This Day in History - June 20

June 20

451 – Roman and barbarian warriors halt Attila’s army at the Catalaunian Plains in eastern France

1397 – The Union of Kalmar unites Denmark, Sweden and Norway under one monarch

1723 – Scottish historian and philosopher Adam Ferguson is born

1756 – Nearly 150 British soldiers are imprisoned in the ‘Black Hole’ cell of Calcutta.  Most die

1782 – Congress adopts the Great Seal of the US

1789 – In Versailles, France, the deputies of the Third Estate, representing commoners and lower clergy, meet on the Jeu de Paume, an indoor tennis court, in defiance of King Louis XVI’s order to disperse, and took a historic oath not to disband until a new French constitution had been adopted

1793 – Eli Whitney applies for a cotton gin patent

1819 – The paddle-wheel steamship Savannah arrives in Liverpool, England, after a voyage of 27 days and 11 hours-the first steamship to successfully cross the Atlantic

1819 – German and French composer Jacques Offenbach is born

1820 – Argentinean economist, lawyer and politician Manuel Belgrano dies

1837 – 18-year-ld Victoria is crowned Queen of England

1837 – William IV of the UK dies

1858 – Novelist Charles Chesnutt is born

1863 – President Abraham Lincoln admits West Virginia into the Union as the 35th state

1875 – Mountain man Joe Meek dies

1887 – German artist Kurt Schwitters is born

1898 – On the way to the Philippines to fight the Spanish, the US Navy seizes the island of Guam

1899 – French Resistance fighter during WWII, Jean Moulin, is born

1900 – In response to widespread foreign encroachment upon China’s national affairs, Chinese nationalists launch the Boxer Rebellion in Peking

1901 – Charlotte M. Manye of South Africa becomes the first native African to graduate from an American University

1905 – Playwright and screenwriter Lillian Hellman is born

1907 – Playwright Lillian Hellman is born

1909 – Film actor Errol Flynn is born

1910 – Blues singer Chester Arthur Burness is born

1910 – Pulitzer Prize-winning author Josephine Johnson is born

1910 – Mexican President Porfirio Diaz proclaims martial law and arrests hundreds

1919 – The German cabinet resigns over Versailles Peace Conference deadlock

1920 – Race riots in Chicago, Illinois leave two dead and many wounded

1923 – France announces it will seize the Rhineland to assist Germany in paying her war debts

1924 – Guitarist Chet Atkins is born

1924 – Soldier, author and actor Audie Murphy is born

1928 – Leader of the National Front party in France, Jean-Marie Le Pen is born

1941 – The US Army Air Force is established, replacing the Army Air Corps

1941 – Ford Motor Company signs its first contract with the United Automobile Workers of America and Congress of Industrial Organizations

1942 – American singer, songwriter, musician and producer Brian Wilson is born

1943 – British bombers perform the first “shuttle bombing” raid of WWII, attacking sites in Germany and Italy in Operation Bellicose

1946 – Pianist Andre Watts is born

1947 – Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, organized crime leader, is shot and killed at his mistress Virginia Hill’s home in Beverly Hills

1955 – The AFL and CIO agree to combine names for a merged group

1963 – The US and the Soviet Union agree to establish a hot line between Washington and Moscow

1964 – General William Westmoreland succeeds General Paul Harkins as head of the US forces in Vietnam

1966 – Belgian priest, astronomer and cosmologist Georges Lemaitre dies

1967 – Boxing champion Muhammad Ali is convicted of refusing induction into the American armed services

1972 – President Richard Nixon names General Creighton Abrams as Chief of Staff of the US Army

1975 – Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opens in theaters

1977 – Crude oil begins flowing from the nation’s largest oil field, south, down the trans-Alaska pipeline to the ice-free port of Valdez, Alaska

1978 – English soccer player Frank Lampard is born

1979 – President Jimmy Carter and his wife climb to the White House roof to celebrate the installation of solar-energy panels there

1980 – Roberto Duran beats “Sugar” Ray Leonard to win the World Boxing Council welterweight title and the unofficial title of best “pound for pound” fighter in the world

1999 – NATO declares an official end to its bombing campaign of Yugoslavia

1999 – Author and game show host Clifton Fadiman dies

2002 – A gas explosion in a Chinese coal mine kills 111 workers

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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