Today in History: May 20 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: May 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.


Today in History
May 20

325   The Ecumenical council is inaugurated by Emperor Constantine in Nicea.
1303   A peace treaty is signed between England and France.
1347   Cola di Rienzo takes the title of tribune in Rome.
1520   Hernando Cortes defeats Spanish troops sent against him in Mexico.
1690   England passes the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II.
1674   John Sobieski becomes Poland’s first king.
1774   Parliament passes the Coercive Acts to punish the colonists for their increasingly anti-British behavior. The acts close the port of Boston.
1775   North Carolina becomes the first colony to declare its independence.
1784   The Peace of Versailles ends a war between France, England, and Holland.
1799   Napoleon Bonaparte orders a withdrawal from his siege of St. Jean d’Acre in Egypt.
1859   A force of Austrians collide with Piedmontese cavalry at the village of Montebello, in northern Italy.
1861   North Carolina becomes the last state to secede from the Union.
1862   President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act, providing 250 million acres of free land to settlers in the West.
1874   Levi Strauss begins marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.
1902   The U.S. military occupation of Cuba ends.
1927   Charles Lindbergh takes off from New York for Paris.
1930   The first airplane is catapulted from a dirigible.
1932   Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Ireland, to become the first woman fly solo across the Atlantic.
1939   Pan American Airways starts the first regular passenger service across the Atlantic.
1941   Germany invades Crete by air.
1942   Japan completes the conquest of Burma.
1951   During the Korean War, U.S. Air Force Captain James Jabara becomes the first jet air ace in history.
1961   A white mob attacks civil rights activists in Montgomery, Alabama.
1969   The Battle of Hamburger Hill, which has pitted U.S. and South Vietnamese troops against North Vietnamese forces, ends after 11 days of fighting. Despite bad weather and heavy enemy fortifications, U.S. troops succeed in taking the steeply sloped hill but will abandon it 15 days later—a move that will be controversial both within the U.S. military and with the American public. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1970   100,000 people march in New York, supporting U.S. policies in Vietnam.
Born on May 20
1663   William Bradford, printer.
1750   Stephen Girard, American financier and philanthropist.
1768   Dolley Madison, first lady of President James Madison.
1799   Honore de Balzac, French novelist (The Human Comedy, Lost Illusions).
1806   John Stuart Mill, British philosopher and economist.
1818   William George Fargo, one of the founders of Wells, Fargo & Co.
1882   Sigrid Undset, Norwegian novelist (Kristin Lavransdatter).
1908   Jimmy Stewart, actor (It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr Smith Goes to Washington).