On This Day in History November 20

November 20 – Events:

  • 284 – Diocletian was chosen as Roman Emperor.
  • 762 – Bögü, Khan of the Uyghurs, conquers Lo-Yang, capital of the Chinese Empire.
  • 1194 – Palermo is conquered by Emperor Henry VI.
  • 1407 – A truce between John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy and Louis of Valois, Duke of Orléans is agreed under the auspices of John, Duke of Berry. Orléans would be assassinated three days later by Burgundy.
  • 1695 – Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares in early Brazil, is executed.
  • 1700 – Great Northern War: Battle of Narva – King Charles XII of Sweden defeats the army of Tsar Peter the Great at Narva.
  • 1789 – New Jersey becomes the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
  • 1820 – An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick was in part inspired by this story).
  • 1861 – Secession ordinance is filed by Kentucky’s Confederate government.
  • 1910 – Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero issues the Plan de San Luis Potosi, denouncing President Porfirio Díaz, declaring himself president, and calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.
  • 1917 – World War I: Battle of Cambrai begins – British forces make early progress in an attack on German positions but are later pushed back.
  • 1917 – Ukraine is declared a republic.
  • 1923 – Rentenmark replaces the Papiermark as the official currency of Germany at the exchange rate of one Rentenmark to One Trillion Papiermark
  • 1936 – Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange is killed by a republican execution squad.
  • 1936 – The levee of a pond fails at Mitsubishi Osarizawa mine, Kazuno, northeastern Akita, Japan, killing at least 362.
  • 1940 – World War II: Hungary, Romania and Slovakia join the Axis Powers.
  • 1943 – World War II: Battle of Tarawa (Operation Galvanic) begins – United States Marines land on Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands and suffer heavy fire from Japanese shore guns and machine guns.
  • 1945 – Nuremberg Trials: Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice.
  • 1947 – The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London.
  • 1952 – Slánský trials – a series of Stalinist and anti-Semitic show trials in Czechoslovakia.
  • 1955 – Bo Diddley becomes the first African American performer to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Apparently Ed Sullivan was infuriated when Diddley sang his self-titled song instead of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s hit, “Sixteen Tons.”
  • 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis ends: In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, U.S. President John F. Kennedy ends the quarantine of the Caribbean nation.
  • 1968 – Vietnam War: Eleven men comprising a Long Range Patrol team from F Company, 58th Infantry, 101st Airborne are surrounded and nearly wiped out by North Vietnamese army regulars from the 4th and 5th Regiment. The seven wounded survivors are rescued after several hours by an impromptu force made of other men from their unit.
  • 1969 – Vietnam War: The Cleveland Plain Dealer publishes explicit photographs of dead villagers from the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.
  • 1974 – The United States Department of Justice files its final anti-trust suit against AT&T.  This suit later leads to the break up of AT&T and its Bell System.
  • 1975 – Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain dies after 36 years in power. He died on the 39th anniversary of the death of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera.
  • 1979 – Grand Mosque Seizure: About 200 Sunni Muslims revolt in Saudi Arabia at the site of the Kaaba in Mecca during the pilgrimage and take about 6000 hostages in the Kaaba. The Saudi government received help from French special forces to put down the uprising.
  • 1983 – An estimated 100 million people watch the controversial made-for-television movie The Day After, depicting a nuclear war and its effects on the United States.
  • 1984 – SETI is founded.
  • 1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released.
  • 1989 – Velvet Revolution: The number of protesters assembled in Prague, Czechoslovakia swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million.
  • 1992 – In England, a fire breaks out in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle, rages for 15 hours, and seriously damages the northwest side of the building (an investigation found that the fire was ignited after a spotlight came into contact with a curtain over an extended period).
  • 1993 – Savings and Loan scandal: The United States Senate Ethics Committee issues a stern censure of California senator Alan Cranston for his “dealings” with savings-and loan executive Charles Keating.
  • 1993 – An Avioimpex Yak 42D crashes near Ohrid, Macedonia. The aircraft was on a flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Skopje, but had been diverted to Ohrid due to poor weather conditions at the Skopje airport. On landing the aircraft crashed into Mount Trojani near Ohrid. All eight crew members and 115 of the 116 passengers were killed.
  • 1994 – The Angolan government and UNITA rebels sign the Lusaka Protocol in Zambia, ending 19 years of civil war (localized fighting resumed the next year).
  • 1998 – A court in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan declares accused terrorist Osama bin Laden “a man without a sin” in regard to the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • 1998 – The first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, is launched.
  • 2001 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President George W. Bush dedicates the United States Department of Justice headquarters building as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.
  • 2003 – After the November 15 bombings, a second day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings occurs in Istanbul, Turkey, destroying the Turkish head office of HSBC Bank AS and the British consulate.

