February 2017

This Day in History… February 16, 1945

Battle to Recapture Corregidor

U.S. #925 was issued in 1944 to honor those who defended Corregidor until the Japanese captured it in 1942.

On February 16, 1945, the first of 7,000 American troops arrived at Corregidor, ready to retake the important Pacific outpost.

To prevent its complete destruction, Manila was declared an open city when World War II broke out. The Japanese began their invasion of the Philippines on December 8, 1941, ten hours after the Pearl Harbor attack. They destroyed every U.S. aircraft on the ground, forcing the American naval fleet to withdraw.

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This Day in History… February 15, 1898

USS Maine Explodes, Ignites War

U.S. #3192 was issued on the 100th anniversary of the explosion.

On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana Harbor, leading the U.S. to declare war on Spain two months later.

Christopher Columbus first claimed Cuba for Spain during his voyage there in 1492, though the island was already home to several native groups. Spanish settlers then began to move there in 1511, creating the first permanent European settlement there, Baracoa. Colonists grew sugar cane and tobacco on large plantations, relying on the forced labor of native peoples. Cuba quickly became one of the richest colonies in the West Indies.

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This Day in History… February 14, 1818

Happy Birthday Frederick Douglass! 

U.S. #1290 was issued on Douglass’ 149th birthday.

While the exact date of Frederick Douglass’ birth is unknown, it’s generally considered to be February 14, 1818. Douglass chose the date himself, reportedly because his mother used to call him her “little valentine.”

Born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (he adopted the surname Douglass years later), he was separated from his mother at a young age and lived with his maternal grandmother. When he was seven, he began working on the Wye House plantation as a slave.

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This Day in History… February 13, 1951

Battle of Chipyong-ni Begins

U.S. #2152 was based on 1950 photo of U.S. troops retreating from Chosin Reservoir.

On February 13, 1951, the Battle of Chipyong-ni, sometimes called the “high-water mark” of the Chinese fighting in Korea, began.

Chinese forces first entered Korea in November 1950. U.N. troops were uncertain of their intentions or capabilities, and drew back to the 38th parallel. When it became obvious that the Chinese had overstretched their supply lines, General Matthew B. Ridgeway decided to make a stand at Chipyong-ni, a key road intersection.

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This Day in History… February 12, 1785

Birth of Alden Partridge 

U.S. #1854 was issued on the 200th anniversary of Partridge’s birth.

Alden Partridge was born on February 12, 1785, in Norwich, Vermont.

The son of a Revolutionary War veteran that fought at Saratoga, Partridge was a studious and outdoorsy child. He enjoyed hiking the Green and White Mountains and worked on his father’s farm in addition to attending school.

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This Day in History… February 11, 1847

Birth of Thomas Edison

U.S. #945 was issued for Edison’s 100th birthday.

Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio.

The youngest of seven children, Edison was the son of an exiled political activist from Canada. His mother, a schoolteacher, was a major influence on his life. Suffering from scarlet fever and ear infections as a child, Edison had poor hearing and was nearly deaf by adulthood.

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