History of 20 April
1902 – Scientists Marie and Pierre Curie isolated the radioactive element radium.
1912 – Fenway Park opened as the home of the Boston Red Sox.
1916 – Sir Roger Casement landed in Ireland to incite rebellion against the British. Casement, a British diplomat, was captured within hours and was hanged for high treason on August 3.
1916 – Chicago’s Wrigley Field held its first Cubs game with the first National League game at the ballpark. The Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in 11 innings.
1919 – The Polish Army captured Vilno, Lithuania from the Soviets.
1940 – The First electron microscope was demonstrated by RCA.
1942 – Pierre Laval, the premier of Vichy France, in a radio broadcast, establishes a policy of “true reconciliation with Germany.”
1945 – Soviet troops began their attack on Berlin.
1945 – During World War II, Allied forces took control of the German cities of Nuremberg and Stuttgart.
1953 – Operation Little Switch began in Korea. It was the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners of war. Thirty Americans were freed.
1953 – The Boston marathon was won by Keizo Yamada with a record time of 2:18:51.
1959 – “Desilu Playhouse” on CBS-TV presented a two-part show titled “The Untouchables.”
1960 – Brasilia became the capital of Brazil.
1961 – The French army revolted in Algeria.
1967 – Svetlana Alliluyeva (Svetlana Stalina) defected in New York City. She was the daughter of Joseph Stalin.
1967 – In Athens, Army colonels took over the government and installed Constantine Kollias as premier.
1972 – Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon.
1975 – South Vietnam president, Nguyen Van Thieu, resigned, condemning the United States.
1977 – “Annie” opened on Broadway.
1984 – In France, it was announced that doctors had found the virus believed to cause AIDS.
1985 – Manuel Ortega proposed a cease-fire for Nicaragua.
1986 – Geraldo Rivera opened a vault that belonged to Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago. Nothing of interest was found inside.
1987 – Special occasion stamps were offered for the first time by the U.S. Postal Service. “Happy Birthday” and “Get Well” were among the first to be offered.
1989 – The Game Boy handheld video game device was released in Japan.
1992 – Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed by the state of California in 25 years. He was put to death for the 1978 murder of two teenage boys.
1994 – Jackie Parker became the first woman to qualify to fly an F-16 combat plane.
1998 – Astronomers announced in Washington that they had discovered possible signs of a new family of planets orbiting a star 220 light-years away.
2000 – In Sinking Spring, PA, a man chased his estranged girlfriend through town and then forced her car into the path of an oncoming train. The woman and her 3 passengers were killed.
2000 – North Carolina researchers announced that the heart of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur was more like a mammal or bird than that of a reptile.
2000 – The 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act went into effect.
2002 – In the city of General Santos, 14 people were killed and 69 were injured in a bomb attack on a department store. The attack was blamed on Muslim extremists.
2003 – North and South Korea agreed to hold Cabinet-level talks the following week.
2009 – UNESCO launched The World Digital Library. The World Digital Library (WDL) is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.
2010 – The controversial Kharkiv Pact (Russian Ukrainian Naval Base for Gas Treaty) is signed in Kharkiv, Ukraine, by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev; it was unilaterally terminated by Russia on March 31, 2014.
2012 – Two trains are involved in a head-on collision near Sloterdijk, Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, injuring 116 people.
2012 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 2043 relating to Syrian uprising is adopted.
2014 – The American city of Flint, Michigan switches its water source to the Flint River, beginning the ongoing Flint water crisis which has caused lead poisoning in up to 12,000 people, and 15 deaths from Legionnaires disease, ultimately leading to criminal indictments against 15 people, five of whom have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
2015 – Ten people are killed in a bomb attack on a convoy carrying food supplies to a United Nations compound in Garowe in the Somali region of Puntland.
2016 – The U.S. Treasury Department announced a plan for Harriet Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait on the $20 bill.
Celebrating Birthday Today
- 1982 – Jacqueline Govaert, Dutch singer-songwriter, and pianist
- 1982 – Dario Knežević, Croatian footballer
- 1983 – Danny Granger, American basketball player
- 1983 – Miranda Kerr, Australian model
- 1983 – Joanne King, Irish actress
- 1984 – Nelson Évora, Ivorian-Portuguese triple jumper
- 1984 – Bárbara Lennie, Spanish actress
- 1984 – Edixon Perea, Colombian footballer
- 1984 – Jenna Shoemaker, American triathlete
- 1985 – Curt Hawkins, American wrestler
- 1985 – Brent Seabrook, Canadian ice hockey player
- 1987 – Chun Woo-hee, South Korean actress
- 1988 – Brandon Belt, American baseball player
- 1989 – Cally-Jo, English fine artist and the tattoo artist
- 1989 – Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014
- 1989 – Carlos Valdes, Colombian-American actor, and singer
- 1990 – Luhan, Chinese singer and actor
- 1990 – Abby Mavers, English actress
- 1992 – Kristian Álvarez, Mexican footballer
- 1992 – Marko Meerits, Estonian footballer
- 1995 – Damian McKenzie, New Zealand rugby union player
- 1995 – Jean Marie Dongou, Cameroonian footballer
- 1998 – Zachary Claman DeMelo, Canadian race car driver