Today in History – December 20

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Today in History

Significant Events that Happened on December 20th

  • 69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor.
  • 217 – The papacy of Zephyrinus ends. Callixtus I is elected as the sixteenth pope, but is opposed by the theologian Hippolytus who accuses him of laxity and of being a Modalist, one who denies any distinction between the three persons of the Trinity.
  • 1192 – Richard I of England is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third Crusade.
  • 1522 – Siege of Rhodes: Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta.
  • 1606 – The Virginia Company loads three ships with settlers and sets sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
  • 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.
  • 1808 – Peninsular War: The Siege of Zaragoza begins.
  • 1832 – HMS Clio under the command of Captain Onslow arrives at Port Egmont under orders to take possession of the Falkland Islands
  • 1860 – South Carolina becomes the first state to attempt to secede from the United States.
  • 1915 – World War I: The last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli.
  • 1917 – Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force, is founded.
  • 1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison
  • 1941 – World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the “Flying Tigers” in Kunming, China.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japanese air forces bomb Calcutta, India.
  • 1946 – The popular Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life is first released in New York City.
  • 1951 – The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity. The electricity powered four light bulbs.
  • 1952 – A United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87.
  • 1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom.
  • 1957 – The initial production version of the Boeing 707 makes its first flight.
  • 1959 – Unknown attackers murder the Walker family in Osprey, Florida.
  • 1960 – The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam is formed.
  • 1967 – A Pennsylvania Railroad Budd Metroliner exceeds 155 mph on their New York Division, also present day Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.
  • 1968 – The Zodiac Killer kills Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California.
  • 1971 – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto takes over as the fourth President of Pakistan.
  • 1973 – The Prime Minister of Spain, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.
  • 1977 – Djibouti and Vietnam join the United Nations.
  • 1984 – The Summit Tunnel fire is the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million liters of gasoline derails near the town of Todmorden, England, in the Pennines.
  • 1985 – Pope John Paul II announces the institution of World Youth Day.
  • 1987 – In the worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
  • 1988 – The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is signed in Vienna, Austria.
  • 1989 – United States invasion of Panama: The United States sends troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega. This is also the first combat use of purpose-designed stealth aircraft.
  • 1991 – A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina.
  • 1991 – Paul Keating sworn in as the 24th Prime Minister of Australia after defeating Bob Hawke in a leadership ballot of the Australian Labor Party.
  • 1995 – NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.
  • 1995 – American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain 50 km north of Cali, Colombia killing 159.
  • 1996 – NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.
  • 1999 – Macau is handed over to China by Portugal.
  • 2004 – A gang of thieves steal £26.5 million worth of currency from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, one of the largest bank robberies in British history.
  • 2005 – Aleksandër Moisiu University was founded in Durrës, Albania.
  • 2007 – Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.
  • 2007 – The Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, and O Lavrador de Café by Brazilian modernist painter Cândido Portinari, are stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art.
  • 2013 – China successfully launches the Bolivian Túpac Katari 1 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Video by associatedpress

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