The History Channel
* On Feb. 3, 1959, rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”
* On Feb. 4, 1789, George Washington, the commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, is unanimously elected the first president of the United States. John Adams of Massachusetts was elected vice president.
* On Feb. 5, 1934, Henry Louis Aaron Jr., the baseball slugger who broke Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers, is born in Mobile, Ala. Aaron began his professional baseball career in 1952 in the Negro League and joined the Milwaukee Braves of the major leagues in 1954.
* On Feb. 6, 1820, the first organized immigration of freed slaves to Africa from the United States departs New York harbor on a journey to Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa. The expedition was partially funded by the U.S. Congress, which had appropriated $100,000 for the trip.
* On Feb. 7, 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York’s Kennedy Airport — and “Beatlemania” arrives. It was the first visit to the United States by the Beatles. The British rock-and-roll quartet had just scored its first No. 1 U.S. hit with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
* On Feb. 8, 1985, Sir William Lyons, founder of the British luxury automaker Jaguar, dies at the age of 84 in Warwickshire, England. Initially named SS Cars Ltd., the company changed its name to Jaguar Cars Ltd to avoid any association with the Schutzstaffel, the Nazi paramilitary group also referred to by the initials “SS.”
* On Feb. 9, 1992, after stunning the world three months earlier with the news he had contracted the HIV virus and was immediately retiring from the game, basketball great Magic Johnson returns to play in the 42nd NBA All-Star game in Orlando, Fla. The crowd greeted him with a standing ovation.