On This Day

Events in History on April 20

  • 295 8th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet
  • 850 Guntherus becomes bishop of Cologne
  • 1139 2nd Lateran Council (10th ecumenical council) opens in Rome
  • 1505 Jews are expelled from Orange Burgandy by Philibert of Luxembourg
  • 1551 John Dudley becomes Earl Marshal of England

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1611 First known performance of Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth at the Globe Theatre, London, recorded by Simon Forman

  • 1650 Dutch East India Company (VOC) management sets new guidelines

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1653 Oliver Cromwell routes English parliament to house

English Military and Political Leader Oliver Cromwell
English Military and Political Leader
Oliver Cromwell
  • 1657 Battle in Santa Cruz Bay, Tenerife: English fleet under Robert Blake sinks Spanish silver fleet
  • 1689 The former King James II of England, now deposed, lays siege to Derry
  • 1702 Comet C/1702 H1 approaches within 0.0437 AUs of Earth
  • 1715 Nicholas Rowe's play "The Tragedy of Lady Jane Grey" premieres in London

DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

1736 French mathematician Pierre Louis Maupertuis begins Lapland expedition to measure latitude and shape of the earth, joined by fellow scientists Anders Celsius, Charles Etienne Louis Camus, Alexis Clairaut, and Pierre-Charles Le Monnier

Astronomer Anders Celsius
Anders Celsius

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1770 Captain James Cook arrives in New South Wales

Explorer James Cook
James Cook
  • 1777 New York adopts new constitution as an independent state

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1785 Thomas Warton appointed British Poet Laureate by King George III

King of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover George III
King of Great Britain, Ireland and Hanover
George III

BattleDeclaration of War

1792 Amidst the French Revolution, France declares war on Austria and Prussia, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars

Politician and Revolutionary Georges Danton
Politician and Revolutionary
Georges Danton
  • 1799 Friedrich von Schiller's "Wallensteins Tod" premieres in Weimar

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1809 Napoleon I and French forces defeat Austria at Battle of Abensberg, Bavaria

French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte
French Emperor
Napoléon Bonaparte
  • 1810 The Governors of Caracas declares the national sovereignty from Spain
  • 1818 Napoleon Bonaparte bids emotional farewell to his old guard at Palace of Fontainebleau
  • 1828 Frenchman René Caillié is the first non-Muslim to enter Timbuktu, returns to win 10,000 franc prize from Société de Géographie
  • 1836 Territory of Wisconsin created

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1862 First pasteurization test completed by Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard

Bacteriologist Louis Pasteur
Louis Pasteur
  • 1871 US 3rd Enforcement Act (President can suspend writ of habeas corpus)
  • 1879 1st mobile home (horse drawn) used in a journey from London & Cyprus
  • 1884 Pope Leo XIII encyclical "On Freemasonry"
  • 1894 136,000 mine workers strike in Ohio for pay increase
  • 1898 US Assay Office in Deadwood, South Dakota opens

AppointmentAppointment of Interest

1899 David Beatty is appointed executive officer of the HMS Barfleur, a small battleship and flagship of the China Station

British Admiral of the Fleet David Beatty
British Admiral of the Fleet
David Beatty

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1902 Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride

Physicist Marie Curie
Marie Curie
  • 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition opens in St Louis
  • 1910 Halley's Comet passes 29th recorded perihelion at 87.9 million km
  • 1914 33 killed by soldiers during mine strike in Ludlow, Colo
  • 1914 US President W Wilson, having dispatched more naval ships to Mexico, asks a joint session of Congress to approve armed force if necessary; Congress approves
  • 1915 The Armenians rise and seize the Turkish town of Van, which they hold until Russians relieve them on 19 May; thousands of Armenians are killed

  • 1916 German-British sea battle off Belgian coast

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1918 Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day

World War I Fighter Ace The Red Baron
World War I Fighter Ace
The Red Baron
  • 1919 Polish Army captures Vilno, Lithuania from Soviet Army
  • 1919 King Nicholas of Montenegro abdicates under duress

