On This Day

Events in History on August 20

  • 2 Venus and Jupiter in conjunction - possible astrological explanation for Star of Bethlehem

Event of interestEvent of Interest

573 Gregory of Tours selected bishop of Tours

Chronicler/Bishop Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours
  • 636 Battle at Yarmuk: Muslims beat Byzantines [or August 15]
  • 917 Battle at Anchialus: Bulgaria army counter attacks Byzantines
  • 1000 The foundation of the Hungarian state, Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1191 Crusader King Richard I kills 3,000 muslim prisoners in Akko

  • 1391 Konrad von Wallenrode becomes the 24th Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order.
  • 1534 Turkish admiral Chaireddin "Barbarossa" occupies Tunis
  • 1566 Iconoclasm reaches Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1597 1st Dutch East India Company ships return from the Far East
  • 1604 Spanish garrison of Sluis surrenders to count Maurice
  • 1612 9 Pendle witches hanged at Gallows Hill in Lancaster, England
  • 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.
  • 1641 England & Scotland sign Treaty of Pacification
  • 1648 Battle of Lens: French Duc d'Enghien defeats Spaniards
  • 1672 Former Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis are brutally murdered by an angry mob in The Hague.

  • 1741 Alaska first sighted by Danish explorer Vitus Bering at head of Russian expedition

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1781 George Washington begins to move his troops south to fight Cornwallis

First US President George Washington
First US President
George Washington

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers: Major General "Mad Anthony" Wayne defeats a joint British-Native American force at Fallen Timbers, Ohio in the final battle of the Northwest Indian War

Military Leader Anthony Wayne
Military Leader
Anthony Wayne
  • 1795 Joseph Haydn returns to Vienna from England
  • 1828 Hindi reform movement Brahmo Samaj founded by Ram Mohan Roy and Dwarkanath Tagore in Calcutta
  • 1856 Wilberforce University forms in Ohio
  • 1861 Skirmish at Jonesboro, MO
  • 1864 8th/last day of battle at Deep Bottom Run Va (about 3,900 casualties)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1865 President Andrew Johnson proclaims an end to "insurrection" in Texas

17th US President Andrew Johnson
17th US President
Andrew Johnson
  • 1866 President Andrew Johnson formally declares US Civil War over
  • 1879 Government Kappeijne of Coppello resigns

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1886 Second Salon exhibition by Society of Independent Artists held in Paris; includes Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"

Post-Impressionist Painter Georges Seurat
Post-Impressionist Painter
Georges Seurat
  • 1892 The Transvaal National Union, a political organisation, is set up with J. Tudhope as president
  • 1893 Shechita (ritual slaughtering) prohibited in Switzerland
  • 1896 Dial telephone patented
  • 1900 Japan's primary school law is amended to provide for four years of mandatory schooling.
  • 1901 The Fawcett Commission visits Mafeking concentration camp in Cape Colony

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Father of Modern China Sun Yat-sen
Father of Modern China
Sun Yat-sen
  • 1908 Congo Free State becomes Belgian Congo

BoatGreat White Fleet

1908 America's Great White Fleet arrives in Sydney, Australia, to be greeted with a tremendous welcome; 221 American sailors desert to remain in Australia
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American naval ships leave Virginia on December 16, 1907, the first day of their two-year voyage
American naval ships leave Virginia on December 16, 1907, the first day of their two-year voyage

  • 1910 US supported opposition brings down Madriz in Nicaragua
  • 1912 Plant Quarantine Act goes into effect
  • 1913 1st pilot to parachute from an aircraft (Adolphe Pégoud, France)
  • 1913 Piotr Nesterow 1st flight (Kiev Ukraine)
  • 1914 German General von Bulow executes 211 Belgians
  • 1914 Battle at Gumbinnen, East-Prussia: Russians beat Germans
  • 1914 Battle at Morhange: German troops chase French, killing thousands
  • 1914 Bavarian troops kill 50 inhabitants of Nomeny, France
  • 1914 German army captured Brussels as the Belgian army retreated to Antwerp
  • 1918 WWI: Britain opens offensive on Western front
  • 1920 1st US commercial radio station, 8MK (WWJ), Detroit begins daily broadcasting
  • 1920 Allen Woodring wins Oympic 200 m dash wearing borrowed shoes
  • 1920 Israel publishes its first medical journal "Ha-Refuah"
  • 1923 London dock strike ends
  • 1925 WJR-AM in Detroit MI begins radio transmissions
  • 1926 Uprising against Rezā Shāh Pahlavi in Iran
  • 1926 Japan's public broadcasting company, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai(NHK) is established.
  • 1929 1st airship flight around Earth flying eastward completed
  • 1935 Military coup by General Pons & president Ibarra in Ecuador
  • 1939 1st black bowling league formed (National Bowling Assoc)
  • 1939 Russian offensive under General Zjoekov against Japanese invasion in Mongolia
  • 1940 1st Polish squadrons fight along allies in the Battle of Britain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1940 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"

