On This Day In History August 20

August 20 – Events:

  • 636 – Battle of Yarmuk: Arab forces led by Khalid bin Walid take control of Syria and Palestine away from the Byzantine Empire, marking the first great wave of Muslim conquests and the rapid advance of Islam outside Arabia.
  • 917 – Battle of Anchialus: Tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria invades Thrace and drives the Byzantines out.
  • 1000 – The foundation of the Hungarian state, Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary.
  • 1391 – Konrad von Wallenrode becomes the 24th Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order.
  • 1672 – Former Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis were brutally murdered by an angry mob in The Hague.
  • 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.
  • 1804 – Lewis and Clark Expedition: The “Corps of Discovery,” exploring the Louisiana Purchase, suffers its only death when Sergeant Charles Floyd dies, apparently from acute appendicitis.
  • 1866 – President Andrew Johnson formally declared the U.S. Civil War over.
  • 1882 – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuts in Moscow.
  • 1888 – Mutineers imprison Emin Pasha at Dufile.
  • 1900 – Japan’s primary school law is amended to provide for four years of mandatory schooling.
  • 1914 – World War I: German forces occupy Brussels.
  • 1920 – The first commercial radio station, 8MK (WWJ), begins operations in Detroit, Michigan.
  • 1926 – Japan’s public broadcasting company, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) is established.
  • 1938 – Lou Gehrig hits his 23rd career grand slam – a record that still stands.
  • 1940 – Exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded in Mexico City by an assassin’s ice axe. He dies the next day.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Romania begins with a major Soviet offensive.
  • 1953 – The Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
  • 1955 – 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 independence.
  • 1968 – 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the “Prague Spring” of political liberalization.
  • 1969 – All four Beatles were together in the recording studio for the final time as they finished the Abbey Road LP.
  • 1974 – Congress votes to reduce aid to South Vietnam from $1 Billion to $700 Million. Majority of the cuts were for military supplies.
  • 1975 – Viking Program: NASA launches the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars.
  • 1977 – Voyager Program: The United States launches the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
  • 1979 – The East Coast Main Line rail route between England and Scotland is restored when the Penmanshiel Diversion opens.
  • 1982 – Lebanese Civil War: A multinational force lands in Beirut to oversee the PLO withdrawal from Lebanon.
  • 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 – Peru becomes a member of the Berne Convention copyright treaty.
  • 1988 – Iran-Iraq War: A cease-fire is agreed to after almost eight years of war.
  • 1991 – Collapse 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 secedes from the Soviet Union.
  • 1993 – After rounds of secret negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Peace Accords were signed,  followed by a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the next month.
  • 1997 – Souhane massacre in Algeria; over 60 people killed, 15 kidnapped.
  • 1998 – The Supreme Court of Canada states Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval.
  • 2002 – A group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein took over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin for five hours before releasing their hostages and giving up.

August 20 – Birthdays:

  • 1517 – Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, French church leader (d. 1586)
  • 1561 – Jacopo Peri, Italian composer (d. 1633)
  • 1625 – Thomas Corneille, French dramatist (d. 1709)
  • 1632 – Louis Bourdaloue, French Jesuit preacher (d. 1704)
  • 1710 – Thomas Simpson, British mathematician (d. 1761)
  • 1719 – Christian Mayer, Czech astronomer (d. 1783)
  • 1719 – Charles-François de Broglie, marquis de Ruffec, French soldier and diplomat (d. 1791)
  • 1776 – Bernardo O’Higgins, South American revolutionary (d. 1842)
  • 1779 – Jöns Jakob Berzelius, Swedish chemist (d. 1848)
  • 1833 – Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (d. 1901)
  • 1845 – St. Albert Chmielowski, Polish Catholic Saint (d. 1916)
  • 1847 – Boleslaw Prus, Polish writer (d. 1912)
  • 1856 – Jakub Bart-Cišinski, Sorbian writer (d. 1909)
  • 1860 – Raymond Poincaré, French statesman (d. 1934)
  • 1873 – Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen, Finnish architect (d. 1950)
  • 1881 – Edgar Guest, English poet (d. 1959)
  • 1890 – H. P. Lovecraft, American writer (d. 1937)
  • 1897 – Tarjei Vesaas, Norwegian writer (d. 1970)
  • 1898 – Vilhelm Moberg, Swedish author and historian (d. 1973)
  • 1901 – Salvatore Quasimodo, Italian writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • 1905 – Jean Gebser, German-born author, linguist, and poet (d. 1973)
  • 1905 – Jack Teagarden, American musician (d. 1964)
  • 1908 – Al Lopez, baseball player and manager (d. 2005)
  • 1910 – Eero Saarinen, Finnish architect (d. 1961)
  • 1913 – Roger Wolcott Sperry, American neurobiologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology  or Medicine (d. 1994)
  • 1916 – Paul Felix Schmidt, Estonian–German chess player (d. 1984)
  • 1918 – Jacqueline Susann, American novelist (d. 1974)
  • 1923 – Jim Reeves, American singer (d. 1964)
  • 1926 – Nobby Wirkowski, American and Canadian football player and coach
  • 1927 – Geriatric1927, English video blogger
  • 1927 – Yootha Joyce, English actress (d. 1980)
  • 1930 – Mario Bernardi, Canadian conductor
  • 1932 – Anthony Ainley, British actor (d. 2004)
  • 1932 – Vasily Aksyonov, Russian novelist
  • 1933 – George J. Mitchell, former United States Senator
  • 1934 – Armi Kuusela, Finnish beauty queen
  • 1936 – Hideki Shirakawa, Japanese chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1937 – Andrei Konchalovsky, Russian film director
  • 1937 – El Fary, Spanish singer and actor (d. 2007)
  • 1937 – Jim Bowen, English comedian
  • 1938 – Alain Vivien, French politician
  • 1939 – Fernando Poe Jr., Filipino actor and presidential candidate (d. 2004)
  • 1940 – Rubén Hinojosa, American politician
  • 1941 – Slobodan Miloševic, President of Serbia and of Yugoslavia (d. 2006)
  • 1941 – Rich Brooks, American football coach
  • 1941 – Robin Oakley, British journalist
  • 1941 – Jo Ramirez, Mexican motor racing team manager and author
  • 1942 – Isaac Hayes, American singer, songwriter, and actor
  • 1942 – Fred Norman, American baseball player
  • 1943 – Sylvester McCoy, Scottish actor
  • 1944 – Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (d. 1991)
  • 1946 – Connie Chung, American journalist
  • 1946 – Ralf Hütter, German musician (Kraftwerk)
  • 1946 – N.R. Narayana Murthy, Indian businessman
  • 1947 – Alan Lee, English conceptual artist
  • 1948 – Robert Plant, English singer (Led Zeppelin)
  • 1948 – John Noble, Australian actor
  • 1949 – Phil Lynott, Irish musician (d. 1986)
  • 1949 – Nikolas Asimos, Greek composer and singer (d. 1988)
  • 1951 – Greg Bear, American author
  • 1952 – John Hiatt, American musician
  • 1952 – Doug Fieger, American musician (The Knack)
  • 1954 – Tawn Mastrey, American disc jockey, music video producer (d. 2007)
  • 1954 – Al Roker, American television broadcaster
  • 1954 – Don Stark, American actor
  • 1955 – Agnes Chan, Hong Kong singer and writer
  • 1956 – Joan Allen, American actress
  • 1957 – Finlay Calder, Scottish rugby player
  • 1961 – Greg Egan, Australian author
  • 1961 – Joe Pasquale, English comedian
  • 1962 – Sophie Aldred, English actress
  • 1962 – James Marsters, American actor
  • 1962 – Dong-Wook Song, South Korean tennis player
  • 1965 – KRS-One, American rapper
  • 1966 – Dimebag Darrell, American guitarist (Pantera and Damageplan) (d. 2004)
  • 1967 – Andy Benes, baseball player
  • 1967 – Colin Cunningham, American actor
  • 1967 – Terri Poch, American yogini and former professonal wrestler
  • 1968 – Klas Ingesson, former Swedish footballer
  • 1968 – Yuri Shiratori, Japanese voice actress and singer
  • 1969 – Duke Droese, American professional wrestler
  • 1970 – John D. Carmack, American computer game programmer
  • 1970 – Fred Durst, American singer (Limp Bizkit)
  • 1971 – Brad Avery, American musician (guitarist for Third Day)
  • 1971 – Jonathan Ke Quan, Vietnamese American actor
  • 1971 – Steve Stone, English footballer
  • 1971 – David Walliams, British comedian
  • 1973 – Todd Helton, baseball player
  • 1974 – Amy Adams, American actress
  • 1974 – Big Moe, American rapper (d. 2007)
  • 1974 – Maxim Vengerov, Russian violinist
  • 1975 – Marcus Mastin, American author
  • 1975 – Andy Strachan, Australian musician (The Living End)
  • 1976 – Chris Drury, American hockey player
  • 1977 – Felipe Contepomi, Argentine rugby player
  • 1977 – Manuel Contepomi, Argentine rugby player
  • 1977 – Ivar Ingimarsson, Icelandic footballer
  • 1977 – Mayra Veronica, Cuban model and actress
  • 1979 – Cory Sullivan, baseball player
  • 1980 – Rochelle Gadd, British actress
  • 1980 – Corey Carrier, American actor
  • 1981 – Bernard Mendy, French footballer
  • 1982 – Joshua Kennedy, Australian footballer
  • 1982 – Youssouf Hersi, Ethiopian footballer
  • 1982 – Cléber Luis Alberti, Brazilian footballer
  • 1984 – Mirai Moriyama, Japanese actor
  • 1986 – Robert Clark, Canadian actor
  • 1987 – Catalina Ponor, Romanian gymnast
  • 2003 – Prince Gabriel of Belgium