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1920 Balfour Declaration recognized, makes Palestine a British Mandate

British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour
British Prime Minister
Arthur Balfour
  • 1920 Tornadoes kill 219 in Alabama & Mississippi
  • 1926 1st check sent by radio facsimile transmission across Atlantic

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1934 Heinrich Himmler becomes inspector Prussian secret state police

Leading Nazi and Reichsführer of the SS Heinrich Himmler
Leading Nazi and Reichsführer of the SS
Heinrich Himmler
  • 1935 "Your Hit Parade" begins broadcasting (becomes #1 quickly)
  • 1936 Jews repel an Arab attack in Petach Tikvah Palestine
  • 1940 1st electron microscope demonstrated (RCA), Philadelphia, Pa
  • 1941 100 German bombers attack Athens
  • 1942 German occupiers forbids Dutch access to their beach
  • 1944 Dutch Communist Party resistance fighter John Postma sentence to death
  • 1945 German occupiers flood Beemster & Fencer
  • 1945 Soviet artillery begins shelling Berlin
  • 1945 US 7th army captured German city of Nuremberg
  • 1945 US forces conquer Motobu peninsula on Okinawa
  • 1947 Frederik IX becomes King of Denmark
  • 1948 NYC hikes subway fare from 5 cents to 10 cents
  • 1948 Walter P. Reuther UAW President shot & wounded at his home in Detroit
  • 1951 US performs atmospheric nuclear test at Enwetak
  • 1951 Velsen city council demands investigation of police collaborators
  • 1958 Morocco demands departure of Spanish troops
  • 1961 American Harold Graham makes 1st rocket belt flight

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1962 NASA civilian pilot Neil Armstrong takes X-15 to 63,250 m

Astronaut & 1st Man on the Moon Neil Armstrong
Astronaut & 1st Man on the Moon
Neil Armstrong
  • 1962 New Orleans Citizens Co gives free 1-way ride to blacks to move North
  • 1962 OAS-leader ex-general Salan arrested in Algiers
  • 1963 -30] All Africa Conferences of Churches opens in Kampala Uganda
  • 1964 86% of black students boycott Cleveland schools
  • 1965 People's Republic China offers North Vietnam military aid
  • 1967 French author Régis Debray caught in Bolivia
  • 1967 US Surveyor 3 lands on Moon
  • 1967 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1967 A Globe Air Bristol Britannia turboprop crashes at Nicosia, Cyprus, killing 126.
  • 1968 South African Airways Boeing 707 crashes at Windhoek, 122 killed

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1968 British politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial "Rivers of Blood" speech

British Politician Enoch Powell
British Politician
Enoch Powell

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1968 Pierre Trudeau sworn in as Canada's 15th Prime Minister

Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Pierre Trudeau
  • 1969 23rd Tony Awards: Great White Hope & 1776 win
  • 1969 Bombs planted by Loyalists members of the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Protestant Volunteers explode at Silent Valley reservoir in County Down and at an electricity pylon at Kilmore, County Armagh
  • 1970 Bruno Kreisky becomes 1st socialist chancellor of Austria
  • 1971 US Supreme Court upholds use of busing to achieve racial desegregation
  • 1972 Apollo 16's Young & Duke land on Moon with Boeing Lunar Rover #2
  • 1973 Mass murderer Ed Kemper attempts to dispose of his mother's vocal chords in a domestic waste disposal unit
  • 1973 Canadian ANIK A2 becomes 1st commercial satellite in orbit
  • 1974 'The Troubles', the Northern Ireland conflict between republican and loyalist paramilitaries, British security forces, and civil rights groups, claims its 1000th victim
  • 1975 29th Tony Awards: Equus & Wiz win
  • 1977 Supreme Court rules "Live Free or Die" may be covered on NH licenses

