On this day: Murders In The Rue Morgue| Freddie Mercury

This painting shows Captain James Cook taking possession of New South Wales on this day in 1770. Picture: GettyThis painting shows Captain James Cook taking possession of New South Wales on this day in 1770. Picture: Getty
This painting shows Captain James Cook taking possession of New South Wales on this day in 1770. Picture: Getty
Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 20 April


1534: Elizabeth Barton, the “Holy Maid of Kent”, was executed with five of her associates for treason.

1653: The Long Parliament was forcibly dissolved by Oliver Cromwell.

1770: Captain James Cook discovered New South Wales.

1792: France declared war on Austria.

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1841: The Murders In The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe, considered to be the first modern detective story, was published in Graham’s magazine in the USA

1887: The world’s first motor race took place along the banks of the River Seine from the centre of Paris to Neuilly.

1945: Soviet forces penetrated Berlin defences in Second World War.

1949: The first three-day Badminton horse trials were held in Gloucestershire.

1959: United Federal Party won Northern Rhodesia elections, and African National Congress was suppressed.

1968: Pierre Trudeau became Liberal prime minister of Canada for first time.

1970: President Richard Nixon announced withdrawal of 150,000 United States military personnel from South Vietnam.

1986: Giant irrigation reservoir burst and flooded Sri Lanka town, leaving at least 100 people feared dead and up to 20,000 families homeless.

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1989: Scientists said that the Earth narrowly missed being struck by a passing asteroid weighing 400 million tons.

1992: More than 70,000 packed Wembley Stadium for an AIDS Awareness concert in memory of Queen singer Freddie Mercury.

1995: Tory MPs David Tredinnick and Graham Riddick were suspended without pay from Parliament for 20 and ten days respectively in the “cash for questions” row.

1999: Two teenagers ran amok with guns and grenades in Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado, killing 23 pupils and staff.

2010: BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers, before causing a massive natural disaster after the release of almost four million gallons of crude off the coast of Louisiana.

2011: It was revealed that “viable” parcel bombs were sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two high-profile fans of the Glasgow club.


Alan Beith, MP, 70; Michael Brandon, actor, 68; Ray Brooks, actor, 74; Carmen Electra, model and actress, 41; Earl of Erroll, 28th Hereditary Lord High Constable of Scotland, 65; Sebastian Faulks CBE, writer, 60; Sir John Eliot Gardiner CBE, conductor, 70; Paul Heiney, writer and broadcaster, 64; Louise Jameson, actress, 62; Sir Antony Jay, scriptwriter and producer, 83; Sir Eddie Kulukundis OBE, theatrical producer, 81; Jessica Lange, actress, 64; Nicholas Lyndhurst, actor, 52; Brian Marchbank, golfer, 55; Ryan O’Neal, actor, 72; Leslie Phillips CBE, actor, director and producer, 89; Peter Snow CBE, broadcaster, 75; George Takei, actor (Star Trek), 76.


Births: 1808 Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III), French emperor; 1851 “Young” Tom Morris, golfer; 1889 Adolf Hitler, Nazi dictator; 1893 Harold Lloyd, silent movie star.

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Deaths: 1768 Giovanni Antonio Canaletto, painter; 1883 Edouard Manet, painter; 1912 Bram Stoker, writer of Dracula; 1990 James Chipperfield, of circus family; 2004 Norris McWhirter, athlete, founder editor, Guinness Book of Records.