Iwo Jima is part of the Volcano Islands archipelago, in south Japan. During World War II , the island was of strategic importance because it if captured, it could serves as a US base for Allied fighter planes.

US Marines invaded Iwo Jima so as to wrest control of the strategically important island from the Japanese, who put up fierce resistance in the ensuing battle.

Two US Marine divisions landed on the island between February 19th and 21st and were followed by a third later in the month. The battle for possession went on for a month before it actually fell to the US troops.

Other notable events on February 19th:

In 2008, Fidel Castro steps down as president of Cuba.

In 1942, During WWII, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the executive order on the internment of Japanese Americans.

In 1881, Kansas includes prohibition of alcoholic beverages in its state constitution, becoming the first state to do so.

In 1878, American inventor Thomas Edison patents the phonograph.

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