On February 20:
1472 Orkney and Shetland were left by Norway to Scotland, due to a dowry payment.
1547 Edward VI was crowned King of England.
1792 The Postal Service Act, establishing the United States Post Office Department, was signed by President George Washington.
1810 Andreas Hofer, Tirolean patriot and leader of rebellion against Napoleon’s forces, is executed.
1835 Concepción, Chile was destroyed by an earthquake.
1872 New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened.
1873 The University of California opened its first medical school.
1887 Vincent Massey, Governor-General of Canada, was born.
1901 – The legislature of Hawaii Territory convenes for the first time.
1906 Gale Gordon, American television and radio actor, was born.
1909 Publication of the Futurist Manifesto in the French journal Le Figaro.
1913 King O’Malley drove in the first survey peg to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra.
1924 Gloria Vanderbilt, American socialite and clothing designer, was born.
1925 Robert Altman, American film director, was born.
1927 Ibrahim Ferrer, Cuban musician (Buena Vista Social Club) (d. 2005)
1927 – Sidney Poitier, American actor, was born.
1935 Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.
1941 Buffy Sainte-Marie, Canadian singer, was born.
1942 Lieutenant Edward O’Hare becomes America’s first World War II flying ace.
1943 – The Parícutin volcano erupted Parícutin, Mexico.
1950 Walter Becker, American guitarist (Steely Dan), was born.
1951 Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.
1952 Emmett Ashford became the first African-American umpire in organised baseball.
1954 Yvette Williams won a gold meadl for the long jump at the Olympics.
1962 Mercury programme: John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, making three orbits in 4 hours, 55 minutes.
1965 Ranger 8 crashed into the moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo programme astronauts.
1976 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation disbanded.
1989 An IRA bomb destroeds a section of a British Army barracks in Ternhill, England
1991 A gigantic statue of Albania’s long-time dictator, Enver Hoxha, was brought down in the Albanian capital Tirana, by mobs of angry protesters.
1998 American figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest gold-medalist at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
2002 In Reqa Al-Gharbiya, Egypt, a fire on a train injurds over 65 and killed 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 200 others.
2005 Spain became 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.