Today in History: October 20 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: October 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
October 20

480 BC   The Greeks defeat the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis.
1587   In France, Huguenot Henri de Navarre routs the Duke de Joyeuse’s larger Catholic force at Coutras.
1709   Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy take Mons in the Netherlands.
1714   George I of England is crowned.
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.
1870   The Summer Palace in Beijing, China, is burnt to the ground by a Franco-British expeditionary force.
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. The deciding vote is Britain’s, which embitters Canada. The United States gains ports on the panhandle coast of Alaska.
1904   Bolivia and Chile sign a treaty ending the War of the Pacific. The treaty recognizes Chile’s possession of the coast, but provides for construction of a railway to link La Paz, Bolivia, to Arica, on the coast.
1924   Baseball’s first ‘colored World Series’ is held in Kansas City, Mo.
1938   Czechoslovakia, complying with Nazi policy, outlaws the Communist Party and begins persecuting Jews.
1941   German troops reach the approaches to Moscow.
1941   German soldiers murder more than 2,700 Serbian civilians in Kragujevac in reprisal for insurgent attacks in the Gornji Milanovac district, which resulted in the deaths of 10 German soldiers and the wounding of 26 others.The number of hostages to be shot is calculated based on a ratio of 100 hostages executed for every German soldier killed and 50 hostages executed for every German soldier wounded.The day of the massacre is commemorated annually in Serbia as the Day of Remembrance of the Serbian Victims of World War II. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1945   Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon form the Arab League to present a unified front against the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
1947   The House Un-American Activities Committee opens public hearings on alleged communist infiltration in Hollywood. Among those denounced as having un-American tendencies are: Katherine Hepburn, Charles Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson. Among those called to testify is Screen Actors Guild President Ronald Reagan, who denies that leftists ever controlled the Guild and refuses to label anyone a communist.
1968   Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis.
1973   Arab oil-producing nations ban oil exports to the United States following the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli war.
1977   A 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.
1991   The Oakland Hills firestorm destroys nearly 3,500 homes and apartments and kills 25 people.
2011   In the Libyan civil war, rebels capture deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte, killing him soon afterward.
Born on October 20
1632   Sir Christopher Wren, astronomer and architect.
1854   Arthur Rimbaud, poet.
1874   Charles Ives, composer.
1884   Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-born film actor famous for his portrayal of Count Dracula (1931).
1891   Sir James Chadwick, physicist who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the neutron.
1901   Adelaide Hall, cabaret singer.
1925   Art Buchwald, humorist.
1931   Mickey Mantle, baseball great who played for the New York Yankees
1932   Michael McClure, beat poet.
1940   Robert Pinsky, former U.S. Poet Laureate.
1946   Lewis Grizzard, journalist and humorist who gained popularity through his syndicated Atlanta Journal-Constitution column; he authored 25 books, including collections of his columns.
1946   Elfriede Jelinek, Austrian playwright and novelist; awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, 2004.
1948   Tom Petty, singer, songwriter, musician; lead singer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and a founder of the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch bands; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2002.
1971   Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus, Jr.), rapper, songwriter, actor; his debut album, Doggy style, came in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Billboard Hot R&B / Hip-Hop charts.