Deaths in History on May 20

  • 685 King Ecgfrith of Northumbria (b. 645)
  • 1277 John XXI, [Petrus Juliani/Hispanus], Portuguese Pope (1276-77), dies. (b. 1215)
  • 1285 John II of Jerusalem, King of Cyprus (b. 1259)
  • 1444 Bernardinus van Siena, Italian saint, dies at 63
  • 1449 Peter, Prince/regent of Portugal/writer (Virtuosa Benfeitoria), dies
  • 1471 Henry VI, king of England (1422-61, 70-71)/France (1431-71), dies
  • 1503 Lorenzo de Medici, Italian patron (b. 1463)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1506 Christopher Columbus, explorer, dies in poverty, in Spain at 55

Explorer of the New World Christopher Columbus
Explorer of the New World
Christopher Columbus
  • 1509 Catharina Sforza, Italian duchess of Forli, dies at 45
  • 1550 Ashikaga Yoshiharu, Japanese shogun (b. 1510)
  • 1597 Dutch commander Matthijs Heldt, dies in battle
  • 1622 Osman II, sultan of Turkey (1618-22), dies
  • 1648 Władysław IV Vasa, King of Poland (1632-48), dies of kidney stones at 52
  • 1669 Joris van der Hagen, landscape painter, dies
  • 1677 George Digby, 2nd Earl of Bristol, English statesman (b. 1612)
  • 1713 Thomas Sprat, English writer (b. 1635)
  • 1717 John Trevor, British statesman (b. 1637)
  • 1722 Sébastien Vaillant, French botanist (b. 1669)
  • 1732 Thomas Boston, Scottish church leader (b. 1676)
  • 1782 William Emerson, British mathematician (b. 1701)
  • 1793 Charles Bonnet, Swiss naturalist (b. 1720)
  • 1795 Ignác Martinovics, Hungarian physicist/revolutionary, beheaded
  • 1825 Papaflessas, Greek priest and government official (b. 1788)
  • 1834 Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert de Motier, nobleman, dies
  • 1834 Marquis de Lafayette, French general, dies
  • 1841 Joseph Blanco White, theological writert, dies
  • 1847 Mary Lamb, writer, dies
  • 1864 John Clare, English poet (Little Trotty Wagtail), dies at 70
  • 1873 Sir George-Étienne Cartier, French-Canadian statesman (b. 1814)
  • 1875 Amalia, wife of King Otto of Greece, dies at 58
  • 1876 Harold, grandson of English queen Victoria, dies at 8 days old
  • 1876 Khristo Botev, Bulgarian poet, dies
  • 1880 Eugene LFC prince the Ligne, Belgian prince of Ambise, dies at 76
  • 1883 William Chambers, author/publisher, dies
  • 1917 Philipp von Ferrary, Italian philatelist (b. 1850)
  • 1917 Valentine Fleming, Scottish politician (b. 1887)
  • 1919 Jacob Verdam, philosopher, dies
  • 1923 Hans Goldschmidt, German chemist, dies
  • 1935 Ivans, [Jacob van Schevichaven], lawyer/detective writer, dies at 68
  • 1940 Joris [Georges] van Severen, Flem fascist/Member of parliament, dies
  • 1946 Jacob Ellehammer, Danish inventor (b. 1871)
  • 1947 Philipp Lenard, Austrian physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1862)
  • 1949 Randolph West, American biochemist, known for the Dakin-West reaction (b. 1890)
  • 1956 Max Beerbohm, caricturist/writer (Yet Again), dies
  • 1959 Alfred Schutz, Austrian/US architect/philosopher, dies at 60
  • 1961 Josef "Pips" Priller, German fighter ace (b. 1915)
  • 1968 Kees van Dongen, Dutch/French painter, dies at 91
  • 1971 Waldo Williams, Welsh poet (b. 1904)
  • 1972 Cornelis J van der Klauw, Dutch biologist/zoologist, dies at 78
  • 1972 Walter Winchell, columnist/narrator (Untouchables), dies at 75
  • 1975 Dame Barbara Hepworth, English sculptor, dies in fire at 72
  • 1976 Zelmar Michelini, Uruguayan politician, member of the Christian-Democrat party, and Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz "disappeared"
  • 1986 Willem Pee, Belgian linguistic, dies at 83
  • 1989 Gilda Radner, comedienne (SNL, Haunted Honeymoon), dies at 42
  • 1989 John R Hicks, English economist (Nobel 1972), dies
  • 1992 Roger Keith Coleman, American murder who protested his innocence, is executed at 33
  • 1993 Max Klein, inventor (paint by numbers), dies at 77
  • 1994 Dallas Pratt, collector, dies at 79
  • 1994 Vivien John, English painter and daughter of Augustus John, dies at 79
  • 1996 George Malcolm Thomson, journalist, dies at 96
  • 1996 Janaki Ramachandran, PM of Indian state of Tamil Nadu (1988), dies
  • 1996 Julius Marmur, biochemist/geneticist, dies at 70
  • 1996 Lewis B Combs, naval commander/civil engineer, dies at 101
  • 1997 Virgilio Boat, president of Colombia (1986-90), dies

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2002 Stephen Jay Gould, American paleontologist and popular science writer, dies of cancer at 60

Paleontologist and Evolutionary Biologist Stephen Jay Gould
Paleontologist and Evolutionary Biologist
Stephen Jay Gould
  • 2004 Lord Murray of Epping Forest, British labour politician and union leader, dies of emphysema and pneumonia at 82
  • 2005 Paul Ricoeur, French philosopher (b. 1913)
  • 2005 William Seawell, United States Army Brigadier General (b. 1918)
  • 2008 Hamilton Jordan, former Carter White House Chief of Staff (b. 1944)
  • 2009 Arthur Erickson, Canadian architect (b.1924)
  • 2012 Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi, convicted bomber (Pan Am 103), dies from prostate cancer at 60