20th July In History

July 20 is a historic day and in fact, in the words of Neil Armstrong it is a day of ‘a giant leap for mankind’ because for the first time a human walked on the surface of the moon. Not only that, space exploration attained a new high when spacecraft ‘Viking 1 Lander’ became the first to successfully land on the surface of Mars in 1976. It was a golden day for sports as well because the first international ‘Special Olympics Summer Games’ was held on this day. Apart from this, the Football Association legalized professionalism in football and Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zatopek won the 10,000 meter race in the Olympics and broke his own record. The U.S and Cuba agreeing to normalize relations between them makes July 20 a landmark in the history of politics because this step was taken after 54 years. Several agreements like the Corfu Declaration and Montreux Convention were signed on this date. This day is also special because Sirimavo Bandaranaike became the first woman prime minister in the world, the ‘Ford Motor Company’ sold its first car and ‘G-men’ or ‘Gangbusters’ show made its debut. Intellectual property was given due right even in Napolean’s time as the Pyréolophore was granted a patent then. Also, Mahlon Loomis was granted the first patent in wireless telegraphy. These immense achievements make this day purely unforgettable.




Henry I Becomes King Of France

Henry I became King of France after his father Robert II passed away on 20th July, 1031 in France. All through his rule, Henry I fought with his powerful nobles to maintain his power.



Richard I Is Invested As Duke Of Normandy

In 1189, Richard I took charge as the Duke of Normandy. When Richard was crowned king he barred all Jews and women from the crowning ceremony. During his reign Jews were stripped and flogged and then hung outside the court.



New Granada Attains Independence

It was on 20th July, 1810 that New Granada declared itself independent from Spain. The imprisonment of Spanish King Ferdinand VII led to conflict in New Granada and to the proclamation of freedom.



British Columbia Joins Canadian Confederation

British Columbia became the sixth province of Canada to join the Canadian Confederation (union of states) on 20th July, 1871. The province decided to join the Confederation because Ottawa was ready to provide railroad connectivity, take up its debt, give subsidies and help to improve its financial condition.



Corfu Declaration Is Signed

The Corfu Declaration was signed on 20th July, 1917 between the Yugoslav Committee and Kingdom of Serbia. It proposed the merger of the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes into a united Yugoslavia state after World War I.



United Kingdom Given Mandate Of Tanganyika

The League of Nations (a precursor of the United Nations) gave the mandate to Britain to govern the African state of Tanganyika in 1922. A mandate is a permission granted by the League of Nations to a member nation to administer a former German or Turkish colony. The territory was referred to as a mandated territory, or mandate.



German Statesman Papen Deposes Government In Prussia

On July 20, 1932, German chancellor, statesman and diplomat Franz von Papen overthrew Prussia’s Social Democratic government. Papen was also responsible for the dissolution of the Weimar Republic and assisted Adolf Hitler in becoming a German chancellor in 1933.



The Montreux Convention Is Signed By Ten Nations

On July 20, 1936, ten nations signed ‘The Montreux Convention’ in Montreux town of Switzerland. The agreement allows the military of Turkey to refortify the straits of Dardanelles and Bosphorus in Turkey. The convention lets Turkey to give passage to ships of all countries during peacetime and merchant ships during war.



Harry Gold Pleads Guilty To Spying

During an extensive ‘FBI’ investigation into Soviet espionage in 1950, Swiss-born Harry Gold accepted that he worked closely with British spy Klaus Fuchs for the Soviet Union. Gold also conceded that he received information from Greenglass. For these offences Gold was sentenced to a prison term of 30 years.



Jordan’s King Abdullah Is Assassinated

King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated by a Palestinian gunman when he was stepping inside a mosque in the east Jerusalem region on 20th July, 1951. Abdullah’s death put an end to the leader’s dream of building an Arab federation.



West German Official Dr. Otto John Absconds

Dr. Otto John, who was the head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in West Germany, went missing on this day. It was widely believed that the man had escaped to Britain in 1954. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution was a counter intelligence service and Dr. John was the first president of the body. Later on, Dr. John was imprisoned for four years after being convicted of treason.



Bandaranaike Becomes The World’s First Woman Prime Minister

In 1960, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was elected the prime minister of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka creating a record of being the first woman to assume the designation. Bandaranaike was the widow of late Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike. In the general elections, Bandaranaike’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party won 75 out of 150 seats.



