It happened today – on this day in history – December 20

1192: Richard The Lionheart is captured in Vienna.

1606: The English colonial expedition to America, consisting of the ships Discovery, Godspeed and Susan Constant, departs Blackwall, London to found Jamestown, Virginia.

1688: William of Orange’s troops arrive in London.

1699: Tsar Peter The Great orders the Russian New Year be changed from September 1 to January 1.

1780: Britain declares war on The Netherlands.

1812: “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” or “Children’s and Household Tales” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm is published.

1830: Britain, France, Prussia, Austria and Russia recognise Belgium.

1860: South Carolina is declared an “independent commonwealth” and secedes from the Union.

1915: Russian troops overrun Qom, Persia.

1917: Cheka, the Soviet security force and forerunner to the KGB, is formed under Felix Dzerzhinsky.

1920: England-born Bob Hope becomes an American citizen.

1922: 14 republics form the Union of Soviet Socialistic Republics (USSR).

1924: Adolf Hitler is released from prison early, having served only nine months of a five-year sentence for the “Beer Hall Putsch”.

1941: Japanese troops land on Mindanao, Philippines.

1946: Frank Capra, Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” premieres starring James Stewart.

1955: Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

1960: The Viet Cong forms in South Vietnam.

1967: Folk singer Joan Baez is sentenced to 45 days in prison after being arrested during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration.

1968: Author John Steinbeck dies aged 66.

1973: Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is killed in a car bomb attack in Madrid. On the same day, singer Bobby Darin (Walden Cassotto) died aged 37 in the recovery room after heart surgery.

1975: Joe Walsh replaces Bernie Leadon in The Eagles.


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1976: Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin resigns.

1979: The Housing Bill outlines plans to give more than five million council house tenants in Britain to buy their homes.

1981: Singles charts:

  1. Don’t You Want Me – The Human League
  2. Daddy’s Home – Cliff Richard
  3. One Of Us – ABBA
  4. Ant Rap – Adam and the Ants
  5. Land Of Make Believe – Bucks Fizz
  6. It Must Be Love – Madness
  7. Wedding Bells – Godley and Crème
  8. Rock ‘n’ Roll – Status Quo
  9. Mirror Mirror – Dollar
  10. I’ll Find My Way Home – Jon And Vangelis
1981: Prince Charming – Adam and The Ants

Album chart:

  1. The Visitors – ABBA
  2. Greatest Hits – Queen
  3. Dare – The Human League
  4. Chart Hits ’81 – Various Artists
  5. Prince Charming – Adam and the Ants
  6. Pearls – Elkie Brooks
  7. Wired For Sound – Cliff Richard
  8. The Simon And Garfunkel Collection – Simon And Garfunkel
  9. The Best of… – Blondie
  10. Ghost In The Machine – The Police

1984: 33 unknown keyboard works by Johann Sebastian Bach are found in the Yale University library.

1988: Animal rights terrorists fire-bomb Harrods department store in Knightsbridge.

1989: US President George Bush orders the invasion of Panama, but US troops fail to capture dictator Manuel Noriega.

1990: Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze resigns. On the same day, the world’s first website and server go live at CERN.

1991: A Missouri court sentences Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina.

1992: Slobodan Milosevic is re-elected president of Serbia.

1995: The Queen urges the Prince and Princess of Wales to seek “an early divorce”. On the same day, NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.

1999: Portugal returns Macau to China.

2006: Eminem and his high school sweetheart, Kim Matthers, divorced for a second time, less than a year after they remarried. On the same day, Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher won a High Court battle over a songwriting credit for the hit song A Whiter Shade Of Pale. He was awarded 40% of the copyright and an application for £1million in back royalties was rejected.

2007: The Queen becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria. On the same day, the painting Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by the Pablo Picasso is stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art.

2009: US President Barack Obama receives his vaccine jab against swine flu. On the same day, actress Brittany Murphy dies aged 32. Her husband died shortly after and the cause of death for both of them was discovered to be a fungus growing under their shower.

2012: Intercontinental Exchange purchases the New York Stock Exchange for $8 billion.

2014: A single dubbed the rarest record in the world sold for £14,543 at auction. The London Records’ pressing of Darrell Banks’ ‘Open the Door to Your Heart’, was thought to be the only copy in circulation.

2018: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis announces his resignation after disagreements with President Donald Trump.

2019: The United States Space Force is founded, an armed forces branch dedicated to space warfare.

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Colomby, drummer/producer (Blood Sweat and Tears) 76; Peter Criss (George Criscuola), drummer (Kiss) 75; Uri Geller, psychic/illusionist, 74; Alan Parsons, musician/producer/studio engineer, 72; Jenny Agutter OBE, actress, 68; Billy (Stephen) Bragg, singer-songwriter, 63; Chris Robinson, singer (The Black Crowes), 54;Joe Cornish, comedian/director, 52; Todd Phillips, director/screenwriter, 50; Chris Edwards, bassist (Kasabian) 40; Ashley Cole, footballer, 40; Jonah Hill (Feldstein), actor, 37; Kylian Mbappe, footballer, 22..

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