This Day in History

July 20


356BC  Alexander the Great is born in Pella the capital of Macedonia   2374
1031      Robert II the Pious, King of the Franks, dies after a reign of 43 years in Melun, France, age 59   988
1156      Emperor Toba, 74th emperor of Japan, dies after a reign of 16 years, age 53   863
1304      forces of Edward I of England capture the Scottish stronghold Stirling Castle after a three month siege   715
1304      Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) born in Tuscany   715
1402      Battle of Ankara—Timurid victory over the Ottoman forces—only time an Ottoman Sultan is captured   617
1526      Spanish explorer Luis Ponce de León dies in Mexico City, age around 65   493
1592      invading Japanese capture Pyongyang, Korea   427
1704      Peregrine White, first child born aboard Mayflower after arrival in the New World, dies, age 83   315
1714      Queen Anne gives Royal Assent to The Longitude Act which provides a prize for the solution to determining longitude accurately   305
1793      Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific coast–first European to cross the North American continent   226
1804      English biologist, comparative anatomist and paleontologist Richard Owen born in Lancaster, England   215
1819      Scottish mathematician John Playfair dies in Edinburgh, age 71   200
1822      Austro-German monk, geneticist, and botanist Gregor Mendel born   197
1866      German mathematician Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann dies, age 39   153
1871      British Columbia became the sixth province to join the Confederation of Canada   148
1908      German geophysicist and seismologist Karl Bernhard Zoeppritz dies, age 26   111
1922      Russian mathematician Andrey (Andrei) Andreyevich Markov dies in Petrograd, age 66   97
1923      Mexican Revolutionary general José Doroteo Arango Arámbula (Pancho Villa) assassinated, age 45   96
1924      Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation (FIDE) is founded in Paris   95
1937      Italian inventor, radio pioneer, and Nobel laureate (1909 Physics) Guglielmo Marconi dies in Rome, age 63   82
1937      Austrian mathematician and philosopher Olga Hahn-Neurath dies on her birthday, age 55   82
1960      Etch A Sketch, invented by André Cassagnes, first goes on sale   59
1960      USS George Washington successfully test fires the first ballistic missile, Polaris, while submerged   59
1968      first International Special Olympics Summer Games convenes at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois   51
1969      first men to walk on moon, Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin, Apollo 11   50
1973      Hong Kong and American actor, martial artist, philosopher, and filmmaker Lee Jun-fan (Bruce Lee) dies in Hong Kong, age 32   46
1976      Viking 1 lands on Mars   43
1976      Hank Aaron hits his 755th home run, the final home run of his career   43
1985      divers for Mel Fisher discover the remains of the Spanish treasure ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha—sunk in 1622 off the Florida Keys   34
1994      Belgian painter of Surrealism Paul Delvaux dies, age 96   25
1997      USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides", celebrates her 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years   22
1999      Mercury capsule Liberty Bell 7 is raised from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean   20
1999 website launched   20
2003      British crime novelist Nicolas Freeling (born Nicolas Davidson) dies in Grandfontaine, France, age 76   16
2005      Canadian actor and voice actor, "Scotty," James Montgomery Doohan dies in Redmond, Washington, age 85   14
2005      Asian American filmmaker, writer, and community activist Kayo Hatta dies in Encinitas, California, age 47   14
2007      American singer, evangelist, author, and television personality Tamara Faye "Tammy" Messner (Tammy Faye Bakker) dies, age 65   12
2007      Swedish physicist and Nobel laureate (1981) Kai Manne Börje Siegbahn dies, age 89   12
2011      German-born British painter Lucian Michael Freud dies in London, age 88   8
2011      discovery of Kerberos, fourth moon of Pluto, announced   8
2011      Pico-Satellite Solar Cell experiment (PSSC-2) is ejected from Atlantis—180th and last satellite deployed from a shuttle   8
2012      lone gunman opens fire during a midnight movie screening in Aurora, Colorado—kills 12 and wounds 70 others   7
2013      long-time White House press correspondent Helen Thomas dies in Washington D.C., age 92   6
2015      U.S. and Cuba formally resume diplomatic relations after 54 years   4
2015      American country musician, songwriter, and record producer Wayne Carson (born Wayne Carson Head) dies, age 72   4
2015      suicide explosion in Suruç, Turkey outside the Amara Culture Centre kills 34 and injures 104 others   4
2017      American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Chester Charles Bennington kills himself, age 41   2

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.

day before yesterdayyesterday tomorrowday after tomorrow