Myanmar Puts Suu Kyi Under House Arrest

In 1989, politician and opposition leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi was subjected to house arrest without charge and trial by the military government then. The military was willing to free her upon the condition that Suu Kyi leaves the country, which she refused until Myanmar gets a civilian government.



Havel Resigns As President Of Czechoslovakia

In 1992, Vaclav Havel resigned as president of Czechoslovakia. He became the president after the fall of communism. Havel was against the division of Czechoslovakia and, therefore, quit after the nation proceeded to dissolution.



‘BBC’ Accepts That Dr. Kelly Gave Information On Iraq War

In 2003, the ‘British Broadcasting Company (BBC)’ accepted that government scientist and weapons expert Dr. David Kelly was the key source of the news report by journalist Andrew Gilligan. The report led to an uproar because it said that the government had manipulated a dossier on Iraq to gain public support for the war.



U.S And Cuba Agree To Normalize Relations

Cuba resumed full diplomatic ties with the United States after an agreement to build normal relations took effect on 20th July 2015. Diplomatic relations between United States and Cuba were cut off since 1961 and only limited service interest sections were operational between the two nations from 1970 onwards.



Burgundians And Franks Attack The Vikings

The Duke of Burgundy, Richard, and Duke Robert formed an army and attacked the Vikings, on 20th July, 911. This attack was carried out after the Viking leader Rollo Rognvaldsson attacked Chartres in France and took control of the city. Following which, the Burgundians and Franks came together to defeat the Vikings.



King Edward I Takes Over Stirling Castle

On July 20, 1304, during the Scottish war of independence, King Edward I of England captured the Stirling Castle in Scotland. The king did not permit his men in the castle, until those inside the castle defended themselves from the War-wolf, an engine that pelts stones and missiles.



Timur Defeats Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I

Turkic conqueror Timur or Tamerlane trounced the army led by Ottoman sultan Bayezid I in the Battle of Ankara or Angora on 20th July, 1402. This battle resulted in the fall of the Bayezid Empire.



Confederates Attack Union Army At Peachtree Creek

In 1864, Confederate forces under General John Bell Hood attacked the Union army of William T. Sherman outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in the Battle of Peachtree Creek. The battle was part of the Atlanta Campaign during the American Civil War. This was Hood’s first battle after becoming the head of the Army of Tennessee, but his forces suffered heavy losses and had to retreat.



Austro-Hungarian Fleet Wins Battle Of Lissa

The Austro-Hungarian fleet of Austrian vice-admiral Baron Wilhelm von Tegetthofa won the Battle of Lissa against the Italians on July 20, 1866 in the Adriatic Sea. Tegetthofa’s ramming tactics caused the sinking of a large Italian frigate, which turned the tide in favor of Tegetthofa and the Italian navy had to withdraw.



Truman Asks Citizens To Join The Forces

In July 1948, former U.S President Harry S. Truman formed a military draft, asking people to join the military service in the next two months. The president took this step because of heightened Cold War tensions with the USSR.



Viet Cong Attacks Cai Be In Vietnam

Cai Be, the capital of the Dinh Tuong Province in Vietnam, was attacked by the ‘Viet Cong’, a guerrilla force, on July 20, 1964. The attack was part of the Vietnam War and resulted in the death of 11 South Vietnam soldiers and 40 civilians. South Vietnam accused the North Vietnamese of being the reason behind the attack.



Secret Study On Military Actions Against Vietnam Completed

The office of the Chief of Naval Operations finished the secret study which was ordered by presidential assistant Henry Kissinger on this day in 1969. The study was named ‘Duck Hook’ and its purpose was to suggest steps to intensify military actions against North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.



Turkey Attacks Cyprus

On 20 July 1974, Turkish soldiers attacked northern Cyprus after no consensus was reached between Turkey and Cyprus at a meet in Athens, Greece during Operation Attila. The attack took place after a military coup deposed the President of independent Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios, who was also the leader of the struggle for union with Greece.


Disasters & Natural Calamities

Flash Floods Take 84 Lives In Pennsylvania

In July 1977, Johnstown, Pennsylvania witnessed a flash flood for the second time in 88 years, after the Great Flood of 1889. The region received 12 inches of rain in 10 hours which killed 84 people and caused massive damage to several properties as well.



Zatopek Breaks His 10,000 Meter Race Record

In 1952, Czechoslovakia’s Emil Zatopek won the 10,000 meter race on the second day of the Olympics event held in Helsinki, Finland. Zatopek took 29 minutes and 17 seconds to break the Olympic record set by him in London, in 1948.



