November 20th in History

A German 100 Billion Papiermark note from 1924, worth about ten Rentenpfennings.

On This Day in History

  • Diocletian becomes emperor of Rome (284)
  • New Jersey becomes the first US state to ratify the Bill of Rights (1789)
  • An 80-ton sperm whale attacks the whaling ship Essex, inspiring Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1820)
  • As a response to hyperinflation, the German government issues a new currency unit, the Rentenmark, to replace the Papiermark. The official exchange rate is 1 trillion Papiermark = 1 Rentenmark (1923)
  • World War II: The Battle of Tarawa begins (1943)
  • World War II: The trial of 24 Nazis begins at Nuremberg (1945)
  • Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey (1947)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis: JFK ends the Cuban quarantine following the Soviet agreement to remove its missiles from Cuba (1962)
  • Native American activists seize control of Alcatraz Island (1969)
  • The US Department of Justice launches an anti-trust suit against AT&T, which will lead to the breakup of the Bell System (1974)


  • Tipu Sultan, “Tiger of Mysore” (1750)
  • Kenesaw Mountain Landis, US judge (1866)
  • Clark Griffith, baseball player and manager (1869)
  • George McBride, baseball player (1880)
  • Norman Thomas, US Socialist Party presidential candidate and minister (1884)
  • Edwin Hubble, astronomer (1889)
  • Chester Gould, Dick Tracy creator (1900)
  • Alistair Cooke, journalist and TV host (1908)
  • Judy Canova, actress (1913)
  • Robert Byrd, US senator (1917)
  • Bobby Locke, golfer (1917)
  • Jim Garrison, New Orleans district attorney and JFK assassination investigator (1921)
  • Benoît B. Mandelbrot, developer of fractal geometry (1924)
  • Kaye Ballard, actress (1925)
  • Robert F. Kennedy, US Attorney General and Senator (1925)
  • John Gardner, author (1926)
  • Estelle Parsons, actress (1927)
  • Don January, golfer (1929)
  • Richard Dawson, actor and game show host (1932)
  • Dick Smothers, comedian and singer (1939)
  • Joe Biden, 47th US vice president (1942)
  • Veronica Hamel, actress (1943)
  • Duane Allman, singer-songwriter (1946)
  • Joe Walsh, singer-songwriter (1947)
  • Richard Masur, actor (1948)
  • Bo Derek, actress (1956)
  • Sean Young, actress (1959)
  • Joel McHale, actor (1971)


  • Лев Толсто́й (Leo Tolstoy), author (1910 — O.S. November 7) (Leo Tolstoy was born under the “Old Style” Julian calendar and died after the conversion to the modern Gregorian calendar, so his birth and death dates are given according to both calendars.)
  • Clyde Cessna, aircraft designer (1954)
  • Allan Sherman, actor and singer (1973)
  • Francisco Franco, Spanish generalissimo (1975)
  • Robert Altman, director (2006)
  • Donald Hamilton, author (2006)
  • Lawrencia “Bambi” Bembenek, convicted murderer (2010)
  • Rob Lytle, football player (2010)


  • Africa Industrialization Day (International)
  • Dia da Consciência Negra (Black Awareness Day) (Brazil)
  • Día de la Revolución (Day of the Revolution) (Mexico)
  • Día de la Soberanía Nacional (National Sovereignty Day) (Argentina)
  • Globally Organized Hug a Runner Day (G.O.H.A.R.D.) (“Run the Edge” bloggers)
  • Name Your PC Day (Wellcat Holidays and Herbs)
  • National Peanut Butter Fudge Day (US food holidays)
  • Ngày Nhà Giáo Việt Nam (Vietnamese Educators Day) (Vietnam)
  • Queen’s Wedding Anniversary (United Kingdom)
  • Remembrance Day (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
  • Transgender Day of Remembrance (LGBT community)
  • Universal Children’s Day (International)

November 20 is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years), with 41 days remaining until year’s end.