It happened today – this day in history – February 20

1472: Orkney and Shetland are left by Norway to Scotland, due to a dowry payment.

1547: Edward VI is crowned following the death of his father Henry VIII.

1673: The first recorded wine auction is held in London.

1724: Handel’s opera “Giulio Cesare in Egitto” premieres at the King’s Theatre in Haymarket, London.

1745: Jacobite troops occupy Fort Augustus, Scotland.

1792: US postal service created.

1798: Napoleon’s chief of staff Louis Alexandre Berthier removes Pope Pius VI from power and takes him prisoner.

1810: Andreas Hofer, Tyrolean patriot and leader of a rebellion against Napoleon is executed.

1811: Austria declares bankruptcy.

1816: Gioachino Rossini’s opera “The Barber of Seville” premieres in Rome.

1831: Polish revolutionaries defeat Russia in the Battle of Growchow.

1846: The British occupy the Sikh citadel of Lahore.

1856: The steam packet-ship John Rutledge, en route from Liverpool to New York, hits an iceberg and sinks with the loss of 120 passengers and 19 crew. There is only one survivor.

1873: Naval Officer John Moresby discovers the site of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and claims it for Britain.

1919: French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau is injured during an assassination attempt by anarchist Emile Cottin..

1932: Japanese troops occupy Tunhua, China.

1935: Caroline Mikkelson becomes the first woman to land on Antarctica.

1938: Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigns saying Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain has appeased Nazi Germany.

1941: Polish Jews are barred from using public transportation. On the same day, the first transport of Jews to concentration camps leaves Plotsk.

1944: US forces take Enewetak Atoll.

1947: Earl Mountbatten of Burma appointed as last viceroy of India to oversee the move to independence. On the same day, the state of Prussia ceases to exist

1952: Britain’s Jeannette Altwegg wins the Olympic women’s figure skating gold medal at the Olso Winter Games.

1958: The government announces the closure of one of the oldest naval dockyards in the UK at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.


1959: Sixteen year-old Jimi Hendrix makes his stage debut at the Temple De Hirsch Sinai synagogue in Seattle. He is sacked from the band after the first set for his wild playing.

1962: Astronaut John Glen becomes the first American to orbit the Earth aboard Friendship 7.

1965: Ranger 8 makes a hard landing on the Moon, returning photos and other data to Earth.

1968: John Cleese marries actress Connie Booth.

1971: The US National Emergency Centre erroneously orders US radio & TV stations to go off the air. The mistake isn’t resolved for 30 minutes.

1975: A feud begins between the official IRA and the INLA.

1976: Muhammad Ali defeats Belgian Jean Pierre Coopman in Round 5 in Puerto Rico.

1978: Egypt pulls its diplomats out of Cyprus.

1979: Eleven ‘loyalists’ known as the “Shankill Butchers” are sentenced to life in prison for 19 murders; the gang was named for its late-night kidnapping, torture and murder (by throat slashing) of random Catholic civilians in Belfast.

1983: Hundreds die in Assam as fierce fighting rages in the run-up to Indian elections.

Singles chart:

  1. Too Shy – Kajagoogoo
  2. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  3. Africa – Toto
  4. Change – Tears For Fears
  5. Sign Of The Times – The Belle Stars
  6. Down Under – Men At Work
  7. Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
  8. Never Gonna Give You Up – Musical Youth
  9. Tomorrow’s (Just Another Day – Madness
  10. Wham Rap – Wham!
1983: Michael Jackson – Thriller

Album chart:

  1. Business As Usual – Men At Work
  2. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  3. The John Lennon Collection – John Lennon
  4. Another Page – Christopher Cross
  5. Visions – Various Artists
  6. Porcupine – Echo and the Bunnymen
  7. Richard Clayderman – Richard Clayderman
  8. Heartbreaker – Dionne Warwick
  9. Jane Fonda’s Workout Record – Jane Fonda
  10. Night And Day – Joe Jackson

1988: Peter Kalikow purchases the New York Post from Rupert Murdoch for $37.6million.

1989: Two IRA bombs explode at an army barracks at Tern Hill, Shropshire, shortly after soldiers are evacuated.

1993: Ten year olds Jon Venables and Robert Thompson are charged with the abduction and murder of two-year old James Bulger.

1998: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan lands in Baghdad, for peace negotiations.

2005: Journalist and author Hunter S Thompson dies aged 67 from a self inflicted gunshot wound.

2016: A gunman goes on a random killing spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan, killing six. On the same day, a lock of John Lennon’s hair sells for $35,000 at an auction in Dallas, Texas

2020: Donald Trump associate Roger Stone is sentenced to 40 months imprisonment for obstructing a congressional investigation.

2021: Naomi Osaka wins her second Australian Open tennis title.

2022: Queen Elizabeth II tests positive for COVID-19.

Brenda Blethyn

BIRTHDAYS: Buffy (Beverley) Sainte-Marie, singer-songwriter, 82; Mitch McConnell, US senator, 81; Mike Leigh, director/playwright, 80; Brenda Blethyn, actress, 77; Gordon Brown, former prime minister, 72; Phil Neal, former footballer, 72; Anthony Head, actor, 69; Imogen Stubbs, actress, 62; Ian Brown, singer-songwriter (The Stone Roses) 60; French Stewart, actor, 59; Cindy (Cynthia) Crawford, model, 57; Chelsea Peretti, comedian/actress, 45; Lauren Ambrose, actress, 45; Trevor Noah, comedian/TV host, 39; Miles Teller, actor, 36; Rihanna (Robyn Fenty) singer, 35; Mabel (McVey) singer-songwriter, 27; Cruz Beckham, 18.