On This Day

Historical Events on February 20

Letter from Kublai Khan to the Japanese Emperor

1280 Japanese Imperial Court orders all temples and shrines to pray for victory in the impending second Mongol invasion

  • 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 crowned following the death of his father 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 Admiral Blake off Portsmouth
  • 1673 1st recorded wine auction held in London
  • 1710 Johan Willem Friso becomes Viceroy of Groningen, Netherlands

Music Premiere

1724 George Frideric Handel's opera "Giulio Cesare in Egitto" premieres at the King's Theatre in Haymarket, London

  • 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 in Pennsylvania
  • 1792 US postal service created, postage 6-12 cents depending on distance

Historic Event

1798 French General Louis Alexandre Berthier forcibly removes Pope Pius VI from Rome during French occupation of Rome (Pope later dies a prisoner in Valence)

  • 1809 US Supreme Court rules federal government power greater than any state

Execution

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

  • 1811 Austria declares bankruptcy

Music Premiere

1816 Gioachino Rossini's opera "Barber of Seville" premieres in Rome

  • 1823 English Captain James Weddell reaches 74°15' S, 1520 km from South Pole
  • 1831 Polish revolutionaries defeat Russians in battle of Growchow
  • 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, hits an iceberg and sinks with the loss of 120 passengers and 19 crew; only one survivor (Thomas Nye of New Bedford)
  • 1861 Navy of the Confederate States (CSN) 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/San Francisco)
  • 1873 British Naval Officer John Moresby 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, San Francisco
  • 1903 Nick Young remains as NL president as AG Spalding ends challenge
  • 1909 Publication of the Futurist Manifesto in the French journal "Le Figaro"
  • 1912 Argentina beats the MCC in their inaugural 1st-class cricket fixture at the Buenos Aires Cricket Club; lose the second and third games of the series
  • 1913 King O'Malley drives in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Australian capital Canberra
  • 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (World's Fair) opens in San Francisco

Music Premiere

1917 Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton & P.G. Wodehouse's musical "Oh, Boy!" premieres in New York

Assassination Attempt

1919 French Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau injured during assassination attempt

  • 1919 Foundation NHL club Toronto Arenas are permitted to cease operations due to financial difficulties; later become Toronto St. Patricks and then Maple Leafs
  • 1921 Riza Khan Pahlevi seizes control of Iran

Historic Event

1922 Marc Connelly & George Kaufman's "To the Ladies" premieres in NYC

  • 1922 Vilnius, Lithuania, agrees to separate from Poland
  • 1922 WOR-AM in New York City begins radio transmissions
  • 1923 Future Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson becomes President and owner of Boston Braves; buys the team for $300,000 with NY attorney Judge Emil Fuchs and Bostonian James McDonough
  • 1926 Montreal and Ottawa battle out just the second 0-0 tie in NHL history; dominant goalies are Clint Benedict (Maroons) and Alex Connell (Senators)
  • 1929 American Samoa organizes as territory of US
  • 1929 Boston Red Sox announce they will play Sunday MLB games at Braves Field; Fenway Park located too close to a church
  • 1931 Congress allows California to build Oakland-Bay Bridge
  • 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
  • 1934 Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein's opera "Four Saints in Three Acts" opens on Broadway at the 44th Street Theatre in New York City
  • 1935 Dane Caroline Mikkelson is 1st woman to land on Antarctica
  • 1937 1st automobile/airplane combination tested, Santa Monica, California

Historic Event

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

Historic Event

1938 Adolf Hitler announces his support for Japan during the Sino-Japanese War

  • 1939 The American pro-Nazi organization German American Bund hold a rally at Madison Square Garden and 20,000 attend
  • 1940 Larry Clinton & his Orchestra record "Limehouse Blues"
  • 1941 1st transport of Jews to concentration camps leave Plotsk Poland
  • 1941 Nazi Germany orders 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 Batman & Robin comic strip premieres in newspapers

Battle of Eniwetok

1944 Battle of Eniwetok: US forces take Enewetak Atoll at the cost of 37 Americans killed or missing and 94 wounded, Japanese losses were 800 dead and 23 prisoners

  • 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

Appointment of Interest

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

Film Release

1952 "African Queen" film directed by John Huston, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn is released in the US

  • 1952 Emmett Ashford is certified to be first black umpire in organised baseball; has to wait until 1966 for MLB debut
  • 1952 Britain's Jeannette Altwegg wins the Olympic women’s figure skating gold medal at the Olso Winter Games ahead of American Tenley Albright, who goes on to win in Cortina d'Ampezzo (1956)
  • 1952 American alpine skier Andrea Mead-Lawrence is only multi-gold medallist at the Oslo Winter Olympics when she wins the slalom, after taking out the inaugural giant slalom
  • 1953 August A Busch buys the St Louis Cards for $3.75 million
  • 1953 US Court of Appeals rules that Organized Baseball is a sport & not a business, affirming the 25-year-old Supreme Court ruling
  • 1953 August A. Busch buys St. Louis Cardinals MLB club from Fred Saigh for $3.75 million; pledges not to move the team from St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1954 General Zahedi wins election in Persia
  • 1956 WOSU TV channel 34 in Columbus, OH (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1957 Hughie Tayfield takes 9-113 v England, 13 wkts for match

