#TodayInHistory – February 203 min read
February 20 – Some important events on this day
1280 👉🏼 Japanese Imperial Court orders all temples and shrines to pray for victory in the impending second Mongol invasion.
In 1274 the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan launched the first of two failed invasions of Japan. Eight years before, Kublai had sent a letter to the Japanese emperor (who in the letter he called the “King of Japan”), threatening the use of force unless Japan submitted.
The Japanese did not respond. So it was that five years later the Mongol empire (specifically the Yuan dynasty in China and Korean soldiers form the tributary state of Goryeo) launched an amphibious attack on Japan. The Mongols were however repulsed in their first invasion, and, upon being forced back to their ships, were sunk by a large typhoon.
Another invasion occurred in 1281. Prior to this Kublai Khan had sent emissaries from the Yuan dynasty to Japan to negotiate but the Japanese had them beheaded. Again the Mongols were defeated by stiff resistance and their retreating ships sunk by a typhoon.
The invasions were important moments in both countries, being a defining battle in the history of Japan and setting a limit on Mongol expansion which until then had been unabated.
1472 👉🏼 Orkney and Shetland are left by Norway to Scotland, due to a dowry payment
1792 👉🏼 US postal service created, postage 6-12 cents depending on distance
1816 👉🏼 Gioachino Rossini’s opera “Barber of Seville” premieres in Rome
1872 👉🏼 New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opens
1873 👉🏼 British Naval Officer John Moresby discovers the site of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and claims it for Britain
1938 👉🏼 UK Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigns stating Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain has appeased Nazi Germany
1944 👉🏼 Batman & Robin comic strip premieres in newspapers
1944 👉🏼 Battle of Eniwetok: US forces take Enewetak Atoll at the cost of 37 Americans killed or missing and 94 wounded, Japanese losses were 800 dead and 23 prisoners
1947 👉🏼 Earl Mountbatten of Burma appointed as last viceroy of India to oversee the move to independence
1962 👉🏼 John Glenn becomes the 1st American to orbit the Earth, aboard Friendship 7.
The Soviet Union had dominated the Space Race in the late 1950s and early 1960s with a two significant firsts: first satellite launch (Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957) and first man in space (Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961).
America decided to step up its game. Under President John F. Kennedy, the government had set itself lofty goals – including a manned Moon landing later in the decade.
John Glenn, the man selected to be the first American to orbit the Earth, had been a distinguished World War II fighter pilot and in 1957 had made the first supersonic transcontinental flight across America.
On this day, he orbited the Earth three times aboard his Friendship 7 spacecraft in just under five hours.
After his NASA career ended, Glenn became a politician, serving as a senator for Ohio from 1974 until 1999.
2012 👉🏼 Scientists successfully regenerate the flowering plant, Silene stenophylla from a 31,800 year old piece of fruit, greatly surpassing the previous record of 2,000 years
2013 👉🏼 Estonia becomes the first country to establish a national system of fast chargers for electric cars
2018 👉🏼 Venezuela becomes the first country to launch a virtual currency, the petro, to counteract their financial crisis