|October 20 in recent years
October 20 is the 293rd day of the year (294th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 72 days remaining until the end of the year.
- 1740 - Maria Theresa takes the throne of Austria. France, Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony refuse to honour the Pragmatic Sanction and the War of the Austrian Succession begins.
- 1781 - Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, was approved in Habsburg Monarchy.
- 1803 - The United States Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.
- 1818 - The Convention of 1818 signed between the United States and the United Kingdom which, among other things, settled the US-Canada border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.
- 1824 - William H. Seward and Frances Adeline Miller Seward wed.
- 1827 - Battle of Navarino - a combined Turkish and Egyptian armada is destroyed by an allied British, French, and Russian naval force in the port of Navarino in Pylos, Greece. The most important result of this battle is the end of the Greek Liberation War and the affirmation of independence of modern Greece.
- 1883 - Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Ancón, by which the Tarapacá province was ceded to the latter, bringing an end to Peru's involvement in the War of the Pacific.
- 1910 - The hull of the RMS Olympic, sister-ship to the ill-fated RMS Titanic, is launched from the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland.
- 1935 - The Long March ends
- 1941 - World War II: Thousands of civilians in Kragujevac in German-occupied Serbia are killed in the Kragujevac massacre.
- 1944 - The Soviet army and Yugoslav Partisans liberate Belgrade, the capital of Yugoslavia
- 1944 - Liquid natural gas leaks from storage tanks in Cleveland, then explodes; the explosion and resulting fire level 30 blocks and kill 130.
- 1944 - General Douglas MacArthur fulfills his promise to return to the Philippines when he commands an Allied assault on the islands, reclaiming them from the Japanese during the Second World War.
- 1947 - The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a blacklist that prevents some from working in the industry for years.
- 1951 - The "Johnny Bright Incident" occurred in Stillwater, Oklahoma
- 1952 - Governor Evelyn Baring declared a state of emergency in Kenya and began arresting hundreds of suspected leaders of the Mau Mau Uprising, including Jomo Kenyatta, the future first President of Kenya.
- 1955 - Publication of The Return of the King, being the last part of The Lord of the Rings.
- 1967 - A purported bigfoot is filmed by Patterson and Gimlin.
- 1968 - Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
- 1971 - The Nepal stock exchange collapses.
- 1973 - The Saturday Night Massacre: President Nixon fires Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus after they refuse to fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, who is finally fired by Robert Bork.
- 1973 - The Sydney Opera House opens.
- 1976 - The ferry George Prince is struck by a ship while crossing the Mississippi River between Destrehan and Luling, LA. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died; only 18 people aboard the ferry survived.
- 1977 - A plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashes in Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines along with backup singer Cassie Gaines, the road manager, pilot, and co-pilot.
- 1979 - The John F Kennedy library is opened in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1982 - During the UEFA Cup match between FC Spartak Moscow and HFC Haarlem at least 63 and probably many more people are crushed to death in the Luzhniki disaster.
- 1984 - The Monterey Bay Aquarium opens in Monterey Bay.
- 1991 - The Oakland Hills firestorm kills 25 and destroys 3,469 homes and apartments, causing more than $2 billion in damage.
- 2004 - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is sworn in as the President of Indonesia.
- 2004 - The Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball become the first team in the history of the league to win a best-of-7 postseason series after trailing the series 3 games to 0, by defeating the New York Yankees in Game 7 the American League Championship Series.
- 2004 - The first Ubuntu Linux distribution is released.
- 1463 - Alessandro Achillini, Italian philosopher (d. 1512)--
- 1496 - Claude, French soldier (d. 1550)
- 1616 - Thomas Bartholin, Danish physician, mathematician, and theologian (d. 1680)
- 1620 - Aelbert Cuyp, Dutch painter (d. 1691)
- 1632 - Sir Christopher Wren, English architect (d. 1723)
- 1656 - Nicolas de Largillière, French painter (d. 1746)
- 1660 - Robert Bertie, English statesman (d. 1723)