USAJimmy Carter Attacked by a Rabbit

1979 President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a swamp rabbit which swam up to his fishing boat in Plains, Georgia
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Jimmy Carter shoos away the infamous rabbit as he goes fishing in his hometown in Georgia
Jimmy Carter shoos away the infamous rabbit as he goes fishing in his hometown in Georgia
  • 1980 Cubans begin to arrive in US from Mariel boatlift
  • 1980 Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria sees hundreds of Berber political activists arrested

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1980 Cuban President Fidel Castro announces he is opening the Mariel Port for Cubans to leave, about 125,00 leave in next 5-6 months

Cuban Revolutionary and President Fidel Castro
Cuban Revolutionary and President
Fidel Castro
  • 1982 The Provisional Irish Republican Army explode bombs in Belfast, Derry, Armagh, Ballymena, Bessbrook and Magherafelt; 2 civilians are killed and 12 injured

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1983 President Reagan signs a $165B bail out for Social Security

US President & Actor Ronald Reagan
US President & Actor
Ronald Reagan
  • 1983 Soyuz T-8 launched; mission aborted when capsule fails to dock (lands 2 days later)

  • 1984 Russian offensive in Panshirvallei Afghanistan
  • 1985 Firestone World Bowling Tournament of Champions won by Mark Williams
  • 1985 Karyn Marshall of NYC lifted 303 lbs in a clean & jerk lift
  • 1985 ATF raid on The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord compound in northern Arkansas
  • 1986 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1986 Vladimir Horowitz performs in his Russian homeland
  • 1987 Sri Lankan Civil War: Tamils shoot 122 Sinhalese dead
  • 1987 US deports Karl Linnas to USSR, charged with Nazi war crimes
  • 1988 US accuses Renamo of killing 100,000 Mozambiquians
  • 1991 1st non stop flight Schiphol-Flamingo airport Bonaire
  • 1991 Raghib "Rocket" Ismael signs with Toronto Argonauts for $26.2 million
  • 1992 Expo '92 opens in Seville Spain
  • 1992 Joan Lunden, breaks her left shoulder after being thrown from a horse
  • 1993 Uranus passes Neptune (once every 171 years)
  • 1994 Danny Harold Rolling sentenced to death in Florida for killing 5
  • 1994 Serbian army bombs hospital in Goradze Bosnia, 47 killed
  • 1994 Sohail & Inzamam make world record ODI partnership of 263
  • 1994 Space shuttle STS-59 (Endeavour 6), lands
  • 1997 27th Easter Seal Telethon raises $47,392,682
  • 1998 TAME Boeing 727-200 chartered by Air France crashes into Cerro El Cable mountain after takeoff from Bogotá, Colombia, killing 53.
  • 1998 German terrorist group Red Army Faction announces their dissolution after 28 years.
  • 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
  • 2004 In Iraq, 12 mortars are fired on Abu Ghraib Prison by insurgents, killing 22 detainees and wounding 92.
  • 2007 Johnson Space Center Shooting: A man with a handgun barricades himself in NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself.
  • 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 disaster
  • 2012 Plane crash near Islamabad, Pakistan, kills 127 people
  • 2012 40 people are killed and 27 injured after a tractor trailer collided with a bus in Alamo, Mexico
  • 2013 193 people are killed and 11,826 are injured after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake strikes Lushan County, China
  • 2013 Giorgio Napolitano is re-elected President of Italy
  • 2015 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Anthony Doerr's for his novel "All the Light We Cannot See" and to Elizabeth Kolbert for "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"
  • 2017 Terrorist attack on police van on Champs Élysées, Paris 1 police officer killed, 2 injured

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2018 Mexican court bars sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

Painter Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo

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2018 Commonwealth countries decide Prince Charles will succeed Queen Elizabeth as the next head of the Commonwealth

Prince of Wales Prince Charles
Prince of Wales
Prince Charles
  • 2020 Three US states, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina the 1st to announce end to some coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions
  • 2020 Price of US oil turns negative for the 1st time in history - West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for US oil, falls as low as minus $37.63 a barrel as worldwide demand falls
  • 2020 The last three cruise ships still afloat around the world dock finally dock at the ports of Marseille, Barcelona and Los Angeles