November 20 – Birthdays:

  • 270 – Maximinus, Roman Emperor (d. 313)
  • 1602 – Otto von Guericke, German physicist (d. 1686)
  • 1620 – Peregrine White, first English child born in the Plymouth Colony (d. 1704)
  • 1621 – Avvakum, Russian priest and writer (d. 1682)
  • 1625 – Paulus Potter, Dutch painter (d. 1654)
  • 1660 – Daniel Ernst Jablonski, German theologian (d. 1741)
  • 1750 – Tipu Sultan, Indian ruler (d. 1799)
  • 1761 – Pope Pius VIII (d. 1830)
  • 1762 – Pierre André Latreille, French entomologist (d. 1833)
  • 1765 – Sir Thomas Fremantle, British naval captain (d. 1819)
  • 1781 – Karl Friedrich Eichhorn, German jurist (d. 1854)
  • 1839 – Christian Wilberg, German painter (d. 1882)
  • 1841 – Victor D’Hondt, Belgian mathematician (d. 1901)
  • 1841 – Wilfrid Laurier, seventh Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1919)
  • 1851 – Queen Margherita of Italy (d. 1926)
  • 1858 – Selma Lagerlöf, Swedish author, Nobel laureate (d. 1940)
  • 1864 – Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Swedish writer (d. 1931)
  • 1866 – Kenesaw Mountain Landis, American judge (d. 1944)
  • 1869 – Clark Griffith, Baseball manager (d. 1955)
  • 1874 – James Michael Curley, 53 Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1958)
  • 1880 – George McBride, baseball player (d. 1973)
  • 1882 – Andy Coakley, baseball player and long-time coach at Columbia University (d. 1963)
  • 1884 – Norman Thomas, American social reformer (d. 1968)
  • 1886 – Karl von Frisch, Austrian zoologist, Nobel laureate (d. 1982)
  • 1889 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer (d. 1953)
  • 1896 – Yevgenia Ginzburg, Russian writer (d. 1977)
  • 1900 – Chester Gould, creator of comic strips (Dick Tracy) (d. 1985)
  • 1903 – Alexandra Danilova, Russian ballerina (d. 1997)
  • 1903 – Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, Pakistani historian and educationist (d. 1981)
  • 1907 – Fran Allison, American , early television personality, (Kukla, Fran and Ollie) (d. 1989)
  • 1907 – Henri-Georges Clouzot, French film director (d. 1977)
  • 1908 – Alistair Cooke, British-born journalist (d. 2004)
  • 1910 – Willem Jacob van Stockum, Dutch physicist (d. 1944)
  • 1912 – Otto von Habsburg, Austrian-German nobleman, head of the Habsburg house
  • 1913 – Judy Canova, American actress (d. 1983)
  • 1914 – Emilio Pucci, Italian fashion designer (d. 1992)
  • 1915 – Kon Ichikawa, iconic Japanese film director
  • 1916 – Evelyn Keyes, American actress
  • 1917 – Robert Byrd, American politician
  • 1917 – Bobby Locke, South African golfer (d. 1987)
  • 1921 – Jim Garrison, American district attorney and judge (d. 1992)
  • 1921 – Phyllis Thaxter, American actress
  • 1923 – Nadine Gordimer, South African writer, Nobel laureate
  • 1924 – Benoît Mandelbrot, Polish-born French mathematician
  • 1925 – Robert F. Kennedy, American politician (d. 1968)
  • 1925 – Maya Plisetskaya, Russian ballet dancer
  • 1926 – Kaye Ballard, American comic actress
  • 1926 – Terry Hall, English ventriloquist (d. 2007)
  • 1926 – Andrzej W. Schally, Polish-born endocrinologist, Nobel laureate
  • 1927 – Estelle Parsons, American actress
  • 1928 – Aleksey Batalov, Russian actor
  • 1928 – John Disley, Welsh athlete
  • 1929 – Don January, American professional golfer
  • 1932 – Richard Dawson, British actor and game show host
  • 1936 – Don DeLillo, American author
  • 1937 – René Kollo, German tenor
  • 1937 – Ruth Laredo, American pianist (d. 2005)
  • 1937 – Eero Mäntyranta, Finnish cross-country skier
  • 1937 – Viktoriya Tokareva, Russian playwright
  • 1939 – Dick Smothers, American comedian
