On This Day … 20 March


  • 235 – Maximinus Thrax is proclaimed emperor.
  • 673 – Emperor Tenmu of Japan assumes the Chrysanthemum Throne at the Palace of Kiyomihara in Asuka.
  • 1600 – The Linköping Bloodbath takes place on Maundy Thursday in Linköping, Sweden: five Swedish noblemen are publicly beheaded in the aftermath of the War against Sigismund (1598–1599).
  • 1600 – The Linköping Bloodbath takes place on Maundy Thursday in Linköping, Sweden: five Swedish noblemen are publicly beheaded in the aftermath of the War against Sigismund (1598–1599).
  • 1815 – After escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
  • 1848 – German revolutions of 1848–49: King Ludwig I of Bavaria abdicates.
  • 1913 – Sung Chiao-jen, a founder of the Chinese Nationalist Party, is wounded in an assassination attempt and dies 2 days later.
  • 1915 – Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity.
  • 1921 – The Upper Silesia plebiscite was a plebiscite mandated by the Versailles Treaty to determine a section of the border between Weimar Germany and Poland.
  • 1922 – The USS Langley is commissioned as the first United States Navy aircraft carrier.
  • 1933 – Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the creation of Dachau concentration camp as Chief of Police of Munich and appointed Theodor Eicke as the camp commandant.
  • 1942 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.
  • 1952 – The US Senate ratifies the Security Treaty Between the United States and Japan.
  • 1956 – Tunisia gains independence from France.
  • 1972 – The Troubles: The first Provisional IRA car bombing in Belfast kills seven people and injures 148 others in Northern Ireland.
  • 1988 – Eritrean War of Independence: Having defeated the Nadew Command, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front enters the town of Afabet, victoriously concluding the Battle of Afabet.
  • 1993 – The Troubles: A Provisional IRA bomb kills two children in Warrington, England. It leads to mass protests in both Britain and Ireland.
  • 2003 – Invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries (the UK, Australia and Poland) begin military operations in Iraq.
  • 2006 – Over 150 Chadian soldiers are killed in eastern Chad by members of the rebel UFDC. The rebel movement sought to overthrow Chadian president Idriss Déby.

People (Births)

  • 1502 – Pierino Belli, Italian soldier and jurist (d. 1575).
  • 1811 – Napoleon II, French emperor (d. 1832).
  • 1836 – Ferris Jacobs, Jr., American general, lawyer, and politician (d. 1886).
  • 1870 – Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, German general (d. 1964).
  • 1916 – Pierre Messmer, French lieutenant and politician, Prime Minister of France (d. 2007).
  • 1918 – Donald Featherstone, English soldier and author (d. 2013).
  • 1919 – Gerhard Barkhorn, German fighter ace (d. 1983).
  • 1934 – Willie Brown, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 41st Mayor of San Francisco.
  • 1936 – Mark Saville, Baron Saville of Newdigate, English lieutenant, lawyer, and judge.
  • 1945 – Henry Bartholomay, American soldier and pilot (d. 2015).
  • 1960 – Yuri Shargin, Russian colonel, engineer, and astronaut.

People (Deaths)

  • 1181 – Taira no Kiyomori, Japanese general (b. 1118).
  • 1549 – Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley, English general and politician, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (b. 1508).
  • 1865 – Yamanami Keisuke, Japanese samurai (b. 1833).
  • 1929 – Ferdinand Foch, French field marshal (b. 1851).
  • 2004 – Pierre Sévigny, Canadian colonel and politician (b. 1917).
  • 2010 – Stewart Udall, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 37th United States Secretary of the Interior (b. 1920).

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