It happened today – this day in history – September 20

1187: Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem.

1258: Salisbury Cathedral is inaugurated.

1486: Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VII and first husband of Catherine of Aragon, is born in Winchester.

1519: Navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets off on the first successful circumnavigation of the globe.

1565: Spaniards capture Fort Caroline, Florida and massacre the French.

1643: Charles I’s forces are beaten by a parliamentary army led by the Earl of Essex and Philip Stapleton at the First Battle of Newbury in the English Civil War.

1746: Bonnie Prince Charlie flees to France from Scotland.

1833: Charles Darwin arrives in Buenos Aires after travelling through the Argentine interior with gauchos.

1854: A British and French alliance defeat the Russians at the Battle of the Alma, the first major battle of the Crimean War.

1860: The Prince of Wales is the first member of British royalty to visit the US.

1863: Death of folklorist Jacob Grimm aged 78.

1870: Pope Pius IX surrenders to King Victor Emmanuel which unifies Italy and ends 1,116 year reign of Papal States.

1873: Banks in New York are shut for 10 days and panic sweeps the Stock Exchange.

1881: Chester A Arthur is sworn in as US President.

1884: The 6.2-mile Arlberg railroad tunnel is completed in Austria.

1893: The first petrol-powered car debuts in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1904: Orville and Wilbur Wright fly a circle in their Flyer II.

1906: Cunard liner RMS Mauretania is launched at the Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson shipyard in Newcastle.

1909: Parliament passes the South Africa Act calling for the union of Cape Colony, Natal, Orange River Colony, and Transvaal with English and Dutch as official languages.

1926: Gangster Bugs Moran fails to assassinate Al Capone in a drive-by shooting.

1939: Joe Louis KOs Bob Pastor in Round 11 for heavyweight boxing title.

1944: Nijmegen in The Netherlands is liberated from German occupation.

1945: German rocket engineers begin work in the US.

1951: Swiss men vote against women getting the vote.

1957: Death of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, aged 91.

1962: Governor Ross Barnett refuses to admit an African-American, James Meredith, to Mississippi University.

1963: President John F Kennedy proposes a joint US-Soviet voyage to the moon.


1967: The Queen launches the new Cunard cruise liner, the Queen Elizabeth 2, at a ceremony on Clydebank. On the same day, Benin separates from Nigeria.

1968: Led Zeppelin start recording their debut album at Olympic Studios, Barnes. The album takes only about 36 hours of studio time to complete at a cost of around £1,782, which guitarist/producer Jimmy Page financed himself.

1969: During a meeting in London, John Lennon tells the other Beatles he is leaving the band with the words: “I want a divorce.” On the same day, in an amazing sporting gesture, Jack Nicklaus concedes a missable 3-foot putt to Tony Jacklin at the 18th hole at Royal Birkdale to end the Ryder Cup in a draw.

1970: Jim Morrison of The Doors is acquitted on charges of lewd and lascivious behaviour, but found guilty of exposing himself during a concert at The Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove a year and a half earlier. At his trial in Miami, Judge Goodman sentenced Morrison to six months hard labour and a $500 (£270), fine for public exposure and 60 days hard labour for profanity. The sentence was appealed, but Morrison was never brought to trial as he would die in Paris on July 3, 1971. On the same day, Russian space probe, Luna 16, is the first to land on the Moon and collect rock samples to bring back to Earth.

1972: Paul and Linda McCartney are arrested for the second time in four weeks for possession of cannabis. this time growing at their farmhouse in Campbeltown, Scotland.

1973: Singer-songwriter Jim Croce is killed aged 30 with five others when his chartered aircraft hits a tree on take off in Louisiana. On the same day, Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the battle-of-sexes tennis match.

1978: Police launch a massive manhunt for the killers of paperboy Carl Bridgewater, 13, who was shot in the head at close range at an isolated farmhouse near Stourbridge.

1984: A suicide bomber attacks the US embassy in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, killing 20.

1987: French driver Alain Prost wins the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril – his record 28th Formula 1 victory.

1988: American diver Greg Louganis wins the 3m springboard gold medal at the Seoul Olympics after famously hitting his head on the board the previous day. On the same day, actor Roy Kinnear dies aged 54.

1990: East and West Germany ratify reunification.

1992: France votes in favour of the Maastricht treaty.

1998: Singles chart:

  1. I Want You Back – Melanie C ft Missy Elliott
  2. Millennium – Robbie Williams
  3. Sex On The Beach – T-Spoon
  4. Crush – Jennifer Paige
  5. No Matter What – Boyzone
  6. Finally Found – Honeyz
  7. One For Sorrow – Steps
  8. I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Aerosmith
  9. Someone Loves You Honey – Lutricia McNeal
  10. To The Moon And Back – Savage Garden
1998: The Corrs – Talk On Corners

Album chart:

  1. This Is My Truth Tell Me Your – Manic Street Preachers
  2. Step One – Steps
  3. Savage Garden – Savage Garden
  4. Where We Belong – Boyzone
  5. Talk On Corners – The Corrs
  6. One Night Only – The Bee Gees
  7. Life Thru A Lens – Robbie Williams
  8. Mechanical Animals – Marilyn Manson
  9. The Best Of: Hatful Of Rain – Del Amitri
  10. Blue – Simply Red

1999: A multinational UN peacekeeping force lands in East Timor in an attempt to restore law and order.

2000: The MI6 Secret Intelligence Service building is attacked by a Russian-built Mark 22 anti-tank missile.

2003: A referendum is held in Latvia to decide the country’s accession to the European Union.

2004: Football manager Brian Clough dies aged 69.

2005: Model Kate Moss is dropped by clothing chain H&M after allegations of drug taking.

2007: Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones is admitted to hospital after being injured during an altercation with a member of a club’s security team.

2011: The United States ends its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the forces for the first time.

2013: Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is boarded by the Russian military.

2015: Pope Francis meets Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba.

2016: Film director Curtis Hanson dies aged 71.

2018: A woman shoots seven people, killing three and herself at a Rite Aid distribution centre near Baltimore, Maryland. On the same day, an overloaded ferry capsizes on Lake Victoria, Tanzania, killing at least 207, with one man surviving in an air lock for two days.

2020: Tommy DeVito of The Four Seasons dies aged 92 from COVID-19.

BIRTHDAYS: Sophia Loren (Villani Scicolone), actress, 88; Ted Neeley, singer/actor, 79; Frank Lampard Sr, footballer, 74; George R. R. Martin, author, 74; Alannah Currie, vocals/sax/percussion (The Thompson Twins) 63; David Hemmingway, musician/songwriter/vocals (The Beautiful South), 62; Nuno Bettencourt, guitarist (Extreme) 56; Kristen Johnston, actress, 55; Michelle Visage (Schupack) TV personality, 54; Henrick Larsson, footballer, 51; (Korinna) Moon Bloodgood, actress, 47; Jon Bernthal, actor, 46; Johnathan Walters, footballer, 39; Julian Draxler, German footballer, 29.