This Day In History, February 22nd

What happened on this day in history: George Washington is born, the U.S. hockey team defeats the Soviet team in the so-called "Miracle on Ice," and more events from February 22nd.

1732: George Washington Is Born

On February 22nd IN History

VCG Wilson/Corbis via Getty ImagesA portrait of George Washington, the first president of the United States.

George Washington is born at Popes Creek Plantation, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The Commander in Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the first American president, Washington served two terms in office.

He shocked the nation by stepping down from power after eight years, after which he retired to his Mount Vernon home until his death in 1799.

1918: Robert Wadlow Is Born

Tallest Man In History

Getty Images/New York Daily News ArchiveRobert Wadlow comparing shoe sizes with the Ringling Bros’ Major Mite, a little person traveling with the circus.

Robert Wadlow is born in Alton, Illinois. The tallest man to ever live, Wadlow grew to a height of 8 feet, 11 inches. He died at the age of 22 after one of his leg braces chafed against his skin and gave him an infection, which Wadlow, with a weakened immune system, couldn’t fight off.

1945: Battle Of Ramree Island Ends

The Battle of Ramree Island between Japanese and Allied forces ends with an Allied victory. Japanese troops occupying Ramree Island in the Bay of Bengal opted to escape the humiliation of surrender and meet up with a larger battalion by wadding through eight miles of crocodile-infested waters. Several British observers noted that crocodiles began attacking the Japanese soldiers, killing an estimated 620 troops. The experience is noted by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest crocodile attack in history.

1970: Keith Sapsford Falls To His Death

Photo Of Keith Sapsford Falling

John GilpinKeith Sapsford’s fatal fall was accidentally captured on film.

Fourteen-year-old Keith Sapsford falls to his death from a plane bound for Japan shortly after it took off from Sydney Airport in Australia. The teenage stowaway had snuck inside the plane’s wheel well as part of his plan to run away from a Roman Catholic institution. But his adventure ended in tragedy, and an amateur photographer named John Gilpin accidentally snapped a photo of Sapsford’s fatal fall while taking pictures of airplanes nearby.

1980: The “Miracle On Ice” Occurs During The Winter Olympics

Highlights from the ‘Miracle on Ice’

The U.S. hockey team beats the Soviet team during the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York, in the so-called “Miracle on Ice.” The Soviets, who had won gold at the last four Olympics, were the easy favorites to win. But they were shockingly defeated by the scrappy American team, who won the hockey gold medal two days later after defeating the Finland team.