November 20

1776 – During the Revolutionary War, British forces land at the Hudson River Palisades in New Jersey and then attack Fort Lee. The Continental Army starts to retreat across New Jersey.

1789 – New Jersey becomes the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

1805 – Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio, opens in Vienna.

1820 – An 80 ton sperm whale attacks and sinks the whaling ship Essex of Nantucket off the western coast of South America, inspiring Herman Melville’s story of Moby Dick.

1862 – The Confederate armies of Mississippi and Kentucky merge as the Army of Tennessee, under command of General Braxton Bragg.

1902 – George Lefevre and Henri Desgrange create the Tour de France bicycle race

1903 – The day before his 43rd birthday, Tom Horn, convicted of murder, is executed by hanging in Cheyenne, Wyoming

1910 – Francisco I. Madero issues the Plan de San Luis Potosí, denouncing Mexican President Porfirio Díaz, calling for a revolution to overthrow the government of Mexico, effectively starting the Mexican Revolution.

1923 – The Rentenmark replaces the Papiermark as the official currency of Germany at the exchange rate of one Rentenmark to One Trillion Papiermark.

1931 – AT&T begins commercial teletype service.

1940 – During World War II, Hungary becomes a signatory of the Tripartite Pact, joining the Axis powers.

1942 – During World War II, the 1522 mile long Alaska Highway opens for military traffic from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska.

1943 – During World War II,  the U.S. stages Operation Galvanic, invading the Gilbert Island chain with the 2nd Division of the U.S. Marine Corps assaulting Tarawa Atoll’s Betio Island and the U.S. Army’s 27th Division assaulting Makin Atoll’s Butaritari Island.

1945 – Trials against 24 Nazi war criminals start at the Palace of Justice at Nuremberg.

1953 – Scott Crossfield piloting the Douglas Skyrocket, breaks Mach 2 – 1,300 miles per hour – at the High Speed Flight Research Station, Muroc, California.

1958 –American puppeteers Jim and Jane Henson establish Muppets, Inc.

1962 – In response to the Soviet Union agreeing to remove its missiles from Cuba, President Kennedy ends the quarantine of the island and the diplomatic crisis with the Soviets.

1968 – 78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, West Virginia

1974 – The U.S. Department of Justice files an antitrust suit against AT&T Corporation. This suit later leads to the breakup of AT&T and the Bell System.

1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, meeting with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and speaking before the Knesset

1980 – A misplaced Texaco exploratory oil probe drills into the Diamond Crystal Salt Mine, causing Lake Peigneur in Louisiana to flow down into the mine, filling it while swallowing the drilling platform, 11 barges holding supplies for the drilling operation, a tugboat, and 65 acres of the surrounding terrain.

1985 – Microsoft Windows 1.0 is released.

1993 – The Senate Ethics Committee issues censures of Senators for their “dealings” with executive Charles Keating during the Savings and Loan crisis which collapsed that part of the financial system

1998 – The first module component, Zarya, for the International Space Station is launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome

2008 – Due to the Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis building up since September causing failures in the US financial system, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level since 1997, falling 43% over the past year to less than 8000 points.

2014 –President Obama defers the threat of deportation for nearly 5 million illegal aliens in the US

2022 – Joe Biden turns 80 years old, the first octogenarian to serve as President