This Day in History — September 20

This Day in History — September 20

Friday, September 20, 2019

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Today is the 263rd day of 2019. There are 102 days left in the year.


1990: The East German and West German Parliaments each ratify the treaty governing the legal aspects of a German reunification.


1519: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Spain on a voyage to find the western passage to Indonesia's Spice Islands. He is killed on the way, but his ship completes the first trip around the world.

1857: Delhi in India, held by mutineers, is captured by the British after a three-month siege.

1870: Italian troops enter Rome, completing the unification of Italy. Pope Pius IX refuses to accept the occupation of the city and declares himself a prisoner in the Vatican, a position maintained by his successors until 1929.

1945: All-India Congress Committee under Mohandas K Gandhi and Pandit Nehru rejects British proposals for self-government, calling for full independence.

1955: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics grants sovereignty to East Germany.

1960: Thirteen newly independent African nations and former British colony of Cyprus are admitted to United Nations.

1962: Southern Rhodesia declares the Zimbabwe African People's Union illegal.

1963: In a speech to the UN General Assembly, US President John F Kennedy proposes a joint US-Soviet expedition to the moon.

1974: Death toll is put at thousands as hurricane lashes Central American nation of Honduras.

1977: Vietnam is admitted as 149th member of United Nations; the first wave of South-east Asian “boat people” arrives in San Francisco under a new US resettlement programme.

1991: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev admits the central Government has lost most of its political control over the Soviet republics.

1992: French voters barely approve the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, by 51 per cent.

1993: Fearing the economy is sliding back toward recession, Japan's central bank cuts its key interest rate to a record low.

1996: Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's brother, Murtaza Bhutto, is killed, as are seven supporters, in a gun battle with police outside his Karachi home.

1997: Polish Solidarity gains against the governing ex-communist Democratic Leftist Alliance party in parliamentary elections.

2001: Minority Albanian rebels begin turning over the last of the arms they are willing to surrender to NATO in Macedonia and Parliament starts to discuss constitutional amendments to give the Albanian minority greater rights.

2003: Former US President Bill Clinton attends a ceremony in Bosnia to officially open a museum and cemetery dedicated to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, in which Serb forces executed as many as 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

2004: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warns that more than 40 countries have the know-how to produce nuclear arms, while the United States and European Union urge Iran to heed international demands meant to curb its access to nuclear weapons technology.

2005: President Hamid Karzai challenges the need for foreign military operations in Afghanistan such as air strikes and house searches, saying they are no longer effective.

2006: Coal mining accidents in Kazakhstan and Ukraine kill at least 45 workers, raising concerns about mine safety in the former Soviet republics.

2007: Peruvian astronomers say that a meteorite crashed near Lake Titicaca over the weekend, a rare occurence that left an elliptical crater and magnetic rock fragments in an impact powerful enough to register on seismic charts.

2009: President Barack Obama says the leader of reclusive North Korea is “pretty healthy and in control” of the impoverished communist country, an assessment Obama received from former President Bill Clinton who visited Pyongyang.

2011: A suicide attacker with a bomb in his turban poses as a Taliban peace envoy and assassinates a former Afghan president who, for the past year, headed a government council seeking a political settlement with the insurgents.


Chulalongkorn, reformist king of Siam (1853-1910); Richard Griffith, Irish geologist/engineer (1784-1878); Upton Sinclair, US novelist/ activist (1878-1968); Leo Strauss, German philosopher (1899-1973); Anne Meara, US actress/comedian (1929-2015); Sophia Loren, Italian film actress (1934- )

— AP

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