On This Day in History September 20

September 20 – Events:

  • 451 – The Battle of Chalons, in North Eastern France. Flavius Aetius’ victory over Attila the Hun in a day of combat, considered and believed to be the largest battle in the ancient world.
  • 1187 – Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem.
  • 1378 – Cardinal Robert of Geneva, called by some the Butcher of Cesena, is elected as Avignon Pope Clement VII, beginning the Papal schism.
  • 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan – set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.
  • 1596 – Diego de Montemayor founded the city of Monterrey in New Spain.
  • 1633 – Galileo Galilei is tried before the Inquisition for teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun.
  • 1737 – Runner Edward Marshall completes his journey in the Walking Purchase forcing the cession of 1.2 million acres (4,860 km²) of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony.
  • 1792 – French troops stop allied invasion of France, during the War of the First Coalition at Valmy.
  • 1835 – Farroupilha’s Revolution begins in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
  • 1848 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science was created.
  • 1854 – Battle of Alma: British and French troops defeat Russians in the Crimea.
  • 1857 – The Indian Mutiny ends with the recapture of Delhi by troops loyal to the East India
  • 1860 – The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII of the United Kingdom) visits the United States.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Chickamauga ends.
  • 1870 – Bersaglieri corps enters Rome through Porta Pia and completes the unification of Italy; see capture of Rome.
  • 1871 – Bishop John Coleridge Patteson martyred on the island of Nukapu a Polynesian outlier island now in the Temotu province of the Solomon Islands. He was the first bishop of Melanesia.
  • 1879 – Cliftonville Football Club, the oldest club in Ireland, is founded.
  • 1881 – Chester A. Arthur is inaugurated as the 21st President of the United States following the assassination of James Garfield.
  • 1891 – The first gasoline-powered car debuts in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States.
  • 1906 – Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania is launched at the Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson shipyard in Newcastle, England.
  • 1917 – Paraguay becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  • 1920 – Foundation of the Spanish Legion.
  • 1930 – Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was formed by Archbishop Mar Ivanios
  • 1939 – A German Messerschmitt Bf 109 is shot down by Fairey Battle gunner Sgt. F. Letchard during a patrol near Aachen. This is the RAF’s first aerial victory of the Second World War.
  • 1942 – Holocaust in Letychiv, Ukraine. In the course of two days German SS murders at least 3,000 Jews
  • 1946 – The first Cannes Film Festival is held.
  • 1954 – New Zealand’s Special Committee on Moral Delinquency in Children and Adolescents reports just ten days after concluding hearings.
  • 1962 – James Meredith, an African-American, is barred from entering the University of Mississippi.
  • 1967 – The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 is launched at John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland. It is operated by the Cunard Line.
  • 1970 – Syrian tanks roll into Jordan in response to continued fighting between Jordan and the fedayeen.
  • The Jordanians knock out 30 of the Syrian tanks.
  • 1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in battle-of-sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
  • 1977 – The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is admitted to the United Nations.
  • 1979 – Lee Iacocca is elected president of the Chrysler Corporation.
  • 1979 – A coup d’état in the Central African Empire overthrows Emperor Bokasa I.
  • 1979 – The Punjab wing of the Unity Centre of Communist Revolutionaries of India (Marxist- Leninist) formally splits and constitutes a parallel UCCRI(ML).
  • 1979 – Assassination of French left-wing militant Pierre Goldman.
  • 1981 – Brazilian river boat Sobral Santos capsized Amazon River, Obidos, Brazil, killing at least 300.
  • 1982 – National Football League players begin a 57-day strike.
  • 1984 – A suicide bomber in a car attacks the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing twenty-two people.
  • 1988 – Boston Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs becomes the first player to get 200 hits in six consecutive seasons.
  • 1990 – South Ossetia declares its independence from Georgia.
  • 2000 – The British MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building was attacked by a Russian-built Mark 22 antitank missile.
  • 2002 – Kolka-Karmadon rock/ice slide started.
  • 2003 – A referendum is held in Latvia to decide the country’s accession to the European Union.
  • 2003 – Maldives civil unrest: the death of prisoner Hassan Evan Naseem sparks a day of rioting in Malé.

September 20 – Birthdays:

