It happened today – this day in history – April 20

Mick Ferris
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1611: First known performance of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” at the Globe Theatre, London.

1657: Battle in Santa Cruz Bay, Tenerife: The English fleet under Robert Blake sinks the Spanish silver fleet.

1759: The composer Handel is buried in Westminster Abbey.

1785: Thomas Warton is appointed Poet Laureate by George III.

1792: France declares war on Austria and Prussia, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars.

1809: Napoleon and French forces defeat Austria at the Battle of Abensberg in Bavaria.

1862: First pasteurization test completed by Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard.

1887: Georges Bouton wins the world’s first motor race, held in France, on a steam-powered quadricycle.

1889: Birth of Adolf Hitler in Austria-Hungary.

1893: Birth of silent film comedian and director Harold Lloyd.

1902: Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride.

1912: Death of author Bram Stoker aged 64.

1919: King Nicholas of Montenegro abdicates under duress.

1920: The Balfour Declaration is recognised, making Palestine a British Mandate.

1934: Heinrich Himmler becomes inspector of the Prussian secret state police.

1940: The first electron microscope demonstrated in Philadelphia by RCA.

1945: Soviet artillery begins shelling Berlin.

1965: China offers North Vietnam military aid.

1968: MP Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech.

1969: Drummer Benny Benjamin from Motown house band The Funk Brothers died.

1972: Apollo 16’s Young & Duke land on the Moon.

1979: Lighting director Billy Duffy was killed in an accident during a Kate Bush concert in Southampton, when he fell twenty feet through an open trap door on the stage.

1981: John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to drug possession charges; the sentence was suspended after 30 days.

1986: Vladimir Horowitz, one of the world’s most accomplished concert pianists, performs in his Russian homeland.

1991: Steve Marriott, of The Small Faces and Humble Pie, died in a fire at his home in Essex.

1992: An all-star concert in memory of Freddie Mercury is held at Wembley Stadium. On the same day, comedian Benny Hill dies from a heart attack aged 68.

1998: German terrorist group the Red Army Faction announces its dissolution after 28 years.

1999: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School, Colorado.

2007: A man with a handgun barricades himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself.

2010: The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico.

2012: Bert Weedon, whose Play In A Day guitar guide set some of the biggest names in rock and roll on the road to greatness, died, aged 91.

2014: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, American boxer whose murder convictions were overturned after 19 years in prison, dies of prostate cancer at 76.

2016: Comedian Victoria Wood dies of cancer aged 62.

2018: Swedish DJ, remixer, and record producer, Avicii died aged 28. On the same day, Arsène Wenger announces he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years as manager.

BIRTHDAYS: Leslie Philips, actor, 96; George Takei, actor, 83; Johnny Tillotson, singer/songwriter, 82; Ryan O’Neal, actor, 79; Michael Brandon, actor/director, 75; Jessica Lange, actress, 71; Veronica Cartwright, actress, 71; Crispin Glover, actor, 56; Andy Serkis, actor, 56; Mike Portnoy, drummer (Dream Theatre/Transatlantic), 53; Carmen Electra (Tara Leigh Patrick) model, actress, 48; Shay Given, former goalkeeper, 44; Miranda Kerr, model, 37.


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