|Sir Edmund Hillary|
July 20, 1738 – Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye reached the western shore of Lake Michigan.
July 20, 1775 - A British rule went into effect that banned colonists from fishing in the North Atlantic.
July 20, 1775 - Patriots attacked Josiah Martin's headquarters at Fort Johnsont on Cape Fear.
July 20, 1779 - Mohawk Indian Chief Joseph Brant led a raid in the Neversink Valley in New York. They destroyed a school and a church.
July 20, 1780 - General “Mad Anthony” Wayne led two brigades of Pennsylvania militia, supported by four artillery pieces, in an attempt to destroy a fortified blockhouse located approximately four miles north of Hoboken, in Bull’s Ferry, New Jersey. The blockhouse, or observation shelter, was surrounded by iron stakes and defended by 70 Loyalists, who managed to hold on to it despite the best efforts of the Americans. The Patriots lost 18 men killed and 46 wounded in the unsuccessful assault.
July 20, 1797 – Polish geologist and explorer Paweł Edmund Strzelecki was born in Głuszyna (then part of South Prussia, today part of Nowe Miasto, Poznań), Greater Poland.
July 20, 1799 - Daniel Pratt, who was to become a significant industrialist in nineteenth-century Alabama, was born in Temple, New Hampshire. After arriving in Alabama in 1832, he founded the town of Prattville and established what would later become the largest cotton gin manufacturing plant in the world.
July 20, 1818 – A postal route advertisement on this date stated that a postal route would run from Whetstone Hill to Burnt Corn Springs, Fort Claiborne, Mount Actna (in Clarke County), Fort Madison, Republicville (Jackson, Ala.) to St. Stephens, 131 miles, twice each week.
July 20, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette visited Germantown and Chestnut Hill, near Philadelphia, Pa.
July 20, 1859 - Brooklyn and New York played baseball at Fashion Park Race Course on Long Island, N.Y. The game marked the first time that admission had been charged for to see a ball game. It cost 50 cents to get in and the players on the field did not receive a salary (until 1863).
July 20, 1861 - The Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, Va.
July 20, 1864 - On this day, General John Bell Hood's Confederate forces attacked William T. Sherman's troops outside of Atlanta, Georgia at the Battle of Peachtree Creek, but were repulsed with heavy losses. This was Hood’s first battle as head of the Army of Tennessee.
July 20, 1869 – Mark Twain’s second book, “Innocents Abroad,” was published, firmly establishing Twain as a serious writer.
July 20, 1870 – Steamboat pilot Charles Johnson of Franklin, Ala. married Frances Elizabeth Foster (Fannie Bett). One of the stained-glass windows in the First Methodist Church at Franklin was dedicated to her memory.
July 20, 1875 – The largest swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains. Measuring 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide, the swarm stretched from Canada to Texas.
July 20, 1881 – Five years after General George A. Custer's infamous defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Hunkpapa Teton Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army, which promised amnesty for him and his followers.
July 20, 1901 – National Baseball Hall of Fame left fielder Heinie Manush was born in Tuscumbia, Ala. During his career, he played for the Detroit Tigers, the St. Louis Browns, the Washington Senators, the Boston Red Sox, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.
July 20, 1903 – The Ford Motor Company shipped its first car.
July 20, 1916 – The Monroe County Masonic Conference was scheduled to be held at Excel Lodge, No. 655, in Excel, Ala.
July 20, 1919 – New Zealand mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand. He and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay would summit the tallest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest, on May 29, 1953.
July 20, 1933 – Novelist Cormac McCarthy was born in Providence, Rhode Island.
July 20, 1940 – California opened its first freeway. Known as the Arroyo Seco Parkway, the Pasadena Freeway, or simply “the 110,” it was also the first freeway — a high-speed, divided, and limited-access thoroughfare — in the western United States. It runs for just over eight miles and connects Pasadena to Los Angeles.
July 20, 1944 – During World War II, Adolf Hitler survived an assassination attempt led by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. The plot involved a bomb that exploded at Hitler's Rastenburg headquarters, but Hitler was only wounded.
July 20, 1947 - The National Football League (NFL) ruled that no professional team could sign a player who had college eligibility remaining.
July 20, 1969 - At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
July 20, 1970 - The first (and only) baby was born on Alcatraz Island, during an occupation by American Indians.
July 20, 1985 - Treasure hunters began raising $400 million in coins and silver from the Spanish galleon "Nuestra Senora de Atocha." The ship sank in 1622 40 miles of the coast of Key West, Fla.
July 20, 1997 – The fully restored USS Constitution (a.k.a. Old Ironsides) celebrated its 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.
July 20, 1997 - Alabama author James Ralph Johnson died in Santa Fe, N.M.
July 20, 2006 – “Heavens Fall,” which starred Timothy Hutton and Leelee Sobieski and was filmed largely in Monroe County, was released for the first time at the Stony Brooks Film Festival.
July 20, 2007 – Sylacauga, Ala. native and former Jefferson Davis Community College baseball player Ehren Wassermann made his Major League Baseball debut with the Chicago White Sox against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, retiring both batters faced.
July 20, 2012 – A gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, as it is showing “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 and injuring 70 others.