  • 1486 – Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of King Henry VII of England (d. 1502)
  • 1599 – Christian the Younger, German Protestant military leader (d. 1623)
  • 1744 – Thomas Grosvenor, American Revolutionary War hero (d. 1825)
  • 1746 – Móric Benovský, Slovak officer and explorer, King of Madagaskar (d. 1786)
  • 1778 – Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, Russian naval officer and explorer (d. 1852)
  • 1833 – Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Italian pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1918)
  • 1842 – James Dewar, Scottish chemist (d. 1923)
  • 1844 – William H. Illingworth, American photographer (d. 1893)
  • 1853 – Rama V, King of Thailand (d. 1910)
  • 1861 – Herbert Putnam, Librarian of Congress (d. 1955)
  • 1872 – Maurice Gamelin, French army general (d. 1958)
  • 1873 – Sidney Olcott, Canadian film director (d. 1949)
  • 1873 – Ferenc Szisz, Hungarian race car driver (d. 1944)
  • 1878 – Upton Sinclair, American writer (d. 1968)
  • 1880 – Louise Peete, American murderess (d. 1947)
  • 1884 – Maxwell Perkins, American editor and publisher (d. 1947)
  • 1885 – Jelly Roll Morton, American jazz pianist, bandleader and composer (d. 1941)
  • 1886 – Charles Williams, British author (d. 1945)
  • 1889 – Charles Reidpath, American athlete (d. 1975)
  • 1899 – Leo Strauss, German-born philosopher (d. 1973)
  • 1902 – Stevie Smith, British poet (d. 1971)
  • 1911 – Shriram Sharma Acharya, Indian spiritual leader (d. 1991)
  • 1914 – Kenneth More, English actor (d. 1982)
  • 1916 – Malik Meraj Khalid, Former Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan (d. 2003)
  • 1917 – Red Auerbach, American basketball coach (d. 2006)
  • 1917 – Fernando Rey, Spanish-born actor (d. 1994)
  • 1920 – Jay Ward, American animated cartoonist (d. 1989)
  • 1920 – Alberto de Lacerda, Portuguese poet (d. 2007)
  • 1922 – William Kapell, American pianist (d. 1953)
  • 1923 – Geraldine Clinton Little, Irish-born poet (d. 1997)
  • 1924 – Gogi Grant, American singer
  • 1925 – Ananda Mahidol, King of Thailand (d. 1946)
  • 1925 – Bobby Nunn, American singer (The Coasters) (d. 1986)
  • 1926 – Donald Hall, American poet and US Poet Laureate
  • 1927 – Johnny Dankworth, English musician and composer
  • 1927 – Rachel Roberts, English actress (d. 1980)
  • 1928 – Joyce Brothers, American psychologist and advice columnist
  • 1928 – Kirsten Rolffes, Danish actress (d. 2000)
  • 1929 – Anne Meara, American comic and actress
  • 1931 – Cherd Songsri, Thai filmmaker (d. 2006)
  • 1933 – Dennis Viollet, English former footballer (d. 1999)
  • 1934 – Sophia Loren, Italian actress
  • 1935 – Jim Taylor, National Football League player
  • 1935 – Keith Roberts, British science fiction author (d. 2000)
  • 1935 – David Pegg, English footballer (d. 1958)
  • 1937 – Birgitta Dahl, Swedish politician
  • 1937 – Monica Zetterlund, Swedish actress and singer (d. 2005)
  • 1939 – Robert L. Gerry III, American businessman
  • 1941 – Dale Chihuly, American glass artist
  • 1942 – Gérald Tremblay, Québec politician
  • 1947 – Mia Martini, Italian singer (d. 1995)
  • 1947 – Bruce Pasternack, American CEO
  • 1947 – Steve Gerber, American comics writer (d. 2008)
  • 1948 – George R. R. Martin, American writer
  • 1948 – Chuck Panozzo and John Panozzo (d. 1996), American musicians (Styx)
  • 1949 – John W. Henry, American MLB team owner
  • 1949 – Mahesh Bhatt. Indian film director
  • 1951 – Guy Lafleur, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1951 – Javier Marías, Spanish author, translator and academic
  • 1954 – Henry Samueli, American NHL team owner
  • 1956 – Gary Cole, American actor
  • 1957 – Alannah Currie, New Zealander musician (Thompson Twins)
  • 1957 – Rich DiSilvio, American new media developer & artist
  • 1958 – Arn Anderson, American wrestler
  • 1959 – Danny Devos, Belgian artist
  • 1960 – Deborah Roberts, American journalist and TV reporter
  • 1961 – Lisa Bloom, American lawyer and television personality
  • 1964 – Maggie Cheung, Hong Kong actress
  • 1965 – Robert Rusler, American actor
  • 1966 – Nuno Bettencourt, Portuguese rock musician
  • 1967 – Kristen Johnston, American actress
  • 1967 – Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, American musicians (Nelson)
  • 1968 – Leah Pinsent, Canadian actress
  • 1968 – Darrell Russell, American race car driver (d. 2004)
  • 1968 – Tim Rogers, Australian singer / songwriter
  • 1969 – Victoria Dillard, American actress
  • 1969 – Megumi Kudo, Japanese pro-wrestler
  • 1969 – Richard Witschge, former Dutch footballer
  • 1970 – Moon Bloodgood, American actress and model
  • 1971 – Henrik Larsson, Swedish footballer
  • 1971 – Masashi Hamauzu, Japanese composer
  • 1973 – Ronald McKinnon, National Football League linebacker
  • 1974 – Michael Waddington, American defense lawyer
  • 1975 – Asia Argento, Italian actress
  • 1975 – Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombian race car driver
  • 1976 – Yui Horie, Japanese seiyuu
  • 1976 – Enuka Okuma, Canadian actress
  • 1976 – Reuben Singh, British entrepreneur
  • 1977 – Namie Amuro, Japanese pop singer
  • 1978 – Jason Bay, Canadian baseball player
  • 1978 – Patrizio Buanne, Italian singer
  • 1978 – Sarit Hadad, Israeli singer
  • 1978 – T.J. Tucker, American baseball player
  • 1979 – Sean Davis, English footballer
  • 1980 – Mariacarla Boscono, Italian fashion model
  • 1980 – Jonathan Le Billon, British actor
  • 1980 – Vladimir Karpets, Russian cyclist
  • 1980 – Luke Munns, Australian singer / songwriter
  • 1981 – Joanie Dodds, America’s Next Top Model contestant
  • 1981 – Feliciano López, Spanish tennis player
  • 1981 – Jordan Tata, American baseball player
  • 1983 – Yuna Ito, Japanese singer and actress
  • 1983 – Ángel Sánchez, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1985 – David Allen, American composer and writer
  • 1990 – John Tavares, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1990 – Marilou, Quebec pop singer
  • 1991 – Spencer Locke, American actress
  • 1993 – Taylor Parks, American actress
  • 1995 – Sammi Hanratty, American actress

