Today in History
June 20

451   Roman and barbarian warriors halt Attila‘s army at the Catalaunian Plains in eastern France.
1397   The Union of Kalmar unites Denmark, Sweden, and Norway under one monarch.
1756   Nearly 150 British soldiers are imprisoned in the ‘Black Hole’ cell of Calcutta. Most die.
1793   Eli Whitney applies for a cotton gin patent.
1819   The paddle-wheel steamship Savannah arrives in Liverpool, England, after a voyage of 27 days and 11 hours–the first steamship to successfully cross the Atlantic.
1837   18-year-old Victoria is crowned Queen of England.
1863   President Abraham Lincoln admits West Virginia into the Union as the 35th state.
1898   On the way to the Philippines to fight the Spanish, the U.S. Navy seizes the island of Guam.
1901   Charlotte M. Manye of South Africa becomes the first native African to graduate from an American University.
1910   Mexican President Porfirio Diaz proclaims martial law and arrests hundreds.
1920   Race riots in Chicago, Illinois leave two dead and many wounded.
1923   France announces it will seize the Rhineland to assist Germany in paying her war debts.
1941   The U.S. Army Air Force is established, replacing the Army Air Corps.
1944   The Battle of the Philippine Sea concludes with a decisive U.S. naval victory and eliminates the Imperial Japanese Navy’s ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions.
American aviators nickname the battle the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” for the severe losses inflicted on Japanese aircraft by American pilots and anti-aircraft gunners. During a debriefing after the first two air battles, a pilot from USS Lexington says “Why, hell, it was just like an old-time turkey shoot down home!”[From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1955   The AFL and CIO agree to combine names for a merged group.
1963   The United States and the Soviet Union agree to establish a hot line between Washington and Moscow.
1964   General William Westmoreland succeeds General Paul Harkins as head of the U.S. forces in Vietnam.
1967   Boxing champion Muhammad Ali is convicted of refusing induction into the American armed services.
1972   President Richard Nixon names General Creighton Abrams as Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
1999   NATO declares an official end to its bombing campaign of Yugoslavia.
Born on June 20
1723   Adam Ferguson, Scottish historian and philosopher (Principals of Moral and Political Science).
1858   Charles Chesnutt, African-American novelist.
1887   Kurt Schwitters, German artist.
1899   Jean Moulin, French Resistance fighter during World War II.
1907   Lillian Hellman, playwright (The Little Foxes, Toys in the Attic).
1909   Errol Flynn, film actor (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood).
1910   Chester Arthur Burnett, blues singer.
1910   Josephine Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author (Jordanstown, Wildwood).
1924   Chet Atkins, guitarist.
1924   Audie Murphy, American soldier during World War II, author and actor.
1928   Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the National Front party in France.
1946   Andre Watts, pianist.

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