Today in History - Feb. 9

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Today in History - Feb. 9

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Today in History for Feb. 9:

On this date:

In 249, legends say the woman who later became St. Appolonia, the patron saint of dentistry, was tortured and killed for being a Christian. Her tormentors broke her teeth with iron points and extracted the roots with tongs.

In 1404, Constantine Palaeologus, the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire, was born. He died defending Constantinople against the armies of the Muslim Ottoman Turks in 1453.

In 1855, people in snow-covered Cornwall, England, discovered a strange trail of single-track cloven hooves that ran for 160 kilometres over roofs, through walls and under bushes.

In 1870, Louis Riel established a provisional government at Red River, Man.

In 1879, the North Shore Railway was completed, connecting Montreal and Quebec.

In 1881, novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a devout Russian Orthodox Christian and author of "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov," died.

In 1883, Ontario's first free public library opened in Guelph.

In 1893, what has been described as the world's first striptease took place at the Moulin Rouge. An artist's model named Mona gradually disrobed as part of an impromptu beauty competition with another woman. Her subsequent arrest and 100-franc fine sparked a riot in the French capital.

In 1909, in Brandenburg, Germany, a military band played "God Save The King" 17 times while waiting for King Edward VII to emerge from a train. The portly King had difficulty fitting into a German field marshal's uniform.

In 1931, the Earl of Bessborough was appointed Governor-General of Canada.

In 1941, British prime minister Winston Churchill appealed for American aid in one of his most dramatic speeches during the Second World War. The speech contained the now-famous phrase, "Give us the tools and we will finish the job." Churchill also promised, "We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire . . ."

In 1943, the Second World War battle of Guadalcanal in the southwest Pacific ended with an Allied victory over Japanese forces.

In 1966, the NHL announced it would double to 12 teams for the 1967-68 season. The six new teams were the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

In 1970, the first traffic lights in the Northwest Territories were switched on in Yellowknife, replacing four-way stop signs at the city's main intersection.

In 1978, Ottawa declared 11 Soviet officials persona non grata for allegedly trying to infiltrate the RCMP Security Service.

In 1984, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov died at 69, less than 15 months after he succeeded Leonid Brezhnev. Konstantin Chernenko replaced Andropov, but died only 13 months later and was succeeded by Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1993, the Dutch parliament voted to allow mercy killing under strict guidelines.

In 1997, "The Simpsons" became the longest-running prime-time animated series, beating the record previously held by "The Flintstones. …