- 1677 - Stanislaus I Leszczyński (d. 1766)
- 1711 - Timothy Ruggles, American-born Tory politician (d. 1795)
- 1719 - Gottfried Achenwall, German statistician (d. 1772)
- 1759 - Chauncey Goodrich, U.S. Senator from Connecticut (d. 1815)
- 1780 - Pauline Bonaparte, princess Borghese, sister of Napoleon Bonaparte (d. 1825)
- 1784 - Henry Temple, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1865)
- 1785 - George Ormerod, English historian and antiquarian (d. 1873)
- 1808 - Karl Andree, German geographer (d. 1875)
- 1819 - The Báb, Persian founder of the Bábí Faith (d. 1850)
- 1819 - Carl Mikuli, Polish pianist (d. 1897)
- 1822 - Thomas Hughes, English novelist (d. 1896)
- 1832 - Constantin Lipsius, German architect (d. 1894)
- 1854 - Arthur Rimbaud, French poet (d. 1891)
- 1858 - John Burns, English politician (d. 1943)
- 1859 - John Dewey, American philosopher (d. 1952)
- 1874 - Charles Ives, American composer (d. 1954)
- 1882 - Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-born actor (d. 1956)
- 1889 - Margaret Dumont, American actress (d. 1965)
- 1890 - Jelly Roll Morton, American composer (d. 1941)
- 1891 - James Chadwick, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- 1891 - Jomo Kenyatta, President of Kenya (d. 1978)
- 1893 - Charley Chase, American comedian (d. 1940)
- 1894 - Olive Thomas, American actress (d. 1920)
- 1895 - Rex Ingram, American actor (d. 1969)
- 1897 - Crown Prince Eun of Korea (d. 1970)
- 1900 - Wayne Morse, U.S. Senator from Oregon (d. 1974)
- 1904 - Anna Neagle, English actress (d. 1986)
- 1904 - Tommy Clement Douglas, Canadian politician (d. 1986)
- 1905 - Ellery Queen, pseudonym of two American writers (d. 1982)
- 1907 - Arlene Francis, American television personality (d. 2001)
- 1909 - Sugiyama Yasushi, Japanese painter (d. 1993)
- 1913 - Grandpa Jones, American banjo player and singer (d. 1998)
- 1914 - Fayard Nicholas, American dancer (d. 2006)
- 1917 - Jean-Pierre Melville, French director (d. 1973)
- 1918 - Robert Lochner, German journalist (d. 2003)
- 1922 - John Anderson, American actor (d. 1992)
- 1923 - Robert Craft, American conductor
- 1925 - Art Buchwald, American humorist (d. 2007)
- 1925 - Tom Dowd, American recording engineer (d. 2002)
- 1925 - Roger Hanin, French actor
- 1931 - Richard Caliguiri, American politician (d. 1988)
- 1931 - Mickey Mantle, American baseball player (d. 1995)
- 1932 - Rosey Brown, American football player (d. 2004)
- 1932 - William Christopher, American actor (M*A*S*H)
- 1934 - Eddie Harris, American jazz saxophonist (d. 1996)
- 1934 - Michiko, empress of Japan
- 1935 - Jerry Orbach, American actor (d. 2004)
- 1937 - Juan Marichal, Dominican baseball player
- 1937 - Wanda Jackson, American rock and rockabilly singer
- 1938 - Iain MacMillan, Abbey Road photographer (d. 2006)
- 1940 - Kathy Kirby, British singer
- 1940 - Robert Pinsky, American poet and Poet Laureate of the United States
- 1942 - Earl Hindman, American actor (d. 2003)
- 1942 - Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, German biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
- 1943 - Dunja Vejzovic, Croatian soprano
- 1944 - David Mancuso, American disc jockey
- 1946 - Elfriede Jelinek, Austrian writer, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1946 - Lucien Van Impe, Belgian cyclist
- 1949 - Valeri Borzov, Ukrainian athlete
- 1950 - Tom Petty, American musician
- 1951 - Claudio Ranieri, Italian football player and manager
- 1951 - Leif Pagrotsky, Swedish politician
- 1953 - Keith Hernandez, American baseball player
- 1953 - Bill Nunn, American actor
- 1954 - Steve Orich, orchestrator
- 1955 - Thomas Newman, American composer
- 1955 - David Profumo, English novelist
- 1955 - Aaron Pryor, American boxer
- 1956 - Danny Boyle, English film director
- 1957 - Susanna Haavisto, Finnish actress and singer
- 1958 - Valerie Faris, American film director
- 1958 - Dave Finlay, Northern Irish professional wrestler
- 1958 - Lynn Flewelling, American fantasy author
- 1958 - Scott Hall, American professional wrestler
- 1958 - Mark King, English musician and singer (Level 42)
- 1958 - Dave Krieg, American football player
- 1958 - Viggo Mortensen, American actor
- 1958 - Ivo Pogorelic, Croatian pianist
- 1960 - Konstantin Aseev, Russian chess player (d. 2004)
- 1960 - Lepa Brena, famous Yugoslav singer
- 1961 - Ian Rush, Welsh footballer
- 1961 - Michie Tomizawa, Japanese voice actress
- 1962 - David M. Evans, American screenwriter and film director
- 1962 - Dave Wong, Hong Kong/Taiwanese singer-songwriter
- 1963 - Julie Payette, Canadian astronaut
- 1963 - Nikos Tsiantakis, Greek footballer
- 1965 - Mikhail Shtalenkov, Russian ice hockey player
- 1965 - William Zabka, American actor
- 1965 - Norman Blake, Scottish musician
