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This Day in History - November 20

November 20

269 – Diocletian is proclaimed the emperor of Numerian in Asia Minor by his soldiers

1695 – The Brazilian leader of a 100-year old rebel slave group, Zumbi dos Palmares, is killed in an ambush

1700 – Sweden’s 17-year-old King, Charles XII defeats the Russians at Narva

1737 – Caroline of Ansbach dies

1750 – Indian army officer and king, Tipu Sultan is born

1789 – New Jersey becomes the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights

1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale gets its revenge on the American whaler Essex by attacking and ramming the ship 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America, leading to its capsize. The 20-crew members escaped but only five survived the 83-day journey to South America where they were picked up by other ships. The men drew straws to determine which men would be shot to provide sustenance for the others and thus resorted to cannibalism, while three others who had been left alone on an uninhabited Pacific island were later saved

1843 – What was originally established as Blacksnake Hills trading post, changes its name to St. Joseph

1858 – Swedish novelist, Selma Lagerdorf is born

1864 – General William T. Sherman takes his Union troops towards central Georgia

1875 – American writer Henry James publishes his first novel, Roderick Hudson

1889 – American astronomer, Edwin Hubble is born

1903 – Tom Horn is hanged for the murder of 14-year old Willie Nickell in Cheyenne, Wyoming

1908 – English journalist and TV host, Alistair Cooke is born

1910 – Russian author, Leo Tolstoy dies

1912 – Austrian and German son of Charles I of Austria, Otto von Habsburg is born

1914 – Bulgaria proclaims neutrality in World War I

1916 – Poet and novelist, Thomas McGrath is born

1917 – The British launch a surprise attack on the Germans near Cambrai, France

1923 – The first three-position traffic signal was patented by Garrett Morgan

1923 – South African Nobel Prize-winning novelist, Nadine Gordimer is born

1925 – Robert F. Kennedy, US Attorney General, New York senator and President John F. Kennedy’s brother who was assassinated while running for president, is born

1925 – Alexandra of Denmark dies

1928 – Mrs. Glen Hyde becomes the first woman to beat the Grand Canyon rapids in a scow or flat-bottomed boat that is pushed with a pole

1931 – Japan and China reject the League of Council terms for Manchuria at Geneva

1936 – Author, Don DeLillo is born

1939 – Actor, singer, and star of Smothers Brothers, Dick Smothers is born

1942 – Politician who was US senator from Deleware and President Barack Obama’s vice-president Joe Biden, is born

1943 – US Army and Marine soldiers attack Makin and Tarawa in the Central Pacific

1945 – The Nazi war crime trials begin at Nuremberg

1946 – Singer, songwriter, and musician, Duane Allman is born

1947 – Princess Elizabeth, who will become Queen Elizabeth II, marries Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Greece and Denmark (who gave up his titles to marry the princess) in Westminster Abbey

1948 – The American consul and his staff in Mukden, China are made hostages by communist forces in China

1950 – US troops move to the Yalu River and within five miles of Manchuria

1955 – The Maryland National Guard is ordered to desegregate

1962 – President John F. Kennedy bars racial and religious discrimination in federally funded housing

1963 – Chinese activist, Wan Yanhai is born

1967 – According to the US census, the population is at 200 million

1967 – San Jose State College students protest the Dow Chemical Company and maker of napalm

1968 – Methane gas explosions in a coal mine in West Virginia kill 78 men, and the mine was sealed with the men still inside

1969 – Seymour Hersh, an investigative journalist, files a second My Lai story based on interviews with Michael Terry and Michael Bernhardt, who served under 1st Lt. William Calley during the action that was later named the My Lai massacre and the Cleveland Plain Dealer published explicit photos of the dead at My Lai, shocking the public

1971 – The US announces it will give Turkey $35 million to farmers who agree to stop growing opium poppies

1974 – The US files an antitrust suit to break up AT&T

1975 – Country singer/songwriter, Dierks Bentley is born

1975 – Spanish General, Francisco Franco dies

1978 – South Africa backs down on its plan to install black rule in neighboring Namibia

1981 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released

1981 – American baseball player, Sam Fuld is born

1982 – The Cal football team wins a shocking last-second victory over Stanford when they complete five lateral passes around members of the Cardinals’ marching band, who had taken to the field too early to celebrate the upset they were sure their team had won, and score a touchdown

1992 – Fire in England’s Windsor Castle causes over £50 million in damages

1998 – The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, is launched

2003 – Phil Spector, the influential but highly eccentric music producer is indicted in the murder of actress Lana Clarkson

2006 – American director and screenwriter, Robert Altman dies

2008 – Dow Jones Industrial Average falls to lowest level in 11 years in response to failures in the US financial system


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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