20th March In History

Our life comprises of events that are interlinked to incidents which have occurred in the past or will happen in the future. Newton's law, that each action has an equal and opposite reaction, holds true in this case too. It is also true that we can neither control the past or the future; wisdom lies in learning from the mistakes of the past so that we can prevent them in future. As a kid many of us must have asked why we have to study history. The answer to the question is right here. So without further ado let us delve into the pages of history and find out what happened on March 20. You'll be surprised to realize how much has occurred on this date over the years. From formation of the Republican Party in United States to the beginning of Napoleon's Hundred Days rule to the invasion of Iraq, or the disastrous earthquake that devastated and entire city in Argentina, this day in history has been witness to many a great events. Be prepared to be transported into the era of black and white as you scroll down further. Let your imagination run wild as you envision these incidents in your mind’s eye.


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 20th March



235

Politics

Maximinus Thrax Is Proclaimed Emperor Of Rome

Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus was a commander of the army under Emperor Alexander Severus. When the army revolted against Alexander, Maximinus led the coup which resulted in the former's death. Maximinus was then proclaimed the Emperor of Rome, making him the first individual of foreign nationality to be seated at the throne.


1413

Politics

Henry V Took The Throne Of England Upon The Death Of Henry IV

Henry V was coroneted as the King of England in 1413 on this day after the death of his father Henry IV. Upon assuming the monarchy the premier announced war on France, which was a part of the Hundred Years' War.


1816

Politics

The U.S. Supreme Court Affirmed Its Superiority Over State Court Decisions

With the verdict of the historical Martin v Hunter's Lessee case being rolled out by the Supreme Court of USA on March 20, 1816. The apex court asserted its authority over state courts, in cases pertaining to Federal Law, for the first time in history.


1854

Politics

The Republican Party Of The United States Is Organized In Ripon, Wisconsin

The introduction of the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska bill in the Congress caused a nation-wide protest in the United States. One such meeting held in protest against the bill on March 20, 1854, in the city of Ripon led to the formation of the Republican Party. Alvan E. Bovay, a lawyer and mathematician by profession was the organizer of the meeting.


1865

Politics

John Wilkes Booth’s Plan To Abduct U.S. President Abraham Lincoln Was Foiled

Did you know that John Wilkes Booth the stage actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln had plans to kidnap the US President? He had devised an extensive plan to abduct Lincoln who he then intended to use to leverage the release of Confederate soldiers. However, as Lincoln did not turn up for the performance at the Soldier's Home where Wilkes had planned to take the former hostage, his plans were foiled.


1913

Politics

Sung Chiao-Jen, A Founder Of The Chinese Nationalist Party, Is Wounded In An Assassination Attempt

Sung Chiao-jen was the mastermind behind organizing the Chinese Nationalist Party. The party's success in the nation's first ever election campaign skyrocketed Sung's popularity and he was deemed as a Prime Ministerial candidate. However his newfound glory attracted many enemies. On March 20, 1913, Sung was enroute to the Parliament when he was shot twice in close range. He succumbed to the injuries two days later.


1933

Politics

Giuseppe Zangara Is Executed In Florida

Giuseppe Zangara was the man behind the shots fired during a speech by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President-elect. While many speculate that the original target was Roosevelt he escaped unhurt while politician Anton Cermak and four others lost their lives. Zangara spent ten days in the death row before being subjected to the electric chair on March 20, 1933. The assassin’s final words were, "Viva Italia! Goodbye to all poor peoples everywhere! ... Push the button! Go ahead, push the button!", and he was apparently disappointed that there would be no camera crew during his execution.


1933

Politics

Italy’s New Peace Plan Being Discussed With France

In 1933 a new plan for peace was being initiated by the European nations. English premier Ramsay MacDonald reached France on March 20 along with Italian leader Benito Mussolini to convince France into accepting the treaty.


