This Day in History

July 20


356BC  Alexander the Great is born in Pella the capital of Macedonia   2373
1031      Robert II the Pious, King of the Franks, dies after a reign of 43 years in Melun, France, age 59   987
1156      Emperor Toba, 74th emperor of Japan, dies after a reign of 16 years, age 53   862
1304      forces of Edward I of England capture the Scottish stronghold Stirling Castle after a three month siege   714
1304      Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) born in Tuscany   714
1402      Battle of Ankara—Timurid victory over the Ottoman forces—only time an Ottoman Sultan is captured   616
1526      Spanish explorer Luis Ponce de León dies in Mexico City, age around 65   492
1592      invading Japanese capture Pyongyang, Korea   426
1704      Peregrine White, first child born aboard Mayflower after arrival in the New World, dies, age 83   314
1714      Queen Anne gives Royal Assent to The Longitude Act which provides a prize for the solution to determining longitude accurately   304
1793      Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific coast–first European to cross the North American continent   225
1804      English biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist Richard Owen born in Lancaster, England   214
1819      Scottish mathematician John Playfair dies in Edinburgh, age 71   199
1822      Austro-German monk, geneticist, and botanist Gregor Mendel born   196
1866      German mathematician Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann dies, age 39   152
1871      British Columbia became the sixth province to join the Confederation of Canada   147
1908      German geophysicist and seismologist Karl Bernhard Zoeppritz dies, age 26   110
1922      Russian mathematician Andrey (Andrei) Andreyevich Markov dies in Petrograd, age 66   96
1923      Mexican Revolutionary general José Doroteo Arango Arámbula (Pancho Villa) assassinated, age 45   95
1924      Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation (FIDE) is founded in Paris   94
1937      Italian inventor, radio pioneer, and Nobel laureate (1909 Physics) Guglielmo Marconi dies in Rome, age 63   81
1937      Austrian mathematician and philosopher Olga Hahn-Neurath dies on her birthday, age 55   81
1960      Etch A Sketch, invented by André Cassagnes, first goes on sale   58
1960      USS George Washington successfully test fires the first ballistic missile, Polaris, while submerged   58
1968      first International Special Olympics Summer Games convenes at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois   50
1969      first men to walk on moon, Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, Apollo 11   49
1973      Hong Kong and American actor, martial artist, philosopher, and filmmaker Lee Jun-fan (Bruce Lee) dies in Hong Kong, age 32   45
1976      Viking 1 lands on Mars   42
1976      Hank Aaron hits his 755th home run, the final home run of his career   42
1985      divers for Mel Fisher discover the remains of the Spanish treasure ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha—sunk in 1622 off the Florida Keys   33
1994      Belgian painter of Surrealism Paul Delvaux dies, age 96   24
1999      Mercury capsule Liberty Bell 7 is raised from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean   19
2005      Canadian actor and voice actor, "Scotty," James Montgomery Doohan dies in Redmond, Washington, age 85   13
2007      Swedish physicist and Nobel laureate (1981) Kai Manne Börje Siegbahn dies, age 89   11
2011      German-born British painter Lucian Michael Freud dies in London, age 88   7
2011      discovery of Kerberos, fourth moon of Pluto, announced   7
2011      Pico-Satellite Solar Cell experiment (PSSC-2) is ejected from Atlantis—180th and last satellite deployed from a shuttle   7
2012      lone gunman opens fire during a midnight movie screening in Aurora, Colorado—kills 12 and wounds 58 others   6
2013      long-time White House press correspondent Helen Thomas dies in Washington D.C., age 92   5
2015      U.S. and Cuba formally resume diplomatic relations after 54 years   3
2015      suicide explosion in Suruç, Turkey, outside the Amara Culture Centre kills 34 and injures 104 others   3
2017      American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Chester Charles Bennington kills himself, age 41   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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