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On this day in history - May 20

What Happened On This Day – May 20

  • 2006 The Three Gorges Dam is officially opened

    The hydroelectric dam is the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity. Despite its benefits, the project remains controversial because it flooded archeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people.

  • 1983 In South Africa, a car bomb planted by anti-Apartheid activists kills 19

    The Church Street Bombing was carried out by the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). It was one of the bloodiest chapters in the ANC’s long and difficult struggle against racial segregation and oppression in South Africa.

  • 1940 The first prisoners arrive at Auschwitz concentration camp

    Auschwitz was the biggest extermination camp during World War II. From 1940 to 1945, the Nazi regime murdered at least 1.1 million people here.

  • 1927 Charles Lindbergh takes off on the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight

    He departed from Long Island in the United States and arrived in Paris, France at 22:22 on the next day.

  • 1873 Blue jeans are patented

    Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis invented the garment, which today represents one of the most popular types of trousers worldwide.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
May 20

  • 1971 Tony Stewart

    American race car driver

  • 1946 Cher

    American singer-songwriter, actress, producer, director

  • 1944 Joe Cocker

    English singer-songwriter

  • 1915 Moshe Dayan

    Israeli general, politician, 5th Minister of Foreign Affairs for Israel)

  • 1799 Honoré de Balzac

    French author, playwright

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
May 20

  • 2012 Robin Gibb

    English singer-songwriter, producer

  • 2002 Stephen Jay Gould

    American paleontologist

  • 1896 Clara Schumann

    German pianist, composer

  • 1834 Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

    French general

  • 1506 Christopher Columbus

    Italian explorer, discovered the Americas