The First International Special Olympics Summer Games Are Held

In 1968, the Soldier Field stadium in Chicago, Illinois, USA, hosted the first International Special Olympics Summer Games. The games saw the participation of several sportspersons with disabilities from 26 American states as well as Canada. Sports like track and field, swimming and floor hockey were part of the event.



Football Association Makes Professionalism Legal

The Football Association, English football’s governing body, made professionalism legal in association football or soccer in July 1885. This decision led to the fall in a number of amateur clubs from international soccer by 1900. A Football league also came into existence to make the sport commercially viable.


Literature & Entertainment

Action Show ‘G-Men’ Goes On Air

In 1935, G-men, which was written, produced and directed by Phillips H. Lord was aired for the first time on ‘NBC’. The show, based on real events related to ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’ agents, was renamed ‘Gang Busters’ after the ‘FBI’ head expressed his dislike.


Literature & Entertainment

Jan And Dean’s ‘Surf City’ Claims The #1 Spot

American rock artists Jan and Dean’s song ‘Surf City’ bagged the top spot on the U.S. pop charts in 1963. The facts, though, do not prove this claim to be true, but the song portrayed California in positive light. Those not well aware of pop music, often mistake it to be a ‘Beach Boys’ record.



Pyréolophore Gets A Patent

The monarch Napoleon granted a patent to Pyréolophore, which was invented by a French man named Nicéphore Niépce, on this day in 1807. The Pyréolophore was the world’s first internal combustion engine and its name is derived from the Greek words for fire and wind.



Loomis Gets First Wireless Telegraphy Patent

Mahlon Loomis was granted the first wireless telegraphy patent in the United States on 20th July, 1872. The patent was issued for improvements in telegraphing technique, which included aerial telegraphy.



Sioux Tribe’s Leader Sitting Bull Surrenders

It was on 20th July, 1881 that Sitting Bull, leader of the Hunkpapa Teton Sioux clan, surrendered to the American army. Sitting Bull was an Indian chief who fought for the survival of his tribal group, most of whom had inhabited the North American Great Plains.



Ford Motor Company Sells Its First Car

A ‘Model A’ car was the first vehicle sold by The ‘Ford Motor Company’ to a physician in Detroit in July 1903. The American automobile company was founded by Henry Ford along with 11 other investors in the same year.



British Parliament Approves Bengal’s Partition

In 1905, the British Parliament gave its assent for the first partition of Bengal. The ‘Indian National Congress’ boycotted British goods for the first time to oppose this decision.



Police Fires Upon Minneapolis Truck Drivers

In 1934, The Minneapolis city cops fired at truck drivers who were on strike. These agitators were unarmed and supported ‘Teamsters Local 574’, a group of drivers. The firing led to the death of two workers and injured more than 60. The incident came to be known as ‘Bloody Friday’. Minneapolis became a Union town soon after the strike.



Hitler Survives Assassination Attempt

An attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler was made on 20th July in 1944 when German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg planted a time bomb close to Hitler’s hideout in East Prussia. The blast killed four people but Hitler survived.



Central Intelligence Agency Begins Behavior Control Program

The Central Intelligence Agency’s former director, Roscoe Hillenkoetter, initiated the first behavior control program called Project ‘Bluebird’ on 20th July, 1950. It was first used to interrogate four Japanese workers associated with the U.S army intelligence, since it was believed that they had connections with the Russians.



Polaris A1 Fleet Ballistic Missile Is Launched

The Lockheed-built Polaris A1 Fleet Ballistic Missile was launched from a submerged submarine, USS George Washington, for the first time in U.S history on 20th July, 1960. This important military event took place at Cape Canaveral, Florida.



Neil Armstrong Becomes The First To Land On Moon

On 20th July, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the surface of the moon. After landing, the American astronaut said ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind’ and the words went on to become immortal.



Honduras And El Salvador Declare Cease Fire

The ‘Soccer War’ between the Central American nations of Honduras and El Salvador concluded with both countries agreeing to a ceasefire in July, 1969. The conflict erupted after a riot took place during a match that was won by El Salvador against Honduras.



Transport Study Contradicts Charges On Chevrolet Corvair

The National Highway Traffic Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation released the report on the safety of 1960-63 ‘Chevrolet Corvair’ car models on 20th July, 1972. The study concluded that ‘Corvair’ models were no different from other models of its type back then, as far as safety was concerned. This was contrary to the view of consumer advocate Ralph Nader.



