On This Day

What Happened on April 20

Important Events

  • 1862 First pasteurization test completed by Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard
  • 1902 Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride
  • 1920 Balfour Declaration recognized, makes Palestine a British Mandate
  • 1968 British politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial "Rivers of Blood" speech
  • 1974 'The Troubles', the Northern Ireland conflict between republican and loyalist paramilitaries, British security forces, and civil rights groups, claims its 1000th victim
  • 1980 Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria sees hundreds of Berber political activists arrested
  • 1999 Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School, Colorado
  • 2010 The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico and an environmental diaster
More Historical Events

April 20 in Film & TV

April 20 in Music

April 20 in Sport

  • 2008 Danica Patrick driving for Andretti Green Racing wins the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi; first female driver in history to win an IndyCar Series race

Did You Know?

First known performance of Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth at the Globe Theatre, London, recorded by Simon Forman

On April 20, 1611


Would You Believe?

President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a swamp rabbit which swam up to his fishing boat in Plains, Georgia

On April 20, 1979

Famous Weddings

  • 1914 Poet and critic Ezra Pound (28) weds Dorothy Shakespear
  • 1968 The Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein (24) weds fellow reporter Carol Honsa
  • 2002 MLB Outfielder Carl Yastrzemski (62) weds Nancy Benson

Famous Divorces

  • 2006 Actor-writer Charlie Shanian (39) divorces former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Tori Spelling (32) only 15 months after their lavish $1-million wedding
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