On This Day: February 23rd

1. 1836: The Battle of the Alamo Begins

PHOTO: The Alamo

PHOTO: The Alamo

PHOTO: TravelThruHistory

PHOTO: TravelThruHistory

On this day, the infamous Battle of the Alamo begins the 13 day siege at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas that played a key part in the battle over the Texas territory. William B. Travis was the commander of the Alamo but he only had approximately 100 men so when he saw more than 1500 Mexican soldiers led by President General Antonio L√≥pez de Santa Anna arrive in San Antonio making preparations for a siege, he immediately sent out couriers to the surrounding communities asking for assistance. However not many responded to the plea for help. Travis and his men were said to be outnumbered as much as 10 to 1. But that didn’t them from putting up a great fight, it took the Mexican army 13 days to take control of the Alamo. Because of the cruelty that General Santa Anna used during this time that sparked a huge rush to join the Texan Army which later ended up winning the Revolution.

2. 1958: Formula One driver gets Kidnapped by a group of Fidel Castro’s Rebels

PHOTO: ESPN Fangio (center) Batista (right) the day before the kidnapping.

PHOTO: ESPN
Fangio (center) Batista (right) the day before the kidnapping.

PHOTO: jalopnik

PHOTO: jalopnik

Five-time Formula One champion Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina was in his hotel room the day before the Cuban Grand Prix when a group of Castro’s Rebels break and kidnap him to prevent him from racing the next day’s race. The President of Cuba at the time Fulgencio Batista had visions of turning Havana into a Las Vegas style hotspot for the rich people of the world and what better way to do that then bring the Formula 1 series into town. Batista was counting on Juan Fangio to bring how the win and the two posed for pictures days before the race. Fangio was released a few hours after the race unharmed.

3. 1954: The First Polio Vaccine is given to a group of Children.

PHOTO: CBS news

PHOTO: CBS news

On this day in 1954, Dr. Jonas Salk, head of the Virus Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, injected the first batch of Polio Vaccine into small group a children from the Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Polio attacks the nerve cells and sometimes the central nervous system which lead to muscle deterioration, paralysis and even death in some cases. One of the most famous cases of Polio was the future President Franklin D. Roosevelt who ended up loosing the use of his legs and required a wheelchair. While the polio outbreak was not as severe as the Plague or Influenza it was still highly contagious and very hard to stop from spreading. As of 1959, 90 other countries were using the vaccine and in present day the Polio Virus is almost nonexistent in the united states.