On this day, February 21

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Feb. 21 is a big day for Russia, as well as International Mother Language day and the birthdays of actors Alan Rickman and Ellen Page.

1440

Nobles and clergy in eastern Prussia formed the Prussian Confederation to combat the arbitrariness of the ruling Teutonic Knights and begin to usher in a more modern German world.

1804

The first self-propelling steam locomotive was produced in Wales.

1808

With no declaration of war, Russia marched troops across the Swedish borders into current day Finland. This began the Finnish War, in which Sweden lost Finland, the eastern half of their country, to Russia.

1842

John Greenough was granted the first U.S. patent for the sewing machine.

1848

Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx published “The Communist Manifesto.”

1874

New Haven, Connecticut issued the first telephone book.

1885

The recently completed Washington Monument was dedicated.

1918

The last Carolina parakeet died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.

1921

The Democratic Republic of Georgia adopted its country’s first constitution.

1947

Edwin Land demonstrated the first “instant camera,” the Polaroid Land Camera, to a group from the Optical Society of America in New York.

1952

The Bengali Language Movement, a political movement to get Bengali recognized as an official language by the Dominion of Pakistan, protested at the University of Dhaka in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

1958

The CND symbol, also called the peace symbol, was commissioned by the Direct Action Committee and designed and completed by Gerald Holtom in protest against the Atomic Weapon Research Establishment.

1972

The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the surface of the moon.

1974

The last Israeli soldiers left the west bank of the Suez Canal in accordance with a truce between them and Egypt.

1995

Steve Fossett landed in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada becoming the first person to complete a solo flight across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon.

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