On This Day in History for February 20

Events in History

Events 1 - 100 of 139

  • 1472 Orkney and Shetland are left by Norway to Scotland, due to a dowry payment.
  • 1525 Swiss & German mercenaries desert Francois I's army
  • 1547 King Edward VI of England was crowned following death of Henry VIII
  • 1613 Gerard Reynst appointed governor general of Dutch East Indies
  • 1619 Trial against Johan van Oldenbarnevelt begins in The Hague for alleged crimes against the federal government
  • 1653 Defeat of Dutch fleet under Adm Van Tromp by Adm Blake off Portsmouth
  • 1673 1st recorded wine auction held (London)
  • 1710 Johan Willem Friso becomes viceroy of Groningen, Netherlands
  • 1725 10 sleeping Indians scalped by whites in New Hampshire for £100 a scalp bounty
  • 1732 Estates of Holland ratifies Treaty of Vienna
  • 1737 French minister of Finance, Chauvelin, resigns
  • 1745 Jacobite troops occupy Fort Augustus, Scotland
  • 1768 1st American chartered fire insurance company opens (Penn)
  • 1792 US postal service created, postage 6-12 cents depending on distance
  • 1798 Louis Alexandre Berthier removes Pope Pius VI from power.
  • 1809 US Supreme Court rules federal government power greater than any state

BattleExecution

1810 Andreas Hofer, Tyrolean patriot and leader of rebellion against Napoleon's forces, executed.

French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte
French Emperor
Napoléon Bonaparte
  • 1811 Austria declares bankruptcy
  • 1823 English Capt James Weddell reaches 74°15' S, 1520 km from S pole
  • 1831 Polish revolutionaries defeat Russians in battle of Growchow

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1832 Charles Darwin visits Fernando Noronha in Atlantic Ocean

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Naturalist
Charles Darwin
  • 1835 Concepcion, Chile, destroyed by earthquake; 5,000 die
  • 1839 Congress prohibits dueling in District of Columbia
  • 1846 British occupy Sikh citadel of Lahore
  • 1856 The steam packet-ship John Rutledge, en route from Liverpool to New York, struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 120 passengers and 19 crew; only one survivor (Thomas Nye of New Bedford)
  • 1861 Department of Navy of Confederacy forms (US Civil War)
  • 1864 Civil War battle of Olustee, Florida
  • 1865 Massachusetts Institute of Technology forms 1st US collegiate architectural school
  • 1869 Tennessee Governor W C Brownlow declares martial law in Ku Klux Klan crisis
  • 1872 Hydraulic electric elevator patented by Cyrus Baldwin
  • 1872 Luther Crowell patents a machine that manufactures paper bags
  • 1872 New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art opens
  • 1872 Silas Noble & JP Cooley patents toothpick manufacturing machine
  • 1873 University of California gets its first Medical School (UC/SF)
  • 1873 British Naval Officer John Morseby discovers the site of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and claims it for Britain
  • 1877 1st cantilever bridge in US completed, Harrodsburg, Kentucky
  • 1887 Germany, Austria-Hungary & France end Triple Alliance
  • 1890 Amsterdam Theater destroyed by fire
  • 1895 Congress authorizes a US mint at Denver, Colorodo
  • 1899 Ill Tel & Tel granted franchise for Chicago freight tunnel system
  • 1901 1st territorial legislature of Hawaii convenes
  • 1902 Heavy surf breaks over Seal Rocks & damages Sutro Baths, SF
  • 1903 Nick Young remains as NL president as AG Spalding ends challenge
  • 1909 Publication of the Futurist Manifesto in the French journal Le Figaro.
  • 1913 King O'Malley drives in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra.
  • 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition opens in San Francisco
  • 1919 French premier Clemenceau injured during assassination attempt
  • 1921 Riza Khan Pahlevi seizes control of Iran
  • 1922 Marc Connelly & George Kaufman's "To the Ladies" premieres in NYC
  • 1922 Vilinus, Lithuania, agrees to separate from Poland
  • 1922 WOR-AM in New York City begins radio transmissions
  • 1929 American Samoa organizes as territory of US
  • 1931 Congress allows California to build Oakland-Bay Bridge

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1932 Pierre Laval's first French government falls

Prime Minister of France and Head of Vichy France Pierre Laval
Prime Minister of France and Head of Vichy France
Pierre Laval
  • 1932 Japanese troops occupy Tunhua China
  • 1933 Curom, Curacaose Broadcast System starts: Princess Juliana's speech
  • 1933 US House of Representatives completes congressional action to repeal Prohibition
  • 1933 Sidney Howard's "Alien Corn" premieres in NYC
  • 1935 Dane Caroline Mikkelson is 1st woman in land on Antarctica
  • 1937 1st automobile/airplane combination tested, Santa Monica, Ca