Spacecraft Viking 1 Lands On Mars

Spacecraft ‘Viking 1 Lander’ became the first of its kind to successfully land on the surface of Mars, in 1976. The ‘Viking 1’ was sent by the USA to take pictures of the Martian surface, search for suitable landing areas and signs of life.



Irish Republican Army Bombs London

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out twin bomb blasts in central London on 20th July 1982. The outfit claimed responsibility for the attacks quite soon. The first explosion took place at Hyde Park, in which two soldiers died and 23 were wounded. The second blast, which happened at Regent’s Park, killed six soldiers and wounded 24 people.



London Stock Exchange Attacked By IRA

The ‘Irish Republican Army (IRA)’ bombed the London Stock Exchange in 1990. There were no casualties because of prior warning and evacuation but the impact of the explosion created a big hole in the Stock Exchange. For the first time since 1983, the ‘IRA’ issued a warning about the attacks.



Guerrilla Attack Kills Three Bus Passengers In Arauca, Colombia

On July 20, 1996, the negligence of the army resulted in the death of three people who were travelling in a bus in Arauca area of Colombia. The inter-state bus with 26 people on board was warned of guerrilla attacks in the area. Despite the risk to passengers’ lives, the army commander asked the driver to go ahead with six soldiers on board to mount a new roadblock.



IMF Grants $17 Billion Loan To Russia

A loan of $17 billion to Russia was approved by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) board with the IMF contributing $11.2 billion on 20th July, 1998. With this loan, it was believed that Russia’s foreign currency reserves will go up, which will save ruble from devaluation. The IMF wants Russia to implement austerity measures and ensure flow of tax revenues for release of funds.



Mass Shooting Takes Place In Denver

James Holmes, a resident of San Diego, opened fire at people at a movie hall indiscriminately which led to the death of 12 people and injuries to 70 others on 20th July, 2012. The incident took place during the screening of the movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in Denver, Aurora, Colorado, and is considered one of the bloodiest mass shooting incidents to have occurred in the U.S.



Bomb Blast Kills 30 People In Turkey

A devastating bomb explosion in Suruc, Turkey, claimed the lives of 30 people. The incident occurred in the presence of several activists who gathered to discuss the rebuilding of Kobane town, situated in Syria. Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the terrorist outfit ‘Islamic State’ could be behind the attacks.

