20th August, on this day

636 Battle of Yarmouk: Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid take control of Syria and Palestine away from the Byzantine Empire, marking the first great wave of Muslim conquests and the rapid advance of Islam outside Arabia
917 Battle of Anchialus: Tsar Simeon I of Bulgaria invades Thrace and drives the Byzantines out.
1000 Foundation of the Hungarian state, Hungary is established as a Christian kingdom by Stephen I of Hungary.
1710 French Army of Napoleon Bonaparte is defeated by the Austrians at the Battle of Saragossa
1741 Alaska is discovered by Danish explorer Vitus Bering
1781 George Washington begins to move his troops south to fight Cornwallis
1794 Battle of Fallen Timbers : Gen Mad Anthony Wayne routes Indians at Fallen Timbers, Ohio
1804 Lewis and Clark Expedition: The "Corps of Discovery", exploring the Louisiana Purchase, suffers its only death when sergeant Charles Floyd dies, apparently from acute appendicitis.
1852 Steamer "Atlantic" collided with fishing boat, sinks with 250 aboard
1858 Charles Darwin first published his of his theory of evolution in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London alongside Alfred Russel Wallace's same theory.
1865 Pres Johnson proclaims an end to "insurrection" in Tx
1866 Presient Andrew Johnson formally declares Civil War over
1882 Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture debuts in Moscow.
1888 Mutineers imprison Emin Pasha at Dufile.
1896 Dial telephone patented
1908 Following a scandal involving the use of slave labour to amass a personal fortune, Belgian King Leopold II is forced to hand over the running of the Congo Free State (Zaire) to the Belgian Government
1912 In US, Plant Quarantine Act goes into effect
1913 1st pilot to parachute from an aircraft (Adolphe Pegoud-France)
1914 German forces occupy Brussels, Belgium during WW I
1916 World War I: Captain Leefe Robinson becomes the first Allied pilot to shoot down a German Zeppelin airship during a raid on London. The airship catches fire and crashes in Cuffley, Hertfordshire. Captain Robinson is later awarded the Victoria Cross
1918 Britain opens offensive on Western front during WW I

