This week in history

Photo credit: The New Yorker

Photo credit: The New Yorker

By Abigail Major, Contributing Writer


February 19, 1942: Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 which authorized the relocation of persons that were deemed a threat to national security, to places more inland. This eventually resulted in the movement of over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry.

February 20, 1962: John Glenn went aboard the Friendship 7, departing from Cape Cavernal Air Force Station. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. During his 4 hours and 56 minute flight, Glenn orbited the Earth three times.

February 21, 1885: In 1885, the Washington Monument was completed and dedicated in Washington, D.C.  Construction began in 1848, but was temporarily stalled due to a lack of funding.

February 22, 1980: At the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet team (4-3). The U.S. team ultimately took home gold, and the surprising victory was later dubbed “Miracle on Ice”. The 2004 film Miracle is based on this historical event.

February 23, 1836: The Battle of the Alamo began. With the aid of a small force, William Barrett Travis and James Bowie attempted to defend the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas.

February 24, 1955: Steven Paul “Steve” Jobs was born in San Francisco, California.

February 25, 1870: Hiram Rhodes Revels became the first African American to serve in the United States Senate, representing Mississippi.


February 19, 1473: Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland. He proposed that the Earth was not the center of the universe, and that in fact, Earth and the other planets revolved around the sun.

February 20, 1965: Beatles recorded the song “That Means A Lot.”

February 21, 1916: In the midst of World War I, the Battle of Verdun began in France, and lasted until December.

February 22, 1819: The Adams-Onis Treaty was signed, which resulted in Spain giving up Florida to the United States.

February 23, 1685: Composer George Frideric Handel was born in Halle, Germany. He is best remembered for his Water Music Suite, Messiah, as well as Zadok the Priest.

February 24, 1955: Claudio Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, premiered in Italy on February 24, 1607. Although this is not the oldest surviving opera, it is considered the oldest opera that is still performed today.

February 25, 138: Emperor Hadrian adopts Antonius Pius with the condition that Pius adopted Marcus Annius Verus, and Lucius Celonius Commodus.


February 20, 1862: At 5:00 p.m., President Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son, William Wallace Lincoln, died.

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Author: Abigail Major

Abigail Major '19 is a History and Classics double major with minors in Public History and Environmental Studies. In addition to writing This Week in History (TWIH) for The Gettysburgian, she is also currently the secretary for Classics Club, the College House Leader for Public Policy House, a History Peer Learning Associate, a Peer Research Mentor, a student worker in Special Collections, a tour guide for Admissions, a member of the Inklings (a C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien reading group), and is heavily involved with the Eisenhower Institute. In her spare time she enjoys reading, watching Downton Abbey, and eating Servo chocolate chip cookies.

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