Today in History – April 20

1496 – After his return from the New World, Christopher Columbus entered the court of his sponsors King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. For more an hour, the sovereigns besieged the seaman with questions.

1657 – Freedom of religion was granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam (later New York City).

1775 – American Revolutionary War: The Siege of Boston began, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.

1789 – George Washington arrived at Grays Ferry, Philadelphia while en route to Manhattan for his inauguration.

1836 – U.S. Congress passed an act which created the Wisconsin Territory.

1861 – American Civil War: Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of his home state of Virginia.

1861 – Thaddeus S. C. Lowe, in an attempt to display the value of balloons, made a record journey when he flew 900 miles from Cincinnati to South Carolina.

1887 – Georges Bouton won the world’s first motor race on a steam-powered quadricycle, a ‘test’ organized by French newspaper Le Velocipede.

1898 – U.S. President William McKinley signed a joint resolution to Congress for declaration of war against Spain, beginning the Spanish–American War.

1914 – Nineteen men, women, and children who were participating in a strike were killed in the Ludlow Massacre during the Colorado Coalfield War.

1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, shot down his 79th and 80th victims, his final victories before his death the following day.

1945 – World War II: U.S. troops captured Leipzig, Germany, only to later cede the city to the Soviet Union.

1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: On his 56th birthday Adolf Hitler made his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.

1945 – Twenty Jewish children used in medical experiments at Neuengamme were killed in the basement of the Bullenhuser Damm school.

1946 – The League of Nations officially dissolved.

1961 – Cold War: Failure of the Bay of Pigs Invasion of US-backed Cuban exiles against Cuba.

1972 – Apollo program: Apollo 16 lunar module, commanded by John Young and piloted by Charles Duke, landed on the moon.

1974 – Paul McCartney & Wings released the single “Band on the Run” in the US.

1979 – President Jimmy Carter was attacked by a swamp rabbit which swam up to his fishing boat in Plains, Georgia.

1992 –  An all-star concert in memory of Freddie Mercury was held at Wembley Stadium, London.

1999 – Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injured 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.

2007 – Johnson Space Center shooting: William Phillips barricaded himself in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas before killing a male hostage and himself.

2008 – Danica Patrick won the Indy Japan 300 and became the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race.

2010 – The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.  The disaster killed eleven workers and began an oil spill that lasted six months.

2021 – State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin: Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd by the Fourth Judicial District Court of Minnesota.

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