• RSS This day in history

    • Dick Fosbury flops to an Olympic high jump record
      On October 20, 1968, 21-year-old Oregonian Dick Fosbury wins gold—and sets an Olympic record—when he high-jumps 7 feet 4 1/4 inches at the Mexico City Games. It was the first American victory in the event since 1956. It was also the international debut of Fosbury’s unique jumping style, known as ...
    • Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is killed
      On October 20, 2011, Moammar Gadhafi, the longest-serving leader in Africa and the Arab world, is captured and killed by rebel forces near his hometown of Sirte. The eccentric 69-year-old dictator, who came to power in a 1969 coup, headed a government that was accused of numerous human rights ...
    • General MacArthur returns to the Philippines
      After advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur wades ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was forced to flee in 1942. The son of an American Civil War hero, MacArthur served as chief U.S. military ...
    • Sydney Opera House opens
      After 15 years of construction, the Sydney Opera House is dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II. The $80 million structure, designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and funded by the profits of the Opera House Lotteries, was built on Bennelong Point, in Sydney, Australia. Famous for its geometric roof ...
    • Mao’s Long March concludes
      Just over a year after the start of the Long March, Mao Zedong arrives in Shensi Province in northwest China with 4,000 survivors and sets up Chinese Communist headquarters. The epic flight from Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces lasted 368 days and covered 6,000 miles, more than twice the ...
    • Congress investigates Communists in Hollywood
      On October 20, 1947, the notorious Red Scare kicks into high gear in Washington, as a Congressional committee begins investigating Communist influence in one of the world’s richest and most glamorous communities: Hollywood. After World War II, the Cold War began to heat up between the world’s two ...
    • Watergate special prosecutor dismissed, starting "Saturday Night Massacre"
      On October 20, 1973, solicitor General Robert Bork dismisses Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox; Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus resign in protest.  Cox had conducted a detailed investigation of the Watergate break-in that revealed that the burglary ...
    • Kennedy secretly plans blockade of Cuba
      On October 20, 1962, the White House press corps is told that President John F. Kennedy has a cold; in reality, he is holding secret meetings with advisors on the eve of ordering a blockade of Cuba. Kennedy was in Seattle and scheduled to attend the Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair when his press ...
    • U.S. Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase
      On October 20, 1803, the U.S. Senate approves a treaty with France providing for the purchase of the territory of Louisiana, which would double the size of the United States. At the end of 18th century, the Spanish technically owned Louisiana, the huge region west of the Mississippi that had once ...
    • Three members of the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd die in a Mississippi plane crash
      In the summer of 1977, members of the rock band Aerosmith inspected an airplane they were considering chartering for their upcoming tour—a Convair 240 operated out of Addison, Texas. Concerns over the flight crew led Aerosmith to look elsewhere—a decision that saved one band but doomed another. The ...
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