On this day, Feb. 19 …

1968: “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” created by and starring Fred Rogers, makes its network debut on National Educational Television, a forerunner of PBS, beginning a 31-season run.

Also on this day:

  • 1473: Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Torun, Poland.
  • 1807: Former Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested on treason charges in the Mississippi Territory, in present-day Alabama. (Burr would be acquitted at trial.)
  • 1942: During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, which paves the way for the relocation and internment of people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens. 
  • 1942: Imperial Japanese warplanes raid the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people are killed.
  • 1945: Operation Detachment begins during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines begin landing on Iwo Jima, where they begin a monthlong battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.
  • 1963: “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan is first published by W.W. Norton & Co.
  • 1986: The U.S. Senate approves, 83-11, the Genocide Convention, an international treaty outlawing “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” nearly 37 years after the pact was first submitted for ratification.
  • 1997: Deng Xiaoping, the last of China’s major Communist revolutionaries, dies at age 92.
  • 2006: Israel halts the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money to the Palestinians after Hamas takes control of the Palestinian parliament.

  • 2008: An ailing Fidel Castro resigns as president of Cuba after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul would succeed him.
  • 2014: President Obama, in Mexico for a North American summit, urges Ukraine to avoid violence against peaceful protesters or face consequences; shortly after Obama’s remarks, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s office says he and opposition leaders have agreed on a truce.
  • 2014: On Day 13 of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Norway wins the first Olympic mixed relay in biathlon and Ole Einar Bjoerndalen becomes the most decorated Winter Olympian ever with 13 medals. Ted Ligety wins the giant slalom, becoming the first American man to win two Olympic gold medals in Alpine skiing.  

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