February 23

303 – Roman emperor Diocletian orders the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, beginning eight years of persecution until emperor Constantine became sole ruler and converted to Christianity.

532 – Byzantine emperor Justinian I orders the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia.

1455 – Johan Gutenberg publishes a Bible, printed, for the first time, with movable type.

1778 – Baron Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand von Steuben arrives at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help to train the Continental Army.

1836 – The Siege of the Alamo begins in San Antonio, Texas.

1870 – Mississippi is readmitted to the Union.

1886 – Charles Martin Hall produces the first samples of aluminum from the electrolysis of aluminum oxide.

1903 – Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.

1905 – Chicago attorney Paul Harris and three other businessmen meet for lunch to form the Rotary Club, the world’s first service club.

1927 – President Calvin Coolidge signs into law a bill establishing the Federal Radio Commission, later the Federal Communications Commission.

1927 – German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Mechanics.

1942 – The Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-17 under the command of Commander Kozo Nishino, bombards the Ellwood oilfield, near Santa Barbara, California inflicting minimal real damage and no casualties, but causing mass panic among the population.

1945 – On the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, 1lt. Harold G. Schrier, executive officer of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division,  leads a combat patrol up Mount Suribachi, and on reaching the summit raises a U.S. flag, which is later replaced by a much larger flag, the raising of which is both photographed and filmed for posterity.

On the Philippine island of Luzon, troops of the U.S. 11th Airborne Division, along with Filipino guerrillas, free all 2,147 allied civilian and military  captives of the Los Baños internment camp.

1954 – The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.

1983 – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency announces the buy out and evacuation of the dioxin contaminated community of Times Beach, Missouri.

2008 – The U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber Spirit of Kansas crashes on takeoff from Anderson Air Force Base, on Guam, MI, with both pilots safely ejecting, the first operational loss of a B-2.

2019 – Atlas Air Flight 3591, a Boeing 767 freighter, crashes into Trinity Bay near Anahuac, Texas, killing all 3 on board.