Sports History

1958 American future Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro rides his 4,000th winner on Riding Ban in the 8th race at Santa Anita

  • 1958 LA Coliseum approves 2-year pact allowing LA Dodgers to use facility whilst Dodger Stadium is completed in time for the 1962 MLB season

Music Concert

1959 Jimi Hendrix (16), rock and roll guitarist, plays his first gig in the Temple De Hirsch synagogue basement, Seattle. He is fired from the band after the 1st set due to "wild" playing

Historic Event

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

  • 1960 Soviet females sweep the 10k cross country event at Squaw Valley; first medal sweep for the Soviets at a Winter Olympics; Maria Gusakova wins from Lyubov Kozyreva and Radya Yeroshina
  • 1963 Australian cricket greats Neil Harvey and Alan Davidson play final Test match in drawn 5th Test vs England at the Sydney Cricket Ground

Baseball Record

1963 Future Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays becomes the highest-paid player in MLB, signing a record $100,000 contract with the San Francisco Giants

  • 1965 Beatles record "That Means A Lot"; unhappy with the results, it was given to P.J. Proby to record, the Beatles version was not released until 1996 on Anthology 2
  • 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

Sports History

1971 Bruin Phil Esposito is NHL's quickest to score 50 goals in a season

  • 1971 National Emergency Center erroneously orders US radio & TV stations to go off the air. Mistake wasn't resolved for 30 minutes

Sports History

1971 "Mr. Hockey," Gordie Howe scores a goal and adds 3 assists, including his 1,800th career NHL point, in 6-5 Red Wings' win over Buffalo in Detroit; Howe's 1,670th game

  • 1972 1st time Cleveland Cavaliers beat NY Knicks (111-109)

Sports History

1972 Ard Schenk wins world championship for speed skating

  • 1972 Sicco Mansholt becomes chairman of European Committee
  • 1972 14th Daytona 500: A.J. Foyt dominates the race, winning by almost 2 laps over his closest competitor Charlie Glotzbach
  • 1973 10th time Islanders shut-out-4-0 vs Penguins
  • 1974 Gordie Howe comes out of retirement for $1M from Houston Aeros, WHA
  • 1975 Leonard Baichan scores 105* on Test Cricket debut, v Pakistan Lahore
  • 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

Boxing Title Fight

1976 Muhammad Ali's bout against Belgian boxer Jean Pierre Coopman in San Juan, Puerto Rico is often regarded as a glorified sparring session; Ali wins by 5th round KO

  • 1976 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization disbands.
  • 1977 "My Fair Lady" closes at St James Theater NYC after 384 performances
  • 1977 19th Daytona 500: Cale Yarborough wins his 2nd Great American Race; Janet Guthrie first female NASCAR Cup Series driver; finishes 12th

Film and TV Awards

1978 4th People's Choice Awards: John Wayne & Barbra Streisand win (Motion Picture) and James Garner & Mary Tyler Moore win (TV)

  • 1978 Bob Backland beats "Superstar" Billy Graham in NY, to become WWF wrestling champion
  • 1978 Egypt announces it is pulling its diplomats out of Cyprus
  • 1979 "Comin' Uptown" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 45 performances
  • 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
  • 1980 Soviet cross-country skier Nikolay Zimyatov wins his 2nd gold medal of the Lake Placid Winter Olympics as part of the 4 x 10k relay; also wins 30k and 50k gold
  • 1980 Soviet 2-time world champion team Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov win the Olympic ice dance gold medal at Lake Placid by just 0.96 from Krisztina Regőczy & András Sallay of Hungary
  • 1981 Flight readiness firing of Columbia's main engines; 20 seconds
  • 1981 James Sanford equals 50m indoor world record (5.61 sec)
  • 1981 Quebec's Czech rookie brothers Peter and Anton Stastny each score first career NHL hat-tricks in Nordiques' 9-3 win at Vancouver; Peter adds 3 assists and Anton 2
  • 1982 NY Islanders win then NHL record 15th straight game by beating Colorado Rockies, 3-2 at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
  • 1983 Japan launches Tenma satellite to study x-rays (450/570 km)
  • 1983 Roland Liboton becomes world champ cross-country cycling
  • 1983 25th Daytona 500: 3rd win in the event for Cale Yarborough; first time an in-car camera goes into victory lane before a national CBS Sports audience
  • 1985 After defending his WBC flyweight championship, Sot Chitalada's check for $104,000 is stolen by a ringside pickpocket

Sports History

1986 LA Dodger Orel Hershiser is 1st to win a $1M salary by arbitration

Sports History

1986 Mike Tyson sexually harasses a woman in Albany, New York

  • 1987 Bomb blamed on Unabomber explodes by a computer store in Salt Lake City
  • 1987 David Hartman quits ABC's "Good Morning America" after 11 years
  • 1987 37th Berlin International Film Festival: "The Theme" wins the Golden Bear
  • 1988 500 die in heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 1988 Andre Hoffmann skates world record 1500m (1:52.06)

