Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20 in History

* 1339 – The Milanese army and the St. George's (San Giorgio) Mercenaries of Lodrisio Visconti clashed in the Battle of Parabiago.
* 1472 – Orkney and Shetland are pawned by Norway to Scotland in lieu of a dowry for Margaret of Denmark.
* 1547 – Edward VI of England is crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.
* 1685 – René-Robert Cavelier establishes Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay thus forming the basis for France's claim to Texas.
* 1792 – The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, is signed by President George Washington.
* 1798 – Louis Alexandre Berthier removes Pope Pius VI from power.
* 1810 – Andreas Hofer, Tirolean patriot and leader of rebellion against Napoleon's forces, is executed.
* 1813 – Manuel Belgrano defeats the royalist army of Pío de Tristán during the Battle of Salta.
* 1835 – Concepción, Chile is destroyed by an earthquake.
* 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Olustee occurs – the largest battle fought in Florida during the war.
* 1872 – In New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens.
* 1873 – The University of California opens its first medical school in San Francisco, California.
* 1877 – Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake receives its première performance at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
* 1901 – The legislature of Hawaii Territory convenes for the first time.
* 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.
* 1931 – The Congress of the United States approves the construction of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge by the state of California.
* 1933 – The Congress of the United States proposes the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution that will end Prohibition in the United States.
* 1933 – Adolf Hitler secretly meets with German industrialists to arrange for financing of the Nazi Party's upcoming election campaign.
* 1935 – Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.
* 1942 – Lieutenant Edward O'Hare becomes America's first World War II flying ace.
* 1943 – American movie studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.
* 1943 – The Parícutin volcano begins to form in Parícutin, Mexico.
* 1943 – The Saturday Evening Post publishes the first of Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt's 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.
* 1944 – World War II: The "Big Week" began with American bomber raids on German aircraft manufacturing centers.
* 1944 – World War II: The United States takes Eniwetok Island.
* 1952 – Emmett Ashford becomes the first African-American umpire in organized baseball by being authorized to be a substitute umpire in the Southwestern International League.
* 1959 – The Avro Arrow program to design and manufacture supersonic jet fighters in Canada is cancelled by the Diefenbaker government amid much political debate.
* 1962 – Mercury program: While aboard Friendship 7, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth, making three orbits in 4 hours, 55 minutes.
* 1965 – Ranger 8 crashes into the moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts.
* 1978 – The last Order of Victory is bestowed upon Leonid Brezhnev.
* 1987 – Unabomber: In Salt Lake City, a bomb explodes in a computer store.
* 1988 – The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast votes to secede from Azerbaijan and join Armenia, triggering the Nagorno-Karabakh War.
* 1989 – An IRA bomb destroys a section of a British Army barracks in Ternhill, England
* 1991 – A gigantic statue of Albania's long-time leader, Enver Hoxha, is brought down in the Albanian capital Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters.
* 1998 – American figure skater Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest gold-medalist at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
* 2003 – During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 200 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.
* 2009 – Two Tamil Tigers aircraft packed with C4 explosives en-route to the national airforce headquarters are shot down by the Sri Lankan military before reaching their target, in a kamikaze style attack.
* 2010 – In Madeira Island, Portugal, heavy rain causes floods and mudslides, resulting in at least 43 deaths, in the worst disaster in the history of the archipelago.

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