On This Day

Deaths in History on February 20

  • 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, dies in the sack of Baghdad by being rolled up in a carpet and trampled to death
  • 1408 Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland, English statesman, dies at 66
  • 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 (1584) and Knight of the Golden Fleece (1599), dies at 63
  • 1667 David ben Samuel Halevi, rabbi/author (Shulchan Aruch), dies
  • 1737 Elizabeth Rowe, poet, dies
  • 1746 Guillaume Coustou Sr, French sculptor (Mary Leszczynska), dies at 68

  • 1762 Tobias Mayer, German astronomer, dies at 38
  • 1771 Jean Jacques d'Ortous de Mairan, French geophysicist, dies at 92
  • 1773 Charles Emanuel III of Savoy, King of Sardinia, dies at 71
  • 1778 Laura Bassi, Italian physicist and scholar, dies at 66
  • 1779 Johannes Burman, Dutch botanist, plant author and physician, dies at 71
  • 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, Tyrolean innkeeper, drover and leader of the Tyrolean Rebellion against the revolutionary Napoleonic invasion during the War of the Fifth Coalition, executed at 42
  • 1824 Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien, Prussian general of the Napoleonic Wars, dies at 63
  • 1848 Prince Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange-Nassau, dies from tuberculosis at 29
  • 1855 Joseph Hume, Scottish doctor and social reformer, dies at 78
  • 1860 Henry Drummond, English banker and religious leader, dies at 69
  • 1862 Francisco Balagtas, Filipino poet (Florante at Laura), dies at 73
  • 1871 Paul Kane, Irish-Canadian painter, dies at 60
  • 1892 Hermann Kopp, German chemist (Law of Kopp), dies at 74
  • 1893 P. G. T. Beauregard, American Confederate general (Hero of Sumter), dies at 74

Person of interestFrederick Douglass

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 interestHenri Moissan

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 Arnoldson, Swedish politician and pacifist (Nobel Peace 1908), dies at 71
  • 1917 Leone Sextus Tollemache, British Army captain who was incorrectly alleged to have the longest English surname on record (Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraudatifilius Tollemache-Tollemache de Orellana Plantagenet Tollemache-Tollemache), dies in active service in WWI at 32

Person of interestRobert Peary

1920 Robert Peary, American arctic explorer (North Pole-Apr 6 1909), dies at 63

Arctic Explorer Robert Peary
Arctic Explorer
Robert Peary
  • 1928 Antonio Abetti, Italian astronomer, dies at 81
  • 1936 John Hope, president of Atlanta University, dies at 67
  • 1950 Sarat Chandra Bose, Indian activist for independence, dies at 60
  • 1959 Laurence Housman, English author and playwright (Victoria Regina), dies at 93
  • 1960 Leonard Woolley, British pioneering archaeologist, dies at 79
  • 1961 Otto Huiswoud, Suriname-born political activist and editor-in-chief (Negro Worker), dies at 67

Person of interestChester Nimitz

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
  • 1970 Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist, dies at 84
  • 1970 Café Filho, 18th Brazilian President (1954-1955) dies aged 71
  • 1972 Maria Goeppert-Mayer, American-German atomic physicist (Nobel 1963), dies at 65
  • 1973 Brigitte Reimann, German writer (Franziska Linkerhand), dies of cancer at 39
  • 1973 Joseph Szigeti, Hungarian violinist (Violinist Notebook 1933), dies at 80
  • 1976 Kathryn Kuhlman, religious leader/faith healer, dies
  • 1976 René Cassin, French jurist and judge (Nobel Peace Prize 1968), dies at 88
  • 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 Koss Rietkerk, Dutch foreign minister (VVD), dies at 58
  • 1992 Andrew Schenck, American conductor, dies of melanoma at 51
  • 1992 Roberto D'Aubuisson, El Salvadorian founder (ARENA), dies
  • 1992 Eugene R. Black, American President of World Bank (1953-62), dies at 93
  • 1992 A. J. Casson, Canadian painter (member of Group of Seven), dies at 93
  • 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, British scholar of Italian language & literature, 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)
  • 2002 Stephen Longstreet, American writer (All or Nothing), dies at 94
  • 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 (Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas), dies at 67
  • 2005 Tom Willmore, English geometer, dies at 85
  • 2005 William Gordon Harris, British civil engineer, dies at 92
  • 2006 Lucjan Wolanowski, Polish journalist, writer and traveller (b. 1920)
  • 2006 Curt Gowdry, American sportscaster, author (Ford C. Frick Award, Pete Rozelle Award, lifetime achievement Emmy 1992), dies from leukemia at 86
  • 2007 F. Albert Cotton, American chemist, dies at 76
  • 2008 Larry Davis (criminal)
  • 2010 Alexander Haig Jr, American General and 59th Secretary of State (1981-82), dies from a staphylococcal infection at 85
  • 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
  • 2019 William Broomfield, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan), dies at 96