1920 Allen Woodring wins Oympic 200 m dash wearing borrowed shoes
1920 The first commercial radio station, 8MK (WWJ), begins operations in Detroit, Michigan.
1924 British sprinter Eric Liddell, a potential gold medal winner in the 100 metres at the Paris Olympic Games, refuses to race in the 100m heats because they're being run on a Sunday
1926 Japan's public broadcasting company, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) is established.
1929 1st airship flight around the Earth flying eastward completed
1930 Dumont's 1st TV broadcast for home reception (NYC)
1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill rallies the nation with a contratulatory speech for the RAF winning the Battle of Britain. 'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few'
1940 Leon Trotsky, assassinated in Mexico City by Stalin agents, dies on 21st August
1942 Dim-out regulations implemented in SF
1944 American and British forces destroy the German Seventh Army at Falaise-Argentan Gap, west of Paris, capturing 50,000 German troops
1944 The Battle of Romania begins with a major Soviet offensive.
1947 Turner Caldwell in D-558-I sets aircraft speed record, 1131 kph
1948 US expels Soviet Consul General in New York, Jacob Lomakin
1949 Hungary (Magyar People's Republic) accepts constitution
1953 Russia publicly acknowledges hydrogen bomb test detonation
1955 1st airplane to exceed 1800 mph (2897 kph)-HA Hanes, Palmdale Ca
1955 Hundreds killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria. A force of Berbers from the Atlas Mountains region of Algeria raid two rural settlements and kill 77 French nationals.
1957 USAF ballon breaks an altitude record at 102,000' (310,896 m)
1960 Senegal breaks from the Mali federation; declaring independence
1960 USSR recovers 2 dogs; 1st living organisms to return from space
1964 President Johnson signs Economic Opportunity Act (totaling nearly $1 billion)
1965 Rolling Stones release "Satisfaction" (their 1st number 1 US hit)
1968 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia
1969 All four Beatles were together in the recording studio for the final time as they finished the Abbey Road LP.
1971 FBI begins covert investigation of journalist Daniel Schorr
1974 Congress votes to reduce aid to South Vietnam from $1 Billion to $700 Million. Majority of the cuts were for military supplies.
1975 Il-62 crashes south of Damascus, Syria, killing 126
1975 In America, the launch of the Viking I spacecraft - destination Mars. It deploys a landing craft which touches down on the surface of Mars in July 1976
1977 NASA launches Voyager 2 towards Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune
1978 Gunmen open fire on an Israeli El Al Airline bus in London
1978 Mark Vinchesi of Amherst Mass keeps a frisbee aloft 15.2 seconds
1979 Singer Vikki Carr and Michael Nilsson wed
1979 The East Coast Main Line rail route between England and Scotland is restored when the Penmanshiel Diversion opens.
1980 Italian climber Reinhold Messner makes the first successful solo ascent of Mount Everest
1980 UN Security Council condemns (14-0, US abstains) Israeli declaration that all of Jersualem is its capital
1982 Lebanese Civil War: A multinational force lands in Beirut to oversee the PLO withdrawal from Lebanon.
1985 Israel ships 96 TOWs to Iran on behalf of the US
1985 Hanspeter Beck of South Australia, finishes a 3,875 mile, 51 day trip from Western Australia to Melbourne on a unicycle
1986 Mail carrier Patrick Sherrill, In Edmond, Oklahoma, shot dead 14 fellow workers
1988 "Black Saturday" of the Yellowstone fire in Yellowstone National Park
1988 Iran–Iraq War: A cease-fire is agreed to after almost eight years of war.
1989 In London, the pleasure cruiser Marchioness is hit by a dredger, the Bowbelle, on the River Thames - 51 people attending a party on the boat are killed
1990 Iraq moves Western hostages to military installations (human shields)
1991 Soviet Union August Coup : More than 100,000 people rally outside the Soviet Union's parliament building protesting the coup aiming to depose President Mikhail Gorbachev.
1991 Estonia secedes from the Soviet Union.
1993 After rounds of secret negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Peace Accords were signed, followed by a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the next month.
1995 At least 350 are killed on one of India's worst railway accidents when two trains - both heading for Delhi - collide at Firozobad approx 120 miles from the capital
1997 Souhane massacre in Algeria; over 60 people killed, 15 kidnapped.
1998 229 people are killed when a Swissair plane crashes into the Atlantic near the coast of Nova Scotia en route from New York to Geneva
1998 US President Bill Clinton launches missile attacks on terrorist camps in Afghanistan and a chemical weapons factory in Sudan in retaliation for recent American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania
1998 The Supreme Court of Canada states Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government's approval.
1998 U.S. embassy bombings: The United States military launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for the August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum is destroyed in the attack.
2002 A group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein take over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin for five hours before releasing their hostages and giving up.

20th August 2006

Lebanon sounds ceasefire warning

Dozens of Taleban fighters killed

Baghdad killings mar pilgrimage

20th August 2007

Mexico coast braces for hurricane

Israel turns away Darfur refugees

Roadside bomb kills Iraq governor

20th August 2008

Many dead in Madrid plane crash

Deadly bombings hit Algerian town

Iran condemned for youth hanging

20th August 2009

Scores of migrants perish at sea

Afghan poll hailed as a 'success'

Lockerbie bomber freed from jail

20th August 2010

Taliban attack on Afghan road construction team

Middle East peace talks to resume

Air traffic glitch delays flights

Birthdates which occurred on 20th August :