  • 1940 – Bob Einstein, American actor
  • 1941 – Haseena Moin, Pakistani television drama writer and Urdu playwright
  • 1942 – Joe Biden, American politician
  • 1942 – Norman Greenbaum, American singer
  • 1942 – Meredith Monk, American composer, performer, director, vocalist, film-maker, and  Choreographer 1943 – Veronica Hamel, American actress
  • 1944 – Louie Dampier, American basketball player
  • 1945 – Rick Monday, Major League Baseball player
  • 1945 – Nanette Workman, American-born Canadian singer and actress
  • 1946 – Duane Allman, American guitarist (The Allman Brothers Band) (d. 1971)
  • 1946 – Greg Cook, American football player
  • 1946 – Judy Woodruff, American TV anchor
  • 1947 – Joe Walsh, American musician
  • 1948 – John R. Bolton, American ambassador
  • 1948 – Barbara Hendricks, American-born singer
  • 1948 – Richard Masur, American actor
  • 1949 – Thelma Drake, American politician
  • 1951 – David Walters, American politician
  • 1952 – John Van Boxmeer, National Hockey League player
  • 1954 – Frank Marino, Canadian Guitarist (Rock, Blues, Jazz)
  • 1954 – Berit Andnor, Swedish politician
  • 1954 – Steve Dahl, American radio personality
  • 1956 – Bo Derek, American actress
  • 1956 – Mark Gastineau, American football player
  • 1957 – Stefan Bellof, German race car driver (d. 1985)
  • 1958 – Rickson Gracie, Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist
  • 1959 – James P. McGovern, American politician
  • 1959 – Sean Young, American actress
  • 1960 – Marc Labrèche, Canadian actor and television host
  • 1961 – Tim Harvey, British racing driver
  • 1961 – Larry Karaszewski, American screenwriter
  • 1961 – Dave Watson, English footballer
  • 1963 – Timothy Gowers, British mathematician
  • 1963 – Ming-Na Wen, Macau-born actress
  • 1965 – Mike D, American musician (Beastie Boys)
  • 1965 – Sen Dog, Cuban rapper (Cypress Hill)
  • 1965 – Yoshiki Hayashi, Japanese musician (X Japan)
  • 1966 – Kevin Gilbert, American musician (d. 1996)
  • 1967 – Chris Childs, American basketball player
  • 1967 – Teoman, Turkish rock singer
  • 1969 – Callie Thorne, American actor
  • 1970 – Matt Blunt, American politician
  • 1970 – Delia Gonzalez, American boxer
  • 1971 – Joey Galloway, American football wide receiver
  • 1971 – Joel McHale, American actor and comedian
  • 1972 – Sheema Kalbasi, Iranian born poet
  • 1975 – Dierks Bentley, American singer
  • 1975 – J. D. Drew, American baseball player
  • 1975 – Davey Havok, singer (AFI)
  • 1975 – Timea Margot, Hungarian erotic star
  • 1976 – Dominique Dawes, American gymnast
  • 1976 – Theodoros Velkos, badminton player
  • 1977 – Rudy Charles, American professional wrestling referee
  • 1977 – Josh Turner, American singer
  • 1978 – Ryan Leslie, American singer/songwriter
  • 1978 – Freya Lin, Taiwanese singer
  • 1978 – Nadine Velazquez, American actress and model
  • 1979 – Ericson Alexander Molano, Colombian gospel singer
  • 1980 – James Chambers, English footballer
  • 1981 – Carlos Boozer, American basketball player
  • 1981 – Kimberley Walsh, English singer (Girls Aloud)
  • 1982 – Margo Stilley, American actress
  • 1984 – Ferdinando Monfardini, Italian racing driver
  • 1985 – Juan Cruz Álvarez, Argentine racing driver
  • 1985 – Dan Byrd, American actor
  • 1986 – Jared Followill, American bassist (Kings of Leon)
  • 1986 – Aaron Yan, Taiwanese singer and actor
  • 1989 – Cody Linley, American actor
  • 1990 – Sam Burton, English footballer
  • 1999 – Princess Sofia of Bulgaria, titular Bulgarian royal family
  • 1999 – Prince Umberto of Bulgaria, titular Bulgarian royal family
  • 2000 – Connie Talbot, English singer