1952

Politics

The United States Senate Ratifies A Peace Treaty With Japan

At the end of WWII, Japan signed a peace treaty with the Allied Powers according to which it was disarmed. Thus to put in place an effective measure to protect herself from foreign attacks, Japan also signed a security treaty with the United States. The treaty was formally ratified by the US Senate on this day in 1952.


1956

Politics

Tunisia Gains Independence From France

In June 1954, the French Prime Minister, Pierre Mendès France issued orders to withdraw from Tunisia, however France retained control of foreign affairs. It was in March 20, 1956 that the nation of Tunisia was granted completed independence from French rule.


1965

Politics

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson Ordered Troops To Protect The Selma-Montgomery Civil Rights Marcher

The Selma Voting Rights Movement was a landmark moment in the Modern Civil Rights Movement led by the likes of Martin Luther King. A party of more than 4000 people took part in the protest march and American President Lyndon B. Johnson issued orders on this day, for Federal officers, Army troops and the FBI to protect the peaceful protestors.


1972

Politics

The First Provisional IRA Car Bombing In Belfast

The Provisional Irish Army employed their first ever car bomb during the Troubles (an era of conflict in Northern Ireland). The explosion at Lower Donegall Street caused by the detonation killed seven people and as many as 148 were injured.


1974

Politics

Attempt To Kidnap Her Royal Highness Princess Anne And Her Husband Captain Mark Phillips

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne and her husband Captain Mark Phillips were in their Princess IV car, enroute to the Buckingham Palace from the Pall Mall, when their car was stopped by force and shot at. The assaulter, Ian Bell, came out of a Ford Escort and began firing. Princess Anne's personal security staff, chauffeur and a journalist were injured while protecting the members of the Royal family. When Ian asked Her Highness to get out of the car she courageously defied eventually being rescued by a pedestrian who knocked the kidnapper on his head.


1990

Politics

Namibia Became An Independent Nation

Namibia, the desert country, was one of South Africa's last colonies to earn its independence. On this day in 1990, the South African national flag was lowered and the Namibian flag unfurled for the first time in history. Sam Nujoma a rebel leader who spearheaded the independence movement was declared as the President and the newly liberated country became the 160th member of the United Nations.


1993

Politics

Warrington Bomb Attacks Kills 3 Year Old And 12 Year Old

The second explosion in the Warrington bomb attacks, led by the provisional IRA, during the Troubles, occurred on March 20, 1993. The two small bombs that exploded in litter bins killed two children among dozen others. The attacks resulted in widespread media coverage and propagated a sentiment of rage against the perpetrators.


1995

Politics

A Sarin Gas Attack On The Tokyo Subway

Members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan were responsible for the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway. Owing to the effects of colorless and odorless liquid that was sprayed during the rush hour, 12 people lost their lives while thousands were injured.


2006

Politics

Over 150 Chadian Soldiers Are Killed By Members Of The Rebel UFDC

The nation of Chad has been engulfed in a Civil War between the Arab-Muslims and Sub-Saharan-Christians ever since it was liberated from the French rule. In the most recent conflict which erupted in the region was aimed at usurping the Presidency of Idriss Deby. The rebels of United Front for Democratic Change killed 150 soldiers of the Chadian forces in an encounter.


1815

Wars

Napoleon’s "Hundred Days" Rule Begin

Napoleon was exiled to Elba after his defeat in the Battle of Leipzig. However he escaped from Elba and returned to Paris with a loyal army of 140,000 soldiers and 200,000 voluntary soldiers on March 20, 1815. It marked the dictator’s 'Hundred Days' rule.


1848

Wars

King Ludwig I Of Bavaria Abdicates Throne

King Ludwig I of Bavaria faced a lot of heat from his cabinet who opposed his relationship with his mistress Lola Montez. When he realized that he would become a puppet at the hands of cabinet, the emperor abdicated his throne in favor of his eldest son.


1933

Wars

Orders Issued For Creation Of Dachau Concentration Camp By Heinrich Himmler

German task force officer Heinrich Himmler issued orders for creating a concentration camp at Dachau. Theodor Eicke was named commandant of the camp where as many as 32,000 deaths were documented.