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill

MurderMurder of Interest

1940 Louis Buchalter is indicted on murder charges in Los Angeles for the killing of Harry Greenberg, a mob associate of casino owner Meyer Lansky and mobster Bugsy Siegel

  • 1941 Police raid 11th district of Paris, takes 4,000+ Jewish males
  • 1942 Dim-out regulations implemented in San Francisco
  • 1944 Gen de Gaulle returns to France
  • 1944 Soviet offensive at Jassy & Kisjinev
  • 1944 US & British forces destroy German 7th Army at Falaise-Argentan Gap
  • 1945 Soviet troops occupy Harbin & Mukden
  • 1947 Turner Caldwell in D-558-I sets aircraft speed record, 1131 kph
  • 1948 US expels Soviet Consul General in New York, Jacob Lomakin
  • 1949 Hungary (Magyar People's Republic) accepts constitution

Conference meetingMeeting of Interest

1952 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meets Chinese premier Zhou Enlai

Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin
Soviet General Secretary
Joseph Stalin
Premier of the People's Republic of China Zhou Enlai
Premier of the People's Republic of China
Zhou Enlai

BattleCoup d'état

1953 General Fazlollah Zahedi arrests Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in a CIA supported coup d'état

Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mosaddegh
Prime Minister of Iran
Mohammad Mosaddegh
  • 1953 Russia publicly acknowledges hydrogen bomb test detonation
  • 1955 Hundreds killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco & Algeria
  • 1956 Republicans convene at Cow Palace
  • 1957 USAAF balloon breaks an altitude record at 102,000' (310,896 m)
  • 1959 Belgium shortens military conscription to 12 months
  • 1960 Senegal breaks from Mali federation, declaring independence
  • 1960 USSR recovers 2 dogs, 1st living organisms to return from space
  • 1961 East Germany begins erecting 5' high wall along the border with the west to replace the barbed wire put up Aug 13
  • 1962 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1964 US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act, an anti-poverty measure totaling nearly $1 billion

36th US President Lyndon B. Johnson
36th US President
Lyndon B. Johnson
  • 1967 Alvin Dark (52-69) is fired, rehired, & fired again as manager of A's

Soviet UnionWarsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia

1968 During the night 250,000 Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia in response to the Prague Spring
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Crowds of protesters surround Soviet tanks during the first days of the invasion of Czechoslovakia
Crowds of protesters surround Soviet tanks during the first days of the invasion of Czechoslovakia
  • 1968 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1969 69 cm rainfall in Nelson County, Virginia (state record)
  • 1970 -21] Hurricane Dorothy, kills 42 in Martinique
  • 1971 FBI begins covert investigation of journalist Daniel Schorr
  • 1972 USSR performs underground nuclear test

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1974 Nelson Rockefeller is selected as US Vice President by President Gerald Ford

Businessman and US Vice President Nelson Rockefeller
Businessman and US Vice President
Nelson Rockefeller
38th US President Gerald Ford
38th US President
Gerald Ford
  • 1974 Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed is elected fifth President of India
  • 1975 Il-62 crashes south of Damascus, Syria, killing 126

