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This Day in History - February 20

February 20

1513 – Pope Julius II dies

1725 – New Hampshire militiamen scalp Indians in the first-ever recorded case of whites doing so in North America

1726 – US Revolutionary War hero William Prescott is born

1792 – The US Postal Service is created

1808 – French caricaturist Honore Daumier is born

1809 – The US Supreme Court rules that the power of the federal government is greater than that of any individual state

1816 – Rossini’s opera “Barber of Seville” premiers in Rome

1819 – Swiss businessman and politician Alfred Escher is born

1831 – Polish revolutionaries defeat the Russians at the Battle of Grochow

1844 – Atomic physics engineer Ludwig Boltzmann is born

1864 – Confederate troops defeat a Union army sent in to bring Florida into the union at the Battle of Olustee

1872 – New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opens

1873 – British Naval officer John Morseby discovers the site of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

1888 – Ballet dancer and director Marie Rambert is born

1894 – Biologist Curt Richter is born

1895 – Author and orator Frederick Douglass dies

1898 – American blues pianist Jimmy Yancey is born

1900 – JF Pickering patents his airship

1901 – Architect Louis Kahn is born

1902 – American photographer Ansel Adams is born

1904 – Premier of the Soviet Union Aleksey Nikolayevich Kosygin is born

1906 – Russian troops seize portions of Mongolia

1915 – President Woodrow Wilson opens the Panama-Pacific Expo in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal

1918 – The Soviet Red Army seizes Kiev, the capital of Ukraine

1919 – The leader of Afghanistan, Habibullah Khan, is assassinated while on a hunting trip

1924 – Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt is born

1925 – Film director Robert Altman is born

1927 – American actor Sidney Poitier is born

1938 – Hitler demands self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia

1941 – The US sends planes to the Pacific

1942 – Lieutenant Edward O’Hare shoots down five of the nine Japanese bombers that are attacking the Lexington carrier

1943 – German troops of the Afrika Korps break through the Kasserine Pass

1947 – Earl Mountbatten of Burma is appointed as the last viceroy of India to oversee the move to independence

1950 – Welsh poet Dylan Thomas arrives in New York for his first reading tour

1951 – Actor and director Gordon Brown is born

1954 – The Ford Foundation gives a $25 million grant to the Fund for Advancement of Education

1959 – The FCC applies the equal time rule to TV newscasts of political candidates

1961 – Australian composer Percy Grainger dies

1962 – Mercury astronaut John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth

1963 – Moscow reports that it will allow on-site inspection of nuclear testing

1965 – Ranger 8 hits the moon and sends back 7,000 photos to the US

1967 – Singer, songwriter and guitarist Kurt Cobain is born

1968 – North Vietnamese army chief in Hue orders all looters to be shot on sight

1971 – Young people protest having to cut their long hair in Athens, Greece

1974 – Reg Murphy, an editor at The Atlanta Constitution is kidnapped by William Williams, who then demanded a $700,000 ransom, which was paid by editor James Minter.  Williams was caught within hours, tried and sentenced to 40 years.  He then asked for a new trial and it was granted.  This time he was sentenced to 50 years, served nine and was released

1976 – The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization shuts down

1982 – Carnegie Hall in New York begins renovations

1985 – The Irish government allows the sale of contraceptives against the wishes of the Catholic Church

1986 – The construction date is announced for a channel tunnel between Britain and France

1988 – The Nagorno-karabakh War begins by der Autonomous Oblast’s secession from Azerbaijan

1988 – Singer, songwriter and actress Rihanna is born

1993 – Italian businessman Ferruccio Lamborghini dies

1996 – Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu dies

1998 – 15-year old Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest Olympic figure skating gold medalist at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan

2003 – A fire in a Rhode Island nightclub, Station, kills 100 and seriously injures 200 more, ironically, while a news crew was there to report on the issue of nightclub safety.  The band Great White was to play, and their tour manager, Daniel Beichele, started the fire with pyrotechnics.  He pled guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and received four years in prison with 11 more years suspended

2005 – American journalist and author Hunter Thompson dies


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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