- 1778 – France and the United States signed the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, establishing military and commercial ties respectively between the two nations.
- 1806 – Napoleonic Wars: When squadrons of British and French ships of the line engaged in the Battle of San Domingo (pictured) in the Caribbean Sea, the French ships Imperial and Diomède ran aground to avoid capture, but were caught and destroyed anyway.
- 1959 – Jack Kilby, an engineer at Texas Instruments, filed a patent application for the first integrated circuit.
- 1987 – Mary Gaudron was appointed as the first female Justice of the High Court of Australia.
- 2000 – Second Chechen War: Russia captured Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, forcing the separatist Chechen government into exile.
February 5: Constitution Day in Mexico (1917); Kashmir Day in Pakistan
- 1783 – The first of five strong earthquakes hit the region of Calabria in present-day southern Italy, killing more than 32,000 people over a period of nearly two months.
- 1923 – Australian cricketer Bill Ponsford made 429 runs to break the world record for the highest first-class score.
- 1945 – In the Second World War, American General Douglas MacArthur returns to the Philippines nearly three years after his “I shall return” speech.
- 1958 – A Mark 15 nuclear bomb disappeared off the shores of Tybee Island, Georgia, US after it was jettisoned during a practice exercise when the bomber carrying it collided in midair with a fighter plane.
- 1963 – The European Court of Justice’s ruling in Van Gend en Loos v Nederlandse Administratie der Belastingen established the principle of direct effect, one of the basic tenets of European Union law.
February 4: Day of the Armed Struggle (Angola, 1961)
- 1859 – German scholar Constantin von Tischendorf (pictured) rediscovered the Codex Sinaiticus, a 4th century uncial manuscript of the Greek Bible, in Saint Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai in Egypt.
- 1899 – The Philippine–American War opened when an American soldier, under orders to keep insurgents away from his unit’s encampment, fired upon a Filipino soldier in Manila.
- 1974 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army bombed a motor coach carrying off-duty British Armed Forces personnel and their family members, killing twelve and wounding fifty more.
- 1992 – Venezuelan Army Lieutenant Colonel Hugo Chávez failed in his attempt to overthrow the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez.
- 1999 – The Panamanian-flagged freighter New Carissa ran aground near Coos Bay, Oregon, US, causing one of the worst oil spills in Oregon history.