On This Day

What Happened on August 20

Important Events

  • 1597 1st Dutch East India Company ships return from the Far East
  • 1619 1st known African Americans in English North America (approx. 20) land at Point Comfort (Fort Monroe), Virginia. They are then sold or traded into servitude.
  • 1741 Alaska first sighted by Danish explorer Vitus Bering at head of Russian expedition
  • 1866 President Andrew Johnson formally declares US Civil War over
  • 1905 Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary, forms the first chapter of T'ung Meng Hui, a union of all secret societies determined to bringing down the Manchus
  • 1968 During the night 250,000 Warsaw Pact Soviet led troops invade Czechoslovakia in response to the Prague Spring
  • 1993 Oslo Peace Accords signed, after secret negotiations in Norway, followed by a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the following month
More Historical Events

August 20 in Film & TV

  • 1951 12th Venice Film Festival: "Rashomon" directed by Akira Kurosawa wins the Golden Lion

August 20 in Music

August 20 in Sport

  • 1920 American Professional Football Association forms, which would later become the National Football League (NFL)
  • 2000 PGA Championship Men's Golf, Valhalla GC: Tiger Woods becomes first since Ben Hogan (1953) to win 3 majors in a calendar year; wins back-to-back PGA titles in 3-hole playoff with Bob May

Did You Know?

British PM Churchill says of Royal Air Force, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"

On August 20, 1940


Would You Believe?

Longest US men's single tennis tournament match Palmer Presbrey defeats T S Tailer, 19-21, 8-6, 6-1, 6-4, an 80 game 1st-round contest

On August 20, 1888

Famous Weddings

  • 1836 English novelist (Vanity Fair) William Makepeace Thackeray (25) marries Isabella Gethin Shawe (20)
  • 1939 "Rebecca" actress Joan Fontaine (21) weds actor Brian Aherne (37)
  • 1992 Rocker Sting weds Trudie Styler at an 11th century chapel in Wiltshire, England

Famous Divorces

  • 2012 The man known primarily for gatecrashing the White House, Tareq Salahi (42) divorces socialite Michaele Salahi (46) due to adultery, desertion and construction desertion
More Weddings & Divorces