On this day in history, January 20
|Updated: 1/16 6:48 pm
||Published: 1/16 6:46 pm
- 250 – Emperor Decius begins a widespread persecution of Christians in Rome. Pope Fabian is martyred.
- 649 – King Chindasuinth, at the urging of bishop Braulio of Zaragoza, crowns his son Recceswinth as co-ruler of the Visigothic Kingdom.
- 1265 – In Westminster, the first English parliament conducts its first meeting held by Simon de Montfort in the Palace of Westminster, now also known colloquially as the "Houses of Parliament".
- 1320 – Duke Wladyslaw Lokietek becomes king of Poland.
- 1356 – Edward Balliol abdicates as King of Scotland.
- 1523 – Christian II is forced to abdicate as King of Denmark and Norway.
- 1567 – Battle of Rio de Janeiro: Portuguese forces under the command of Estácio de Sá definitively drive the French out of Rio de Janeiro.
- 1576 – The Mexican city of León is founded by order of the viceroy Don Martín Enríquez de Almanza.
- 1649 – Charles I of England goes on trial for treason and other "high crimes".
- 1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signs a peace treaty with France and Spain, officially ending hostilities in the American Revolutionary War (also known as the American War of Independence).
- 1785 – Invading Siamese forces attempt to exploit the political chaos in Vietnam, but are ambushed and annihilated at the Mekong River by the Tay Son in the Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút.
- 1788 – The third and main part of First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decides that Botany Bay is unsuitable for the location of a penal colony, and decides to move to Port Jackson.
- 1839 – In the Battle of Yungay, Chile defeats an alliance between Peru and Bolivia.
- 1841 – Hong Kong Island is occupied by the British.
- 1885 – L.A. Thompson patents the roller coaster.
- 1887 – The United States Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.
- 1920 – The American Civil Liberties Union is founded.
- 1921 – The first Constitution of Turkey is adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.
- 1929 – In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, is released.
- 1934 – Fujifilm, the photographic and electronics company, is founded in Tokyo, Japan.
- 1936 – Edward VIII becomes King of the United Kingdom.
- 1941 – A German officer is murdered in Bucharest, Romania, sparking a rebellion and pogrom by the Iron Guard, killing 125 Jews and 30 soldiers.
- 1942 – World War II: At the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discuss the implementation of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question".
- 1945 – World War II: Hungary agrees to an armistice with the Allies.
- 1945 – World War II: Germany begins the evacuation of 1.8 million people from East Prussia, a task which will take nearly two months.
- 1949 – Point Four Program a program for economic aid to poor countries announced by United States President Harry S. Truman in his inaugural address for a full term as President.
- 1954 – The National Negro Network is established with 40 charter member radio stations.
- 1959 – The first flight of the Vickers Vanguard.
- 1960 – Hendrik Verwoerd announces a plebiscite on whether South Africa should become a Republic.
- 1969 – East Pakistani police kill student activist Amanullah Asaduzzaman. The resulting outrage is in part responsible for the Bangladesh Liberation War.
- 1972 – Pakistan launched its Nuclear weapons program few weeks after its defeat in Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
- 1981 – Twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan is inaugurated, at age 69 the oldest man ever to be inaugurated as U.S. President, Iran releases 52 American hostages.
- 1986 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.
- 1987 – Church of England envoy Terry Waite is kidnapped in Lebanon.
- 1990 – On Black Saturday, the Red Army kills Azerbaijani civilians in Baku.
- 1991 – Sudan's government imposes Islamic law nationwide, worsening the civil war between the country's Muslim north and Christian south.
- 1992 – Air Inter Flight 148, an Airbus A320-111, crashes into a mountain near Strasbourg, France killing 87 of the 96 people on board. A design flaw in the computer mode selection system resulted in the crew selecting the wrong rate of descent.
- 1999 – The China News Service announces new government restrictions on Internet use, aimed especially at Internet cafés.
- 2001 – Philippine president Joseph Estrada is ousted in a nonviolent 4-day revolution, and is succeeded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
- 2006 – Witnesses report seeing a bottlenose whale swimming in the River Thames, the first time the species had been seen in the Thames since records began in 1913.
- 2007 – A three-man team, using only skis and kites, completes a 1,093-mile (1,759 km) trek to reach the southern pole of inaccessibility for the first time since 1958 and for the first time ever without mechanical assistance.
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