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On February 20th...

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1437 King James I of Scotland died.

1472 Orkney and Shetland were given to Scotland by Norway, via a dowry payment.

1482 Florentine sculptor Luca della Robbia died.

1547 Edward VI was crowned King of England.

1732 The Estates of Holland ratified the Treaty of Vienna.

1745 Jacobite troops occupied Fort Augustus, Scotland.

1768 The first American chartered fire insurance company opened.

1790 Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II died.

1792 The U. S. Postal Service was created.

1798 Louis Alexandre Berthier removed Pope Pius VI from power.

1808 Painter and caricaturist Honoré Daumier was born.

1809 The U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government's power is greater than that of any state.

1811 Austria declared bankruptcy.

1829 Actor Joseph Jefferson was born.

1834 Humorist and author George Du Maurier was born.

1835 An earthquake destroyed Concepcion, Chile, and killed about 5,000 people.

1846 British forces occuiped the Sikh citadel of Lahore, India.

1856 The steam packet ship John Rutledge hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank, killing 139 of the 140 passengers and crew aboard.

1861 The Department of the Navy of the Confederacy was formed.

1872 The hydraulic electric elevator was patented by Cyrus Baldwin.
1872 Luther Crowell patented a machine to manufacture paper bags.
1872 The Metroplitan Museum of Art opened in New York City, New York.
1872 Silas Noble and J. P. Cooley patented a toothpick manufacturing machine.

1877 The first cantilever bridge in the United States was completed at Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

1887 Germany, Austria-Hungary, and France ended the Triple Alliance.

P. G. T. Beauregard1893 Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard died.

Frederick Douglass1895 Frederick Douglass, abolitionist lecturer and leader, died.

1901 The first Territorial Legislature of Hawaii convened.

Ansel Adams1902 Photographer Ansel Adams was born.

1904 Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin was born.

1906 Actor Gale Gordon was born.

1913 King O'Malley drove in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra, Australia.

1914 Game show host John Charles Daly was born.

Panama-Pacific International Exposition1915 The Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened in San Francisco, California.

1919 French Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau was injured during an assassination attempt.

Robert Peary1920 Robert E. Peary, Arctic explorer who led the first party to reach the North Pole, died.

1921 Reza Khan Pahlevi seized control of Iran.

1922 Vilnius, Lithusania, agreed to separate from Poland.

1924 Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt was born.

1925 Film director Robert Altman was born.

1927 Actor Sidney Poitier was born.

American Samoa1929 American Samoa was organized as a territory of the United States.
1929 Actress Amanda Blake was born.

1934 Auto racer Bobby Unser was born.

1935 Dane Caroline Mikkelson became the first woman to land on Antarctica.

1936 Actor Larry Hovis was born.

1937 The first automobile/airplane combination was tested in Santa Monica, California.
1937 Singer Nancy Wilson was born.

1941 The firsttransport of Jews to concentration camps left Plotsk, Poland.

1942 Lieutenant E. H. O'Hare single-handedly shot down five Japanese heavy bombers, becing America's first World War II flying ace.
1942 Hockey player Phil Esposito was born.

Paricutin1943 A volcano literally began forming in the middle of a corn field near Parícutin, Mexico.

1944 The United States took Eniwetok Island.
1944
The comic strip "Batman and Robin" debuted.

1946 Actress Sandy Duncan was born.
1946 John Geils, lead guitarist of the J Geils Band, was born.

Los Angeles explosion1947 Seventeen persons were killed when a plating works exploded in Los Angeles, California.
1947 The State of Prussia ceased to exist.

1949 The first International Pancake Day Race was held in Liberal, Kansas.

1952 Emmett Ashford became the first black to be certified as a baseball umpire.
1952
The film African Queen was released.

1952 August A. Busch bought the St. Louis Cardinals for $3.75 million.

1953 The U. S. Court of Appeals ruled that Organized Baseball is a sport, not a business.

1954 Heiress-turned-bank robber Patty Hearst was born.

Glen Canyon Dam Bridge1959 The Glen Canyon Dam Bridge opened across the Colorado River near Page, Arizona.

John Glenn1962 U.S. astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr., orbited the earth three times.

Charles Barkley1963 Basketball player Charles Barkley was born.

1964 Actor French Stewart was born.

1966 Model Cindy Crawford was born.
1966 Chester W. Nimitz, Admiral of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II, died.

1967 Singer Kurt Cobain was born.

1968 A Learjet 25 set a time-to-climb record to 40,000 feet of 6 minutes 19 seconds.

Idi Amin1971 Major General Idi Amin Dada appointed himself President of Uganda.
1970 The National Emergency Center erroneously ordered U. S. radio and television stations to go off the air.

1972 A. J. Foyt won the Daytona 500.
1972 Radio personality Walter Winchell died.

SEATO1976 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization disbanded.

1977 Cale Yarborough won the Daytona 500.

1982 The New York Islanders won their 15th straight game to set a new NHL record.

1983 Cale Yarborough won the Daytona 500.

Mir1986 The Soviet space station Mir was launched into earth orbit.

1987 David Hartman left ABC's "Good Morning America."

1988 Singer Rhianna was born.

1992 Actor Dick York died.

1994 Sterling Marlin won the Daytona 500.

1999 Movie critic Gene Siskel died.

2000 Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500.

2002 A fire on a train killed at least 370 people and injured over 65 in Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt.

2003 During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display set the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 300 others.
Orville Lothrop Freeman2003 American politician Orville Freeman died.

2005 Jeff Gordon won the Daytona 500.
2005
Actress Sandra Dee died.

2010 Alexander Haig, presidential adviser and Secretary of State, died.

2011 Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500.

2013 Kepler-37b, the smallest known exoplanet, was discovered.

2016 Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fuji, killing at least 29 people.

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The Robinson Library >> On This Day

This page was last updated on May 17, 2018.