August 20


1741 - Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered Alaska.

1862 - Horace Greeley's "The Prayer of Twenty Millions" was published.

1866 - The National Labor Union in the U.S. advocated an eight-hour workday.

1866 - It was formally declared by U.S. President Andrew Johnson that the American Civil War was over. The fighting had stopped months earlier.

1882 - Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" debuted in Moscow.

1885 - "The Mikado", by Gilbert and Sullivan, opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City.

1914 - German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.

1918 - The British opened its Western Front offensive during World War I.

1923 - The first American dirigible, the "Shenandoah," was launched in Lakehurst, NJ. The ship began its maiden voyage from the same location on September 4.

1939 - The National Bowling Association was founded in Detroit, MI. It was the first bowling association in the U.S. for African-Americans.

1940 - France fell to the Germans during World War II.

1945 - Tommy Brown (Brooklyn Dodgers) became the youngest player to hit a home run in a major league ball game. Brown was 17 years, 8 months and 14 days old.

1948 - Cleveland’s Indians and Chicago’s White Sox played at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland before a crowd of 78,382 people. It was the largest crowd to see a nighttime major-league baseball game to date.

1953 - It was announced by the Soviet Union that they had detonated a hydrogen bomb.

1955 - In Morocco and Algeria hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting.

1955 - Colonel Horace A. Hanes, a U.S. Air Force pilot, flew to an altitude of 40,000 feet. Hanes reached a speed of 822.135 miles per hour in a Super Sabrejet.

1964 - A $1 billion anti-poverty measure was signed by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1967 - The New York Times reported about a noise reduction system for album and tape recording developed by technicians R. and D.W. Dolby. Elektra Record's subsidiary, Checkmate Records became the first label to use the new Dolby process in its recordings.

1968 - The Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization.

1977 - Voyager 2 was launched by the United States. The spacecraft was carrying a 12 inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.

1985 - The original Xerox 914 copier was presented to the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History. Chester Carlson was the man who invented the machine.

1991 - A rally of more than 100,000 people occurred outside the Russian parliament building to protest the coup that removed Gorbachev from power.

1997 - NATO troops seized six police stations in Banja Luka that had been held by troops controlled by former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic.

1997 - Britain began voluntary evacuation of its Caribbean island of Montserrat due to the volcanic activity of the Soufriere Hills.

1998 - Canada's Supreme Court announced that Quebec could not secede without the federal government's consent.

1998 - U.S. military forces attacked a terrorist camp in Afghanistan and a chemical plant in Sudan. Both targets were chosen for cruise missile strikes due to their connection with Osama bin Laden.

1998 - The U.N. Security Council extended trade sanctions against Iraq for blocking arms inspections.

2010 - The last American combat brigade exited Iraq after more than seven years after the U.S.-led invasion began.

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