August 20 – Deaths:

  • 535 – Mochta of Louth, disciple of St. Patrick
  • 984 – Pope John XIV
  • 1384 – Geert Groote, Dutch founder of the Brethren of the Common Life (b. 1340)
  • 1572 – Miguel López de Legazpi, Spanish conquistador (b. 1502)
  • 1580 – Jeronymo Osorio, Portuguese historian (b. 1506)
  • 1611 – Tomás Luis de Victoria, Spanish composer (b. 1548)
  • 1639 – Martin Opitz von Boberfeld, German poet (b. 1597)
  • 1643 – Anne Hutchinson, English Puritan preacher (b. 1591)
  • 1648 – Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury, English diplomat, poet, and philosopher (b. 1583)
  • 1672 – Johan de Witt, Dutch politician (b. 1625)
  • 1672 – Cornelis de Witt, Dutch politician (b. 1623)
  • 1680 – William Bedloe, English informer (b. 1650)
  • 1701 – Charles Sedley, English playwright (b. 1639)
  • 1707 – Nicolas Gigault, French organist and composer (b. 1627)
  • 1773 – Enrique Florez, Spanish historian (b. 1701)
  • 1811 – Louis Antoine de Bougainville, French explorer (b. 1729)
  • 1823 – Pope Pius VII (b. 1740)
  • 1825 – William Waldegrave, 1st Baron Radstock, Governor of Newfoundland (b. 1753)
  • 1887 – Jules Laforgue, French poet (b. 1860)
  • 1904 – René Waldeck-Rousseau, French statesman (b. 1846)
  • 1912 – William Booth, English founder of the Salvation Army (b. 1829)
  • 1914 – Pope Pius X (b. 1835)
  • 1915 – Paul Ehrlich, German scientist, Nobel laureate (b. 1854)
  • 1917 – Adolf von Baeyer, German chemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1835)
  • 1959 – William Halsey, Jr, American admiral (b. 1882)
  • 1930 – Charles Bannerman, Australian cricketer (b. 1851)
  • 1961 – Percy Williams Bridgman, American physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1882)
  • 1965 – Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Civil Rights Martyr (b. 1939)
  • 1971 – Rashid Minhas, Pakistani Air Force pilot (b. 1951)
  • 1980 – Joe Dassin, American singer (b. 1938)
  • 1982 – Ulla Jacobsson, Swedish actress (b. 1929)
  • 1986 – Milton Acorn, Canadian poet (b. 1923)
  • 1989 – George Adamson, India-born English game warden and lion expert (b. 1906)
  • 1993 – Bernard Delfgaauw, Dutch philosopher (b. 1912)
  • 1997 – Norris Bradbury, American physicist (b. 1909)
  • 1997 – Léon Dion, French-Canadian political scientist (b. 1922)
  • 1998 – Raquel Rastenni, Danish singer (b. 1915)
  • 2001 – Sir Fred Hoyle, English astronomer and science fiction writer (b. 1915)
  • 2001 – Kim Stanley, American actress (b. 1925)
  • 2005 – Thomas Herrion, American football player (b. 1981)
  • 2005 – Krzysztof Raczkowski, Polish drummer (b. 1970)
  • 2006 – Claude Blanchard, French-Canadian singer, comedian and actor (b. 1932)
  • 2006 – Joe Rosenthal, American photographer (b. 1911)
  • 2006 – Cpl Bryan Budd VC, British soldier (Afghanistan) (b. 1977)
  • 2007 – Leona Helmsley, American hotel operator and real estate investor (b. 1920)

August 20 – Holidays:

  • World Union – World Union Day.
  • Roman Catholic saints – Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
  • Hungary – St. Stephen’s day, the main national holiday in Hungary.
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