This Day in History - September 20

September 20

480 BC – One of history’s most decisive naval victories is won by Themistocles and his Greek fleet over Xerxes’ Persian forces off Salamis

1246 – Michael of Chernigov dies

1378 – Scandal in the Catholic church comes about as Robert of Geneva is elected as anti-pope by discontented Cardinals

1519 – Ferdinand Magellan leaves Spain on a mission to circumnavigate the world

1561 – Queen Elizabeth of England signs a treaty with French Huguenot leader Louis de Bourbon, the Prince of Conde agreeing for the English occupation of Le Havre in return from aiding Bourbon against the Catholics of France

1565 – The French are destroyed at Fort Caroline in Florida by Pedro Menedez of Spain

1604 – After two years of war, the Spanish retake Ostend, the Netherlands, from the Dutch

1777 – General Charles Grey and nearly 5,000 British soldiers launch a surprise attack on a small regiment of Patriot troops by sword attack, in the Paoli Massacre during the Revolutionary War

1784 – Packet and Daily, the first publication in America, appears on the streets

1806 – Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark see the first white settlement they have seen in over two years when they pass the French village of La Charette

1830 – With the intent of abolishing slavery, the National Negro Convention convenes in Philadelphia

1833 – David Ross Locke, a humorist enjoyed by Abraham Lincoln, is born

1842 – Physician who invented the vacuum flask and cordite, the first smokeless powder, Lord James Dewar is born

1850 – Slave trade is abolished in the District of Columbia

1853 – The Russians are defeated by the Allies at the Battle of Alma on the Crimean Peninsula

1863 – German author and philologist, Jacob Grimm, dies

1863 – George Thomas’ Union troops prevent the Union defeat at Chickamauga from becoming a rout, earning him the nickname “the Rock of Chickamauga”

1870 – Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of modern Italy, seized the Papal States from the French

1878 – Author, Upton Sinclair, is born

1881 – Chester Arthur is inaugurated, becoming the third president to serve as president during that year

1884 – Editor, Maxwell Perkins, is born

1885 – Jazz pianist, composer, and singer, Ferdinand La Menthe, is born

1891 – Senegalese political leader, Lamine Gueye, is born

1899 – German and American philosopher, Leo Strauss, is born

1917 – Second most winning basketball coach in history, Arnold “Red” Auerbach, is born

1920 – Animator, Jay Ward, is born

1930 – Russian explorer, Gombojab Tsybikov, dies

1933 – English author and activist, Annie Besant, dies

1934 – Academy award-winning actress, Sofia Loren, is born

1934 – Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby

1941 – Sculptor, Dale Chihuly, is born

1943 – British submarines attempt and fail to sink the German battleship Tirpitz in Norwegian waters in Operation Source during World War II

1946 – The first annual Cannes Film Festival opens on the French Riviera

1948 – American author and screenwriter, George RR Martin, is born

1952 – Scientists confirm that DNA holds hereditary data

1963 – President John Kennedy suggests that the Soviet Union and the US collaborate on a mission to the moon

1967 – Emmy award-winning actress, Kristen Johnston, is born

1968 – US military spokesmen defend the use of defoliants during the Vietnam War

1971 – Hurricane Irene becomes the first hurricane known to cross the Atlantic to the Pacific, where it is renamed, Hurricane Olivia

1972 – The USAF reveals that US planes have been mining the coastal rivers and canals of northern Quang Tri province below the DMZ during the Vietnam War

1973 – In a pro tennis match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes,” Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in Texas

1975 – Colombian race car driver Juan Pablo Montoya is born

1977 – The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is admitted to the UN

1984 – 22 are killed by a suicide car bomber at the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon

1984 – French figure skater, Brian Joubert, is born

1985 – Australia introduces capital gain tax

1990 – South Ossetia declares its independence from George in the former Soviet Union

2000 – A British M16 Secret Intelligence Service building in London is attacked by unidentified group using RPG-22 anti-tank missile

2000 – Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced the end of the Whitewater investigation, saying there was insufficient evidence to charge President Clinton and his wife, Hillary

2001 – US President George W. Bush declares a war on terror during a joint session of Congress, and names Tom Ridge as head of the new Office of Homeland Security

2002 – A glacial avalanche in the village of Karmadon in Russia, destroys the entire village, causes $20 million in damages and kills more than 100 people

2004 – English soccer player and manager Brian Clough dies

2008 – 45 are killed and 226 injured when a truck loaded with explosives detonates by Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan

2011 – US military ends its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allows gay men and women to serve openly

2012 – 16 members of a dissident Amish group in Ohio are convicted of federal hate crimes for forcibly cutting the beards and hair of fellow Amish with whom they disagreed religiously


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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