Today In History, 20 January

Today is 20 January, another seemingly ordinary winter day. However, 20th January holds an important place in world history.

Keep reading to find out what major events happened on this day (Jan. 20) in sports, politics and art, along with famous birthdays and deaths in world history.

Historical Events On This Day

  • In 1841, China ceded Hong Kong to the British during the first Opium War.
  • In 1942, German’s Nazi officials held the Wannsee Conference in Berling to find a “final solution” to exterminate all Jews from Europe.
  • In 1949, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover gifted actress Shirley Temple a tear gas fountain pen to defend herself.
  • In 1980, 147 people were killed and about 500 injured when five sections of crowded bleachers collapsed during a bullfighting event in Sincelejo, Colombia.
  • In 1981, the Iran Hostage Crisis ended with the release of the 52 Americans by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had been held hostage for 15 months.
  • In 2022, 19-year-old aviator Zara Rutherford became the youngest woman to fly solo around the world.

US Presidents Inauguration Day

  • In 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for a record 4th term as US President.
  • In 1981, Hollywood actor-turned-politician Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the 40th President of the United States of America.
  • In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African American to lead the nation.
  • In 2017, controversial American politician Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th US president after an unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton.
  • In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first female vice president of the US.

Sports Events Today

  • In 1892, the world’s first official basketball game was played by YMCS students of the game’s inventor, James Naismith.
  • In 1980, the US president announced the boycott of the Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Art and Culture Events Today

  • In 1982, British rock star and frontman of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, reportedly bit the head of a bat live on stage in Iowa.
  • In 2008, Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad, one of the greatest television series of all time, premiered on AMC and starred Bryan Cranston as a teacher-turned-meth dealer with Aaron Paul as his protege.
  • In 2010, Indian cinematographer V.K. Murthy received the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, becoming the first cinematographer to win the award.
  • In 2015, the acclaimed musical “Hamilton,” starring Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Ramos, premiered at The Public Theater in Lower Manhattan, New York.

Notable Deaths On This Day

Sr NoDeath YearPersonality
11936George V, king of the United Kingdom from 1910 to 1936
21988Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Pakistani Pashtun leader and independence activist who was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings of non-violence
31993Audrey Hepburn, Belgian-British actress known for her elegant beauty and starring in the films Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Roman Holiday
42012Etta James, American rhythm and blues singer known for her versatility and genre hopping music in such songs as”At Last” and “I’d Rather Go Blind”
52022Meat Loaf, American rock star and actor who is one of the best-selling artists ever

Famous Birthdays On This Day

Sr NoBirth YearPersonality
11883Nucky Johnson, American politician and crime leader who was active in the early 20th century in New Jersey and inspired the television series Boardwalk Empire
21896George Burns, American actor and comedian
31920Frederico Fellini, Italian filmmaker who is considered one of the most influential filmmakers of all time and is known for making the films La Dolce Vita and 8½
41930Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut and the second person after Neil Armstrong to set foot on the Moon.
51946David Lynch, American filmmaker known for his mind-bending and surrealistic films and tv shows like Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks and Eraserhead
61956Bill Maher, American comedian and talk-show host known for his political commentary
71987Evan Peters, American actor known for starring in the tv series American Horror Story, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Netflix’s Dahmer