May 20th

2012
Singer Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees died at age 62.
Robin Gibb
2009
Suspended NFL star Michael Vick was released after 19 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring.
2006
The Three Gorges Dam is officially opened. The hydroelectric dam is the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity. Despite its benefits, the project remains controversial because it flooded archeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people.
Three Gorges Dam
2002
East Timor became the what was then the world's newest nation.
East Timor
1996
In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court rejected a Colorado measure banning laws that protect homosexuals from discrimination.
Romer v. Evans
1995
President Bill Clinton announced that the two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House would be permanently closed to traffic as a security measure.
First inauguration of Bill Clinton
1993
The final first-run episode of 'Cheers' aired on NBC.
Cheers
1990
Hubble Space Telescope sends its 1st photographs from space.
Hubble Space Telescope
1989
Comedian Gilda Radner died of cancer at age 42.
Gilda Radner
1983
In South Africa, a car bomb planted by anti-Apartheid activists kills 19. The Church Street Bombing was carried out by the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC). It was one of the bloodiest chapters in the ANC’s long and difficult struggle against racial segregation and oppression in South Africa.
Church Street bombing
1978
Mavis Hutchinson, 53, became the first woman to run across America. The 3,000-mile trek took her 69 days. She ran an average of 45 miles each day.
Mavis Hutchison
1971
The album 'What's Going On' by Marvin Gaye was released.
What's Going On (Marvin Gaye album)
1969
U.S. and South Vietnamese forces captured Ap Bia Mountain, referred to as Hamburger Hill by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
Battle of Hamburger Hill
1961
A mob attacked a busload of "freedom riders" in Montgomery, Ala., setting the bus on fire.
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1954–1968)
1940
The first prisoners arrive at Auschwitz concentration camp. Auschwitz was the biggest extermination camp during World War II. From 1940 to 1945, the Nazi regime murdered at least 1.1 million people here.
First mass transport to Auschwitz concentration camp
1939
Regular trans-Atlantic air service began as a Pan American Airways plane took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Europe.
Pan American World Airways
1932
Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland for Ireland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Amelia Earhart
1927
Charles Lindbergh takes off on the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight. He departed from Long Island in the United States and arrived in Paris, France at 22:22 on the next day.
Charles Lindbergh
1902
The United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established.
Republic of Cuba (1902–59)
1891
History of cinema: The first public display of Thomas Edison's prototype kinetoscope to members of the National Federation of Women's Club.
Kinetoscope
1873
Blue jeans are patented. Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis invented the garment, which today represents one of the most popular types of trousers worldwide.
Jeans
1862
US Homestead Act becomes law which provides cheap land for the settlement of the American West.
Homestead Acts
1861
The capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Ala., to Richmond, Va.
Virginia in the American Civil War
1609
Shakespeare's Sonnets are first published in London, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe.
May 20
1506
Christopher Columbus died in Spain.
Christopher Columbus
1498
Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrives at Calicut, India becoming the first European to reach India by sea.
Vasco da Gama