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-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of Emperor Napoleon, is born in Paris. He is elected president of the Second French Republic in 1848, but launches a coup d’etat in 1852, becoming Emperor Napoleon III. In 1870 he is captured at the Battle of Sedan and overthrown. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
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.