Today in History: February 20 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: February 20

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


February 20

1513   Pope Julius II dies. He will lie in rest in a huge tomb sculpted by Michelangelo.
1725   New Hampshire militiamen commit the first recorded scalping of Indians by whites in North America.
1792   The U.S. Postal Service is created.
1809   The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the power of the federal government is greater than any individual state in the Union.
1831   Polish revolutionaries defeat the Russians in the Battle of Grochow.
1864   Confederate troops defeat a Union army sent to bring Florida into the Union at the Battle of Olustee, FL.
1900   J.F. Pickering patents his airship.
1906   Russian troops seize large portions of Mongolia.
1915   President Woodrow Wilson opens the Panama-Pacific Expo in San Francisco to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal.
1918   The Soviet Red Army seizes Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.
1938   Hitler demands self-determination for Germans in Austria and Czechoslovakia.
1941   The United States sends war planes to the Pacific.
1942   Lt. Edward O’Hare downs five out of nine Japanese bombers that are attacking the carrier Lexington.
1943   German troops of the Afrika Korps break through the Kasserine Pass, defeating the U.S. forces.
1954   The Ford Foundation gives a $25 million grant to the Fund for Advancement of Education.
1959   The FCC applies the equal time rule to TV newscasts of political candidates.
1962   Mercury astronaut John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth.
1963   Moscow offers to allow on-site inspections of nuclear testing.
1965   Ranger 8 hits the moon and sends back 7,000 photos to the United States.
1968   The North Vietnamese army chief in Hue orders all looters to be shot on sight.
1971   Young people protest having to cut their long hair in Athens, Greece.
1982   Carnegie Hall in New York begins $20 million in renovations.
Born on February 20
1726   William Prescott, U.S. Revolutionary War hero at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
1808   Honore Daumier, French caricaturist.
1844   Ludwig Boltzmann, atomic physics engineer
1888   Marie Rambert, ballet dancer and director.
1894   Curt Richter, biologist.
1898   Jimmy Yancey, American blues pianist.
1901   Rene Dubos, microbiologist; he developed the first commercial antibiotic.
1901   Louis I. Kahn, architect.
1902   Ansel Adams, American landscape photographer; he was known especially for western wilderness and mountain panoramas.
1904   Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin, Premier of the Soviet Union (1964-1980).
1924   Gloria Vanderbilt, fashion designer
1925   Robert Altman, film director (Nashville, The Player).
1927   Sidney Poitier, American actor; he was the first African-American male to win an Oscar (Lilies of the Field).