It happened today – this day in history – January 20

1265: The first English Parliament summoned other than by royal command (by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester) meets in Westminster Hall.

1356: Edward Balliol abdicates as King of Scots.

1382: Richard II marries Anne of Bohemia at Westminster Abbey.

1513: Christian II succeeds Johan I as king of Denmark and Norway.

1523: Christian II is forced to abdicate Johan I as king of Denmark and Norway.

1613: The Peace of Knarod ends the War of Kalmar between Denmark and Sweden.

1667: The Treaty of Andrussovo ends the 13-year war between Poland and Russia.

1841: China cedes Hong Kong to the British during the First Opium War.

1921: The British submarine HMS K5 sinks with 57 crew during exercises in the Bay of Biscay.

1936: Edward VIII becomes King on the death of his father George V.

1937: Franklin D Roosevelt is inaugurated as US President.

1941: Chinese Communist leaders re-organize the New Fourth Army in defiance of Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek’s order for it to be disbanded. On the same day, Bela Bartok’s 6th string quartet, premieres in New York.

1942: The Japanese invade Burma. On the same day, Nazi officials hold the notorious Wannsee Conference in Berlin to organise the “final solution” – the extermination of Europe’s Jews.

1944: The RAF drops 2,300 tons of bombs on Berlin.

1945: Franklin D Roosevelt is sworn in as US President for an unprecedented fourth term

1952: The British army occupies Ismailiya in the Suez Canal Zone.

1956: Buddy Holly records Blue Days Black Night in Nashville.

1961: John F Kennedy is sworn in as the youngest ever elected president of the United States.

1965: Iconic American disc-jockey Alan Freed dies from uraemia and cirrhosis brought on by alcoholism at the age of 42.

1967: The Monkees TV show is shown for the first time in the UK.

1969: Richard Nixon is inaugurated as US president.

1972: The number of people out of work and claiming benefit in the UK exceeds 1 million for the first time since the 1930s.


1980: President Jimmy Carter announces the US will boycott of the Moscow Olympics due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. On the same day, Pittsburgh Steelers beat the LA Rams, 31-19 to win the Super Bowl.

1981: Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th, and at that time oldest President of the US. On the same day, US diplomats and citizens held hostage at the US embassy in Tehran are released and begin their journey home after 444 days. Iran held off the release for a day as an insult to former president Jimmy Carter.

1982: While playing a concert in Des Moines, Iowa, Ozzy Osbourne bites the head off a bat thrown on stage thinking it’s a rubber toy. After the show he is rushed to hospital for rabies shots.

1984: Champion swimmer and Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller dies aged 79.

1985: The San Francisco 49ers with quarterback Joe Montana, beat the Miami Dolphins, 38-16 to win the Super Bowl.

Singles chart:

  1. I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner
  2. 1999/Little Red Corvette – Prince
  3. I Know Him So Well – Elaine Page and Barbara Dickson
  4. Shout – Tears For Fears
  5. Since Yesterday – Strawberry Switchblade
  6. Love And Pride – King
  7. Like A Virgin – Madonna
  8. Last Christmas – Wham!
  9. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
  10. Atmosphere – Russ Abbot
1985: Alison Moyet – Alf

Album chart:

  1. Agent Provocateur – Foreigner
  2. Alf – Alison Moyet
  3. Eliminator – ZZ Top
  4. The Collection – Ultravox
  5. Make It Big – Wham!
  6. The Hits Album – Various Artists
  7. Hits Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf
  8. Now That’s What I Call Music 4 – Various Artists
  9. The Age Of Consent – Bronski Beat
  10. Born In The USA – Bruce Springsteen

1987: Police carry out a series of dawn raids in London. The Home Counties and the Midlands in their biggest operation so far to apprehend the ringleaders of organised fan violence in and around football stadiums. On the same day, church envoy Terry Waite is taken hostage in Beirut.

1989: George H W Bush is inaugurated as US President with Dan Quayle vice president.

1990: The Soviet army cracks down on Azerbaijani pro-independence demonstrations in Baku. On the same day, actress Barbara Stanwyck (Ruby Stevens) dies aged 82.

1991: US Patriot missiles begin shooting down Iraqi Scud missiles. On the same day, Sudan’s government imposes Islamic law nationwide, worsening the civil war between the Muslim north and Christian south.

1993: Bill Clinton is inaugurated as president of the US. On the same day, film star Audrey Hepburn (Ruston) dies from colon cancer aged 63.

1994: Legendary football manager Sir Matt Busby dies aged 84.

1996: Jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan dies aged 68 after complications arising from a knee operation.

2002: Photographs are published showing al-Qaeda and Taleban suspects shackled and masked at a US military camp in Cuba.

2009: Barack Obama is inaugurated as president of the US with Joe Biden as vice president.

2012: Singer Etta James (Jamesetta Hawkins) dies from leukaemia at the age of 73.

2017: Donald Trump is inaugurated as president of the US.

2018: Jim Rodford, bassist with Argent and later The Kinks, dies aged 76 after a fall.

2021: Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as Vice President. He then signs 15 executive orders on his first day in office to re-join the WHO, the Paris Climate Agreement, revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline and mandating masks on federal properties.

BIRTHDAYS: Buzz (Edwin) Aldrin, astronaut, 93; Tom Baker, actor, 89; Eric Stewart, guitarist/singer-songwriter (10cc) 78; David Lynch, director/screenwriter, 77; Liza Goddard, actress, 73; Ian Hill, bassist (Judas Priest) 71; Paul Stanley (Stanley Elsen), guitarist/singer-songwriter (Kiss) 71; Bill Maher, TV host/comedian 67; Scott Thunes, bassist (Frank Zappa), 63; Heather Small, singer (M People) 58; Rainn Wilson, actor/writer, 57; Nicky Wire (Jones), bassist/songwriter (Manic Street Preachers) 54; Gary Barlow, singer-songwriter (Take That) 52; Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), musician/songwriter, 52; Kirsty Gallagher, TV presenter, 47; Will Young, singer, 44; Matthew Tuck, singer/guitarist (Bullet For My Valentine) 43; Nathan Connolly, guitarist (Snow Patrol) 42; Owen Hargreaves, footballer, 42. Joe Swash, actor/TV presenter, 41; Evan Peters, actor, 36; Mark Wright, TV personality, 36.