1778 Bernardo O'Higgins won independence for Chile
1785 Oliver Hazard Perry US Naval hero ("We have met the enemy")
1833 Benjamin Harrison North Bend, Ohio (R) 23rd Pres (1889-1893)
1860 Raymond Poincar‚ France, PM (1912), president
1873 Eliel Saarinen Finland, architect (GM Tech Institute, Mich)
1881 Edgar Albert Guest Detroit Mich, poet/newspaperman
1890 H.P. Lovecraft US, Gothic novelist (At the Mountains of Madness)
19-- "Diamond" Darrell rocker (Pantera-Cowboys From Hell)
19-- Louis Svitek rocker (Mind Funk-Sugar Aint So Sweet, Fire)
19-- Norma Connolly Boston, Mass, actress (Ruby Anderson-General Hospital)
19-- Peter Davies actor (Loving)
19-- Phyllis Lyons actress (Arlene Vaughan-All My Children)
1901 Salvatore Quasimodo Italy, poet/critic/translator (Nobel 1959)
1907 Alan Reed NYC, actor (Mr Adams & Eve/voice (Fred Flintstone)
1907 Shirley Booth NYC, actress (Hazel-Hazel, A Touch of Grace)
1908 Alfonso Lopez baseball player (AL Manager of the year 1959)
1920 Istv n Sziv¢s Hungary, water polo player (Olympic-gold-1976)
1921 Jacqueline Susann Phila Pa, author (Valley of the Dolls)
1931 Don King boxing promoter, shocking hairstyle
1933 George Mitchell (Sen-D-Me, Senate Whip 1989- )
1935 Justin Tubb San Antonio Tx, country singer (Grand Ole Opry)
1937 George Thoma German FR, cross country ski jumper (Olympic-gold-1960)
1938 Jean-Loup Chr‚tien 1st French traveler in space (on Soyuz T-6)
1940 Sam Melville Utah, actor (Mike Danko-Rookies, Roughnecks)
1941 William H Gray III Baton Rouge La, (Rep-D-Pa, 1978- )
1942 Hans-Joachim Klein German FR, 100m swimmer (Olympic-bronze-1964)
1942 Isaac Hayes composer (Shaft)
1944 Graig Nettles 3rd baseman (NY Yankees, SD Padres, Cleve Indians)
1944 Rajiv Gandhi PM of India (1984- )
1946 Connie Chung TV newscaster (NBC, CBS)
1948 Robert Plant rocker (Led Zeppelin-Stairway to Heaven)
1953 Peter Horton Bellevue Wash, actor (Gary-30 Something)
1955 Jay Acovone Mahopac NY, actor (Det Rado-Hollywood Beat)
1957 Cindy Nicholas Canada, swimmer, swam English Channel 19 times
1957 Jim "Bullseye" Bowen British TV game show host
1958 Lenny Henry British comedian (3 of a Kind)
1960 Elizabeth Alda daughter of Alan Alda, actress (Beth-Four Seasons)
1961 Linda Mantz NYC, actress (Frankie-Dorothy)
1961 Rick Rael heavy metal rocker
1964 Giuseppe Giannini Rome Italy, soccer player (Rome A Team)
1966 Courtney Gibbs Miss USA (1988)/actress (Baywatch)
1971 Ke Huy Quan Saigon Vietnam, actor (Sam-Together We Stand)


Deaths which occurred on August 20th:
1804 Charles Floyd only fatality of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
1914 Pope Pius X dies
1915 Paul Ehrlich scientist, dies in Hamburg at 61
1940 Leon Trotsky icepicked by Frank Jackson
1961 Vilhjalmur Stefansson Arctic explorer, dies at 82
1982 Ulla Jacobsson Swedish actress, dies in Vienna at 53 of bone cnacer
1985 Harchand Singh Longowai Sikh leader, shot by Sikh extremists
1986 Donn Bennett TV host (The Big Idea), dies at 76
1986 Walter Brooke actor (DA Scanlon-Green Hornet), dies at 71
1991 Lenore Strunsky Gershwin widow of Ira Gershwin, dies at 90