Olympic Gold

1988 Brian Boitano wins Olympic gold medal in figure skating

  • 1988 Cornelia Oschkenat hurdles indoor world record 50m (6.58 sec)
  • 1988 Kelly Hrudy's 5th Islander shut-out win-Hartford 3-0

Historic Event

1988 Peter Kalikow purchases NY Post from Rupert Murdoch for $37.6 million

  • 1988 Rob Druppers runs world record indoor 1000m (2:16.2)
  • 1988 Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria sets high jumps indoor world record (2.06 m)
  • 1989 Members of 1949 Oklahoma football team cancel an April reunion because of the deplorable conduct of Oklahoma players
  • 1989 An IRA bomb destroys a section of a British Army barracks in Ternhill, England
  • 1991 "Taking Steps" opens at Circle in Sq Theater NYC for 78 performances

Grammy Awards

1991 33rd Grammy Awards: Another Day in Paradise, Mariah Carey

Historic Event

1991 A gigantic statue of Albania's long-time dictator, Enver Hoxha, is brought down in the Albanian capital, Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters

  • 1992 "Private Lives" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 37 performances
  • 1992 Orthodox patriarch Shenouda III visits Netherlands
  • 1993 Florida Marlins open their 1st spring training camp
  • 1993 NY Islanders retire Billy Smith's number 31
  • 1994 3 Afghans take 70 Pakistani children hostage
  • 1994 Johann Olav Koss skates world record 10 km (13:30.55)

Historic Event

1994 Pope John Paul II demands juristic discrimination of homosexuals

  • 1994 36th Daytona 500: Sterling Marlin wins his first NASCAR race; Neil Bonnett and Rodney Orr killed in separate practice incidents
  • 1997 "Stanley" opens at Circle in Sq Theater NYC

Baseball Record

1997 San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds signs record $22.9M 2 year contract

  • 1998 Tara Lipinski wins Olympic figure skating gold medal

Historic Event

1998 UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan lands in Baghdad, for peace negotiations

  • 1998 US movie box office hits quickest $1 billion for year (51 days)

Olympic Games

1998 Vancouver Canucks' right wing Pavel Bure scores 5 goals for Russia in a 7-4 semi-final win over Finland at the Nagano Winter Olympics

  • 1999 Toronto Maple Leafs play their first NHL home game at Air Canada Centre; Steve Thomas scores overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens

Daytona 500

2000 42nd Daytona 500: Polesitter Dale Jarrett wins his 3rd Great American Race ahead of Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott

  • 2001 The United States Supreme Court declines to consider an appeal by five major oil companies against Unocal's patent on production of cleaner "reformulated" gasoline sold in California
  • 2002 In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire on a train injures over 65 and kills at least 370.
  • 2003 During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 300 others.
  • 2005 Spain becomes the first country to vote in a referendum on ratification of the proposed Constitution of the European Union, passing it by a substantial margin, but on a low turnout.
  • 2005 54th NBA All-Star Game, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO: East beats West, 125-115; MVP: Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers, G
  • 2005 47th Daytona 500: Jeff Gordon able to hold off Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr over 3 extra laps to win his third Daytona 500
  • 2010 On the Portuguese Atlantic island of Madeira heavy rain causes floods and mudslides, leaving at least 32 deaths in the worst disaster on the history of the archipelago.

NBA All-Star Game

2011 60th NBA All-Star Game, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA: West beats East, 148-143; MVP: Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers, F

  • 2011 53rd Daytona 500: 20 year old Trevor Bayne, driving for Wood Brothers Racing, wins to become the youngest Daytona 500 winner
  • 2012 South Korea angers North Korea as it proceeds with live fire drills in disputed Korean sea borders
  • 2012 Scientists successfully regenerate the flowering plant, Silene stenophylla from a 31,800 year old piece of fruit, greatly surpassing the previous record of 2,000 years
  • 2013 Estonia becomes the first country to establish a national system of fast chargers for electric cars
  • 2013 Kepler-37b, the smallest known exoplanet, is discovered
  • 2014 France sweeps the medals in the men's ski cross at the Sochi Winter Olympics; Jean-Frédéric Chapuis takes the gold ahead of teammates Arnaud Bovolenta and Jonathan Midol
  • 2014 Marie-Philip Poulin scores in overtime to lead Canada to a 3-2 win over the US and 4th consecutive Olympic women's ice hockey gold medal at the Sochi Winter Games
  • 2014 Canada beats Sweden, 6-3 in final to become first women's curling team to go through the Olympics undefeated as they win Sochi gold medal; first Manitoba based team to win Olympic gold
  • 2014 Adelina Sotnikova convincingly wins the women's singles figure skating gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics for Russia's first title in the ladies event
  • 2014 After winning the individual large hill 10k Nordic combined title Jørgen Graabak of Norway wins his 2nd gold medal of the Sochi Winter Olympics in the team large hill / 4 x 5 km relay

Film & TV History

2015 Kristen Stewart is the first American actress to win a French César Award as Best Supporting Actress for "Clouds of Sils Maria"