Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20 Events

69 – Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of emperor.
217 – The papacy of Zephyrinus ends. Callixtus I is elected as the sixteenth pope, but is opposed by the theologian Hippolytus who accuses him of laxity and of being a Modalist, one who denies any distinction between the three persons of the Trinity.
1192 – Richard the Lion-Heart is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third crusade.
1522 – Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta.
1606 – The Virginia Company loads three ships with settlers and sets sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.
1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.
1860 – South Carolina becomes the first state to secede from the United States.
1915 – World War I: Last Australian troops evacuated from Gallipoli.
1917 – Cheka, the first Soviet secret police, is founded.
1924 – Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison
1941 – World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the "Flying Tigers" in Kunming, China.
1942 – World War II: Bombing of Calcutta by the Japanese.
1946 – An 8.1 Mw earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Nankaidō, Japan, kill over 1,300 people and destroy over 38,000 homes.
1951 – The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity. The electricity powered four light bulbs.
1952 – United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87.
1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom.
1959 – The Walker Family Murders
1960 – National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam is formed.
1968 – The Zodiac Killer kills Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California.
1973 – The Spanish Prime Minister, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid.
1977 – Djibouti and Vietnam join the United Nations.
1984 – The Summit tunnel fire is the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million litres of petrol derails near the town of Todmorden in the Pennines.
1987 – History's worst peacetime sea disaster, when the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector 1 in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
1988 – The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is signed in Vienna.
1989 – United States invasion of Panama: The United States sends troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega. This is also the first combat use of purpose-designed stealth aircraft.
1991 – A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina.
1995 – NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia.
1995 – American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain 50 km north of Cali, Colombia killing 160.
1996 – NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X.
1999 – Macau is handed over to the People's Republic of China by Portugal.
2004 – A gang of thieves steal £26.5 million worth of currency from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland, one of the largest bank robberies in UK history.
2005 – In Durrës, Albania was founded Aleksander Moisiu University.
2005 – US District Court Judge John E. Jones III rules against mandating the teaching of "intelligent design" in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
2007 – Elizabeth II becomes the oldest ever monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days.
2007 – The painting Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, is stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art, along with O Lavrador de Café, by the major Brazilian modernist painter Candido Portinari.

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