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On October 20th...

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1632 Architect Christopher Wren was born.

1740 Maria Theresa became ruler of Austria, Hungary and Bohemia.

1781 The Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, was approved by the Habsburg Monarchy.

1786 Harvard University organized the first astronomical expedition in the United States.

Louisiana Purchase1803 The U.S. Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase treaty.

1813 The German Kingdom of Westphalia was abolished.

1817 The first Mississippi "Showboat" left Nashville on its maiden voyage.

1818 The 49th parallel was established as the border between the United States and Canada.
1818 The United States and Great Britain agreed to joint control of Oregon country.

1820 Spain sold part of Florida to the United States for $5 million.

1822 The first edition of the London Sunday Times was published.

1859 Philosopher John Dewey was born.

P.T. Barnum1873 P. T. Barnum's Hippodrome, featuring his "Greatest Show on Earth," opened in New York City.

1882 Actor Bela Lugosi was born.

1890 Jazz musician Jelly Roll Morton was born.
1890 Explorer Sir Richard Burton died.

1903 The United States won a dispute over the boundary between the District of Alaska and Canada.

1906 Dr. Lee DeForest demonstrated his electrical vacuum tube.

1907 Actress Arlene Francis was born.

1925 Columnist Art Buchwald was born.

Eugene V. Debs1926 Eugene V. Debs, labor union organizer and five-time Socialist Party candidate for President, died.

1930 "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" premiered on NBC Radio.

Mickey Mantle1931 Baseball player Mickey Mantle was born.

1932 Actor William Christopher was born.

1935 Mao Tse Tung and his Communist forces ended their "Long March" at Yan'an, in Shaanxi, China.
1935 Actor Jerry Orbach was born.

1936 Anne Sullivan, teacher who helped Helen Keller learn to speak, died.

1944 Thirty blocks of Cleveland, Ohio, burned after a liquid gas factory exploded.
Douglas MacArthur1944 U.S. forces under General Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines.

1950 Singer-musician Tom Petty was born.
1950 Henry L. Stimson, U.S. Secretary of War, died.

1956 Vladyslaw Gomulka was elected First Secretary of the Polish Communist Party.

1957 Two trains collided near Catalca, Turkey, killing 89 persons and injuring 171.

1958 West German President Theodor Heuss became the first German head of state to make a state visit to England since 1907.
1958 The British oil tanker Stanvac Japan blew up in the Arabian Sea; 20 persons were killed and 50 others were rescued.
1958 Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat seized power in Thailand in a bloodless coup.

1960 The first fully mechanized post office opened in Providence, Rhode Island.

1961 A train derailed west of Calcutta, India, killing more than 50 persons.

1962 The Norwegian tanker Boheme collided with a string of drifting oil barges and caught fire in the Mississippi River near Lutcher, Louisiana, killimg at least 12 aboard the tanker.

1963 Jim Brown set an NFL single-season rushing record -- 1,863 yards.
1963 South Africa began its prosecution of Nelson Mandela and eight others charged with conspiracy.

1964 A riot at a Rolling Stones concert in Paris resulted in 150 arrests.
Herbert Hoover1964 Former U.S. President Herbert Hoover died.

1968 Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.

1971 Rapper Snoop Dogg was born.

1973 The OPEC oil embargo began.
1973 Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired.

1977 Three members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd were killed in a charter plane crash.

1978 The Coast Guard cutter Cuyahoga sank after colliding with the Argentine coal freighter Santa Cruz II in Chesapeake Bay, taking 11 of her 29 crew members with her.

1979 The John F. Kennedy Library was dedicated in Boston.
1979 John Tate won the World Boxing Association heavyweight championship by defeating Gerrie Coetzee.

1989 The U.S. Senate impeached U.S. District Judge Alcee L. Hastings.

1994 Actor Burt Lancaster died.

2006 Actress Jane Wyatt died.

2010 Penthouse founder Bob Guccione died.

2011 Libyan President Muammar Qadaffi died.

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The Robinson Library >> On This Day

This page was last updated on October 20, 2017.