February 16

1804

U.S. frigate Philadelphia, captured and held by Barbary pirates at Tripoli during the Tripolitan War, was set fire to and destroyed by a small group of men led by Stephen Decatur.

1918

Lithuania proclaimed its independence from Russia.

1923

The tomb of King Tutankhamen, discovered in 1922, was opened.

1937

Nylon was patented.

1959

Fidel Castro became the leader of Cuba after having ousted the right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista.

1968

The country's first 911 phone system went into service in Haleyville, Ala.

1999

Turkish commandos captured Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in Kenya, sparking seizures of embassies in Europe by Kurds.

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