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1938 UK Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigns stating Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain has appeased Nazi Germany

British Prime Minister Anthony Eden
British Prime Minister
Anthony Eden
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
British Prime Minister
Neville Chamberlain
  • 1941 1st transport of Jews to concentration camps leave Plotsk Poland
  • 1941 Nazis order Polish Jews barred from using public transportation
  • 1941 Romania breaks relations with Netherlands
  • 1942 Lt E H O'Hare single-handedly shoots down 5 Japanese heavy bombers, becomes America's first World War II flying ace
  • 1943 Allied troops occupy Kasserine pass in Tunisia
  • 1943 New volcano Paracutin erupts in farmer's corn field (Mexico)
  • 1943 Phil Wrigley & B Rickey charter All-American Girls Softball League
  • 1943 American movie studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.
  • 1944 US takes Eniwetok Island
  • 1944 World War II: The "Big Week" began with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers.
  • 1947 Chemical mixing error causes explosion that destroys 42 blocks in LA
  • 1947 Earl Mountbatten of Burma appointed as last viceroy of India to oversee the move to independence.
  • 1947 State of Prussia ceases to exist.
  • 1948 Czechoslovakia's non-communist minister resigns
  • 1949 1st International Pancake Race held (Liberal Ks)
  • 1950 Dylan Thomas arrives in NYC for his 1st US poetry reading tour
  • 1950 WOL-AM in Washington, D.C. swaps calls with WWDC
  • 1952 1st black umpire in organized baseball certified (Emmett Ashford)
  • 1953 August A Busch buys the Cards for $3.75 million
  • 1954 General Zahedi wins election in Persia
  • 1957 Hughie Tayfield takes 9-113 v England, 13 wkts for match

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1959 The Avro Arrow program to design and manufacture supersonic jet fighters in Canada is cancelled by the Diefenbaker government amid much political debate.

13th Prime Minister of Canada John Diefenbaker
13th Prime Minister of Canada
John Diefenbaker

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1962 John Glenn become 1st American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7

Astronaut and Politician John Glenn
Astronaut and Politician
John Glenn
  • 1965 Ranger 8 makes hard landing on the Moon, returns photos, other data
  • 1965 Turkish government of Uerguplu forms
  • 1966 Author Valery Tarsis banished in USSR
  • 1968 State troopers used tear gas to stop demonstration at Alcorn A & M
  • 1971 National Emergency Center erroneously orders US radio & TV stations to go off the air. Mistake wasn't resolved for 30 minutes
  • 1972 Sicco Mansholt becomes chairman of European Committee
  • 1972 14th Daytona 500: A.J. Foyt wins (161.55 MPH)
  • 1974 Cher files for separation from husband Sonny Bono
  • 1975 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1975 A feud begins between the official Irish Republican Army and the Irish National Liberation Army; the two groups assassinate a number of each other's volunteers until the feud ends in June 1975
  • 1976 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization disbands.
  • 1977 19th Daytona 500: Cale Yarborough wins (153.218 MPH)
  • 1978 Egypt announces it is pulling its diplomats out of Cyprus
  • 1979 11 'loyalists' known as the "Shankill Butchers" are sentenced to life in prison for 19 murders; the gang was named for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians in Belfast
  • 1979 29th Berlin International Film Festival: "David" wins the Golden Bear
  • 1981 Flight readiness firing of Columbia's main engines; 20 seconds

