#TodayInHistory – April 20
April 20 – Some important events on this day
1611 👉🏼 First known performance of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth at the Globe Theatre, London, recorded by Simon Forman
1736 👉🏼 French mathematician Pierre Louis Maupertuis begins Lapland expedition to measure latitude and shape of the earth, joined by fellow scientists Anders Celsius, Charles Etienne Louis Camus, Alexis Clairaut, and Pierre-Charles Le Monnier.
1759 👉🏼 George Frideric Handel is buried in Westminster Abbey, London.
As a young man the German born Handel travelled and lived in Italy, its operatic tradition becoming very influential on his work.
In 1712 Handel decided to settle in London, becoming a naturalized British citizen in 1727. He enjoyed early royal patronage and wrote his famous “Water Music” in 1717 for King George I on the River Thames and in 1727 was commissioned to compose works for the coronation of George II. One of these, “Zadok the Priest” has been played at every British coronation since. Handel began to move away from Italian style operas towards oratorios before later in life embracing a more English choral tradition. His most famous work “Messiah” was composed in 1742 and its “Hallelujah” chorus has been a Christmas favorite ever since.
1777 👉🏼 New York adopts new constitution as an independent state
1792 👉🏼 Amidst the French Revolution, France declares war on Austria and Prussia, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars
1841 👉🏼 Edgar Allen Poe’s story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, first appears in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine. The tale is generally considered to be the first detective story. 🕵️♂️
1862 👉🏼 First pasteurization test completed by Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard
1887 👉🏼 Georges Bouton wins the world’s 1st motor race on a steam-powered quadricycle, a ‘test’ organised by French newspaper Le Velocipede ✔️ READ THE ARTICLE !
1902 👉🏼 Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride
1918 👉🏼 Manfred von Richthofen, better know as “The Red Baron”, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day. He is considered the top fighter ace of the war, he was widely respected by his enemies and regarded as a national hero in Germany by 1918.
History has recorded “The Red Baron” as one of the top fighter pilots of all time and thus he has become the subject of various books, songs and films.
1920 👉🏼 Balfour Declaration recognized, makes Palestine a British Mandate
1968 👉🏼 British politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech
1973 👉🏼 Canadian ANIK A2 becomes 1st commercial satellite in orbit 🇨🇦
1974 👉🏼 “The Troubles”, the Northern Ireland conflict between republican and loyalist paramilitaries, British security forces, and civil rights groups, claims its 1000th victim
1979 👉🏼 39th US President Jimmy Carter is attacked by a swamp rabbit which swam up to his fishing boat in Plains, Georgia.
Although he was a one-term president, he is remembered for many things, like the Iran hostage crisis, the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the late-70s energy crisis….and being attacked by a “killer rabbit” on this day!
As Carter was on a solo fishing expedition in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, when a rabbit that was being chased by hounds jumped into the water near him and swam aggressively towards his boat. The President shooed it off with a paddle and the rabbit swam away.
Such an innocuous event turned into political fodder for his enemies, who wanted to portray Carter’s presidency as hapless and weak. Monty Python and the Holy Grail, released around the same time, features a scene with a rabbit killing people, and so the rabbit that swam toward Carter became known as the “killer rabbit.”
Columnist Dave Barry once referred to it as the single most memorable event of Carter’s presidency!
1980 👉🏼 Climax of Berber Spring in Algeria sees hundreds of Berber political activists arrested
1992 👉🏼 Expo ’92 opens in Seville Spain 🇪🇸
1994 👉🏼 Serbian army bombs hospital in Goradze Bosnia, 47 killed
1999 👉🏼 Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 13 people and injure 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School, Colorado
2008 👉🏼 Danica Patrick driving for Andretti Green Racing wins the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi. She is first female driver in history to win an IndyCar Series race.
2010 👉🏼 The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico and an environmental diaster.
2012 👉🏼 Plane crash near Islamabad, Pakistan, kills 127 people ✈️