February 3 is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 331 days remaining, (332 in leap years).
In the Northern hemisphere, there are 88 days in winter (in a non-leap year). We are considered halfway through winter on February 3.
- 1451 - Murad II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire dies and is succeeded by his son Mehmed II.
- 1488 - Bartholomeu Diaz of Portugal lands in Mossel Bay after rounding the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of Africa, becoming the first known European to travel this far south.
- 1783 - American Revolutionary War: Spain recognizes United States independence.
- 1787 - Shays' Rebellion is crushed, ending an uprising that would prompt negotiations that would result in the drafting of the Constitution of the United States.
- 1809 - Illinois Territory is created.
- 1815 - The first commercial cheese factory is founded (Switzerland).
- 1867 - Prince Mutshuhito becomes Emperor Meiji of Japan.
- 1870 - The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution is passed.
- 1900 - Gubernatorial candidate William Goebels is assassinated in Frankfort, Kentucky. Former-Secretary of State Caleb Powers was later found guilty in a conspiracy to kill Goebels.
- 1913 - The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect income tax.
- 1916 - Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada burn down.
- 1917 - World War I: The United States breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany a day after Germany announces a new policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
- 1918 - The Twin Peaks Tunnel begins service as the longest streetcar tunnel in the world (11,920 feet long).
- 1931 - 258 die in New Zealand's worst natural disaster, the Napier earthquake.
- 1941 - World War II: The Nazis forcibly restore Pierre Laval to office in occupied Vichy, France.
- 1944 - United States troops capture the Marshall Islands.
- 1945 - World War II: Soviet Union agrees to enter the Pacific Theatre conflict against Japan.
- 1947 - Percival Prattis becomes the first African American news correspondent allowed in the United States House and Senate press gallery.
- 1951 - Dick Button wins the American figure skating championship for the sixth time.
- 1952 - The earliest known tropical storm makes landfall in South Florida.
- 1959 - plane crash that kills Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. This date becomes known as "The Day The Music Died".
- 1966 - The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft makes the first controlled rocket-assisted landing on the Moon.
- 1969 - In Cairo, Yasser Arafat is appointed Palestinian Liberation Organization leader at the Palestinian National Congress.
- 1972 - The first Winter Olympics to be held in Asia open in Sapporo, Japan.
- 1984 - Space Shuttle Challenger is launched on the tenth space shuttle mission.
- 1988 - Iran-Contra Affair: The United States House of Representatives rejects President Ronald Reagan's request for $36.25 million to aid Nicaraguan Contras.
- 1989 - After a stroke, P.W. Botha resigns party leadership and the presidency of South Africa.
- 1998 - Karla Faye Tucker is executed in Texas becoming the first woman executed in the United States since 1984.
- 1998 - A United States Marine Corps pilot causes the death of 20 skiers in Italy riding on a lift suspended by a cable snapped by the low-flying plane.
- 2002 - Super Bowl XXXVI: The New England Patriots defeat the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, to win their first Super Bowl championship.
- 1721 - Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz, general (d. 1773)
- 1754 - George Crabbe, poet, naturalist (d. 1832)
- 1809 - Felix Mendelssohn, composer (d. 1847)
- 1811 - Horace Greeley, journalist, editor, publisher (d. 1872)
- 1821 - Elizabeth Blackwell, first female physician in the United States (d. 1910)
- 1859 - Hugo Junkers, industrialist and aircraft designer (d. 1935)
- 1874 - Gertrude Stein, writer and patron of the arts (d. 1946)
- 1887 - Georg Trakl, poet (d. 1914)
- 1893 - Gaston Julia, mathematician (d. 1978)
- 1894 - Norman Rockwell, artist, illustrator (d. 1978)
- 1898 - Alvar Aalto, architect (d. 1976)
- 1904 - Pretty Boy Floyd, gangster (d. 1934)
- 1907 - James Michener, author (d. 1997)
- 1909 - Simone Weil, philosopher (d. 1943)
- 1918 - Joey Bishop, comedian, actor
- 1918 - Helen Stephens, American sprinter
- 1924 - Andrzej Szczypiorski, writer (d. 2000)
- 1927 - Val Doonican, Irish singer and entertainer
- 1930 - Gillian Ayres, painter
- 1932 - Peggy Ann Garner, actress (d. 1984)
- 1940 - Fran Tarkenton, Football Hall of Famer
- 1943 - Blythe Danner, actress
- 1947 - Dave Davies, musician
- 1945 - Bob Griese, Football Hall of Famer
- 1947 - Paul Auster, novelist
- 1947 - Melanie Safka, singer/songwriter
- 1950 - Morgan Fairchild, actress
- 1956 - Nathan Lane, actor
- 1971 - Sarah Kane, playwright (d. 1999)
- 1014 - Sweyn I, king of Denmark (b. ca. 965)
- 1468 - Johannes Gutenberg, publisher (b. ca. 1390s)
- 1889 - Belle Starr, outlaw (b. 1848)
- 1924 - Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States (b. 1856)
- 1956 - Émile Borel, mathematician, politician, statesman, member of the French Resistance during World War II (b. 1871)
- 1959 - Rock and roll performers Buddy Holly (b. 1936), Ritchie Valens (b. 1941) and The Big Bopper (b. 1930), in a plane crash outside Clear Lake, Iowa
- 1960 - Fred Buscaglione, Italian singer and actor
- 1989 - John Cassavetes, actor, director, writer (b. 1929)
- 1996 - Audrey Meadows, actress (b. 1926)
- 1996 - Gene Kelly, actor, singer, dancer (b. 1912)
Holidays and observances
February 2 - February 4 - January 3 - March 3 -- listing of all days
ca:3 de febrer
es:3 de febrero
eo:3-a de februaro
oc:3 de febrièr
pt:3 de Fevereiro