- 1966 - Allan Donald, South African cricketer
- 1966 - Stefan Raab, German entertainer
- 1966 - Patrick J. Volkerding, Founder and maintainer of the Slackware Linux distribution
- 1966 - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda leader (d. 2006)
- 1967 - Luigi Lo Cascio, Italian actor
- 1967 - Luck Mervil, Québécois actor and singer
- 1967 - Marco Ngai, Hong Kong actor
- 1969 - Juan González, Puerto Rican baseball player
- 1969 - Laurie Daley, Australian rugby league footballer
- 1969 - Lambros Papakostas, Greek high jumper
- 1970 - Chavo Guerrero, American professional wrestler
- 1970 - Michelle Malkin, American political commentator and author
- 1971 - Dannii Minogue, Australian singer
- 1971 - Snoop Dogg, American rapper
- 1972 - Will Greenwood, England rugby union player
- 1976 - Tom Wisniewski, American guitarist (MxPx)
- 1977 - Matt Jansen, English footballer
- 1977 - Leila Josefowicz, Canadian classical violinist
- 1978 - Virender Sehwag, Indian cricketer
- 1978 - Paul Wilson, Irish bass player (Snow Patrol)
- 1979 - John Krasinski, American actor
- 1979 - Paul O'Connell, Irish rugby player
- 1980 - Jose Veras, Dominican baseball player
- 1981 - Willis McGahee, American football player
- 1981 - Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Greek footballer
- 1981 - Francisco Javier Rodríguez, Mexican footballer
- 1982 - Becky Brewerton, Welsh golfer
- 1982 - Yasser Al-Qahtani, Saudi football player
- 1983 - Alex Nackman, musician
- 1983 - Takayuki Yamada, Japanese actor
- 1983 - Luis Saritama, Ecuadorian footballer
- 1984 - Florent Sinama-Pongolle, French footballer
- 1984 - Andrew Trimble, Northern Irish rugby player for Irish rugby team
- 1985 - Jennifer Nicole Freeman, American actress
- 1985 - James Sutton, British racing driver
- 1988 - Risa Niigaki, Japanese singer
- 1994 - Morgan Featherstone, Fashion model
- 460 - Aelia Eudocia, Byzantine Empress
- 1139 - Henry X
- 1570 - João de Barros, Portuguese historian (b. 1496)
- 1631 - Michael Maestlin, German astronomer and mathematician (b. 1550)
- 1640 - John Ball, English Puritan clergyman (b. 1585)
- 1652 - Antonio Coello, Spanish writer (b. 1611)
- 1713 - Archibald Pitcairne, Scottish physician (b. 1652)
- 1740 - Charles VI (b. 1685)
- 1842 - Grace Darling, English heroine (b. 1815)
- 1865 - Champ Ferguson, Confederate guerrilla (b. 1821)
- 1890 - Sir Richard Burton, British explorer and writer (b. 1821)
- 1900 - Naim Frashëri, Albanian poet (b. 1846)
- 1907 - Said Pasha Kurd, Kurdish statesman (b. 1834)
- 1910 - David B. Hill, Governor of New York (b. 1843)
- 1926 - Eugene Debs, American labor leader and Socialist presidential candidate (b. 1855)
- 1935 - Arthur Henderson, Scottish politician, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1863)
- 1936 - Anne Sullivan, American teacher (b. 1866)
- 1940 - Gunnar Asplund, Swedish architect (b. 1885)
- 1964 - Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States (b. 1874)
- 1967 - Yoshida Shigeru, Prime Minister of Japan (b. 1878)
- 1968 - Bud Flanagan, British wartime entertainer (b. 1896)
- 1972 - Harlow Shapley, American astronomer (b. 1885)
- 1977 - Members of the American rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd killed in a plane crash:
- 1983 - Peter Dudley, British actor
- 1983 - Yves Thériault, French Canadian author (b. 1915)
- 1984 - Carl Ferdinand Cori, Austrian-born biochemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1896)
- 1984 - Paul Dirac, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
- 1987 - Andrey Kolmogorov, Russian mathematician (b. 1903)
- 1988 - Sheila Scott, English aviatrix (b. 1922)
- 1989 - Anthony Quayle, English actor (b. 1913)
- 1990 - Joel McCrea, American actor (b. 1905)
- 1992 - Werner Torkanowsky, German conductor (b. 1926)
- 1993 - Sugiyama Yasushi, Japanese painter (b. 1909)
- 1994 - Burt Lancaster, American actor (b. 1913)
- 1995 - Christopher Stone, American actor (b. 1942)
- 2001 - Ted Ammon, American financier (b. 1949)
- 2002 - Barbara Berjer, American actress (b. 1920)
- 2002 - Bernard Fresson, French actor (b. 1931)
- 2003 - Jack Elam, American actor (b. 1918)
- 2004 - Anthony Hecht, American poet (b. 1923)
- 2004 - Chuck Hiller, American baseball player (b. 1934)
- 2005 - Shirley Horn, American singer (b. 1934)
- 2005 - Endon Mahmood, First Lady of Malaysia (breast cancer) (b. 1941)
- 2005 - Eva Svankmajerova, Czech artist (b. 1940)
- 2006 - Jane Wyatt, American actress (b. 1910)
- 2007 - Max McGee, American football player (b. 1932)
- 2007 - Paul Raven, British bass-player (Killing Joke, Ministry) (b. 1961)
Holidays and observances
118 Familypedia people were born on October 20
138 Familypedia people died on October 20
113 Familypedia people were first married on October 20