It happened today – this day in history – December 20

Mick Ferris
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1192: Richard The Lionheart is captured in Vienna.

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 Holland.

1803: The French flag is lowered in New Orleans to mark the formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase from France to USA for $27million.

1812: Grimm’s Fairy Tales are first published.

1860: South Carolina secedes from the Union.

1879: Thomas Edison privately demonstrates incandescent light at Menlo Park.

1917: Cheka formed – Soviet state security force and forerunner to the KGB, under Felix Dzerzhinsky after decree by Lenin.

1920: Bob Hope becomes an American citizen.

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

1941: Japanese troops land on Mindanao, The Philippines.

1946: The Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart and directed by Frank Capra, premieres in New York.

1955: Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales.

1960: The Viet Cong, is officially formed in South Vietnam.

1963: The Berlin Wall opens for the first time to West Berliners.

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

1968: Death of author John Steinbeck aged 66.

1971: Pakistan president Yahya Khan resigns.

1973: American singer Bobby Darin (Walden Robert Cassotto died aged 37 during heart surgery. On the same day, Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco is assassinated in a car bomb explosion.

1974: Joe Walsh officially replaced Bernie Leadon in The Eagles.

1976: Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin resigns.

1980: The USSR formally announces death of Alexei Kosygin.

1983: PLO chairman Yasser Arafat and 4,000 loyalists evacuate Lebanon.

1984: 33 unknown Bach keyboard works are found in the library at Yale.

1988: Animal rights terrorists fire-bomb Harrod’s.

1989: US troops invade Panama and oust dictator Manuel Noriega but fail to capture him.

1990: Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze resigns.

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

1995: NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.

2007: The Queen becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days. On the same day, the painting Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by Picasso is stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art.

2009: Actress Brittany Murphy dies aged 32 from a reaction to a mould growing in her shower. Her husband died two weeks later from the same cause.

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

BIRTHDAYS: Bobby Colomby, drummer/producer (Blood Sweat & Tears) 75; Uri Geller, spoon bender, 73; Peter Criss, drummer (Kiss) 72; Alan Parsons, musician/producer/engineer 71; Jenny Agutter, actress, 67; Billy Bragg, singer/songwriter, 62; Chris Robinson, singer (The Black Crowes) 53; Joe Cornish, comedian/director 51; Chris Edwards, musician (Kasabian) 39; Ashley Cole, former footballer, 39; Jonah Hill, actor, 36; Kylian Mbappe, footballer, 21.

Mick Ferris

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