On February 20:
1547 Edward VI was crowned King of England.
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.
1906 Gale Gordon, American television and radio actor, was born.
1924 Gloria Vanderbilt, American socialite and clothing designer, was born.
1925 Robert Altman, American film director, was born.
1927 – Sidney Poitier, American actor, was born.
1941 Buffy Sainte-Marie, Canadian singer, was born.
1943 – The Parícutin volcano erupted Parícutin, Mexico.
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.
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.
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.