Birthdays in History

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 118

  • 1494 Johan Friis, chancellor (Denmark, helped formed Lutheranism)
  • 1523 Jan Blahoslav, Czech humanist/bishop (Bohemian brothers)
  • 1632 Thomas Osborne, Duke of Leeds, English PM (1690-94)/founder (Tories)
  • 1633 Jan de Baen, portrait painter/etcher
  • 1745 Henry James Pye, English poet, British Poet Laureate (1790-1813), born in London (d. 1813)
  • 1751 Johann Heinrich Voß, German poet (d. 1826)
  • 1753 Louis Alexandre Berthier, French marshal (d. 1815)
  • 1757 John 'Mad Jack' Fuller, English philanthropist (d. 1834)
  • 1779 Augustus Callcott, landscape painter, Kensington
  • 1784 Adam Black, politician/publisher, born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1792 Eliza Courtney, English illegitimate daughter of Charles Grey and Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, born in Aix-en-Provence (d. 1859)
  • 1794 William Carleton, Irish novelist (d. 1869)
  • 1796 Eduard W van Dam van Isselt, Dutch military/liberal politician
  • 1805 Angelina Grimke, reformer/abolitionist/politician/lawyer
  • 1808 Daumier, Marseilles France, artist
  • 1809 Albertus J Duymaer van Twist, gov-gen of Neth-Indies
  • 1809 Henry Walton Wessells, Brigadier General (Union volunteers), (d. 1889)
  • 1819 Alfred Escher, Swiss politician, railroad entrepreneur (d. 1882)
  • 1820 Mahlon Dickerson Manson, Brigadier General (Union volunteers), (d. 1895)
  • 1827 Edward Stuyvesant Bragg, Brigadier General (Union volunteers), (d. 1912)
  • 1835 Allessandro d'Ancona, Italian philologist
  • 1838 James Barbour Terrill, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), (d. 1864)
  • 1839 Benjamin Waugh, American minister; founder of the NSPCC (d. 1908)
  • 1844 Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann, Austria, physicist (statistical mechanics)
  • 1844 Joshua Slocum, Canadian seaman and adventurer (d. 1909)
  • 1848 Edward Henry Harriman, American railroad executive (d. 1909)
  • 1850 Nérée Beauchemin, Canadian physician and poet (d. 1931)
  • 1852 Nikolai Garin [Michailovski], Russian author (Tjoma Kartashov)
  • 1861 Nicolaas van Meeteren, Curacao, folklorist
  • 1866 Carl Westman, Swedish architect and designer (d. 1936)
  • 1867 Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife (d. 1931)
  • 1870 Pieter Cornelis Boutens, Holland, mystic poet/scholar (Verzen)
  • 1880 Jacques d'Adelswärd-Fersen, French aristocrat and novelist (d. 1923)
  • 1881 Pedro Munoz Seca, Spanish playwright (Vengeanza de Don Mendo)
  • 1883 Shiga Naoya, Japan, novelist (Road Through Dark Night)
  • 1886 Bela Kun, Czehul Romania, head of Hungarian Soviet Republic (1919)
  • 1887 Hesketh Pearson, England, biographer/playwright (Writ for Libel)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1887 Vincent Massey, Canadian diplomat, first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada (1952-59), born in Toronto, Ontario (d. 1967)

Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey
Governor General of Canada
Vincent Massey
  • 1888 Georges Bernanos, France, novelist (Diary of a Country Priest)
  • 1893 Russel Crouse, journalist/novelist/playwright (Life with Father)
  • 1893 Elizabeth Holloway Marston, American psychologist (d. 1993)
  • 1895 Freida Geiken, autobiographer (National Historic Taping)
  • 1896 Henri de Lubac sj, French theologist/anti-fascist
  • 1897 Ivan Albright, Illinois, painter (Door, Window)
  • 1899 Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, LI NY, founder (Pan Am Airways)
  • 1900 Graham Spry, St Thomas Ontario, Canadian radio pioneer
  • 1901 Ali Muhammad Naguib, Khartoum, president of Egypt (1952-54)
  • 1901 Cecil H King, Irish/British daily newspaper publisher (Daily Mirror)
  • 1901 Henry Eyring, Mexican/US chemist
  • 1901 Louis I Kahn, Estonia, architect (Bryn Mawr dormitory) [or Dec 20]
  • 1901 René Jules Dubos, France, US microbiologist/author (Health & Disease)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1902 Ansel Adams, photographer (1966 ASMP Award), born in San Francisco, California

