This Day in History - August 20

August 20

  917 – Byzantine counter-offensive is routed by Syeon in Anchialus, Bulgaria

1619 – The first group of Africans is brought to Jamestown, Virginia

1643 – English spiritual adviser, Anne Hutchinson, dies

1667 – Paradise Lost is published by John Milton

1741 – Peter the Great of Russia commissions Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering to find land connecting Asia and North America and in doing so, he uncovers America

1794 – The Ohio Indians are defeated at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in the Northwest territory by American General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, ending Indian resistance in the area

1804 – Sergeant Charles Floyd dies, becoming the only member of the Corps of Discovery (Meriwether Lewis & William Clark expedition) to die during the journey

1833 – The 23rd President of the US, Benjamin Harrison, is born

1847 – The Battle of Churubusco is won by General Winfield Scott

1886 – Theologian and philosopher, Paul Tillich, is born

1890 – Author, H.P. Lovecraft, is born

1904 – Dublin’s Abbey Theatre is founded

1905 – Jazz trombonist, Jack Teagarden, is born

1908 – The American Great White Fleet arrives in Sydney, Australia

1911 – A dispatcher from the New York Times, sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service. Exactly 66 years later, NASA will send a phonograph record containing information about Earth for extraterrestrial beings into space aboard Voyager II

1913 – Parachutist Adolphe Pegoud becomes the first person to jump from an airplane and land safely, 700 feet above Buc, France

1914 – Pope Pius X dies

1914 – Germany is defeated at Gumbinnen by Russia

1915 – Nobel Prize-winning physician, German-born Paul Ehrlich, dies

1918 – Author, Jacqueline Susann, is born

1920 – Professional football is born as the American Professional Football Conference

1923 – Singer and songwriter, Jim Reeves, is born

1932 – German artist, Kathe Kollwitz, unveils a monument in Flanders, Belgium to memorialize her son and the other soldiers killed on the battlefields of the Western Front during World War I

1935 – Author, politician, and physician, Ron Paul is born

1940 – Exiled Russian, Leon Trotsky, is assassinated in Mexico City with an axe to the head after a previous machine gun attack failed

1941 – Adolf Hitler authorizes the development of the V-2 missile

1941 – President of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who was tried by UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for war crimes, Slobodan Milosevic, is born

1942 – Composer, musician, and actor, Isaac Hayes, is born

1944 – Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, is born

1952 – Singer/songwriter, John Hiatt is born

1953 – USSR publicly admits it tested a hydrogen bomb eight days earlier

1954 – Weatherman, Al Roker, is born

1955 – Hundreds are killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria

1958 – Film director and screenwriter, Patricia Rozema, is born

1960 – USSR successfully recovers Belka and Strelka, two dogs, making them the first animals launched into orbit and return alive (Sputnik 5)

1961 – East Germany begins replacing the barbed wire wall put up earlier with an actual wall

1964 – US President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, signs Economic Opportunity Act

1968 – More than 650,000 Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia to quell reformers

1971 – Cambodian military launch a series of operations against the Khmer Rouge

1974 – US Vice President Gerald Ford, who has replaced Spiro Agnew, assumes the office of the president after Richard Nixon resigns and names Nelson Rockefeller as VP

1974 – Actress, Amy Adams, is born

1975 – NASA launches Viking 1 and will launch Viking 2 a few days later to jointly provide high-resolution mapping of Mars, revolutionizing existing views of the planets

1979 – The 134-year old Penmanshiel Tunnel between England and Scotland opens, the Penmanshiel Diversion on the East Coast Main Line rail

1980 – UN Security Council condemns Israel’s declaration that all of Jerusalem is its capital with a vote of 14-0, with the US abstaining

1980 – Reinhold Messner, an Italian climber, makes the first successful solo ascent of Mount Everest and without oxygen

1982 – Palestinian withdrawal during the Lebanese Civil War is overseen by a multinational force including 800 US Marines in Beirut, Lebanon

1986 – Patrick Sherrill, a part-time mail carrier, shoots 20 fellow workers killing 14 in Edmond, Oklahoma. It is the first mass shooting by an individual in an office environment in the US

1989 – Lyle and Eric Menendez shoot and kill their parents in Beverly Hills, California

1990 – Iraq moves Western hostages to military installations to use them as human shields against air attacks led by the US

1991 – Estonia declares independence from the USSR after an attempted coup

1993 – In an attempt to resolve ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, secret negotiations in Norway lead to an agreement on the Oslo Peace Accords

1994 – Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo is born on Heider Farm near Janesville, Wisconsin. She is the first white (not albino) buffalo born since 1933 and an important religious symbol for many US and Canadian Indian tribes

1995 – Two trains collide and explode in northern India killing 358 people and becoming the worst train accident in the country’s history

1996 – German singer and songwriter, Rio Reiser, dies

1998 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without federal government approval

1998 – US launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for the August 7th bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania

2000 – Tiger Woods wins the PGA Championship becoming the first player since Ben Hogan to win three major championships in one year

2002 – The Iraqi Embassy in Berlin is seized by Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein

2012 – Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, dies


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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