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This Day in History: September 20


1519 – Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.

1596 – Diego de Montemayor founds the city of Monterrey in New Spain.

1737 – The finish of the Walking Purchase which forces the cession of 1.2 million acres (4,860 km²) of Lenape-Delaware tribal land to the Pennsylvania Colony.

1848 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science is created.

1863 – American Civil War: The conclusion of the Battle of Chickamauga in northwestern Georgia, the bloodiest two-day battle of the conflict, and the only significant Confederate victory in the war's Western Theater.

1881 – U.S. President Chester A. Arthur is sworn in, the morning after becoming President upon James A. Garfield's death.

1893 – Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.

1962 – James Meredith, an African American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.

1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.

1982 – The National Football League players begin a 57-day strike.

2001 – In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declares a "War on Terror".

2007 – Between 15,000 and 20,000 protesters marched on Jena, Louisiana, in support of six black youths who had been convicted of assaulting a white classmate.

2011 – The United States military ends its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.


1878 – Upton Sinclair, American journalist and author (d. 1968)

1917 – Red Auerbach, American basketball player and coach (d. 2006)

1920 – Jay Ward, American animator, producer, and screenwriter, founded Jay Ward Productions (d. 1989)


1932 – Wovoka, American religious leader, founded the Ghost Dance Movement (b. 1856)

1945 – Jack Thayer, American survivor of the Sinking of the Titanic (b. 1894)

1998 – Muriel Humphrey Brown, American politician, 28th Second Lady of the United States (b. 1912)