It happened today – this day in history – October 20

1097: Crusaders arrive in Antioch during the First Crusade.

1632: Birth of architect Christopher Wren in Wilts.

1714: Georg Ludwig von Hannover is crowned George I.

1813: The kingdom of Westphalia is abolished.

1818: The 49th parallel forms the border between the US & Canada.

1854: Birth of French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

1864: President Abraham Lincoln formally establishes Thanksgiving as a national holiday in the US.

1877: Premiere of Franz Schubert’s 2nd Symphony in B.

1890: Explorer Richard Burton dies aged 69.

1904: Bolivia and Chile sign a treaty ending the War of the Pacific; recognizing Chile’s possession of the coast.

1910: The RMS Olympic, sister-ship to the ill-fated RMS Titanic, is launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast.

1918: Germany agrees to further concessions to secure an Armistice.

1921: The French and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk nationalists sign a treaty at Ankara fixing the Turko-Syrian border.

1935: 400,000 people demonstrate against fascism in Madrid. On the same day, communist forces end their Long March at Yan’an, in Shaanxi, China.

1941: Nazi occupiers murder 500 inhabitants of Kragujevac Serbia.

1944: Soviet and Yugoslav troops free Belgrade. On the same day, the US 1st army wins the Battle of Aachen.

1949: Eugenie Anderson becomes the first female US ambassador.

1955: Publication of “The Return of the King”, the third and final volume of “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R Tolkien.

1963: The conspiracy trial of Nelson Mandela and eight others begins in South Africa.

1964: Ann Packer of Great Britain runs a world record 2:01.1 to win the women’s 800m gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. On the same day, former US President Herbert Hoover dies aged 90.

1968: Kenyan runner Kip Keino wins the 1,500m gold medal at the Mexico Olympics despite a severe gall bladder infection. Also, Dick Fosbury using his unconventional technique, the Fosbury Flop, wins the men’s high jump gold medal. On the same day, Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis on the island of Scorpios.

1971: West German Chancellor Willy Brandt is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On the same day, Catholic US senator Edward Kennedy calls for a withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland and all-party negotiations to establish a united Ireland.


1972: John Betjeman is appointed Poet Laureate by The Queen.

1973: The Dalai Lama makes his first visit to the UK. On the same day, The Queen opens Sydney Opera House. Also, President Richard Nixon discharges Special Prosecutor and Watergate accuser Archibald Cox and accepts the resignations of Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus.

1974: Singles chart:

  1. Everything I Own – Ken Boothe
  2. Far Far Away – Slade
  3. Sad Sweet Dreamer – Sweet Sensation
  4. All Of Me Loves All Of You – The Bay City Rollers
  5. Gee Baby – Peter Shelley
  6. (You’re) Having My Baby – Paul Anka
  7. I Get A Kick Out Of You – Gary Shearston
  8. Rock Me Gently – Andy Kim
  9. I Can’t Leave You Alone – George McCrae
  10. Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex
1974: Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells

Album chart:

  1. Rollin’ – The Bay City Rollr
  2. Smiler – Rod Stewart
  3. Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield
  4. Back Home Again – John Denver
  5. Band On The Run – Wings
  6. Walls And Bridges – John Lennon
  7. Just A Boy – Leo Sayer
  8. Hergest Ridge – Mike Oldfield
  9. The Singles 1969-1973 – The Carpenters
  10. Odds And Sods – The Who

1975: Soviet orbiter Venera 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit Venus.

1977: Singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backing singer Cassie Gaines from Lynyrd Skynyrd are all killed along with manager Dean Kilpatrick when their rented plane crashes into a densely wooded thicket in the middle of a swamp in Gillsburg, Mississippi.

1982: 66 people are crushed to death during a UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem.

1983: Country and western singer, songwriter, Merle Travis dies aged 65 of a heart attack.

1987: A US Air Force jet crashes into a Ramada Inn near Indianapolis, killing ten people.

1988: The British Government announces plans to change the law so that remaining silent could incriminate rather than protect a suspect. On the same day, British aviator Sheila Scott dies aged 61.

1991: McLaren driver Ayrton Senna clinches his second straight, and third overall Formula 1 World Drivers Championship by finishing second in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

1994: Film star Burt Lancaster dies of a heart attack aged 80.

1998: Comedian Richard Pryor is awarded the first Mark Twain Prize for American Humour.

2000: Human rights activist James Mawdsley is released from prison in Burma where he has been held for a year.

2003: A jury finds Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Tweedy guilty of assaulting a nightclub worker. The singer is sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid community service and ordered to pay her victim £500 compensation, plus £3,000 prosecution costs.

2007: Paul Raven, bassist with post-punk band Killing Joke, dies of a suspected heart attack aged 46 in Geneva. On the same day, South Africa beats England, 15-6 to win the Rugby World Cup Final at Stade de France. Also, Future French President Emmanuel Macron marries his former schoolteacher Brigitte Trogneux.

2011: Deposed leader of Libya, Muammar Gadaffi is killed by NTC fighters shortly after being discovered hiding in a drainage tunnel.

2014: 17-year old Laquan McDonald is shot dead by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke while jaywalking. On the same day, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies aged 82.

2018: Donald Trump threatens to pull the US out of an arms control agreement with Russia.

2020: Nigerian police open fire on protesters in Lagos amid escalating protests against police violence.

BIRTHDAYS: Timothy West, actor, 88; Sandra Dickinson, actress, 74; Valery Borzov, Soviet sprinter, 73; Claudio Ranieri, football manager, 71; Danny Boyle, director, 66; Mark King, bassist/singer (Level 42), 64; Viggo Mortensen, actor, 64; Mark Little, actor/comedian, 63; Ian Rush, football legend, 61; Kamala Harris, US vice president, 58; Norman Blake, guitarist/vocalist (Teenage Fanclub) 57; Susan Tulley, director, 55; Dannii Minogue, singer/TV personality, 51; Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus) rapper, 51; John Krasinski, actor/director/screenwriter, 43; Jess Glynne, singer-songwriter, 33.