November 20 – Deaths:

  • 870 – King Edmund of East Anglia
  • 1316 – King John I of France (d. 1316)
  • 1437 – Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham, cardinal and lord chancellor (b. 1363)
  • 1518 – Marmaduke Constable, English soldier
  • 1518 – Pierre de La Rue, Flemish composer
  • 1529 – Karl von Miltitz, papal nuncio
  • 1591 – Christopher Hatton, English politician (b. 1540)
  • 1612 – John Harington, English writer (b. 1561)
  • 1651 – Mikolaj Potocki, Polish soldier (b. 1595)
  • 1662 – Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands (b. 1614)
  • 1695 – Zumbi, Brazilian runaway slave
  • 1704 – Charles Plumier, French botanist (b. 1646)
  • 1737 – Caroline of Ansbach, Queen of George II of Great Britain (b. 1683)
  • 1742 – Melchior de Polignac, French diplomat (b. 1661)
  • 1758 – Johan Helmich Roman, Swedish composer (b. 1694)
  • 1764 – Christian Goldbach, Prussian mathematician (b. 1690)
  • 1778 – Francesco Cetti, Italian Jesuit scientist (b. 1726)
  • 1856 – Farkas Bolyai, Hungarian mathematician (b. 1775)
  • 1894 – Anton Rubinstein, Russian pianist and composer (b. 1829)
  • 1908 – Georgy Voronoy, Russian mathematician (b. 1868)
  • 1910 – Leo Tolstoy, Russian novelist (b. 1828)
  • 1925 – Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom (b. 1844)
  • 1934 – Willem de Sitter, Dutch scientist (b. 1872)
  • 1936 – Buenaventura Durruti, Spanish anarchist (b. 1896)
  • 1936 – Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, Founder of the Falange. Executed by firing squad. (b. 1903)
  • 1938 – Enzo Matsunaga, Japanese writer (b. 1895)
  • 1945 – Francis William Aston, British chemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1877)
  • 1950 – Francesco Cilea, Italian composer (b. 1866)
  • 1954 – Clyde Vernon Cessna, aviation pioneer (Cessna) (b. 1879)
  • 1957 – Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Russian-Lithuanian artist (d. 1875)
  • 1973 – Allan Sherman, American comedian (b. 1924)
  • 1975 – Francisco Franco, Head of State of Spain (1936-1975) (b. 1892)
  • 1976 – Trofim Lysenko, Stalinist biologist (b. 1898)
  • 1978 – Vasilisk Gnedov, Russian poet (b. 1890)
  • 1980 – John McEwen, eighteenth Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1900)
  • 1983 – Marcel Dalio, French actor (b. 1900)
  • 1994 – John Lucarotti, TV writer (b. 1926)
  • 1995 – Sergei Grinkov, Russian Olympic and World Figure Skating Champion (b. 1967)
  • 1997 – Dick Littlefield, baseball player (b. 1926)
  • 1998 – Galina Starovoitova, Russian politician (b. 1946)
  • 1999 – Amintore Fanfani, Italian politician and prime minister (b. 1908)
  • 2000 – Mike Muuss, American computer programmer (b. 1958)
  • 2000 – Kalle Päätalo, Finnish writer (b. 1919)
  • 2003 – Robert Addie, British actor (cancer) (b. 1960)
  • 2003 – Loris Azzaro, French fashion designer (b. 1933)
  • 2003 – David Dacko, first President of the Central African Republic (b. 1930)
  • 2003 – Eugene Kleiner, American entrepreneur (b. 1923)
  • 2003 – Roger Short, British Consulate General (b. 1944)
  • 2003 – Jim Siedow, American actor (b. 1920)
  • 2003 – Kerem Yilmazer, Turkish actor (b. 1945)
  • 2004 – David Grierson, Canadian radio host (b. 1955)
  • 2004 – Jenny Ross, English musician (Section 25) (b. 1962)
  • 2005 – Manouchehr Atashi, Iranian poet (b. 1931)
  • 2005 – Sheldon Gardner, American psychologist (b. 1934)
  • 2005 – James King, American singer (b. 1925)
  • 2005 – Chris Whitley, American musician (b. 1960)
  • 2006 – Robert Altman, American film director (b. 1925)
  • 2006 – Zoia Ceausescu, Romanian mathematician (b. 1950)
  • 2006 – Andre Waters, American football player (b. 1962)
  • 2007 – Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia (b. 1919)

November 20 – Holidays:

  • Church of England – Edmund the Martyr
  • Brazil – Zumbi Day (since 1978)
  • Brazil – Dia da Consciência Negra (Afro-Brazilian’s Conscience Day)
  • United Kingdom – wedding day of Queen Elizabeth II (1947), official flag day
  • Mexico – Anniversary of the Revolution (1910)
  • UNICEF – Universal Children’s Day
  • Vietnam – Teacher’s Day
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance
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