This Day in History on 20th May

The historical events hold a lot of value for aspirants who are sitting for UPSC competitive exams including the IAS Exam. 

On this page, we will list all historical events that occurred on 20th May. The students can refer to them while preparing for all competitive exams and banking exams.

Important Days

World Metrology Day

World Metrology Day

  • National Awakening Day (Indonesia)
  • National Day (Cameroon)

Important Events

Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama

1378: Daud Shah assassinated Mujahid Shah to become the fourth Bahmani Sultan, but himself was murdered by a slave.

1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India when he arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.

1498: Admiral Dom Vasco-da-Gama (c.1469-1524)-I, Count of Vidigueira, met the Jamerin of Calicut after arriving in India three days ago at Malabar Coast. He was joined by an experienced Gujarati pilot at Malindi. He was the 6th Governor and 2nd Viceroy of India.

1540: Photographer Abraham Ortelius published the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.

1677: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj won the fort of Jingi.

1873: Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented blue jeans with copper buttons.

1878: Bahameni Sultan Dawood Shah was assassinated.

1891: Thomas Edison demonstrated the prototype of the kinetoscope.

1902: Cuba gained independence from the United States.

1915: Gandhiji founded Satyagraha Ashram (later known as Sabarmati Ashram after the name of the river) at Ahmedabad.

1948: Chiang Kai-shek elected the first President of the Republic of China.

1972: Indira Gandhi laid the foundation stone of 2nd Howrah bridge at Calcutta.

1976: Oil production started from Bombay High.

1992: Third developmental launch of ASLV. Stretched Rohini Satellite Series (SROSS-C). Launched by third developmental flight of ASLV-D3. This carried Gamma Ray astronomy and aeronomy payload.

1994: Indian ship rescues over 2000 Indian nationals trapped in the embattled Yemen’s port city of Aden.

1996: CPI Leader Indrajit Gupta appointed pro-term speaker in the Lok Sabha.

1996: Former Union Finance Minister Manmohan Singh was awarded the Honest Man of the Year award for his outstanding work in improving the country’s economy.

2019: The International System of Units (SI): The base units were redefined, making the international prototype of the kilogram obsolete.

Birthday / Anniversary

Tipu Sultan, the tiger of Mysore,
Tipu Sultan, the tiger of Mysore,

1399: Saint Kabir was born.

1750: Tipu Sultan, the tiger of Mysore, was born. He was the son of Hyder Ali and born at Devanhalli village near Bangalore. Hyder Ali named his son after a great Sufi saint namely Tipu Mastan Aulia. Tipu Sultan was a great revolutionary freedom fighter, social reformer, musician, and architect.

Vishnushastri Chiplunkar
Vishnushastri Chiplunkar

1850: Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, father of modern story writing in Marathi, was born.

1851: Emil Berliner, a German-American inventor. 

1894: Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, Indian guru, and scholar (d. 1994)

1900: Sumitranandan Pant was born.

1900: Sumitranandan Pant, Indian poet and author (d. 1977)

1939: Balu Mahendra, Sri Lankan-Indian director, cinematographer, and screenwriter (d. 2014)

1944: Dietrich Mateschitz, the co-founder and 49% owner of the Red Bull energy drink company.

1977: Anjum Chopra, a former Indian cricketer. 

1964: P. T. Usha, famous sprinter, was born.

1983: Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, also known as Jr NTR, an Indian film actor.

Death / Death Anniversary

Malharrao Holkar, founder of Indoor
Malharrao Holkar, founder of Indoor

1506: Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, and navigator.

1766: Malhar Rao Holkar, a subhedar of the Maratha Empire and founder of Indoor

1878: Krishnashastri Chiplunkar, Marathi novelist, and omnicent, passed away.

1932: Bipinchandra Ramchandra Pal, powerful journalist and revolutionary freedom fighter, passed away. He was amongst the trio which was known as “Lal – Bal – Pal” during the freedom struggle. He started a newspaper called “Swaraj” for the Indians in England. He also edited several other newspapers like “Tribune”, “New India”, “Vande Mataram”, “Swaraj”, “Hindu Review”, “Democrat”, “Independent Bengali”, etc.

1940: Amar Singh, cricketer (of pneumonia Indian pace bowler 1932-36), passed away.

Bipinchandra Ramchandra Pal

1957: Tanguturi Prakasam, the great lawyer, journalist, nationalist, politician, social reformer, leader and former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, passed away at Hyderabad.

1987: G. G. Jadhav `Pudhari’, editor of the daily newspaper, passed away.

1994: K. Brahmananda Reddy, 83, former Andhra Pradesh CM, passed away in Hyderabad.

1996: Janaki Ramachandran, chief minister of Tamil Nadu (1988), passed away.

2012: Leela Dube, Indian anthropologist, and scholar (b. 1923) 

Further Reading

Month-wise This Day in History

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