Feb. 20, 1816: The opera buffa "The Barber of Seville" by Gioachino Rossini premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome under its original title, "Almaviva, or the Useless Precaution."
1792: President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office.
1862: William Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of President Abraham Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, died at the White House, apparently of typhoid fever.
1905: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upheld, 7-2, compulsory vaccination laws intended to protect the public's health.
1915: The Panama Pacific International Exposition opened in San Francisco.
1938: Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's decision to negotiate with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
1944: During World War II, U.S. strategic bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as "Big Week."
1950: The U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Rabinowitz, ruled 5-3 that authorities making a lawful arrest did not need a warrant to search and seize evidence in an area that was in the "immediate and complete control" of the suspect.
1962: Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury's Friendship 7 spacecraft.
1986: The Soviet Union sent up the core module of space station Mir, which would serve as a permanently manned base for the next generation in space.
1998: Tara Lipinski of the U.S. won the figure skating gold medal at the Nagano Olympics; fellow American Michelle Kwan won the silver.
2003: A fire sparked by pyrotechnics broke out during a concert by the group Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.
"Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich."
Sarah Bernhardt, French actress (1844-1923)