Photographer Ansel Adams
Photographer
Ansel Adams
  • 1903 Ella Maillart, explorer
  • 1904 Aleksei N Kosygin, Soviet premier (1964-80)
  • 1905 Jascha Golowanjuk, Swedish writer (Acrobat)
  • 1907 Owain Jenkins, company director
  • 1908 Grigori Yakovlevich Bakhchivangi, test pilot (BI-1)
  • 1908 Rosalind Laura Burke, aviatrix
  • 1910 Julian Trevelyan, English Surrealist painter/collage maker
  • 1910 Millicent Fenwick, (Rep-R-NJ 1975-82)
  • 1912 Pierre Boulle, French author (d. 1994)
  • 1913 Mary Durack, Australian author and historian (Kings in Grass Castles and Keep Him My Country), born in Adelaide, Australia (d. 1994)
  • 1914 Marion Kettlewell, British director (WRNS)
  • 1914 Willem J H Baart, Dutch vicar (Cuentanan di Nanzi)
  • 1917 Frederick Page, CEO (British Aerospace Aircraft Group)
  • 1918 Leonore Annenberg American Billionaire
  • 1920 Evgeny Dragunov, Russian weapons designer (d. 1991)
  • 1921 Joseph Albert Walker, test pilot (X-15), born in Washington, D.C.
  • 1921 Joseph A. Walker, WWII and NASA test pilot (1st spaceplane flights to edge of outerspace), born in Washington, Pennsylvania (d. 1966)
  • 1923 Forbes Burnham, premier Guyana (1964-85)
  • 1924 Gloria Vanderbilt, don't my jeans look great (poor little rich girl)
  • 1925 Alex La Guma, Cape Town South Africa, novelist (A Walk in the Night)
  • 1925 Pramudya Ananta Tur, Javanese author (Anak semua bangsa)
  • 1925 Heinz Kluncker, German trade union leader
  • 1926 Cameron Rusby, British Vice-Admiral
  • 1926 Kenneth H Olsen, US, engineer/founder (Digital Equipment Corp)
  • 1926 Richard Matheson, American author, (d. 2013)
  • 1927 Roy Cohn, lawyer, "grand inquisitor" (for Sen Joseph McCarthy)
  • 1928 Donald Longmore, British cardiac surgeon
  • 1930 Bill Walker, British MP
  • 1932 Adrian Cristobal, Filipino writer (d. 2007)
  • 1933 Hannes Postma, Dutch graphic artist
  • 1934 Myrtle Robertson, 11th Baroness Wharton
  • 1937 Robert Huber, biochemist (Nobel 1988), born in Munich. Germany
  • 1938 Mona Mitchell, Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Alexandra
  • 1940 RA Weiss, director (Institute of Cancer Research)
  • 1940 V Payne, British headmistress (Malvern Girls' College)
  • 1942 Claude Miller, director (Garde a Vue, Little Thief, Wild Child), (d. 2012)
  • 1942 David O'Dowd, Chief Constable (Northamptonshire)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1942 Mitch McConnell, American politician, (Senator-R-KY, 1985-, and Senate Majority Leader 2015- ), born in Sheffield, Alabama

US Senator Mitch McConnell
US Senator
Mitch McConnell
  • 1943 Aleksandr Pavlovich Alexandrov, Russian cosmonaut (Soyuz T-9, TM-3)
  • 1943 Lord McNally, British Minister of State for Justice
  • 1944 Roger Knapman, British MP
  • 1944 Robert de Cotret, French Canadian politician (d. 1999)
  • 1946 Mieke H A Boers-Wijnberg, Dutch MP (CDA)
  • 1947 Andre van Duin, [Kyvon], Dutch entertainer (Bloemkoole)
  • 1947 Eggert Magnusson, Icelandic football executive
  • 1948 A C Fabian, astronomer
  • 1948 John Browne, group chief executive, British Petroleum Company

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1951 Gordon Brown, British Labour Prime Minister (2007–10), born in Giffnock, Scotland

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown

Weddings in History


HeartWedding of Interest

1989 Police violence victim Rodney King (23) weds Crystal Lynnette Waters

Victim of Police Violence Rodney King
Victim of Police Violence
Rodney King

Deaths in History

  • 702 K'inich Kan B'alam II, king of the Maya state of Palenque (b. 635)
  • 1054 Yaroslav I, the Wise, ruler (Kiev), dies
  • 1154 Saint Wulfric of Haselbury Plucknett
  • 1171 Conan IV, Duke of Brittany (b. 1138)
  • 1194 Tancredo of Lecce, King of Sicily, dies
  • 1258 Al-Musta'sim, last Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad
  • 1408 Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, English statesman (b. 1342)
  • 1431 Pope Martin V [Oddo Colonna] dies, (b. 1368)
  • 1524 Tecún Umán, last leader of the Quiché-Maya
  • 1569 Mark van Vaernewijck, Flemish nobleman/politician, dies at 50
  • 1579 Nicholas Bacon, English politician (b. 1509)
  • 1595 Ernst, archduke of Austria, dies at 41
  • 1618 Philip William, Prince of Orange, dies at 63
  • 1667 David ben Samuel Halevi, rabbi/author (Shulchan Aruch), dies
  • 1707 Aurangzeb, Mogul emperor of India (1658-1707), dies
  • 1737 Elizabeth Rowe, poet, dies
  • 1746 Guillaume Coustou Sr, French sculptor (Mary Leszczynska), dies at 68
  • 1762 Tobias Mayer, German astronomer (b. 1723)
  • 1771 Jean Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, French geophysicist (b. 1678)
  • 1773 Charles Emanuel I, King of Sardinia/Duke of Savoy (CE III), dies at 71
  • 1778 Laura Bassi, Italian scholar (b. 1711)
  • 1788 Gijsbert John van Hardenbroeck, Dutch regent (Utrecht), dies at 68
  • 1790 Joseph II, Emperor of Holy Roman empire, dies at 48
  • 1806 Lachlan McIntosh, Scottish-born American military and political leader (b. 1725)
  • 1810 Andreas Hofer, milt leader (fought Napoleon's France), executed at 42
  • 1848 [Willem] Alexander FCNM, prince of Neth/gen-maj, dies at 29
  • 1855 Joseph Hume, social reformer, dies
  • 1860 Henry Drummond, English banker and religious leader, dies at 69
  • 1871 Paul Kane, Irish-born painter (b. 1810)
  • 1892 Hermann Kopp, German chemist (Law of Kopp), dies at 74
  • 1893 P.G.T. Beauregard, American Confederate general (b. 1818)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1895 Frederick Douglass, African-American abolitionist, lecturer and editor who was also an escaped slave, dies of a heart attack at 77

