July 20 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred, famous birthdays, death days, legend quotes, and historical news on July 20.

July 20

Events on July 20

1588 The Spanish armada sets sail for England from Corunna, a day later than planned because of a storm.

1605 French cartographer Samuel de Champlain reaches Cape Cod in search of an ideal spot for French settlement in the New World.

1629 English adventurer Sir David Kirke seizes Quebec from the French.

1808 Joseph Boanaparte, brother of Napoleon, enters Madrid as Spanish patriots conquer the French army at Bailen.

1937 Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of radio telegraphy, dies aged 63.

1951 King Abdullah of Jordan is shot dead outside a mosque.

1954 The Geneva Agreement brings about a cessation of hostilities between North and South Vietnam.

1976 The American spacecraft viking lands on Mars and starts sending back television pictures.

1979 The Sandinista National Liberation Front takes power in Nicaragua after ousting General Anastasio Somoza, whose family had ruled the country since 1933.

1999 Death of King Hassan II of Morocco, prompting wide-spread mourning in the Arab world.

Famous Birthdays on July 20

Sir John Rieth 1889, Scottish engineer who became Director General of the BBC and laid down many of the tenets that still govern its standards.

Sir Edmund Hillary 1919, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer who, along with Sherpa Tenzing, was the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Diana Rigg 1939, British actress who partnered Patrick MacNee in the Avengers television series but is better known for her classical roles on stage.

Naseeruddin Shah 1950, Indian film actor and director, who is considered to be one of the finest film and stage actors of the country.

Quotes from Legend

Idleness is only the refuge of weak minds.

- The Earl of Chesterfield, Statesman, diplomat, writer and patron of many authors in a letter to his son, 1749.

Historical News on July 20

Who Stunned Listeners to The BBC Radio Program

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher BBC Dee Time on July 20
Paul McCartney and Jane Asher BBC Dee Time

1968 Jane Asher stunned listeners to the BBC radio program Dee Time, hosted by Simon Dee, today with the news that her engagement to Beatle Paul McCartney was off.

Shooting Tragedy at Batman Film

2012 Filmgoers in Aurora, Colorado, were watching the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises when a gunman entered the theatre and opened fire.

James Eagan Holmes, who was 25 years old at the time of the shooting, is the latest in a long line of young, socially awkward Americans to use relaxed gun laws and acquire deadly equipment.

In this latest attack, 12 people were killed and 58 more injured.

Holmes told the police he was the Batman character ‘Joker’.

President Obama is under pressure to tighten the restrictions on gun ownership to help prevent more tragedies.

1837 Euston Grove, an area of London once described as “a quiet scene of nursery gardens”, is now home to a new terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway.

The station, which replaces the old terminus at Chalk Farm, comprises two 420-ft (136 m) long platforms and a 200-ft (65 m) long double train shed designed by Charles Fox.

Bruce Lee Found Dead

Kung fu film star Bruce Lee found dead on July 20
Kung fu film star Bruce Lee found dead

1973 Kung fu film star Bruce Lee was found dead in the bathroom of actress Betty Ting Pei in Hong Kong yesterday.

He was 32.

Reputedly the fittest man on earth, San Francisco-born Lee (real name Lee Yuen Kam) is thought to have died of a swollen brain, possibly caused by an allergic reaction to aspirin.

Lee’s martial arts films – Fists of Fury, Enter the Dragon, Way of the Dragon, and Game of Death – won him a large following.

Many fans are refusing to believe that Bruce Lee is really dead, suggesting that cult status is not far off for the former king of kung fu.

NBC Broadcasts War Symphony

1942 A new composition by a living composer is a major musical event. Tonight’s live broadcast by the NBC Symphony Orchestra of the Seventh Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich was special on several counts.

The work is in the composer’s own words, “an interpretation of war”, dedicated to the city of Leningrad.

The first three movements were written in that besieged city between July and December last year.

Shostakovich finished the symphony in Kuibyshev after the Soviet authorities, fearful for his safety, insisted that he should move from Leningrad.

The world premiere of the Seventh was given by the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra in Kuibyshev last March.

After the premiere, the microfilm of the manuscript was smuggled through the German lines across Persia, Egypt, and the Atlantic.

As a musical representation of our times, the 70-minute symphony is unique and will surely receive many performances.

Bomb Plot Fails

1944 Adolf Hitler narrowly escaped death today when a bomb exploded at his headquarters in Rastenburg.

The bomb was left in a briefcase under the table of the conference room in which the Fuhrer was meeting with his top military brass.

The German leader was shielded from the full blast of the bomb partly by the heavy oak tabletop over which he was leaning and partly by the thick table leg against which the brief cast had been leant.

The bomb had been planted by a German officer with liberal sympathies, Colonel Klaus Schenk, Count von Stauffenberg.

An attempt to capture Berlin has been foiled and several of the ringleaders have been rounded up and shot.

A manhunt is now underway for the rest of the conspirators, who are thought to include several high-ranking officers.

Hitler has taken his miraculous deliverance from what is estimated to be the seventh attempt on his life as a sign of God’s Favour.

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