This Day in History is DUE’s daily dose of trivia for all the history buffs out there. So sit back and take a ride of all the fascinating things that happened today!
People are trapped in history and history is trapped in people, and hence, every day has been a significant one in the foibles of history. Now, let’s take a tour of “This Day in History – 19th February”.
1473: Polish astronomer Copernicus is born
Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, was born in Torun, Poland. He was the first modern European scientist who proposed that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun. His ideas were published in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543. This was a landmark in the Scientific Revolution which marked the emergence of modern science. His other contributions include The Quantity Theory of Money and the Gresham’s Law.
1630: Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti
Chahhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Jayanti is an official holiday in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It marks the birthday of the Maratha warrior king Shivaji. A progressive and sensible leader, he was known for his civil administration and his bravery and military tactics with which he won numerous wars against the Mughals. He was also was called the ‘Mountain Rat’ because of his guerrilla tactics and geographical awareness of his land. The Father of Indian Navy, he was the first to realize the importance of having a naval force. All banks, schools and colleges in Maharashtra remain closed on this day. The state also observes a dry day.
1878: Thomas Edison patents the phonograph
Thomas Edison’s phonograph was the first ever device to both record sound and play it back. With the US Patent No. 200,521, this legendary invention went on to make modern music possible. An 1877 issue of Scientific American reported how ‘Mr. Thomas A. Edison recently came into this office, placed a little machine on our desk, turned a crank, and the machine inquired as to our health, asked how we liked the phonograph, informed us that it was very well, and bid us a cordial good night.’ Alexander Graham Bell took forward the legacy of the recording technology with the development of the telephone.
1942: Roosevelt orders Japanese-Americans into detention camps
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt had come into a tough situation after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. His advisors pressurized him to address the nation’s fear of future Japanese attacks. This led to one of the most controversial policies of World War II called Executive Order 9066. Roosevelt signed it and ordered the removal of Japanese Americans from the militant Western parts. The government placed the Japanese immigrants, or evacuees, in detention centers and even overlooked their American citizenship status. Decades later President Ronald Reagan issued a public apology on behalf of the government in 1988. He then, authorized reparations for former Japanese evacuees or their descendants.
1974: First American Music Awards
ABC aired the first-ever annual American Music Awards in 1974. Michael Jackson, Donny Osmond, Rodney Allen Rippy and Rick Segall were its hosts. Jim Croce, Helen Reddy, The Carpenters and Stevie Wonder are some of the big winners.
2004: English actress Millie Bobby Brown is born
Born in Marbella, Spain, the seventeen-year-old took over Netflix with her performance as Eleven in the show Stranger Things. She has also starred in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Enola Holmes, the latter being her debut film as a producer. She is the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. In 2018, Time 100 list also featured her as one of the world’s most influential people.
2016: American author Harper Lee dies at 89
Nelle Harper Lee is the immortal American novelist who wrote the Pulitzer-prize bestseller ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ Inspired by her hometown Alabama, the classic novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. Today, we mourn the loss of Lee who died in her sleep one morning five years ago.