2003

Wars

The Iraq War Begins

The military forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland joined hands to usurp the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussain. In the early hours of morning on March 20, 2003, the combined forces launched an attack on Iraq which marked the beginning of the war. The capture of Baghdad by the US troops brought the war to an end.


1760

Disasters & Natural Calamities

The Great Boston Fire Destroys 349 Buildings

On March 20, 1760, the second 'Great Fire of Boston' engulfed the town. As many as 349 buildings were burnt to ashes in the areas nearby Washington Street, Long Wharf and Fort Hill. Several ships and the Quaker Meeting House on Congress Street were also destroyed.


1861

Disasters & Natural Calamities

An Earthquake Completely Destroys Mendoza, Argentina

A devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale hit the city of Mendoza in Argentina. More than 5,000 people lost their lives and several others were injured. The city had to be entirely rebuilt following the catastrophe and great attention was paid to avoid a disaster of the same magnitude in future.


1914

Sports

1st International Figure-Skating Tournament Held In US, New Haven

Pioneered by skating legend Jackson Haines, the International Style of figure skating caught on to the US in early twentieth century, unfortunately after Jackson's death. The first ever International Style Figure Skating Championship was conducted in Connecticut, USA on March 20, 1914.


1985

Sports

Libby Riddles Becomes The First Woman To Win The 1,135-Mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

On March 20, 1985, Libby Riddles and her thirteen dogs made history, charted history when they raced past the finishing line of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The team battled numerous hurdles including severe snowstorms while covering the 1,135 mile trail in a span of eighteen days.


1985

Sports

Rick Hansen Begins His Circumnavigation Of The Globe In A Wheelchair

A truck accident left Rick Hansen crippled for life at the age of fifteen. But he did not let his disability define himself. In 1985, he undertook the Man in Motion World Tour on his wheelchair. The money generated by the 26-month 40,000 km trek which spanned over 34 countries in four continents was used for medical research on spinal cord injuries.


1990

Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers Retired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's #33

NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was undoubtedly one of the greatest players the Los Angeles Lakers ever had. On March 20, 1990, the Lakers honored the all-time leading scorer by retiring his #33 jersey.


1852

Literature & Entertainment

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin Is Published

Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin was first published in the United States on March 20, 1852. The novel criticized the pro-slavery laws. Such was the impact of the book that many say it laid the groundwork for the Civil War. Even American President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe and apparently he said, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”


1906

Literature & Entertainment

George Bernard Shaw's "Captain Brassbound's Conversion" Premieres In London

Eminent writer George Bernard Shaw composed the play Captain Brassbound's Conversion in 1900. The play first premiered in London on this day in 1906 at the Royal Court. Ellen Terry and Frederick Kerr played the lead roles of Cicely Waynflete and Brassbound respectively.


1923

Literature & Entertainment

The Arts Club Of Chicago Hosts The Opening Of Pablo Picasso's First United States Showing

On March 20, 1923 the Arts Club of Chicago hosted the first ever exhibition of eminent Spanish painter Pablo Picasso's works. The show was titled ‘Original Drawings’ and it heralded a new era in the field of art in the country.


1948

Literature & Entertainment

CBS And NBC Telecast Classical Music In The United States After Musicians Union Ban Is Lifted

The American Federation of Musicians enforced a ban on musicians in 1947 which prohibited them from making records. The union demanded of the record companies that a portion of their sales be designated to a fund administered by the union, which shall be used to financially support unemployed artists. When the ban was finally lifted a year later, the CBS and NBC were among the first to telecast classical music conducted by Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini.


1985

Literature & Entertainment

The Romance Of Betty Boop Premieres

The TV special 'The Romance of Betty Boop', featuring the toon character Betty Boop first aired on CBS-TV in 1985. Set in the age of Great Depression, it revolves around the story of a girl who dreams of being courted by a rich boy.


