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This Day in History - April 20

April 20

121 – 16th Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, is born

1139 – The Second Lateran Council opens in Rome

1521 – Zhengde, Emperor of China, dies

1657 – English Admiral Robert Blake fights his last battle when he destroys the Spanish fleet in Santa Cruz Bay

1689 – James II, the former British king, begins a siege of Londonderry, in Northern Ireland

1745 – Founder of psychiatry, Philippe Pinel, is born

1769 – Ottawa Chief Pontiac is murdered by an Indian in Cahokia

1770 – Captain Cook discovers Australia

1775 – British troops begin the siege of Boston

1777 – The first New York state constitution is adopted by the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York

1792 – France declares war on Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia

1807 – French poet Aloysius Bertrand is born

1808 – Emperor of France, Louis-Napoleon aka Napoleon III, is born

1809 – Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austria at the Battle of Abensberg, Bavaria

1836 – The Territory of Wisconsin is created

1841 – Edgar Allen Poe’s first detective story is published

1850 – Sculptor Daniel Chester French is born

1861 – Robert E Lee resigns from the US Army

1862 – The first pasteurization test is completed by Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard

1871 – Congress authorizes President Ulysses Grant to declare martial law and impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations and use military force to suppress the Ku Klux Klan

1879 – The first mobile home (horse-drawn) is used in a journey from London to Cyprus

1889 – Dictator of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler is born

1893 – Film comedian Harold Lloyd is born

1893 – Spanish painter Joan Miro is born

1898 – President William McKinley asks Congress to declare war on Spain

1902 – Marie and Pierre Curie successfully isolate radioactive radium salts from the mineral pitchblende in Paris

1912 – The Boston Red Sox played their first game at Fenway Park

1914 – Colorado militiamen, with the approval of the governor and the financial backing of the Rockefeller family who owned the mines, attack a tent colony of strikers, killing dozens of men, women, and children. The guardsmen were never charged with a crime, despite 66 men, women and children being slaughtered

1916 – The first National League game is played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park

1917 – The Nivelle Offensive, Allied against German troops, near the Aisne River in France, ends in failure

1918 – Nobel Prize-winning physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun dies

1919 – The Polish Army captures Vilno, Lithuania from the Soviets

1920 – Balfour Declaration is recognized and makes Palestine a British Mandate

1923 – Tito Puente, bandleader, and percussionist who helped to popularize Latin dance in America, is born

1926 – Warner Brothers film studio and AT&T introduce Vitaphone, a new process that will enable the addition of sound to film

1927 – Noble Prize-winning physicist Alex Muller is born

1939 – 22nd Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland is born

1940 – The first electron microscope is demonstrated

1942 – Pierre Laval, the premier of Vichy France, establishes the policy of “true reconciliation with Germany”

1945 – Soviet troops attack Berlin

1945 – Allied bombers in Italy begin Operation Corncob, a three-day attack on bridges over the rivers Adige and Brenta to cut off German lines of retreat on the peninsula

1945 – As Hitler celebrates his birthday, the Gestapo hangs 20 Russian prisoners of war and 20 Jewish children, at least nine of which were under the age of 12. All victims had been taken from Auschwitz to Neuengamme for the purpose of medical experimentation

1951 – General Douglas MacArthur addresses a joint session of Congress after being relieved by President Harry Truman

1951 – Romanian surgeon Dan Gavriliu used a section of the stomach to bypass the esophagus-the first time a human organ was surgically replaced

1953 – Operation Little Switch begins in Korea, the exchange of sick and injured prisoners of war

1962 – The New Orleans Citizens Committee gives free one-way ride to blacks to move North

1967 – US planes bomb Haiphong for the first time during Vietnam

1968 – British politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech

1969 – Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is born

1971 – The Pentagon releases figures confirming that fragging incidents are on the rise. Fragging is a slang term used to describe US military personnel tossing of fragmentation hand grenades, usually into sleeping areas, to murder fellow soldiers

1971 – The US Supreme Court upheld the practice of busing for racial desegregation

1978 – Soviet aircraft force a Korean Air Lines passenger jet to land in the Soviet Union after it veers into Russian airspace. Two were killed and several others injured when the jet made a rough landing on a frozen lake

1980 – The Castro regime announces all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the US are free to board at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day

1986 – The Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan scores 63 points in an NBA playoff game against the Boston Celtics, setting a post-season scoring record

1991 – Director Don Siegel dies

1991 – Singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor and producer Steve Marriott dies

1993 – Actor, screenwriter and producer Cantinflas dies

1999 – Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, enter Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and open fire, killing 13 students and teachers and wounding 25 before eventually killing themselves

2008 – Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to win an Indy race when she wins the Indy Japan 300

2010 – An explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, kills 11 and triggers the largest offshore oil spill in American history. By the time the BP-owned rig was capped three months later, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil had poured into the Gulf near the Louisiana coast


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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