People Born This Day

Francesco Petrarch
Poet, Scholar and Humanist [ Italian ]
Carlos Santana
Mexican-American Guitarist Who was Member of the Rock Band 'Santana' [ American ]
Chris Cornell
Lead vocalist of the Rock Bands 'Soundgarden' & 'Audioslave' [ American ]
Thomas Friedman
Journalist & Author [ American ]
Alberto Santos Dumont
Brazilian aviator [ Brazilian ]
Judy Chicago
American Feminist Artist and Writer Known for Her Art Work ‘The Dinner Party’ and ‘International Honor Quilt’ [ American ]
Gregor Mendel
Know for Creating the science of Genetics [ Austrian ]
Natalie Wood
Actress [ American ]
Edmund Hillary
One of the First Climbers to Have Reached the Summit of Mount Everest [ New Zealander ]
Gisele Bündchen
One of the Highest-Paid Models in the World [ Brazilian ]
Lovemore Madhuku
Zimbabwean Pro-Democracy Politician [ Zimbabwean ]
Htin Kyaw
President of Burma [ Burmese ]
Tadeusz Reichstein
Polish-Swiss Chemist Who Won the 1950 Nobel Prize in Medicine for His Work on Isolation of Cortisone [ Swiss ]
Enrique Peña Nieto
64th President of Mexico (2012 - 2018) [ Mexican ]
Gerd Binnig
Physicist [ German ]
Julian Jara
TikToker, YouTuber [ American ]
Jovani Jara
TikTok Star [ American ]
Liv Shumbres
YouTuber, Cheerleader, TikTok (Musical.ly) Star [ American ]
Sandra Oh
Actress [ Canadian ]
Terri Irwin
Naturalist Who is The Owner of Australia Zoo in 'Beerwah, Queensland' [ Australian ]
Anton du Beke
Ballroom dancer [ British ]
Julianne Hough
Judge on Dancing with the Stars [ American ]
Jaclyn Hill
YouTube Star [ American ]
Josh Holloway
Actor [ American ]
Frantz Fanon
Psychiatrist [ French ]
Harley Morenstein
Vlogger and Host of the Popular YouTube Show 'Epic Meal Time' [ Canadian ]
Logan Guleff
Youngest Winner of MasterChef Junior [ American ]
Jin Goo
Actor [ South Korean ]
Judy Greer
Actress, Model [ American ]
Anatol Yusef
Actor [ British ]
Donna Dixon
Actress, Model [ American ]
Carl Thomas Dean
Husband of Dolly Parton [ American ]
Mahmud II
Sultan of Ottoman Empire [ Turkish ]
Cormac McCarthy
One of the Greatest Contemporary American Writers Who is Known for His Graphic Depictions of Violence [ American ]
Ben Simmons
Australian Professional Basketball Player Who Plays at the Point Guard Position [ Australian ]
Canadian YouTuber [ Canadian ]
Alycia Debnam-Carey
Australian Actress Known for Her Role as ‘Lexa’ in the TV Series ‘The 100’ [ Australian ]
Manjul Khattar
Indian TikTok Star [ Indian ]
Tosca Musk
Producer, Director and Co-Founder of the Streaming Service ‘Passionflix’ [ Canadian ]
Denzel Harris
YouTube Star [ American ]
Elle Walker
YouTuber [ American ]
Joey Bragg
Actor [ American ]
You Tube Star [ Thai ]
Fran Belibi
Basketball player [ American ]
Lola Albright
Actress, Singer [ American ]
Wendy Richard
Best Known for Her Role as ‘Miss Shirley Brahms’ on the TV Sitcom ‘Are You Being Served?’ [ British ]
John Francis Daley
Actor, Film Director Producer and Screenwriter Known For His Collaborative Work With Jonathan Goldstein as a Film-Making Duo [ American ]
Scout Willis
Actress [ American ]
Charlie Korsmo
Actor, Lawyer [ American ]
Tantoo Cardinal
Actress and Founding Member of the ‘Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company’ [ Canadian ]
Jake Stormoen
American Actor Known for His TV Series ‘The Outpost’ [ American ]
Dean Winters
American Character Actor [ American ]
DJ Screw
DJs [ American ]
Tim Ferriss
American Entrepreneur, Investor and Author Known for His ‘4-Hour’ Book Series [ American ]
Michael Yerger
Actor [ American ]
Alyssa Howard
YouTube Star [ American ]
Ledger Nike Nelson
YouTuber as Youngest Biological Kid of of Tiffany and Benji Nelson [ American ]
Melissa Metrano
TikTok Star [ American ]
Kylei Halbakken
American Instagrammer [ American ]
Taryne Renee
American YouTuber [ American ]
Sydney Valarose
American TikToker [ American ]
Chris Rudnik
American YouTuber [ American ]
Zara Beth
British TikToker [ British ]
Gavin Beckham
American TikToker [ American ]
Vincent Mottola
American TikToker [ American ]
American TikToker [ American ]
Corey Bonalewicz
American Facebook Star [ American ]
Mia Feldman
American YouTuber [ American ]
Jím Míé
American TikToker [ American ]
Alexis Simone
American YouTuber [ American ]
Law Roach
American Instagrammer [ American ]
Anthony Bertoncin
American TikToker [ American ]
Will Pyun
American TikToker [ American ]
Kara Cannella
American TikToker [ American ]
American TikToker [ American ]
Derrick Jaxn
American YouTuber [ American ]
American TikToker [ American ]
King Science
American TikToker [ American ]

People Died This Day

Paul Valery
French Poet, Essayist and Philosopher [ French ]
Bernhard Riemann
Mathematician [ German ]
Bruce Lee
The Most Influential Martial Artist of All Time [ Hong Konger ]
Pancho Villa
Governor of Chihuahua from 1913 to 1914 [ Mexican ]
Andrew Lang
Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic [ Scottish ]
Chester Bennington
One of the Greatest Rock Vocalists of His Generation [ American ]
Guglielmo Marconi
Inventor of 'Radio' and Winner of 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics [ Italian ]
Lucian Freud
British Painter Who was One of the Foremost 20th-Century English Portraitists [ British ]
Emil Cioran
One of the Finest Philosophers and Critical Writers from Romania [ Romanian ]
Pope Leo XIII
Pope [ Italian ]
Mildred Harris
Actress [ American ]
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