1991

Literature & Entertainment

Michael Jackson Signs 6 Album Deal With Sony Records

King of Pop Michael Jackson made news yet again when his million-dollar deal with record label Sony Corp finally came through. The 65 million dollar contract included six albums, a record label for himself, an opportunity of developing video software products and even a movie for Jackson. When questioned about their rocky relationship with the star, Sony Software President Michael P. Schulhof said, "We're married to him now."


1997

Literature & Entertainment

Brian Grazer Received A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

American film and television Producer Brian Grazer who is known for the hit films like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Grazer has been in the production business for almost twenty-five years and has films of all genres to his credit.


1602

Trivia

The Dutch East India Company Is Established

Early in the sixteenth century, Portuguese was the only European nation to control most of the trade relations with Asia. However as the century approached its end, the Dutch and English had also became big players. The Dutch East India Company which oversaw trade in Asia and several European nations was first founded on March 20, 1602. The ‘Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie’ (the Dutch name) became the first multinational organization to issue stocks.


1800

Trivia

Physicist Alessandro Volta Discovers Electric Cell

Scientists were dabbling with concepts of electromagnetism in late 18th century, and scientists such as Benjamin Franklin and Leyden Jars made headway in this regard. But it was not until 1800 that electricity could be put to practical uses. On March 25, 1800 Alessandro Volta reported his discovery of electric cell to the Royal Society of London.


1868

Trivia

Jesse James Gang Robs Bank In Russelville, Kentucky, Of $14,000

On March 20, 1868, it was a quiet day for the residents of Russellville, Kentucky but everything went south when James Younger and his gang arrived at the Nimrod Long Banking Company with intentions to rob it. They held the bank's employees at gunpoint and asked them to fill all the money into wheat sacks. The fugitives who stole around $14,000 from the bank were later captured by detectives D. T. "Yankee" Bligh and John Gallagher.


1883

Trivia

The Paris Convention For The Protection Of Industrial Property Is Signed

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property which led to the establishment of a Union for upholding the rights of Industrial property owners was signed in Paris on March 20, 1883. Eleven countries including Belgium, Brazil, France, Guatemala, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, El Salvador, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland signed the charter of the convention.


1890

Trivia

General Federation Of Women’s Clubs Founded

American author and journalist Jane Cunningham Croly founded the General Federation of Women's Clubs at a time when the country was in the eye of the Progressive Movement. The federation includes over 3,000 local women's club throughout the United States and has nearly 100,000 members across the globe.


1916

Trivia

Albert Einstein Publishes His General Theory Of Relativity

Eminent theoretical physicist Albert Einstein published his findings on the general theory of relativity on March 20, 1916. The pioneering theory explained how massive objects impact the space time curvature.


1922

Trivia

The USS Langley Is Commissioned As The First United States Navy Aircraft Carrier

The United States Navy adopted its first aircraft carrier the USS Langley in 1922 on this day. Commander Kenneth Whiting was in command when the aircraft was being commissioned.


1964

Trivia

ESRO (European Space Research Organization) Is Established

Ten European nations came together to found an organization for conducting space research. Thus came into being the predecessor of European Space Research Organization (ESRO), on March 20, 1964.


1985

Trivia

Avon Representatives In US Receive A Salary For The First Time In 99years

Avon Products, Inc, USA was founded in 1886 and the company is involved in manufacturing and selling of beauty, personal care and household goods. In 1985, the representatives of Avon received a salary for the first time in 99 years of the company's existence. Prior to this, they were paid according to the commissions on the sales.


1987

Trivia

The Food And Drug Administration Approves The Anti-AIDS Drug, AZT

AZT, the anti-AIDS drug was revolutionary in the treatment of the immunodeficiency virus infection and on this day in 1987, the US Food and Drug Administration approved its use for common public. The drug works by slowing the process of virus replication in the patients and is till date one of the most effective means of combating the disease.


