Today in History

Today in History- August 20

Some Important Events On August 20

  • AD 14 – Agrippa Postumus, adopted son of the late Roman emperor Augustus, is executed by his guards while in exile under mysterious circumstances.
  • 636 – Battle of Yarmouk: Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid take control of the Levant away from the Byzantine Empire, marking the first great wave of Muslim conquests and the rapid advance of Islam outside Arabia.
  • 917 – Battle of Acheloos: Tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria decisively defeats a Byzantine army.
  • 1000 – The foundation of the Hungarian state by Saint Stephen, celebrated as a National Day in Hungary.
  • 1083 – Canonization of the first King of Hungary, Saint Stephen and his son Saint Emeric.
  • 1308 – Pope Clement V pardons Jacques de Molay, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, absolving him of charges of heresy.
  • 1391 – Konrad von Wallenrode becomes the 24th Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.
  • 1467 – The Second Battle of Olmedo takes places as part of a succession conflict between Henry IV of Castile and his half-brother Alfonso, Prince of Asturias.
  • 1519 – Philosopher and general Wang Yangming defeats Zhu Chenhao, ending the Prince of Ning rebellion against the reign of the Ming dynasty’s Zhengde Emperor.
  • 1672 – Former Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis are brutally murdered by an angry mob in The Hague.
  • 1707 – The first Siege of Pensacola comes to end with the failure of the British to capture Pensacola, Florida.
  • 1710 – War of the Spanish Succession: A multinational army led by the Austrian commander Guido Starhemberg defeats the Spanish-Bourbon army commanded by Alexandre Maître, Marquis de Bay in the Battle of Saragossa.
  • 1775 – The Spanish establish the Presidio San Augustin del Tucson in the town that became Tucson, Arizona.
  • 1794 – Battle of Fallen Timbers: American troops force a confederacy of Shawnee, Mingo, Delaware, Wyandot, Miami, Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi warriors into a disorganized retreat.
  • 1852 – Steamboat Atlantic sank on Lake Erie after a collision, with the loss of at least 150 lives.
  • 1858 – Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace’s same theory.
  • 1866 – President Andrew Johnson formally declares the American Civil War over.
  • 1882 – Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuts in Moscow, Russia.
  • 1910 – The Great Fire of 1910 (also commonly referred to as the “Big Blowup” or the “Big Burn”) occurs in northeast Washington, northern Idaho (the panhandle), and western Montana, burning approximately 3 million acres (12,000 km2).
  • 1914 – Brussels is captured during the German invasion of Belgium.
  • 1920 – The first commercial radio station, 8MK (now WWJ), begins operations in Detroit.
  • 1926 – Japan’s public broadcasting company, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK) is established.
  • 1938 – Lou Gehrig hits his 23rd career grand slam, a record that stood for 75 years until it was broken by Alex Rodriguez.
  • 1940 – In Mexico City, Mexico exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe by Ramón Mercader. He dies the next day.
  • 1940 – World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill makes the fourth of his famous wartime speeches, containing the line “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.
  • 1944 – World War II: 168 captured allied airmen, including Phil Lamason, accused by the Gestapo of being “terror fliers”, arrive at Buchenwald concentration camp.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Romania begins with a major Soviet Union offensive.
  • 1950 – Korean War: United Nations repel an offensive by North Korean divisions attempting to cross the Nakdong River and assault the city of Taegu.
  • 1955 – Battle of Philippeville: In Morocco, a force of Berbers from the Atlas Mountains region of Algeria raid two rural settlements and kill 77 French nationals.
  • 1960 – Senegal breaks from the Mali Federation, declaring its independence.
  • 1962 – The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian ship, embarks on its maiden voyage.
  • 1968 – Soviet Union-dominated Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, crushing the Prague Spring.
  • 1975 – Viking program: NASA launches the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars.
  • 1977 – Voyager program: NASA launches the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
  • 1986 – In Edmond, Oklahoma, U.S. Postal employee Patrick Sherrill guns down 14 of his co-workers and then commits suicide.
  • 1988 – “Black Saturday” of the Yellowstone fire in Yellowstone National Park
  • 1988 – Iran–Iraq War: A ceasefire is agreed after almost eight years of war.
  • 1988 – The Troubles: Eight British soldiers are killed and 28 wounded when their bus is hit by an IRA roadside bomb in Ballygawley, County Tyrone.
  • 1989 – The pleasure boat Marchioness sinks on the River Thames following a collision. Fifty-one people are killed.
  • 1991 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union, August Coup: More than 100,000 people rally outside the Soviet Union’s parliament building protesting the coup aiming to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • 1991 – Estonia, annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, issues a decision on the re-establishment of independence on the basis of historical continuity of its pre-World War II statehood.
  • 1993 – After rounds of secret negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Accords are signed, followed by a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the following month.
  • 1995 – The Firozabad rail disaster claimed 358 lives in Firozabad, India.
  • 1997 – Souhane massacre in Algeria; over 60 people are killed and 15 kidnapped.
  • 1998 – The Supreme Court of Canada rules that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval.
  • 1998 – U.S. embassy bombings: The United States launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical weapons plant in Sudan in retaliation for the August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • 2002 – A group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein take over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin, Germany for five hours before releasing their hostages and surrendering.
  • 2006 – Sri Lankan Civil War: Sri Lankan Tamil politician and former MP S. Sivamaharajah is shot dead at his home in Tellippalai.
  • 2007 – China Airlines Flight 120 caught fire and exploded after landing at Naha Airport in Okinawa, Japan.
  • 2008 – Spanair Flight 5022, from Madrid, Spain to Gran Canaria, skids off the runway and crashes at Barajas Airport. Of the 172 people on board, 146 die immediately, and eight more later die of injuries sustained in the crash.
  • 2012 – A prison riot in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, kills at least 20 people.
  • 2014 – Seventy-two people are killed in Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture by a series of landslides caused by a month’s worth of rain that fell in one day.
  • 2016 – 54 people are killed when a suicide bomber detonates himself at a Kurdish wedding party in Gaziantep, Turkey.

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