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass
Abolitionist
Frederick Douglass
  • 1905 Jeremiah W. Farnham, American merchant captain

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1907 Henri Moissan, French chemist who isolated the element "fluorine" from its compounds (Nobel 1906), dies of appendicitis at 54

Chemist and Nobel Laureate Henri Moissan
Chemist and Nobel Laureate
Henri Moissan
  • 1910 Boutros Ghali, Prime Minister of Egypt (1908-1910), assassinated by a nationalist at 64
  • 1916 Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Swedish politician (Nobel 1908), dies at 71
  • 1920 Robert E Peary, US pole explorer (North Pole, 6/4/1909), dies at 63
  • 1936 John Hope, president of Atlanta University, dies at 67
  • 1960 Leonard Woolley, archaeologist, dies
  • 1961 Otto E Huiswoud, [Frank Billings], editor (Negro Worker), dies at 67
  • 1962 Halliwell Hobbes, dies at 64

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1966 Chester Nimitz, American admiral who commanded the US Pacific fleet in World War II, dies at 80

US Admiral Chester Nimitz
US Admiral
Chester Nimitz
  • 1968 Anthony Asquith, British director (Court Martial), dies at 65
  • 1970 Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist (b. 1885)
  • 1970 Café Filho, 18th Brazilian President (1954-1955) dies aged 71
  • 1973 Brigitte Reimann, writer, dies at 39
  • 1976 Kathryn Kuhlman, religious leader/faith healer, dies
  • 1980 Alice Longworth Roosevelt, youngest daughter of Theodore, dies at 96
  • 1983 James G Richardson, (Tim Cassidy-Sierra), dies at 37 in ski accident
  • 1983 Fritz Köberle, Austrian-Brazilian physician (b. 1910)
  • 1985 Clarence Nash, American voice actor (Donald Duck), dies of leukaemia at 80
  • 1986 Jacobus G Rietkerk, Dutch foreign minister (VVD), dies at 58
  • 1992 Andrew Schenck, conducter, dies of melanoma at 51
  • 1992 Roberto D'Aubuisson, El Salvadorian founder (ARENA), dies
  • 1993 Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian auto-designer (Lamborghini), dies at 76
  • 1994 Derek Jarman, English director (Last of England), dies at 52
  • 1995 John Humphreys Whitfield, italianist, dies at 88
  • 1995 Shlomo Averbach, Rabbi, buried in Jerusalem, 250,000 attend
  • 1996 Jeffrey Kindersley Quill, Test pilot, dies at 83
  • 1996 Walter Charles Marshall, scientist, dies at 63
  • 1996 Solomon Asch, American psychologist (b. 1907)
  • 1999 Sarah Kane, English playwright (b. 1971)
  • 2000 Anatoly Sobchak, Russian politician (b. 1937)
  • 2003 Maurice Blanchot, French author (b. 1907)
  • 2003 Orville Freeman, American politician (b. 1918)
  • 2003 Mushaf Ali Mir, Pakistani Chief of the Air Staff (b. 1947)
  • 2005 Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (b. 1937)
  • 2005 Tom Willmore, English geometer (b. 1919)
  • 2006 Lucjan Wolanowski, Polish journalist, writer and traveller (b. 1920)
  • 2007 F. Albert Cotton, American chemist (b. 1930)
  • 2008 Larry Davis (criminal)
  • 2010 Alexander Haig, American soldier and politician (b. 1924)
  • 2012 Renato Dulbecco, Italian-born American virologist and Nobel laureate, dies at 97
  • 2016 Peter Mondavi, American winemaker (Charles Krug - Napa Valley), dies at 101