It happened today – this day in history – July 20

356BC: Alexander the Great is born in Macedonia.

1304: Edward I of England takes Stirling Castle, the last rebel stronghold of the war for Scottish independence.

1398: Roger Mortimer, 4th Earl of March, heir to the throne of England, dies at 24.

1553: John Dudley, Lord President of the Council under Edward VI, is captured in Cambridge.

1654: Portugal comes under English control with the signing of the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty.

1712: The Riot Act takes effect in Britain.

1738: French explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan in North America.

1773: Scottish settlers arrive at Pictou, Nova Scotia.

1793: Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie completes the first European east-to-west crossing of America north of Mexico.

1810: Citizens of Bogotá, New Granada (now Columbia) declare independence from Spain.

1837: Euston railway station opens in London.

1871: FA secretary, Charles Alcock, proposes the setting up of a new football competition. The FA Cup. On the same day, British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada.

1881: Sioux chief Sitting Bull surrenders to US federal troops.

1901: Morocco signs an agreement with France fixing Morocco’s frontier with Algeria.

1903: Giuseppe Sarto is elected Pope Pius X after the death of Pope Leo XIII.

1914: Armed resistance against British rule begins in Ulster.

1923: Pancho Villa (José Doroteo Arango Arámbula) Mexican revolutionary, is murdered aged 55.

1924: Tehran comes under martial law after American vice consul, Robert Imbrie, is killed by a religious mob. On the same day, Ottavio Bottecchia of Italy wins the Tour de France.

1926: A convention of the Methodist Church votes to allow women to become priests.

1928: The government of Hungary issues a decree ordering Gypsies to end their nomadic ways, settle permanently in one place and subject themselves to the same laws and taxes as other Hungarians.

1933: Vatican state secretary Pacelli (Pius XII) signs an accord with Adolf Hitler. On the same day, 500,000 march against anti-Semitism in London while in Nuremberg 200 Jewish merchants are arrested and paraded through the streets.

1937: Italian inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi, dies aged 63.

1940: Billboard’s first comprehensive record chart was published in the US. The first number one song was ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ by Frank Sinatra and The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

1944: Adolf Hitler escapes death after a third attempt on his life when a bomb explodes in Rastenberg. On the same day, the death March of 1,200 Jews from Lipcani, Moldavia, begins and the US invades Japanese-occupied Guam.

1948: US Communist Party chairman William Forster is arrested.

1949: Israel’s 19 month war of independence ends.

1951: King Abdullah I of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian while attending Friday prayers in Jerusalem.

1952: Czechoslovakian Emil Zatopek wins the 10,000m gold medal at the Olympic Games in Helsinki.

1953: The United Nations Economic and Social Council votes to make UNICEF a permanent agency.

1954: The Blue Moon Boys – Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black – make their live debut appearing on the back of a flatbed truck outside a new drug store for its grand opening in Memphis. On the same day, the armistice for Indo-China is signed and Vietnam separates into North and South. Also, American tennis champion Maureen Connolly’s right leg is crushed in a horse riding accident ending a brilliant career at just 19.

1958: King Hussein of Jordan breaks off diplomatic relations with the United Arab Republic.

1960: Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Ceylon becomes the first female head of government. On the same day, the first living organisms to return from space – two dogs – are recovered by the USSR.

1961: Singles chart:


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  1. Temptation – The Everly Brothers
  2. Runaway – Del Shannon
  3. A Girl Like You – Cliff Richard
  4. Hello Mary Lou – Ricky Nelson
  5. Well I Ask You – Eden Kane
  6. Pasadena – The Temperance Seven
  7. Halfway To Paradise – Billy Fury
  8. But I Do – Clarence Frogman Henry
  9. You Don’t Know – Helen Shapiro
  10. Running Scared – Roy Orbison

1962: France and Tunisia resume diplomatic relations.

1967: Race riots break out in Memphis, Tennessee.

1968: Actress Jane Asher announces on British TV show, Dee Time, that her engagement to Paul McCartney is off.

1969: The Apollo 11 lunar module lands on the surface of the Moon. The landing is within seconds of being abandoned after the craft overshoots the original landing site. The mission is saved by Neil Armstrong taking manual control to bring the module down. On the same day, Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx wins the Tour de France.

1969: Tom Jones – This Is Tom Jones

Album charts:

  1. According To My Heart – Jim Reeves
  2. Flaming Star – Elvis Presley
  3. His Orchestra, His Chorus, His Singers, His Sound – Ray Conniff
  4. This Is Tom Jones – Tom Jones
  5. The World Of Val Doonican – Val Doonican
  6. The Best Of Glenn Miller – Glenn Miller
  7. Best Of Cliff – Cliff Richard
  8. On The Threshold Of A Dream – The Moody Blues
  9. The World Of The Bachelors – The Bachelors
  10. Oliver! – Original Soundtrack

1970: Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer Iain MacLeod dies in office aged 56.

