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  On This Day
 

On May 20th...

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1277 Pope John XXI died.

1303 Treaty of Paris restored Gascony to the English and arranged for the marriage of English Prince Edward to French Princess Isabella.

Vasco da Gama1498 Vasco da Gama became the first European to reach India by sailing around the southern tip of Africa.

1631 Magdeburg in Germany was seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire.

1639 Dorchester, Massachusetts, formed the first school funded by local taxes.

1690 England passed the Act of Grace, forgiving followers of James II.

William Thornton1759 William Thornton, designer of the U.S. Capitol, was born.

Dolley Madison1768 Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison, was born.

William Congreve1772 Inventor William Congreve was born.

1775 Citizens of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina declared independence from Britain.

Land Ordinance of 17851785 The Continental Congress passed the Land Ordinance, providing for the division of all territory north and west of the Ohio River.

1799 Novelist Honoré de Balzac was born.

1806 Philosopher John Stuart Mill was born.

1818 Businessman William Fargo was born.

1830 The first ever railroad timetable was published in the Baltimore American.
1830 D. Hyde patented the fountain pen.

Marquis de Lafayette1834 French statesman Marquis de Lafayette died.

1851 Inventor Émile Berliner was born.

1861 Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality in the conflict between North and South.
1861 North Carolina became the 11th and last state to secede from the Union.

1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law.

1864 The last battle of the Spotsylvania Campaign was fought.

1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patened blue jeans with copper rivets.

Mary Todd Lincoln1875 Mary Todd Lincoln was declared insane.
1875
International Bureau of Weights and Measures was formed by treaty.

1882 Novelist Sigrid Undset was born.

1883 King Faisal I of Iraq was born.

Kinetoscope1891 The Kinetoscope was demonstrated to the public for the first time.

1892 George Sampson patented the clothes dryer.

Cuba1902 Cuba became an independent republic.

1908 Actor Jimmy Stewart was born.

Henry Flagler1913 Henry M. Flagler, developer of Florida's east coast, died.

1915 Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan was born.

1919 Comedian George Gobel was born.

Charles Lindbergh1927 Charles Lindbergh set out to become the first person to fly nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.
1927 Saudi Arabia became independent of Great Britain.

Amelia Earhart1932 Amelia Earhart set out to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Bipin Chandra  Pal1932 Bipin Chandra Pal, early leader of the Indian independence movement, died.

1944 Singer Joe Cocker was born.

1946 Singer Cher was born.

1951 Major James Jabara became the world's first jet ace.

1954 Chiang Kai-Shek became President of Nationalist China.

1959 Japanese-Americans regained their U.S. citizenship.
1959 Actor Bronson Pinchot was born.

1966 Actress Mindy Cohn was born.

1969 U.S. troops captured Hill 937/Hamburger Hill in Vietnam.

1971 Race car driver Tony Stewart was born.

1980 710 families in the Love Canal area of Niagara Falls, New York, were evacuated.

1989 Comedian Gilda Radner died.

1990 The Hubble Space Telescope transmitted its first pictures to Earth.

1992 India launched its first satellite.

1993 NBC-TV aired the finale of "Cheers."

Stephen Jay Gould2002 Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould died.

2011 Wrestler Randy Savage died.

2012 Singer Robin Gibb died.

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This page was last updated on February 05, 2016.

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