1991

Trivia

The U.S. Supreme Court Made Historic Announcement That Companies Cannot Exclude Female Employees Fro

In the landmark case of Automobile Workers v. Johnson Controls, the United States Supreme Court passed ruling that employers cannot prohibit women from working on jobs that might be regarded harmful for the fetus. The court upheld that any such exclusionary policy was in direct violation of the law against sex discrimination.


1996

Trivia

The U.K. Announced That Humans Could Catch CJD (Mad Cow Disease)

The degenerative neurological disease CJD is a human form of the mad cow disease that occurs in cattle. After much debate whether humans could contract this disease or not the United Kingdom finally made a formal announcement that humans can be affected in 1996. A compensation scheme was also started for the victims of the CJD in Britain.


1997

Trivia

Liggett Group, Confesses To Have Knowledge That Smoking Is Addictive

The Liggett Group on March 20, 1997 became the first tobacco company in the United States to settle smoking-related litigation. The company which manufactured the Chesterfield Cigarettes agreed that they were marketing their products to teens and also decided to issue a warning on every pack stating that smoking is addictive.


1999

Trivia

Legoland California Opens

Legoland California, the miniature theme park was first opened to public on March 20, 1999. The third Legoland outside the European continent, it includes a Lego-themed Sea Life Aquarium and a CHIMA-themed water park.


2000

Trivia

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin Aka H. Rap Brown Captured After Murdering Georgia Cop Ricky Kinchen

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin or H. Rap Brown who was charged of shooting two U S police officers, which resulted in the death of one of the cops, was captured after a four day manhunt on March 20, 2000. Brown had apparently fled from the scene of crime to White Hall, Alabama.


2015

Trivia

Solar Eclipse, Equinox, And A Supermoon All Occur On The Same Day

In a rare celestial event a Solar eclipse, Supermoon, and the spring equinox occurred on the same day in 2015. Experts said it is highly unlikely that such a coincidence shall occur any time soon.


People Born This Day

Henrik Ibsen
(1828-1906)
Playwright, Theatre Director, and Poet. [ Norwegian ]
Anne Bradstreet
(1612-1672)
Poet [ British ]
Ovid
(0043-0017)
Poet [ Ancient Roman ]
B. F. Skinner
(1904-1990)
[ American ]
Bobby Orr
(1948-)
[ Canadian ]
Fred Rogers
(1928-2003)
Television Personality [ American ]
Spike Lee
(1957-)
[ American ]
Chester Bennington
(1976-)
[ American ]
Jafar Jabbarly
(1899-1934)
Playwright [ Azerbaijani ]
Fernando Torres
(1984-)
Footballer [ Spanish ]
Kathy Ireland
(1963-)
Model [ American ]
Alfonso García Robles
(1911-1991)
Diplomat [ Mexican ]
Erwin Neher
(1944-)
Biophysicist [ German ]
Justine Ezarik
(1984-)
YouTuber, Actress [ American ]
Lili Estefan
(1967-)
Model, T.V. Show Host [ Cuban ]
Jonas Bridges
(2001-)
Musical.ly star, YouNow star [ American ]
Zonnique Pullins
(1996-)
Singer [ American ]


People Died This Day

Isaac Newton
(1642-1727)
Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer [ British ]
David Rockefeller
(1915-2017)
Banker [ American ]
Ferdinand Foch
(1851-1929)
[ French ]
Brendan Behan
(1923-1964)
[ Irish ]
Khushwant Singh
(1915-1999)
[ Indian ]
Jim Stynes
(1966-2012)
Australian Rules Footballer [ Irish ]
Muhammad bin Tughluq
(1300-1351)
Sultan of Delhi [ Indian ]
Henry IV of England
(1367-1413)
King of England [ British ]
Albert, Duke of Prussia
(1490-1568)
The First Monarch of the Duchy of Prussia [ German ]
Girija Prasad Koirala
(1924-2010)
Former Prime Minister of Nepal [ Nepalese ]
Polykarp Kusch
(1911-1993)
Physicist [ German ]
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