1973: Martial arts hero Bruce Lee (Lee Jun-fan) dies aged 32 from a cerebral oedema thought to have been caused by an allergic reaction to a painkiller he had taken for a headache.

1974: Thousands of Turkish troops invade northern Cyprus.

1975: India expels three reporters from The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and Newsweek because they refuse to sign a pledge to abide by government censorship.

1976: The Buzzcocks made their live debut supporting The Sex Pistols and Slaughter & The Dogs at The Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester. In the audience was, Morrissey, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Mark E Smith and Mick Hucknall. On the same day, US Viking 1 makes the first-ever landing on Mars.

1977: Gary Kellgren, studio engineer at the Los Angeles Record Plant studio drowns in a swimming pool. On the same day, the CIA releases documents under the Freedom of Information Act revealing it had engaged in mind control experiments.

1980: Tom Watson wins the British Open at Muirfield.

1982: Eight soldiers on ceremonial duty are killed in two IRA bomb blasts in Hyde Park and Regent’s Park.

1986: Greg Norman wins the British Open at Turnberry.

1989: The Burmese government puts author Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.

1990: An IRA bomb blows a 10-foot hole in the London Stock Exchange.

1991: Mike Tyson is accused of raping Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington.

1992: Vaclav Havel resigns as President of Czechoslovakia after Slovakia declares independence.

2000: The leaders of Salt Lake City’s bid to win the 2002 Winter Olympics are indicted by a federal grand jury for bribery, fraud, and racketeering. On the same day, terrorist Carlos “The Jackal” sues France in the European Court of Human Rights for allegedly torturing him.

2001: The London Stock Exchange goes public. On the same day, an Italian protester is shot as the annual G8 summit opens in Genoa.

2002: Bartenders doing tricks with fire start a major fire in a night club in Lima, Peru that kills 25 and injures 100.

2003: The BBC confirms weapons expert Dr David Kelly, found dead two days earlier in Oxfordshire, had been the source for reports that the government “sexed up” a dossier on Iraq’a arms capabilities. On the same day, 16 people are injured after two bombs explode outside a tax office in Nice.

2005: Canada becomes the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. On the same day, Canadian actor James Doohan (Scotty from Star Trek) dies aged 85.

2008: Rapper DMX was arrested at a shopping centre in Phoenix, Arizona, on suspicion of giving a false name to get out of paying for hospital expenses. On the same day, John Lydon denied claims by Kele Okereke from Bloc Party that he was racially abused and attacked by a member of The Sex Pistols’ entourage at a music festival in Barcelona.

2009: Jackson Browne settled a lawsuit against US Senator John McCain and the Republican Party after his 1977 hit ‘Running On Empty’ was used without permission in a 2008 McCain presidential campaign ad that aired on TV and the Internet.

2011: Never-before seen photographs of The Beatles’ first US concert in Washington DC on February 11 1964, sell in New York for more than $360,000.

2012: 12 people are killed and 59 injured when a gunman opens fire at a cinema showing The Dark Knight in Aurora, Colorado. Also on this day, journalist and broadcaster Sir Alastair Burnet dies aged 84.

2014: The Israeli Defence Force enters Shuja’iyya, a neighbourhood of Gaza City, as part of their ground offensive focused on destroying tunnels crossing the Israel border. On the same day, Rory McIlroy wins the British Open.

2017: Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington commits suicide aged 41 on the birthday of close friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, who had killed himself in May. On the same day, the last fighting occurs in the Iraqi city of Mosul as the city is liberated from ISIS.

2018: Director James Gunn is fired as director of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” by Disney after past offensive tweets surface. Actor Dave Bautista and other cast members threaten to quit the franchise unless Gunn’s script is used for the film and the director is reinstated.

2020: The UK suspends an extradition treaty with Hong Kong in wake of new Chinese security laws for the territory.

BIRTHDAYS: Roger Hunt, footballer, 83; John Lodge, bassist (The Moody Blues) 76; Carlos Santana, guitarist, 74; Jem Finer, banjo (The Pogues) 66; Paul Cook, drummer (The Sex Pistols) 65; Michael McNeil, keyboards, (Simple Minds) 63; Stone Gossard, guitarist (Pearl Jam) 55; Anton du (Anthony) Beke, dancer, 55; Josh Holloway, actor, 52; Sandra Oh, actress, 50; Omar Epps, actor, 48; Judy Greer, actress, 46; Gisele Bündchen (Brady), model, 41; Julianne Hough, dancer, 33.

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