On This Day … 20 December


  • AD 69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor.
  • 1192: Richard I of England is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after the Third Crusade.
  • 1808: Peninsular War: The Siege of Zaragoza begins.
  • 1832: HMS Clio under the command of Captain Onslow arrives at Port Egmont under orders to take possession of the Falkland Islands.
  • 1860: South Carolina becomes the first state to attempt to secede from the United States.
  • 1915: World War I: The last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli.
  • 1924: Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison.
  • 1941: World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the “Flying Tigers” in Kunming, China.
  • 1942 – World War II: Japanese air forces bomb Calcutta, India.
  • 1948: Indonesian National Revolution: The Dutch military captures Yogyakarta, the temporary capital of the newly-formed Republic of Indonesia.
  • 1952: A United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87.
  • 1973: The Prime Minister of Spain, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.
  • 1989: The United States invasion of Panama deposes Manuel Noriega.
  • 1995: NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.

People (Births)

  • 1806: Martín Carrera, Mexican general and president (1855) (d. 1871).
  • 1898: Konstantinos Dovas, Greek general and politician, 156th Prime Minister of Greece (d. 1973).
  • 1902: Prince George, Duke of Kent (d. 1942).
  • 1907: Paul Francis Webster, American soldier and songwriter (d. 1984).
  • 1914: Harry F. Byrd Jr., American lieutenant, publisher, and politician (d. 2013).
  • 1924: Judy LaMarsh, Canadian soldier, lawyer, and politician, 42nd Secretary of State for Canada (d. 1980).
  • 1927: Kim Young-sam, South Korean soldier and politician, 7th President of South Korea (d. 2015).
  • 1956: Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritanian general and politician, President of Mauritania.

People (Deaths)

  • 1740: Richard Boyle, 2nd Viscount Shannon, English field marshal and politician, Governor of Portsmouth (b. 1675).
  • 1880: Gaspar Tochman, Polish-American colonel and lawyer (b. 1797).
  • 1935: Martin O’Meara, Irish-Australian sergeant, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1882).
  • 1937: Erich Ludendorff, German general (b. 1865).
  • 1939: Hans Langsdorff, German captain (b. 1894).
  • 1961: Earle Page, Australian soldier and politician, 11th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1880).
  • 1973: Luis Carrero Blanco, Spanish admiral and politician, 69th President of the Government of Spain (b. 1904; assassinated).
  • 1984: Dmitry Ustinov, Minister of Defence of the Soviet Union (1976-84) (b. 1908).
  • 2010: James Robert Mann, American colonel, lawyer, and politician (b. 1920).

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