December 20 events in history

69 Vespasian, formerly a general under Nero, enters Rome to claim the title of Emperor
217 The papacy of Zephyrinus ends. Callixtus I is elected as the sixteenth pope, but is opposed by the theologian Hippolytus who accuses him of laxity and of being a Modalist, one who denies any distinction between the three persons of the Trinity
1192 Richard I of England is captured and imprisoned by Leopold V of Austria on his way home to England after signing a treaty with Saladin ending the Third Crusade
1522 Siege of Rhodes: Suleiman the Magnificent accepts the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who are allowed to evacuate. They eventually settle on Malta and become known as the Knights of Malta
1606 The Virginia Company loads three ships with settlers and sets sail to establish Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas
1803 The Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans, Louisiana
1808 Peninsular War: The Siege of Zaragoza begins
1832 HMS Clio under the command of Captain Onslow arrives at Port Egmont under orders to take possession of the Falkland Islands
1860 South Carolina becomes the first state to attempt to secede from the United States
1893 The end of one of the most dramatic Test Matches of all time. In the first to involve six days of play, England became the first team to win one after following on at Sydney
1915 World War I: The last Australian troops are evacuated from Gallipoli
1917 Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force, is founded
1924 Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison
1941 World War II: First battle of the American Volunteer Group, better known as the "Flying Tigers" in Kunming, China
1942 World War II: Japanese air forces bomb Calcutta, India
1946 The popular Christmas film It's a Wonderful Life is first released in New York, New York
1951 The EBR-1 in Arco, Idaho becomes the first nuclear power plant to generate electricity. The electricity powered four light bulbs
1952 A United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns in Moses Lake, Washington killing 87
1955 Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales, United Kingdom
1957 The initial production version of the Boeing 707 makes its first flight
1959 Unknown attackers murder the Walker family in Osprey, Florida
1960 The National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam is formed
1967 A Pennsylvania Railroad Budd Metroliner exceeds 155 mph on their New York Division, also present day Amtrak's Northeast Corridor
1968 The Zodiac Killer kills Betty Lou Jenson and David Faraday in Vallejo, California
1971 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto takes over as the fourth President of Pakistan
1973 The Prime Minister of Spain, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, is assassinated by a car bomb attack in Madrid
1977 Djibouti and Vietnam join the United Nations
1984 The Summit Tunnel fire is the largest underground fire in history, as a freight train carrying over 1 million liters of gasoline derails near the town of Todmorden, England in the Pennines
1985 Pope John Paul II announces the institution of World Youth Day
1987 In the worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker Vector in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official)
1988 The United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is signed in Vienna, Austria
1989 United States invasion of Panama: The United States sends troops into Panama to overthrow government of Manuel Noriega. This is also the first combat use of purpose-designed stealth aircraft
1991 A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina
1991 Paul Keating sworn in as the 24th Prime Minister of Australia after defeating Bob Hawke in a leadership ballot of the Australian Labor Party
1995 NATO begins peacekeeping in Bosnia
1995 American Airlines Flight 965, a Boeing 757, crashes into a mountain 50 km north of Cali, Colombia killing 159
1996 NeXT merges with Apple Computer, starting the path to Mac OS X
1999 Macau is handed over to China by Portugal
2004 A gang of thieves steal £26.5 million worth of currency from the Donegall Square West headquarters of Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, one of the largest bank robberies in British history
2005 Aleksandër Moisiu University was founded in Durrës, Albania
2007 Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch of the United Kingdom, surpassing Queen Victoria, who lived for 81 years, 7 months and 29 days
2007 The Portrait of Suzanne Bloch (1904), by the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, and O Lavrador de Café by Brazilian modernist painter Candido Portinari, are stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art
2013 China successfully launches the Bolivian Túpac Katari 1 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center