February 17: Lantern Festival (Chinese calendar, 2011)
- 1621 – Myles Standish was elected as the first commander of the Plymouth Colony militia, a position he would hold for the rest of his life.
- 1872 – Mariano Gómez, José Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, collectively known as Gomburza (pictured), were executed inManila, Philippines, by Spanish colonial authorities on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny.
- 1904 – Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly premiered at La Scala in Milan, generating negative reviews that forced him to rewrite the opera.
- 1913 – In the U.S. National Guard’s 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, the Armory Show opened, introducing Americans to avant-garde and modern art.
- 1964 – Gabonese military officers overthrew PresidentLéon M’ba, but France, honoring a 1960 treaty, forcibly reinstated M’ba the next day.
- 2003 – The London congestion charge, a fee that is levied on motorists travelling within designated parts of London, came into operation in parts of Central London.