23 February 1903

Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, officially known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB also called GTMO because of the airfield designation code or Gitmo because of the common pronunciation of this code by the U.S. military, is a United States military base located on 120 square kilometres of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which the U.S. leased for use as a coaling station and naval base in 1903 for $2,000 in gold per year until 1934, when the payment was set to match the value in gold in dollars; in 1974, the yearly lease was set to $4,085. The base is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base. Since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban government has consistently protested against the U.S. presence on Cuban soil and called it illegal under international law, alleging that the base was imposed on Cuba by force.

Since 2002, the naval base has contained a military prison, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, for unlawful combatants captured in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places during the War on Terror. Cases of torture of prisoners, and their alleged denial of protection under the Geneva Conventions, have been condemned internationally.

During the Spanish–American War, the U.S. fleet attacking Santiago secured Guantánamo’s harbor for protection during the hurricane season of 1898. The Marines landed at Guantanamo Bay with naval support, and American and Cuban forces routed the defending Spanish troops. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1898, in which Spain formally relinquished control of Cuba. Although the war was over, the United States maintained a strong military presence on the island. In 1901 the United States government passed the Platt Amendment as part of an Army Appropriations Bill. Section VII of this amendment read

That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States

After initial resistance by the Cuban Constitutional Convention, the Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in 1901. The Constitution took effect in 1902, and land for a naval base at Guantanamo Bay was granted to the United States the following year.

USS Monongahela 1862, the old warship served as a storeship at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until totally destroyed by fire on March 17, 1908. A 4-inch gun was salvaged from her wreck and put on display at the Naval Station. Since the gun was deformed by the heat from the fire, it was nicknamed “Old Droopy”. The gun was on display on Deer Point until the command disposed of it, judging its appearance less than exemplary of naval gunnery.

23 February 1941

Plutonium is isolated for the first time by Glenn Seaborg.

Seaborg, a world-renowned nuclear chemist, Nobel laureate in chemistry, professor and educator, and scientific advisor to ten U.S. presidents, is probably best known for the discovery of plutonium (1941) and for his leadership of the team that developed plant processes for its purification for use in the U.S. World War II atomic bomb program, and his “revolutionary” actinide concept , which led to the discovery of elements 95 and 96 between 1944 and 1945. Plutonium, the 94th element, was first produced and isolated at the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, CA, USA, on December 14, 1940. The team of Glenn T. Seaborg used the lab’s cyclotron to bombard uranium with deuterons, which generated neptunium, element 93. Subsequent ?-decay resulted in the formation of plutonium.

Seaborg was also a codiscoverer of elements 97 and 98 and in 1951 he and Professor Edwin M. McMillan shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their research on the transuranium elements. Subsequently, Seaborg was codiscoverer of elements 99–102, and in 1974 of element 106, officially named seaborgium in his honor in 1997. From 1961 to 1971 he chaired the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, strongly supporting peaceful uses of atomic energy, including as a source of electricity.