March 20 is the 79th day of the year (80th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 286 days remaining until the end of the year.
March 20 is usually the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and the first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
Up to 1800
- 325 – The First Council of Nicaea – the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church – is held.
526 – An earthquake kills about 300,000 people in Syria and
685 – The
Battle of Nechtansmere is fought between a
Pictish army under King
Bridei III and the invading Northumbrians under King Ecgfrith, who are decisively defeated.
- 1217 – The
Second Battle of Lincoln is fought near Lincoln, England, resulting in the defeat of
Prince Louis of France by
William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke.
- 1293 – King
Sancho IV of Castile creates the
Study of General Schools of Alcalá.
- 1413 - Henry V of England becomes King.
- 1497 – John Cabot sets sail from Bristol, England, on his ship The Mathew looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).
- 1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.
- 1521 –
Battle of Pampeluna.
- 1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues the first modern atlas.
- 1600 -
Linkoping bloodbath in Sweden.
- 1602 - The Dutch East India Company is founded.
- 1631 – The city of Magdeburg in Germany is seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years War.
- 1690 – England passes the
Act of Grace, forgiving followers of Catholic James II.
- 1713 - An earthquake destroys most of the city of Foggia, Italy, and kills around 2,000 people.
- 1760 - One tenth of Boston, Massachusetts is destroyed by fire.
1801 – 1900
- 1813 – Napoleon Bonaparte leads his French troops into the
Battle of Bautzen in Saxony, Germany, against the combined armies of Russia and Prussia. The battle ends the next day with a French victory.
- 1815 - Napoleon Bonaparte, after his escape from the Italian island of Elba, enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of over 200,000.
- 1845 –
with 134 men under
John Franklin sail from the River Thames in England, beginning a disastrous expedition to find the Northwest Passage. All crew members die on the expedition.
- 1848 - King
Ludwig I of Bavaria gives up the throne, through his affair with
- 1852 – The novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is published for the first time.
- 1854 - The US Republican Party is founded in Ripon, Wisconsin.
- 1861 – American Civil War: The state of Kentucky proclaims its
neutrality, which will last until September 3 when Confederate forces enter the state.
- 1861 – Mendoza, Argentina, is completely destroyed by an earthquake in which around 6,000 people are killed.
- 1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the
Homestead Act into law.
- 1864 – American Civil War:
Battle of Ware Bottom Church – In the Virginia
Bermuda Hundred Campaign, 10,000 troops fight in this Confederate victory.
- 1873 – Levi Strauss and
Jacob Davis receive a United States patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.
- 1882 – The Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy is formed.
- 1888 - The premiere (first showing) of the very first Romani language operetta is staged in Moscow.
- 1890 - Leo von Caprivi replaces Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor of Germany.
- 1891 –
History of cinema: First public display of Thomas Alva Edison's prototype
kinetoscope (shown at Edison's Laboratory for a convention of the
National Federation of Women's Clubs).
1901 – 1950
- 1902 – Cuba gains independence from the United States.
- 1913 - Chinese politician
Sung Chiao-jen is targeted in a assassination attempt, dying two days later.
- 1913 - Passenger steamer Koombana sinks in a cyclone off Western Australia, killing 138 people.
- 1916 – The
Saturday Evening Post publishes its first cover with a Norman Rockwell painting ("Boy with Baby Carriage").
- 1916 – The U.S. town of Codell, Kansas, is struck by an F2 tornado.
- 1917 – The U.S. town of Codell, Kansas, is struck by an F3 tornado.
- 1918 – For the third consecutive year on this date, the U.S. town of Codell, Kansas, is struck by a tornado.
- 1920 – The
Weimarer Nationalversammlung, the national assembly of Germany's Weimar Republic, is permanently dissolved.
- 1920 – Montreal Quebec station XWA broadcasts the first regularly scheduled radio programming in North America.
- 1927 – By the
Treaty of Jedda, the United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of
King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and
Nejd, which later merged to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- 1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.
- 1940 – Holocaust: The first prisoners arrive at a new concentration camp at Auschwitz.
- 1941 – World War II: Battle of Crete – German
paratroops invade Crete.
- 1949 – In the United States, the
AFSA (the predecessor of the NSA) is established.
1951 – 2000
- 1951 -
Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture is founded in central Honshu, Japan.
- 1952 - The United States Senate supports a peace treaty with Japan.
- 1954 – Chiang Kai-shek is selected for another term as President of the Republic of China by the
- 1956 – Tunisia becomes independent from France.
- 1964 - The European Space Research Organization is founded, as a precursor to the European Space Agency.
- 1965 – A Pakistani Airlines Boeing 720-B crashes on landing at Cairo airport, killing 121 people.
- 1966 – The original FIFA World Cup trophy is stolen in England. It is found a week later.
- 1969 – The
Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam ends.
- 1972 - The Troubles: The Provisional IRA carry out a car bomb attack in Belfast, killing 7 people, and injuring 148.
- 1974 - Near Buckingham Palace, Ian Ball attempts to kidnap Anne, Princess Royal and her then-husband
Mark Phillips. They both escape unhurt.
- 1980 – In a
Referendum in Quebec, the population rejects by a 60% vote the proposal from its government to move towards independence from Canada.
- 1985 –
Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, begins broadcasting to Cuba.
- 1985 –
Libby Riddles becomes the first woman to win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
- 1988 -
Eritrean War of Independence: The
Eritrean People's Liberation Front enters the town of Afabet.
- 1989 – The Chinese authorities declare martial law in the face of pro-democracy demonstrations, setting the scene for the Tiananmen Square massacre.
- 1990 – The first post-Communist presidential and parliamentary elections are held in Romania.
- 1993 – The
television sitcom, Cheers ends an 11-year run on NBC.
- 1993 - An IRA bomb explodes in Warrington, England, killing two boys.
- 1995 – The Japanese cult, Aum Shinrikyo, under leadership of Shoko Asahara carries out a deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.
- 1996 – Gay rights: The Supreme Court of the United States rules in
Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of homosexuals.
- 1999 -
LEGOLAND California opens in Carlsbad, California.
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: 20. 3.