress.
1999 - North Dakota Public Radio is launched.
2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas upon reentry killing all seven astronauts onboard.
2004 - At least 244 people trampled to death in a stampede at the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
2004 - Janet Jackson exposes her breast on American television during the half-time show of the Super Bowl.
2005 - Nepal King Gyanendra excercised Coup d'état to capture the democracy becoming Chairman of the Councils of ministers.
1261 - Walter de Stapledon, English bishop (d. 1326)
1462 - Johannes Trithemius, German cryptographer (d. 1516)
1552 - Edward Coke, English colonial entrepreneur and jurist (d. 1634)
1635 - Marquard Gude, German archaeologist (d. 1689)
1690 - Francesco Maria Veracini, Italian composer (d. 1768)
1761 - Christian Hendrik Persoon, South African mycologist (d. 1836)
1844 - G. Stanley Hall, American psychologist (d. 1844)
1859 - Victor Herbert, Irish composer (d. 1924)
1874 - Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Austrian writer (d. 1929)
1882 - Louis Stephen St. Laurent, twelfth Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1973)
1884 - Yevgeny Zamyatin, Russian writer (d. 1937)
1887 - Charles Nordhoff, English-born author (d. 1947)
1894 - John Ford, American director and producer (d. 1973)
1894 - James P. Johnson, American pianist and composer (d. 1955)
1898 - Enzo Ferrari, Italian auto manufacturer (d. 1988)
1901 - Clark Gable, American actor (d. 1960)
1902 - Langston Hughes American writer (d. 1967)
1904 - S. J. Perelman, American humorist and author (d. 1979)
1905 - Emilio G. Segrè, Italian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
1906 - Hildegarde, American actress and singer (d. 2005)
1907 - Günter Eich, German lyricist (d. 1972)
1908 - George Pál, Hungarian-born director and producer (d. 1980)
1909 - George Beverly Shea, Canadian singer
1915 - Sir Stanley Matthews, English football player (d. 2000)
1918 - Dame Muriel Spark, Scottish author
1922 - Renata Tebaldi, Italian soprano (d. 2004)
1931 - Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia
1936 - Azie Taylor Morton, U.S. Treasurer (d. 2003)
1937 - Don Everly, American musician (Everly Brothers)
1937 - Garrett Morris, American comedian
1938 - Sherman Hemsley, American comedian and actor
1940 - Bibi Besch, Austrian-American actress (d. 1996)
1941 - Karl Dall, German television moderator.
1942 - Terry Jones, Welsh actor and writer
1944 - Burkhard Ziese, German football manager
1947 - Jessica Savitch, American journalist (d. 1983)
1948 - Rick James, American musician and composer (d. 2004)
1948 - Elisabeth Sladen, British actress
1950 - Mike Campbell, American guitarist and producer
1954 - Bill Mumy, American actor and musician
1956 - Exene Cervenka, American musician (X)
1961 - Volker Fried, German field hockey player
1962 - José Luis Cuciuffo, Argentinian footballer
1962 - Tomoyasu Hotei, Japanese guitarist
1965 - Sherilyn Fenn, American actress
1965 - Brandon Lee, American actor (d. 1993)
1965 - Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
1965 - Noah Blake, American actor and reality series star
1966 - Michelle Akers, American soccer player
1966 - Rob Lee, English footballer
1968 - Lisa Marie Presley, American singer and actress
1968 - Pauly Shore, American comedian
1968 - Mark Recchi, Canadian ice hockey player
1969 - Gabriel Batistuta, Argentine footballer
1969 - Joshua Redman, American musician
1969 - Brian Krause, American actor
1971 - Yoshi DeHerrera, American television personality
1971 - Jill Kelly, American pornographic actress
1971 - Ron Welty, American musician (The Offspring)
1971 - Zlatko Zahovič, Slovenian footballer
1974 - David Carter, Seneschalstown footballer (retired)
1975 - Big Boi, American musician (Outkast)
1977 - Kevin Kilbane, Irish footballer
1984 - Darren Fletcher, Scottish footballer
1985 - Dean Shiels, Northern Irish footballer
1248 - Henry II, Duke of Brabant (b. 1207)
1328 - King Charles IV of France (b. 1294)
1542 - Girolamo Aleandro, Italian Catholic cardinal (b. 1480)
1563 - Menas, Emperor of Ethiopia (died of fever)
1590 - Lawrence Humphrey, English clergyman and educator
1691 - Pope Alexander VIII (b. 1610)
1718 - Charles Talbot, 1st Duke of Shrewsbury, English politician (b. 1660)
1733 - King Augustus II of Poland (b. 1670)
1734 - John Floyer, English physician and writer (b. 1649)
1743 - Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, Italian composer (b. 1657)
1761 - Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, French historian (b. 1682)
1768 - Sir Robert Rich, 4th Baronet, British cavalry officer (b. 1685)
1793 - William Wildman Shute Barrington, British statesman (b. 1717)
1851 - Mary Shelley, English author (b. 1797)
1893 - George Henry Sanderson, Mayor of San Francisco (b. 1824)
1897 - Constantin von Ettingshausen, Austrian geologist (b. 1826)
1903 - George Gabriel Stokes, Irish physicist (b. 1819)
1908 - King Carlos I of Portugal (b. 1863)
1928 - Hughie Jennings, baseball player (b. 1869)
1944 - Piet Mondriaan, Dutch painter (b. 1872)
1957 - Friedrich Paulus, German general (b. 1890)
1958 - Clinton Davisson, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
1966 - Hedda Hopper, American gossip columnist (b. 1885)
1966 - Buster Keaton, American actor (b. 1895)
1970 - Alfréd Rényi, Hungarian mathematician (b. 1921)
1976 - Werner Heisenberg, German physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)
1976 - George Whipple, American scientist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1878)
1981 - Donald Wills Douglas, Sr., American aircraft manufacturer (b. 1892)
1981 - Geirr Tveitt, Norwegian composer (b. 1908)
1986 - Alva Myrdal, Swedish politician, diplomat, and writer, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1902)
1988 - Heather O'Rourke, American actress (b. 1975)
1989 - Elaine de Kooning, American artist (b. 1918)
1991 - Carol Dempster, American actress (b. 1901)
1997 - Herb Caen, American newspaper columnist (b. 1916)
1999 - Paul Mellon, American philanthropist (b. 1907)
2002 - Hildegard Knef, German actress, singer, and writer (b. 1925)
2003 - The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia, astronauts: Michael P. Anderson (b. 1959), David Brown (b. 1956), Kalpana Chawla (b. 1961), Laurel Clark (b. 1961), Rick D. Husband (b. 1957), Willie McCool (b. 1961), Ilan Ramon (b. 1954).
2003 - Mongo Santamaria, Cuban percussionist and band leader (b. 1922)
2005 - John Vernon, Canadian actor (b. 1932)
Holidays and observances
Imbolc - the first day of Spring in Ireland (Irish Calendar), one of the eight solar holidays in the Wheel of the Year.
The start of Black History Month in the United States.
The start of LGBT History Month in the United Kingdom.
St. Brigid of Kildare - one of the three patron saints of Ireland, the others being St. Patrick and St. Columcille.
Blessed Reginald of Sint-Gillis
In Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the fictional character Willy Wonka gives an unprecedented tour of his chocolate factory on February 1 (year unspecified).