This Day In History, February 6th

What happened on this day in history: France recognizes American independence, Babe Ruth is born, and more events from February 6th in decades past.

1778: France Recognizes U.S. Independence

This Day In History February 6

Public DomainA depiction of the signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Benjamin Franklin stands in the center of the frame.

France recognizes the independence of the United States from Great Britain. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce, signed by American delegates including Benjamin Franklin, also promoted trade between France and the U.S. and created a military alliance between the countries against Great Britain. Over the course of the Revolutionary War, France sent an estimated 12,000 soldiers and 32,000 sailors in support of American independence.

1891: The Dalton Gang Commits Its First Train Robbery

The Dalton Gang

Wikimedia CommonsThe dead bodies of the Dalton Gang following their demise in the shootout during the 1892 Coffeyville bank robbery.

The Dalton Gang attempts to rob a Southern Pacific train near Alila, California. The three brothers, Bob, Grat, and Bill were forced to flee after a security guard opened fire on them. Though they continued to pursue a life as Wild West outlaws, their crime spree came to an end a year later when the gang tried to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas and were resisted by townspeople who killed Bob, Grat, and two other Dalton Gang members.

1895: Babe Ruth Is Born

Babe Ruth

Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty ImagesBabe Ruth during batting practice at Yankee Stadium in 1923.

George Herman “Babe” Ruth is born in Baltimore, Maryland. Regarded by some as the greatest baseball player of all time, Ruth made history by hitting a career total of 714 home runs. His record stood for decades until it was broken in 1974 by Hank Aaron, who eventually hit 755 home runs.

1919: The Weimar Republic Is Formed

The Weimar Republic is formed in Germany. Following Germany’s defeat in the First World War, Emperor William II abdicated the throne. The national assembly met in Weimar, Germany to discuss the new government. The assembly would eventually create a new constitution, preserving the country’s federal structure and strengthening the central government’s power. It provided Germany with a foundation for democracy, but came with several problems. The Weimar Republic would eventually collapse at the onset of Nazi domination.

1952: King George VI Dies

King George VI dies in his sleep at the age of 56 at Sandringham House. The king, who had reigned for 15 years and steered the country through World War II, died of coronary thrombosis after years of heavy smoking. His death elevated his 25-year-old daughter Elizabeth to the throne.