Dec. 20, 1522 – During the Siege of Rhodes, Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who were allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled on Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.
Dec. 20, 1606 - The "Susan Constant," "Godspeed" and "Discovery" set sail from London. Their landing at Jamestown, Va. was the start of the first permanent English settlement in America.
Dec. 20, 1803 – The United States Senate ratified a treaty that included the purchase of the Louisiana Territories from France for $15 million. The transfer, known now as the “Louisiana Purchase,” was completed with formal ceremonies in New Orleans.
Dec. 20, 1820 – The Town of Claiborne in Monroe County, Ala. was officially incorporated.
Dec. 20, 1820 – Pickens County, Ala. was established and named for revolutionary war hero General Andrew Pickens of South Carolina.
Dec. 20, 1820 – Garrett Longmire took office as Justice of the Conecuh County Court. He owned Longmire’s Store, which was an early trading center, stage stop and post office as early as 1818.
Dec. 20, 1823 – Capt. Hayden set the then record for fastest trip from Mobile, Ala. to Montgomery, Ala., making the 450-mile trip in three days and 10 hours in the 123-ton steamboat, The Henderson, which sank on April 27, 1825 after colliding with the Balize about one mile from Claiborne.
Dec. 20, 1824 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette was formally received at the statehouse in Annapolis, Md.
Dec. 20, 1827 – The organizational charter was issued to Dale Masonic Lodge No. 25 in Camden, Ala.
Dec. 20, 1833 - Samuel Mudd, the physician that set John Wilkes Booth's leg after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, was born in Charles County, Md.
Dec. 20, 1860 - South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union when state official ratified the ordinance of secession from the United States.
Dec. 20, 1862 - Confederate General Earl Van Dorn attacked Union General Ulysses S. Grant's supplies at Holly Springs, Mississippi. The attacked thwarted Grant's first attempt to capture Vicksburg, Miss.
Dec. 20, 1864 - Confederate forces under General William Hardee evacuated Savannah, Ga. as Union General William T. Sherman continued his "March to the Sea."
Dec. 20, 1881 – Baseball Hall of Fame catcher, manager and executive Branch Rickey was born in Stockdale, Ohio. He would go on to play for the St. Louis Browns and the New York Highlanders. He went on to manage the Browns and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Dec. 20, 1883 – Confederate veteran Joseph R. Bass of Evergreen arrived in Caddo Mills, Texas. He’d moved to Caddo Mills from Jefferson, Texas, where he’d lived for about 18 years. He moved to Texas from Evergreen in December 1865, following the Civil War.
Dec. 20, 1900 – Major League Baseball catcher Charles Leo “Gabby” Hartnett was born in Woonsocket, R.I. He would go on to play for the Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants. He also managed the Cubs from 1938 to 1940.
Dec. 20, 1901 – Physicist Robert Van de Graaff was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and is best known for the electrical generator that carries his name. A Van de Graaff generator primarily consists of a hollow metal globe standing on a thick, hollow pole. Inside the pole, a pair of pulleys drive a belt of silk over a pointed metal comb that is hooked to an external power supply. The comb and one pulley sit at the base of the pole, the second pulley sits inside the metal globe, and as the belt runs it builds up impressively large static electric charges — Van de Graaff’s original hand-built generator, which is now housed at the Boston Museum of Science, can generate more than 2 million volts on a dry day.
Dec. 20, 1904 – Major League Baseball catcher and manager Virgil Lawrence “Spud” Davis was born in Birmingham, Ala. He went on to play for the Cincinnati Reds, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals. He also managed the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dec. 20, 1905 – The Ina Lehr Stock Company was scheduled to perform “East Lynne” at the Opera House in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 20, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. William J. Ledkins of Flomaton, Ala. and Army PFC Robert Coats of Grove Hill, Ala. “died from disease.”
Dec. 20, 1928 – Pro Football Hall of Fame safety and coach Jack Leroy Christiansen was born in Sublette, Kansas. He would go on to play for Colorado State and the Detroit Lions.
Dec. 20, 1931 – In Lovecraftian fiction, the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, led by Professor Eustace Blake, left Bremen on their way to Antarctica to follow up on Miskatonic’s Pabodie expedition. The Starkweather-Moore Expedition is first mentioned in “At the Mountains of Madness” by H.P. Lovecraft.
Dec. 20, 1942 – Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Bob Hayes was born in Jacksonville, Fla. He would go on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers.
Dec. 20, 1946 - The Frank Capra film "It's A Wonderful Life" had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its "official" world premiere. James Stewart and Donna Reed star in the film.
Dec. 20, 1946 – Self-proclaimed spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller was born in Tel Aviv.
Dec. 20, 1949 – Major League Baseball outfielder and designated hitter Oscar Gamble was born in Ramer, Ala. He would go on to play for the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Yankees, the San Diego Padres and the Texas Rangers.
Dec. 20, 1949 – Major League Baseball first baseman and manager Cecil Cooper was born in Brenham, Texas.
Dec. 20, 1955 – Evergreen High School’s boys basketball team picked up its sixth straight win by beating McGill Institute, 52-37, in Mobile, Ala. Randy White led Evergreen with 26 points.
Dec. 20, 1959 - A television version of Alabama author Ambrose Bierce's story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" was broadcast as part of the “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” series.
Dec. 20, 1966 – Marine Lance Cpl. Dalton Buster Lowery of Brewton, Ala. was killed in action in Vietnam.
Dec. 20, 1968 – The Zodiac Killer killed Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, Calif..
Dec. 20, 1968 - Author John Steinbeck died at the age of 66 in New York City.
Dec. 20, 1985 – Weather reporter Earl Windham reported a low tempeature of 24 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 20, 1991 - Oliver Stone's "JFK" opened in the U.S.
Dec. 20, 1993 - It was announced that NBC would retain the rights to the National Football League's (NFL) AFC package.
Dec. 20, 1995 - Oliver Stone's "Nixon" opened in the U.S.
Dec. 20, 1998 - Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers became the first NFL player to throw at least 30 touchdown passes for five seasons.
Dec. 20, 2000 – Weather reporter Harry Ellis reported a low temperature of 15 degrees in Evergreen, Ala.
Dec. 20, 2008 - The Dallas Cowboys played their final game in Texas Stadium before moving to their new stadium in Arlington, Texas.