This Day In History, July 20th

What happened on this day in history: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first people to land on the Moon, Bruce Lee mysteriously dies in Hong Kong, and other important historical events that happened on this day.

1304: Francesco Petrarca Is Born

Francesco Petrarca is born in Arezzo, Italy. Considered the “Father of Humanism,” Petrarca, also called Petrarch, is especially known for his poems of longing for a woman called “Laura.” Some scholars believe that his interest in the classics helped spark the Italian Renaissance.

1881: Sitting Bull Surrenders

Today In History July 20

Public DomainSitting Bull’s name was a nod to the buffalo, who Native Americans saw as fearless, strong, and stubborn.

Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. Army. The Lakota chief had risen to prominence in the previous decades by fiercely resisting white settlement in the Great Plains, famously triumphing over American forces in the Battle of Little Bighorn, site of Custer’s last stand. But he and his people were forced into exile after that victory, and Sitting Bull surrendered himself to save his tribe from starvation.

1944: The July Plot To Assassinate Hitler Fails

The “July Plot,” a plan to assassinate Hitler fails. Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators wanted to kill Hitler, end Nazi rule in Germany, and make peace with Allied forces to bring an end to World War II. The plan involved Stauffenberg bringing a briefcase with a bomb to one of Hitler’s conferences. During the conference, Stauffenberg laid the briefcase under the conference table and left the room to take a call. Then, the bomb exploded, killing three and injuring 20 others. Hitler, however, did not die in the blast. Following the incident, more than 7,000 people were arrested and 4,980 were executed.

1969: The Moon Landing

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon, becoming the first people in history to ever do so. As they stepped onto the lunar surface, Armstrong uttered his now famous quote: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Six more missions went to the moon between 1969 and 1972.

1973: Bruce Lee Dies

Bruce Lee

Wikimedia CommonsBruce Lee’s death shocked the world and remains mysterious to this day.

Bruce Lee dies at the age of 32 in Hong Kong. A martial artist who later found fame as an actor, Lee was diagnosed with cerebral edema shortly before his death.

Though doctors believe that Lee died after taking a painkiller called Equagesic, which caused a second cerebral edema, other theories about his death have persisted through the years.