This Day In History, February 26th

What happened on this day in history: Buffalo Bill is born, the World Trade Center bombing takes place, and more key events from February 26th.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte Escapes From Exile

Today In History February 26

Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesA depiction of Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1815 escape from Elba.

Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from exile on Elba. Sent to the Mediterranean island following his defeat by Russia and its allies in 1814, the former French emperor had agreed to be exiled but changed his mind when he heard rumors of discontent in France. He left the island with an army of loyalists and briefly resumed power, ruling for just 100 days before he was exiled again to the island of Saint Helena.


1846: “Buffalo Bill” Cody Is Born

Buffalo Bill Cody

Hulton Archive/Getty Images“Buffalo Bill” Cody in front of a circus tent, circa 1915.

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody is born in Scott County, Iowa. A Wild West legend, Cody earned his nickname by killing over 4,000 buffalo in an eight-month period. In 1883, he founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, which toured for 30 years and featured performers like sharpshooter Annie Oakley.


1901: Boxer Rebellion Leaders Are Publicly Executed

Chi-Hsin and Hsu-Cheng-Yu are beheaded in Peking, China. Leaders of the Boxer Rebellion, their execution was ordered by Imperial edict. By that September, the rebellion — which had begun in 1899 and sought to drive out foreigners from China — had come to an end.

1913: Hans Schmidt Marries Anna Aumuller

Hans Schmidt

Hans Schmidt, circa 1910.

Infamous killer Hans Schmidt secretly marries Anna Aumuller. A Catholic priest, Schmidt’s marriage to Aumuller was forbidden. When she became pregnant, he brutally murdered her to cover up their relationship and was later executed for his crime, becoming the only priest executed in the history of the United States.


1993: The World Trade Center Is Bombed

A bomb explodes in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. Planted by radical Islamic fundamentalists, the bomb was detonated in hopes that it would cause the North Tower above it to collapse. The terrorists’ plan did not work, but the explosion did kill six people and injured 1,000 more — and foreshadowed the 9/11 terrorist attacks less than a decade later.