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On this day in history - February 20

What Happened On This Day – February 20

  • 1988 The Nagorno-Karabakh War is triggered by der Autonomous Oblast's secession from Azerbaijan

    Today, Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto independent state, but the territory is still internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

  • 1962 The first U.S. citizen to orbit the Earth lands safely in the Atlantic Ocean

    John Glenn's 5-hour spaceflight came almost a year after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth on April 12, 1961.

  • 1944 U.S. bombers attack German aircraft manufacturing centers, in a bombing campaign that became known as the “Big Week”

    The goal was to achieve air superiority to secure the invasion of Europe.

  • 1913 Works to build Australia's capital city commence

    Canberra is an entirely planned city and was chosen as the Australian capital as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne.

  • 1877 Tchaikovsky's ballet “Swan Lake” is premiered

    It is one of the world's best-known ballets.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
February 20

  • 1988 Rihanna

    Barbadian/American singer-songwriter, actress

  • 1967 Kurt Cobain

    American singer-songwriter, guitarist

  • 1951 Gordon Brown

    Scottish politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

  • 1927 Sidney Poitier

    American actor, director

  • 1819 Alfred Escher

    Swiss businessman, politician

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
February 20

  • 2005 Hunter S. Thompson

    American journalist, author

  • 1996 Toru Takemitsu

    Japanese composer

  • 1993 Ferruccio Lamborghini

    Italian businessman, created Lamborghini

  • 1961 Percy Grainger

    Australian composer

  • 1895 Frederick Douglass

    American author, activist