Today in History
December 20

69 Vespians’s supporters enter Rome and discover Vitellius in hiding. He is dragged through the streets before being brutally murdered.
1355 Stefan Urosh IV of Serbia dies while marching to attack Constantinople.
1802 The United States buys the Louisiana territory from France.
1860 South Carolina secedes from the Union.
1861 English transports loaded with 8,000 troops set sail for Canada so that troops are available if the “Trent Affair” is not settled without war.
1924 Adolf Hitler is released from prison after serving less than one year of a five year sentence for treason.
1930 Thousands of Spaniards sign a revolutionary manifesto.
1933 The German government announces 400,000 citizens are to be sterilized because of hereditary defects.
1938 First electronic television system is patented.
1941 The Flying Tigers, American pilots in China, enter combat against the Japanese over Kunming.
1943 Soviet forces halt a German army trying to relieve the besieged city of Stalingrad.
1946 Viet Minh and French forces fight fiercely in the Annamite section of Hanoi.
1948 The U.S. Supreme Court announces that it has no jurisdiction to hear the appeals of Japanese war criminals sentenced by the International Military Tribunal.
1960 The National Liberation Front is formed by guerrillas fighting the Diem regime in South Vietnam.
1962 In its first free election in 38 years, the Dominican Republic chooses leftist Juan Bosch Gavino as president.
1963 Four thousand cross the Berlin Wall to visit relatives under a 17-day Christmas accord.
1989 U.S. troops invade Panama to oust General Manuel Noriega and replace him with Guillermo Endara.
1995 NATO begins peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.
1996 NeXT merges with Apple Computer, leading to the development of the groundbreaking Mac OS X.
2007 Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch in the history of the UK; previously, that honor belonged to Queen Victoria.
Born on December 20
1868 Harvey Firestone, industrialist and tire maker.
1881 Branch Rickey, president of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1901 Robert J. Van de Graaff, physicist; invented the Van de Graaff generator.
1904 Virgil “Spud” Davis, pro baseball catcher, coach, scout and manager.
1914 Harry F. Byrd Jr., the first independent ever elected to the US Senate by a majority of the popular vote (Virginia).
1921 George Roy Hill, film director (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting).
1946 Dick Wolf, television producer (Miami Vice, Law & Order).
1948 Alan Parsons, musician (The Alan Parsons Project); producer who was involved with The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.
1963 Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, elder daughter of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain; fourth in the line of succession to the Spanish throne.
1976 Adam Powell, Welsh game designer; co-founder of Neopets and Meteor Games companies.

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