February 1, 1709

Alexander Selkirk was a sailor who ended up as a buccaneer and privateer.  He joined an expedition under the command of William Dampier, serving on the ship of Thomas Stradling, one of the Captains of the expedition.  Stradling and Dampier separated over a dispute, and Stradling’s ship, the Cinque Ports, pulled into an island for restocking.  While there, Selkirk felt the ship was unsound and tried to get the crew to mutiny.  He was unsuccessful, and declared he would rather be left alone on the island than sail again on the Cinque Ports.

Selkirk was left behind.  He ended up spending four years and four months on the island.  He was rescued byAlexander Selkirk - Inspiration for Robinson CrusoeCredit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Alexander_Selkirk_Title_Page.jpg the third ship to visit the island on February 1, 1709.  The first two were Spanish, and he was worried about his fate if discovered.  He was finally rescued by a ship with William Dampier on board.  The Cinque Ports, as Selkirk had felt, was unsound and sank with most of the crew dying and the rest of the crew captured and imprisoned.

A journalist published his story and the article was widely circulated.  It is felt that his story was the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.  In 1966 the island Selkirk was stranded on was renamed Robins Crusoe Island.

Texas - Secedes from the UnionCredit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Texas.svg

February 1, 1861

After South Carolina and five other states secede from the Union, Texas held a State Convention to decide whether to follow suit themselves.  On February 1, 1861, by a vote of 166-8, the State Convention voted for an Ordinance of Secession, declaring their intention of seceding from the Union.  It was approved by Texas votes on February 23, 1861.  Governor Sam Houston disagreed with this decision, and was disposed as governor after refusing to declare allegiance to the Confederacy.

The final battle fo the Civil War was fought in Texas, but most of the battles were far away.  Texas contributed men and supplies, and her border with Mexico gave the Confederacy a supply line that the Union was unable to block until they captured the Mississippi River in the middle of 1863.

Space Shuttle Columbia Explodes on February 1, 2003Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:STS-107_launch.jpg

February 1, 2003

Space Shuttle Columbia was on its 28th mission, STS-107, and on its re-entry and return to Earth, disintegrated over Texas.  It was later determined that a piece of insulation broke off of a tank and hit the left wing, damaging the thermal protection system of the shuttle.  This allowed hot gases to enter and affect the wing, and causing the breakup of the shuttle. 

This accident resulted in a hold of all space shuttle launches for two years.  During this time, construction of the International Space Station was put on hold.  For 29 months the station was resupplied b y the Russian Federal Space Agency, and new crews were taken to the station by them for 41 months. 

February 1, 2004

During the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show by Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson’s breast is exposed for an instant.  CBS was fined $550,000 for the indecency violation.  The incident sparked controversy, as some considered it a sign of the rise in immorality in the United Status’s culture.  Others felt it the government fine was over the top for a mistake, and felt it was a case of the government further regulating free speech and increasing censorship. 

The Federal Communications Commission increased its fine per indecency violation from $27,5000 to $325,000.  The court system later declared the broadcast was legal under the rules at the time, and the FCC fine was illegal.