September 20 – Deaths:

  • 1246 – Mikhail of Chernigov, ruler of Kiev
  • 1384 – King Louis I of Naples (b. 1339)
  • 1460 – Gilles Binchois, Flemish composer
  • 1586 – Chidiock Tichborne, English conspirator and poet (executed) (b. 1558)
  • 1590 – Lodovico Agostini, Italian composer (b. 1534)
  • 1625 – Heinrich Meibom, German historian and critic (b. 1555)
  • 1627 – Jan Gruter, Dutch critic (b. 1560)
  • 1630 – Claudio Saracini, Italian composer (b. 1586)
  • 1639 – Johannes Meursius, Dutch classical scholar (b. 1579)
  • 1643 – Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland, English politician and writer
  • 1721 – Thomas Doggett, Irish actor
  • 1803 – Robert Emmet, Irish patriot (b. 1780)
  • 1815 – Nicolas Desmarest, French geologist (b. 1725)
  • 1852 – Philander Chase, American university founder (b. 1775)
  • 1863 – Jacob Grimm, German folklorist (b. 1785)
  • 1884 – Leopold Fitzinger, Austrian zoologist (b.1802)
  • 1898 – Theodor Fontane, German writer (b. 1819)
  • 1906 – Robert R. Hitt, American politician (b. 1834)
  • 1908 – Pablo de Sarasate, Spanish violinist and composer (b. 1844)
  • 1932 – Wovoka, Paiute visionary
  • 1933 – Annie Besant, women’s rights activist (b. 1847)
  • 1939 – Paul Bruchési, French Canadian Catholic archbishop of Montreal (b. 1855)
  • 1945 – William Buehler Seabrook, Writer, journalist, occultist and explorer (b. 1884)
  • 1945 – Eduard Wirths, Nazi physician at Auschwitz concentration camp (b. 1909)
  • 1946 – Raimu, French actor (b. 1883)
  • 1947 – Fiorello LaGuardia, Mayor of New York City (b. 1882)
  • 1957 – Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer (b. 1865)
  • 1971 – Giorgos Seferis, Greek poet, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1900)
  • 1973 – Jim Croce, American singer and songwriter (b. 1943)
  • 1975 – Saint-John Perse, French diplomat and writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1887)
  • 1979 – Ludvík Svoboda, President of Czechoslovakia (b. 1895)
  • 1980 – Sanpei Hayashiya, Japanese comedian (b. 1925)
  • 1984 – Steve Goodman, American folk music singer-songwriter (b. 1948)
  • 1989 – Richie Ginther, American racing driver (b. 1930)
  • 1993 – Erich Hartmann, German, world’s most successful fighter pilot (352 ‘kills’; b. 1922)
  • 1994 – Jule Styne, American songwriter (b. 1905)
  • 1994 – Abioseh Nicol, Sierra Leonean diplomat and noted author (b. 1924)
  • 1996 – Paul Erdos, Hungarian mathematician (b. 1913)
  • 1999 – Raisa Gorbachyova, wife of Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1932)
  • 1999 – Robert Lebel, Quebec ice hockey administrator (b. 1905)
  • 2000 – Gherman Titov, cosmonaut (b. 1935)
  • 2003 – Lord Williams of Mostyn, British politician (b. 1941)
  • 2003 – Gordon Mitchell, American actor (b. 1923)
  • 2003 – Simon Muzenda, Zimbabwe politician (b. 1922)
  • 2004 – Brian Clough, English footballer and football manager (b. 1935)
  • 2004 – Townsend Hoopes, American politician (b. 1922)
  • 2005 – Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian-Polish Nazi hunter (b. 1908)
  • 2006 – Armin Jordan, Swiss conductor (b. 1932)
  • 2006 – John W. Peterson, American songwriter (b. 1921)
  • 2007 – Johnny Gavin, Irish footballer (b. 1928)

September 20 – Holidays:

  • Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul only – Farroupilha’s Revolution (1835).
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