This Day in History — September 20

Today is the 263rd day of 2022. There are 102 days left in the year.


1519: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain on a voyage to find the western passage to the Indonesia’s Spice Islands. He is killed on the way but his ship completes the first trip around the world.


480 BC: The Greeks defeat the Persians in the naval battle of Salamis in Aegean Sea.

1857: Delhi in India, held by mutineers, is captured by the British after a three-month siege.

1870: Italian troops enter Rome, completing the unification of Italy. Pope Pius IX refuses to accept the occupation of the city and declares himself a prisoner in the Vatican, a position maintained by his successors until 1929.

1881: Chester A Arthur is sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding James A Garfield who was assassinated.

1886: The South African city of Johannesburg is founded.

1913: In US Open men’s golf, 20-year-old amateur Francis Ouimet wins his only Open title in an 18-hole play-off, five strokes ahead of Britons Harry Vardon and Ted Ray.

1919: Legendary baseball slugger Babe Ruth ties Ned Williamson’s Major League Baseball mark of 27 home runs with a ninth-inning blast in a Boston Red Sox 4-3 win against the Chicago White Sox.

1945: All-India Congress Committee under Mohandas K Gandhi and Pandit Nehru rejects British proposals for self-government, calling for full independence.

1946: Delayed because of World War II, the first Cannes film festival begins, and it becomes one of cinema’s major annual events.

1955: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) grants sovereignty to East Germany.

1960: Thirteen newly independent African nations and former British colony of Cyprus are admitted to United Nations.

1962: Southern Rhodesia declares the Zimbabwe African People’s Union illegal.

1963: In a speech to the UN General Assembly, US President John F Kennedy proposes a joint US-Soviet expedition to the moon.

1964: Paramount Theater (NYC) presents The Beatles with Steve & Eydie.

1967: An Israeli tank shelling sinks three Egyptian troop-carrying boats in the Suez Canal. Israel claims the ships violated the Egyptian-Israeli agreement, banning small craft navigation in the waterway.

1969: Virtual band Archies’ single Sugar Sugar hits number one.

1970: Jim Morrison is found guilty of “open profanity and indecent exposure” after allegedly exposing himself at a concert in Miami in 1969.

1973: In a much-publicised “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs.

1977: Vietnam is admitted as the 149th member of United Nations; the first wave of Southeast Asian “boat people” arrives in San Francisco under a new US resettlement programme.

1984: The Cosby Show premieres on NBC TV.

1985: Walt Disney World welcomes its 200 millionth guest.

1990: The East German and West German parliaments each ratify the treaty governing the legal aspects of a German reunification.

1991: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev admits the central government has lost most of its political control over the Soviet republics.

1992: By 51 per cent, French voters barely approve the Maastricht Treaty on the European Union.

1996: Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s brother, Murtaza Bhutto, is killed, as are seven supporters, in a gun battle with police outside his Karachi home.

1998: American professional baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr ends his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played.

1999: Kosovo Liberation Army leaders and the NATO-led peacekeeping force sign an agreement to demilitarise the former rebel army and transform it into a 5,000-member civilian corps.

2003: Former US President Bill Clinton attends a ceremony in Bosnia to officially open a museum and cemetery dedicated to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which Serb forces executed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

2004: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warns that more than 40 countries have the know-how to produce nuclear arms, while the United States and European Union urge Iran to heed international demands meant to curb its access to nuclear weapons technology.

2005: President Hamid Karzai challenges the need for foreign military operations in Afghanistan such as air strikes and house searches, saying they are no longer effective.

2006: Coal mining accidents in Kazakhstan and Ukraine kill at least 45 workers, raising concerns about mine safety in the former Soviet republics.

2007: Peruvian astronomers say that a meteorite crashed near Lake Titicaca over the weekend, a rare occurence that left an elliptical crater and magnetic rock fragments in an impact powerful enough to register on seismic charts.

2010: Genetically engineered salmon that grow twice as fast as conventional fish appear to be safe, an advisory committee tells the US Food and Drug Administration. But they argue that more testing may be needed before it is served on dinner tables.

2011: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ — a US military policy that theoretically lifted a ban on homosexuals in the armed forces, provided that individuals kept their sexuality private — officially ends. A suicide attacker with a bomb in his turban poses as a Taliban peace envoy and assassinates a former Afghan president who, in the previous year, headed a government council seeking a political settlement with the insurgents.

2017: Hurricane Maria strikes Puerto Rico, causing more than US$90 billion in damages and, according to government officials, nearly 3,000 deaths.


Chulalongkorn, reformist king of Siam (1853-1910); Richard Griffith, Irish geologist/engineer (1784-1878); Upton Sinclair, US novelist-activist (1878-1968); Maxwell Perkins, editor for Ernest Hemingway, F Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe (1884-1947); Leo Strauss, German philosopher (1899-1973); ; Arnold Jacob Auerbach, NBA head coach (1917-2006); Anne Meara, US actress-comedian (1929-2015); Sophia Loren, Italian film actress (1934- ); Sani Abacha. president of Nigeria (1943-1998)

– AP

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