1472 ~ Orkney and Shetland were pawned by Norway to Scotland in lieu of a dowry for Margaret of Denmark.

1792 ~ United States Post Office Department was established with the signing of the Postal Service Act by United States President George Washington.

1798 ~ Louis-Alexandre Berthier removed Pope Pius VI from power.

1810 ~ Andreas Hofer the Tirolean patriot and leader of the rebellion against Napoleon’s forces, was executed.

1816 ~ The Barber of Seville opera by Rossini premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome.

1835 ~ The Concepción earthquake destroyed Concepción in Chile.

1872 ~ The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City.

1909 ~ The Futurist Manifesto was published in the French journal Le Figaro.

1913 ~ King O’Malley put the 1st survey peg in the ground to mark commencement of work on the construction of Canberra.

1931 ~ The San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge was approved by the U.S. Congress for construction by the state of California.

1933 ~ Adolf Hitler secretly met with German industrialists to arrange Nazi Party financing for the upcoming election campaign.

1935 ~ Caroline Mikkelsen became the 1st woman to set foot in Antarctica.

1942 ~ Lieutenant Edward O’Hare becames America’s 1st World War II flying ace.

1943 ~ American movie studio executives agreed to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.

1943 ~ The Saturday Evening Post published the 1st of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms in support of United States President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address theme of Four Freedoms.

1944 ~ The United States took Eniwetok Island, during World War 2.

1962 ~ John Glenn became the 1st American to orbit the earth, while aboard Friendship 7 during the Mercury program. He made 3 orbits in four hours and 55 minutes.

1965 ~ Ranger 8 crashed into the Moon after a successful mission of photographing possible landing sites for the Apollo program astronauts.

1971 ~ The United States Emergency Broadcast System was accidentally activated in an erroneous national alert.

1979 ~ The Sinila volcanic crater cracked open by an earthquake, on the Dieng Plateau, releasing poisonous H2S gas and killing 149 villagers in the Indonesian province of Central Java.

1986 ~ The Mir spacecraft was launched by the Soviet Union, and remained in orbit for 15 years. For 10 years it was occupied by astronauts.

1998 ~ Tara Lipinski the 14 year old American figure skater became the youngest gold-medalist at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

2003 ~ The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island was set ablaze by a pyrotechnics display, during a Great White concert, killing 100 people and injuring more than 200 others.

2010 ~ The Madeira Island, Portugal floods and mudslides, caused 43 deaths, in the worst disaster in archipelago’s history.

Today in History for February 20th (Associated Press video)