This Day In History — February 26

This Day In History — February 26

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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Today if the 57th day of 2020. There are 309 days left in the year.


2006: Portia Simpson Miller is elected president of Jamaica's centre-left political party founded by Norman Manley in 1938, the People's National Party. She is the party's fourth president and its first female head.


1531: Earthquake in Portugal kills tens of thousands of people and flattens much of Lisbon and other cities.

1815: Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from the island of Elba to begin his second conquest of France.

1832: Polish Constitution is abolished by Russia's Czar Nicholas I.

1848: The Second French Republic is proclaimed.

1870: New York City's first pneumatic-powered subway line opens to the public.

1918: German planes bomb Venice, Italy, during World War I.

1919: President Woodrow Wilson signs a measure establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

1936: Military coup in Japan replaces Koki Hirota as premier.

1942: How Green Was My Valley won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1941, beating out nine other films, including The Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane.

1951: The 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, is ratified.

1952: Winston Churchill announces that Britain has produced its own atomic bomb.

1962: After becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, astronaut John Glenn tells a joint meeting of Congress, “Exploration and the pursuit of knowledge have always paid dividends in the long run.”

1990: Nicaragua's 14-party Opposition coalition led by Violeta Barrios de Chamorro scores stunning election upset victory over Daniel Ortega's Sandinistas.

1992: Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders improved inspections among other edicts as millions of documents are opened to the public. Armenian forces attack the village of Khodzhaly, resulting in the deaths of 613 Azerbaijanis, according to Azerbaijani authorities. (Armenian forces did not deny the attack, but have said the death toll is exaggerated.)

1993: A bomb at the World Trade Centre in New York City kills six people and injures hundreds of others.

1994: Leading hardliners who fought against President Boris Yeltsin's reforms walk free from their Russian prison after being granted amnesty by the new parliament.

1997: The Swiss Government formally establishes a humanitarian fund for the benefit of Holocaust survivors.

1998: Switzerland discloses that Israeli agents had been caught in an attempt to bug telephones on the outskirts of the Swiss capital.

1999: Ethiopian troops breach Eritrean lines in a disputed border area, and Eritrea soon says it will accept an African peace plan to halt the 10-month war.

2000: A Cuban diplomat who ignored a US demand that he leave the US is flown out of the country on a government plane. He had been linked to a Cuban-born US immigration official arrested in Miami on spy charges.

2001: A UN tribunal convicts a Bosnian-Croat political leader and a military commander of war crimes for ordering the systematic murder and persecution of Muslim civilians during the Bosnian war.

2002: Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, at times combative, insists during a Senate hearing that he knew nothing about manipulation of company books, and denies misleading Congress as alleged by some lawmakers and Enron officials. Pharmacist Robert R Courtney pleads guilty in Kansas City, Missouri, to watering down chemotherapy drugs. (Courtney was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.)

2004: US President George W Bush tightens US restrictions on travel to Cuba, saying that Fidel Castro's Government had taken steps to destabilise relations with the United States over the past year.

2008: A doomsday seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opens deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

2009: Head of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas, Patrick Allen, is appointed Jamaica's governor general. He is the sixth person, and fifth Jamaican, to hold the position since independence in 1962. A British bishop, whose denial of the Holocaust embroiled Pope Benedict XVI in controversy, apologises for his remarks, but does not specifically say they were erroneous.

2011: In a major setback to Iran's nuclear programme, technicians have to unload fuel from the country's first atomic power plant because of an unspecified safety concern. Space shuttle Discovery arrived at the International Space Station, making its final visit before being parked at a museum. In a statement, US President Barack Obama said Moammar Gadhafi had lost his legitimacy to rule and urged the Libyan leader to leave power immediately.

2013: A hot-air balloon carrying sightseers on a sunrise flight over the ancient city of Luxor bursts into flames, then plummets about 1,000 feet (300 metres) killing 19 people, in what appears to be the deadliest hot-air ballooning accident on record.

2014: The United States warns Russia against a military intervention in Ukraine, saying such a move would be a “grave mistake”.


Victor Hugo, French author (1802-1885); William F Cody (Buffalo Bill), US frontier scout (1846-1917); Johnny Cash, US singer (1932-2003); Fats Domino, US singer (1928-2017); Michael Bolton, US singer (1953- ); Corinne Bailey Rae, British singer (1979- ); actor-director Bill Duke (1943- ); actor Greg Germann (1958- ); singer Erykah Badu (1971- ); actor Greg Rikaart (1977- ); actress Taylor Dooley (1993- )

— AP/Observer

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