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This Day in History - October 20

October 20

480 BC – Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval Battle at Salamis

1587 – In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs Duke de Joyeuse’s larger Catholic force at Coutras

1632 – Astronomer and architect, Sir Christopher Wren, is born

1709 – Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands

1714 – George I of England crowned

1774 – The First Continental Congress creates the Continental Association, which calls for a complete ban on all trade between America and Great Britain of all goods, wares or merchandise

1803 – The U.S. Senate approves a treaty with France providing for the purchase of the territory of Louisiana, which would double the size of the United States

1805 – Austrian General, Karl Mac, surrenders to Napoleon’s army at the battle of Ulm

1818 – The United States and Britain establish the 49th Parallel as the boundary between Canada and the United States

1819 – One of the most interesting generals in the US Union Army, Daniel Sickles, is born

1827 – During the Greek War for Independence, a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada is destroyed by an allied British, French, and Russian naval force at the Battle of Navarino

1853 – Poet Arthur Rimbaud is born

1859 – American philosopher and psychologist, John Dewey, is born

1874 – Composer, Charles Ives, is born

1884 – Actor, Bela Lugosi, is born

1890 – English soldier, diplomat, geographer Richard Francis Burton, dies

1891 – Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Sir James Chadwick, is born

1901 – Cabaret singer, Adelaide Hall, is born

1903 – The Joint Commission, set up on January 24 by Great Britain and the United States to arbitrate the disputed Alaskan boundary, rules in favor of the United States

1904 – Bolivia and Chile sign a treaty ending the War of the Pacific

1918 – General Charles Townshend travels from Constantinople to the Greek Isles to liaison with the British government over a possible armistice between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire in World War I

1924 – Baseball’s first ‘colored World Series’ is held in Kansas City, Mo

1925 – Humorist, Art Buchwald, is born

1931 – Baseball player, Mickey Mantle, is born

1932 – Beat Poet, Michael McClure, is born

1935 – Mao Zedong arrives in Shensi Province in northwest China with 4,000 survivors and sets up Chinese Communist headquarters, a bit over a year after the start of his “Long March.” The journey from Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces lasted 368 days and covered 6,000 miles

1938 – Czechoslovakia, complying with Nazi policy, outlaws the Communist Party and begins persecuting Jews

1940 – Former US Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky, is born

1941 – German troops reach the approaches to Moscow

1944 – U.S. troops land on Leyte in the Philippines during World War II, keeping General MacArthur’s pledge “I shall return”

1944 – Two liquid gas tanks explode in Cleveland, Ohio, killing 130 people

1945 – Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon form the Arab League to present a unified front against the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine

1946 – Journalist and humorist, Lewis Grizzard, is born

1946 – Austrian playwright and novelist, Elfriede Jelinek, is born

1947 – The House Un-American Activities Committee opens public hearings on alleged communist infiltration in Hollywood

1948 – Singer, songwriter, and musician, Tom Petty, is born

1950 – American statesman, lawyer, and politician, Henry Stimson, dies

1958 – American actor Viggo Mortensen is born

1962 – White House press corps is told that President John F. Kennedy has a cold when actually he is holding secret meetings with advisors on the eve of ordering a blockade of Cuba

1964 – 31st President of the US, Herbert Hoover, dies

1968 – Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis

1971 – Rapper, songwriter, and actor Snoop Dogg aka Calvin Broadus, Jr. is born

1973 – Arab oil-producing nations ban oil exports to the United States, following the outbreak of Arab-Israeli war

1973 – Solicitor General Robert Bork dismisses Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, leading Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to resign in protest

1973 – After 15 years of construction, the Sydney Opera House is opened and dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II

1977 – Charter plane crashes in Mississippi, killing three members of popular Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, along with their assistant road manager, the pilot, and co-pilot

1984 – Nobel Prize laureate, English physicist, Paul Dirac, dies

1990 – Three members of the rap group 2 Live Crew are acquitted of obscenity charges in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Luther Campbell, Chris “Fresh Kid Ice” Wong Won, and Mark “Brother Marquis” Ross had faced a year in prison for performing their songs, which were considered to be sexually prurient and obscene, at a club in Hollywood, Florida

1991 – Oakland Hills firestorm destroys nearly 3,500 homes and apartments and kills 25 people

1994 – Actor, Burt Lancaster, dies

2011 – In the Libyan civil war, rebels capture deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte, killing him soon afterward


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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