Today in History: April 20 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: April 20

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


April 20

1139 The Second Lateran Council opens in Rome.
1657 English Admiral Robert Blake fights his last battle when he destroys the Spanish fleet in Santa Cruz Bay.
1769 Ottawa Chief Pontiac is murdered by an Indian in Cahokia.
1770 Captain Cook discovers Australia.
1775 British troops begin the siege of Boston.
1792 France declares war on Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia.
1809 Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austria at Battle of Abensberg, Bavaria.
1836 The Territory of Wisconsin is created.
1841 Edgar Allen Poe’s first detective story is published.
1861 Robert E. Lee resigns from the U.S. Army.
1879 The first mobile home (horse-drawn) is used in a journey from London to Cyprus.
1916 The first National League game is played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park. The park was renamed Cubs Park in 1920 and Wrigley Field, for the Chicago Cubs owner, in 1926.
1919 The Polish Army captures Vilno, Lithuania from the Soviets.
1940 The first electron microscope is demonstrated.
1942 Pierre Laval, the premier of Vichy France, in a radio broadcast, establishes a policy of “true reconciliation with Germany.”
1945 Soviet troops begin their attack on Berlin.
1951 General Douglas MacArthur addresses a joint session of Congress after being relieved by President Harry Truman.
1953 Operation Little Switch begins in Korea, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners of war.
1962 The New Orleans Citizens Committee gives free one-way ride to blacks to move North.
1967 U.S. planes bomb Haiphong for first time during the Vietnam War.
1999 Two students enter Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and open fire with multiple firearms, killing 13 students and teachers, wounding 25 and eventually shooting themselves.
Born on April 20
121 Marcus Aurelius, 16th Roman emperor, philosopher.
1745 Philippe Pinel, founder of psychiatry.
1807 Aloysius Bertrand (“Gaspard de la Nuit”), French poet.
1808 Louis-Napoleon (Napoleon III), emperor of France.
1850 Daniel Chester French, sculptor.
1889 Adolf Hitler, Fascist dictator of Nazi Germany (1933-1945).
1893 Harold Lloyd, film comedian.
1893 Joan Miró, Spanish painter.
1927 Alex Muller, Nobel Prize-winning physicist.