  • 1975 Viking 1 launched to orbit around Mars, soft landing

USAVoyager 2 Spacecraft

1977 NASA launches Voyager 2 towards Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune
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NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft launched atop its Titan/Centaur-7 launch vehicle
NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft launched atop its Titan/Centaur-7 launch vehicle
  • 1978 Gunmen open fire on an Israeli El Al Airline bus in London
  • 1978 Mark Vinchesi of Amherst Mass keeps a frisbee aloft 15.2 seconds
  • 1978 Tatyana Providokhina runs female world record 1k (2:30.6)
  • 1979 India premier Charan Singh resigns
  • 1979 The East Coast Main Line rail route between England and Scotland is restored when the Penmanshiel Diversion opens.
  • 1980 Pitts Omar Moreno steals record 70 bases for 3rd consecutive season
  • 1980 Reinhold Messner of Italy is 1st to solo ascent Mt Everest
  • 1980 UN Security Council condemns (14-0, US abstains) Israeli declaration that all of Jerusalem is its capital
  • 1982 US marines land in Beirut Lebanon
  • 1983 The South African anti-apartheid umbrella organization, United Democratic Front (UDF) is launched at Rocklands Community Centre in Cape Town, South Afrca
  • 1985 Israel ships 96 TOWs to Iran on behalf of US
  • 1985 Libya throws out 1000s Tunisian/Egyptian gas workers
  • 1985 Met Dwight Gooden strikes out 16 on way to his 13th consecutive win
  • 1985 Hanspeter Beck of South Australia, finishes a 3,875 mile, 51 day trip from Western Australia to Melbourne on a unicycle
  • 1986 Postal worker Patrick Sherrill shot 14 fellow workers dead in Edmond, Oklahoma
  • 1986 Phils Don Carmen perfect game bid is broken in 9th
  • 1988 6.5 earthquake strikes India/Nepal, 1,000s killed
  • 1988 Yordanka Donkova of Bulgaria sets 100m hurdle woman's record (12.21)
  • 1988 "Black Saturday" of the Yellowstone fire in Yellowstone National Park
  • 1988 Peru becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty
  • 1989 Dredger "Bow Belle" collides with pleasure boat "Marchioness" on the River Thames in central London; the "Marchioness" sinks in 30 seconds, drowning 51
  • 1989 American Janet Evans swims female 800m freestyle world record 8:16.22 in the Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo, Japan
  • 1989 Said Aouita runs world record 3,000 m (7:29.45)
  • 1990 Iraq moves Western hostages to military installations (human shields)
  • 1991 Estonia formally declares its independence from the USSR
  • 1991 The United Democratic Front, one of the most prominent anti-apartheid movements, comprising of over 400 workers', church, civic and student organisations, dissolves
  • 1992 England get 7-363 in 55 overs vs Pakistan, then world ODI record
  • 1993 Howard Stern is fired from WLUP-AM, Chicago

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1993 Mother Teresa hospitalized with malaria

Catholic Missionary Mother Teresa
Catholic Missionary
Mother Teresa
  • 1993 Oslo Peace Accords signed, after secret negotiations in Norway, followed by a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the following month
  • 1994 109.8°F (43.2°C) in Cordoba Spain
  • 1994 Archbishop Quarracino wants all homosexuals to leave Argentina
  • 1994 Ferry boat sinks at Chandpur Bangladesh, 300-350 killed
  • 1995 Indians' Jose Mesa sets record with his 37th consecutive save
  • 1996 India defeat Pakistan in Under-15 World Challenge Final at Lord's
  • 1997 Souhane massacre in Algeria; over 60 people are killed and 15 kidnapped.
  • 1998 The Supreme Court of Canada rules that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government's approval.
  • 1998 U.S. embassy bombings: US military launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
  • 2002 A group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein take over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin for five hours before releasing their hostages and surrendering.
  • 2008 Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid to Gran Canaria, skids off the runway and crashes at Barajas Airport. 146 people are killed in the crash, 8 more die afterwards. Only 18 people survive.
  • 2012 20 people are killed in a riot in Caracas, Venezuela
  • 2013 9 Islamist militants are killed by Russian police in North Caucasus
  • 2015 30 students at West Point Military Academy are injured in a mass pillow fight
  • 2016 Suicide bombing in Turkish city Gaziantep during a wedding party kills at least 51
  • 2018 Measles cases reach record high in Europe with 41,000 infected first six months of 2018 with 37 deaths according to WHO

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2018 Pope Francis releases letter to all Catholics condemning sexual abuse atrocities and clerical cover-ups "We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them"

  • 2018 Colorado man Christopher Lee Watts is charged with the murder of his wife and two daughters
  • 2018 Venezuela issues new currency the "Bolivar Soberano" in attempt to stop runaway hyperinflation
  • 2018 Polish immigrant and former volunteer Nazi guard Jakiw Palij (95) is deported from the US in New York to Germany
  • 2019 NASA confirms mission to Jupiter's ice-covered moon Europa to search for alien life, to launch 2025
  • 2019 Italian PM Giuseppe Conte resigns after Matteo Salvini calls for co-confidence vote
  • 2019 Computer systems in 22 small Texas towns hacked and held to ransom in coordinated attack prompts FBI investigation