34 fun facts for August, 20

Discover dozens of fun facts for this special day. Read the summary for a quick recap on what happened.
August 20th is a day filled with remarkable events and milestones, such as the birthdays of famous individuals like Leonard Bernstein and Orville Wright, historic events like the first Lincoln-Douglas debate and the formation of the NAACP, and observances like World Mosquito Day and National Radio Day in the United States. From celebrating cultural achievements to raising awareness for global causes, August 20th offers a wide array of experiences and moments to remember.
34 Fun facts
  1. World Mosquito Day (International): August 20th is World Mosquito Day, which commemorates British doctor Sir Ronald Ross's discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. This day aims to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and ways to prevent it.
  2. National Radio Day (United States): In the United States, August 20th is National Radio Day, celebrating the invention and history of radio. It honors the development of radio technology and recognizes the importance of radio communication in modern society.
  3. Leonard Bernstein was born: On August 20, 1918, famed American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist Leonard Bernstein was born. Known for works such as West Side Story and Candide, Bernstein was one of the most talented musicians of the 20th century.
  4. Benjamin Harrison was born: The 23rd President of the United States, Benjamin Harrison, was born on August 20, 1833. He served from 1889 to 1893, and prior to becoming president, he was a prominent attorney and a Civil War general.
  5. Largest hailstone recorded in the United States: On August 20, 1970, the largest recorded hailstone in the United States fell in Coffeyville, Kansas. The hailstone measured an incredible 17.5 inches in circumference and weighed 1.67 pounds.
  6. Sistine Chapel ceiling opens for public display: On August 20, 1483, the Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, was opened to the public for the first time. The ceiling features more than 5,000 square feet of frescoes, considered some of the artist's most famous works.
  7. Invention of the toothpaste tube: On August 20, 1892, Dr. Washington Sheffield invented the collapsible toothpaste tube. This made toothpaste more convenient to use, leading to a significant increase in dental hygiene.
  8. Viking 1 spacecraft launched: On August 20, 1975, NASA launched the Viking 1 spacecraft, which later successfully landed on Mars in July 1976. Viking 1 transmitted the first images from the Martian surface and conducted scientific experiments to search for signs of life.
  9. Eclipse of Thales: The first recorded solar eclipse, known as the Eclipse of Thales, took place on August 20, 612 BCE. The Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus accurately predicted this phenomenon, a remarkable achievement for its time.
  10. NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft launched: On August 20, 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 spacecraft. Its mission involved flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune – making it the first and only spacecraft to visit all four gas giants.
  11. H.P. Lovecraft was born: Influential horror author H.P. Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890. His works, including the Cthulhu Mythos, continue to shape the horror genre and inspire numerous artists, writers, and filmmakers.
  12. Smallpox eradication: On August 20, 1978, Ali Maow Maalin became the last person in the world to develop smallpox naturally. Subsequently, the World Health Organization made a worldwide effort to eradicate the disease, which was declared eradicated in 1980.
  13. Wilt Chamberlain was born: Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain was born on August 20, 1936. He notably scored 100 points in a single NBA game – a record that still stands today.
  14. Rajiv Gandhi was born: On August 20, 1944, former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, was born. He was the youngest Prime Minister of India, taking office at the age of 40 after the assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
  15. Formation of the National Park Service: On August 20, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, which oversees more than 400 national parks and monuments in the United States.
  16. International Homeless Animals Day: International Homeless Animals Day is held on the third Saturday of August each year, coinciding with August 20th on some years. The day aims to raise awareness about pet overpopulation, homelessness, and the importance of adopting pets from shelters.
  17. Demi Lovato was born: On August 20, 1992, American singer, actress, and former Disney Channel star Demi Lovato was born. In addition to their successful music and acting career, Lovato is a well-known advocate for mental health and LGBTQ+ issues.
  18. Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" premiered in Los Angeles: On August 20, 1960, Alfred Hitchcock's iconic horror film "Psycho" had its Los Angeles premiere. The film remains a classic and is considered an influential work in the horror genre.
  19. Final episode of "The Fugitive" aired: On August 20, 1967, the final episode of "The Fugitive" aired, drawing an audience of 78 million viewers. At the time, it held the record for the most-watched television episode.
  20. Hawaii becomes the 50th U.S. state: On August 20, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the proclamation admitting Hawaii as the 50th state of the United States.
  21. Formation of the NAACP: On August 20, 1908, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was established by civil rights activists in the United States, aiming to fight for equal rights and eliminate racial prejudice.
  22. Edmund Barton becomes Australia's first Prime Minister: On August 20, 1900, Edmund Barton was appointed as Australia's first Prime Minister. He was one of the key architects of the federation and was instrumental in drafting the Australian Constitution.
  23. Nigeria gains independence: On August 20, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from British rule. Nigeria is now the most populous African nation and boasts a rich cultural history and growing economy.
  24. Birthday of St. Bernard of Menthon: August 20 is the feast day of St. Bernard of Menthon, the patron saint of skiers and mountaineers. St. Bernard dogs, known for their rescue work, are named after him.
  25. The first Lincoln-Douglas debate: On August 20, 1858, the first of the famed Lincoln-Douglas debates took place in Illinois. The debates between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen A. Douglas focused on the issue of slavery and received national attention.
  26. Aviation pioneer Orville Wright was born: On August 20, 1871, Orville Wright was born. Along with his brother Wilbur, they invented the first successful airplane and made aviation history with their first powered, controlled, sustained flight in 1903.
  27. Robert Plant was born: On August 20, 1948, lead singer of the famed rock band Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, was born. His powerful vocals and distinctive style continue to influence rock musicians today.
  28. Baltic Way movement: On August 20, 1989, approximately two million people formed a 600 km (372 miles) long human chain called the Baltic Way to peacefully protest Soviet occupation in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
  29. French revolutionist Maximilien Robespierre was born: On August 20, 1758, Maximilien Robespierre, one of the most influential figures of the French Revolution, was born. He played a critical role in the Reign of Terror, a period of intense repression and bloodshed.
  30. International Geocaching Day: International Geocaching Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in August each year, matching August 20th in some years. Geocaching is a recreational activity where participants use GPS devices to locate hidden containers, called geocaches.
  31. The first Ascent of Elbrus: On August 20, 1829, the first ascent of Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, was completed by a Russian military expedition led by General Georgy Emmanuel.
  32. Nicaea II (Seventh Ecumenical Council) commences: On August 20, 787, the Second Council of Nicaea, also known as the Seventh Ecumenical Council, began at the Hagia Sophia in present-day Turkey. The council's primary purpose was to discuss iconoclasm and the role of religious imagery in Christianity.
  33. The first Miss America Pageant: On August 20, 1921, the first-ever Miss America Pageant was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The competition featured women from across the United States and eventually became a long-standing American tradition.
  34. Anniversary of Canadian Confederation: On August 20, 1866, Queen Victoria signed a proclamation declaring Canadian confederation. This united the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Quebec into the Dominion of Canada.