Today In History, 20 February: What Happened On This Day

What happened today in history (February 20): Rihanna and Kurt Cobain were born, Frederick Douglass and Govind Pansare died, World Social Justice Day, the Paricutin volcano formed, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York , John Glenn orbited the Earth and more.

This day in history (February 20): A new volcano formed in Mexico

This day in history (February 20): A new volcano formed in Mexico

Today in History, February 20: Winter is about to end and so is the month of love. As we approach the last week of February, let’s expand our general knowledge a little.

Today is February 20. In addition to being the lost day of anti-Valentine’s week, February 20 also holds a key place in history. Many important events occurred on this day.

Read on to find out what happened that day (February 20) in sports, politics and art, along with famous birthdays and deaths in world history.

Historical events on this day

  • In 1547, Edward VI was crowned king of England following the death of his father, Henry VIII.
  • In 1872, the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened its doors to the public for the first time.
  • In 1935, Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.
  • In 1943, the Paricutin volcano formed in a Mexican farmer’s corn field and erupted frequently for 9 years.
  • In 1947, Lord Mountbatten was appointed the last viceroy of India to oversee independence.
  • In 1962, astronaut John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth during the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft.
  • In 1987, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram became states of India.
  • In 1988, Peter Kallikow bought the New York Post from Rupert Murdoch for $37.6 million.
  • In 2003, a botched pyrotechnic display set fire to The Station nightclub during a concert by the rock band Great White, killing 100 people.
  • In 2013, the smallest exoplanet, Kepler-37b, was discovered.

Sports events today

  • In 1998, 15-year-old American figure skater Tara Lipinski became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in figure skating after winning at the Nagano Winter Olympics.
  • In 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka won her fourth major and second Australian title after beating American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 at the Australian Open.

Art and culture events today

  • In 1816, the famous opera “The Barber of Seville” by the Italian composer Rossini premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.
  • In 1877, the ballet “Swan Lake” by Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky premiered at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.
  • In 1909, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published the Futurist Manifesto in the French magazine Le Figaro, celebrating speed, machinery, violence, youth and industry.

Notable deaths on this day

No sir

Year of death




Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790, who abolished serfdom, established religious equality before the law, and granted freedom of the press.



Frederick Douglass, American social reformer, orator, writer, and abolitionist who was born into slavery but fought to free himself from it through his writing and oratory.



Robert Peary, American explorer and naval captain who was the first person to reach the North Pole.



Ferruccio Lamborghini, Italian automobile designer, inventor, engineer and businessman who founded the sports car manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini after a dispute with Enzo Ferrari.



Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author, known for creating gonzo journalism



Govind Pansare, left-wing Indian politician and communist who wrote the best-selling Marathi biography of Shivaji

Famous birthdays on this day

No sir

Year of birth




Ludwig Boltzmann, Austrian physicist and philosopher known for developing statistical mechanics and statistically explaining the second law of thermodynamics.



Louis Kahn, Estonian-American architect considered one of the most important architects of the 20th century for designing the Kimbell Art Museum and the Bangadesh National Museum.



Robert Altman, five-time Academy Award-nominated American director known for his films M*A*S*H, The Player and Gosford Park.



Sidney Poitier, Bahamian-American actor who defied racism to become the first black person to win the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in the film Lilies of the Field.



Charles Barkley, one of the most popular American basketball players and television personality.



Cindy Crawford, American supermodel and television personality



Kurt Cobain, American musician and leader of the alternative rock band Nirvana.



Osita Iheme, Nigerian actor and author famous for playing the comedy character Pawpaw in the film Aki na Ukwa.



Miles Teller, American actor who rose to fame for his leading role in the Oscar-nominated film Whiplash and also starred in Top Gun: Maverick.



Rihanna, Barbadian-American singer who is the best-selling female pop and R&B artist in history and is known for her hits “Diamonds,” “Love the Way You Lie,” and “Take A Bow.”

Related | Today in History (February 19)

Related | Today in History (February 18)

Categories: Optical Illusion

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