Colorful display of fireworks

On This Day - December 20th

We’ve finally hit the December 20s! And, you know what that means. The festivities are officially in the air, and we’re all just counting down the days to big dinners, festive music, and ugly sweaters. But, don’t look too quickly to the holidays, and consider all of the other things that make December special. For example, here are some of the most interesting things about December 20th.

On this day

facts about roman empire

Rome was occupied

In 69, General Vespasian's troops occupied Rome. This was, of course, after defeating the Emperor Vitellius. The empire would ensure a few more centuries, however, meaning there were plenty more dramas and battles to come – no wonder so many people think about the empire regularly!

battle of lepanto victors

The Knights of Rhodes surrendered

In 1522, Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes. They were then allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled in Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.

A huge, spectacular firework display

New Year’s Day changed forever

In 1699, Russian Tsar Peter the Great ordered the Russian New Year to be changed from September 1st to January 1st. It’s a move that certainly stuck – can you imagine throwing a new year’s eve party in August?! Thought not!

transfer of louisiana

The flag lowering marked the Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the French flag was lowered in New Orleans. This marked the formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase from France to the USA. It was purchased for a cool $15 million.


Cheka was formed

In 1917, Cheka was formed. The Soviet state security force and forerunner to the KGB was formed under Felix Dzerzhinsky after a decree by Lenin. However, Russian history was only going to get more complex and controversial from there.

Special Days Falling on December 20th

Having officially hit the 20s of December, we know that you will likely already be tied up with celebrations. However, there are so many important celebrations taking place around the world today, we thought you should know about a few of them.
Facts of Macau

Macao SARE Day

Macao SARE Day is observed every December 20th. Since 1999, Macao SARE Day, which is also known as Macau Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, or ‘Dia Comemorativo do estabelecimento da Região Administrativa Especial de Macau’ in Portuguese. It commemorates the day that the Chinese government claimed official sovereignty over Macao in 1999.

facts about USA

Mudd Day

Mudd Day is also celebrated every December 20th. The day commemorates Dr. Samuel Mudd’s birthday. Mudd was a US citizen accused of aiding and abetting the assassination of US President Abreaham Lincoln. Thankfully for Mudd, while he was found guilty, he was spared the death penalty.

Sacagawea on the right

Sacagawea Day

Sacagawea Day is also celebrated on December 20th every year. The day honors Sacagawea, the daughter of a Shoshone chief and part of the Lemhi band of the Shoshone tribe. At the age of 16, she acted as an interpreter for an expedition exploring the Louisiana Territory – the day honors and remembers her bravery and expertise.

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This page was last modified on December 20, 2023. Suggest an edit

This month in history

In 1066, William the Conqueror was ceremoniously crowned King of England. This was following his invasion of England from France. He defeated and killed King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, then marched on London, claiming his new position as leader of the country.

Famous Birthdays on December 20th

Bonnie Prince Charlie, Italian pretender to the throne, born 1720

Kanichi Asakawa, Japanese historian, writer, and peace activist, born 1873

Peter Criss, KISS drummer, born 1945

Dick Wolf, American TV producer, born 1946

Jonah Hill, American actor, born 1983

interesting facts about Sagittarius

If you were born on December 20th



…you’re a Sagittarius! You’re very smart, although you can let your own ego cloud your judgment at times. Remember to remain calm, and you’ll walk through anything if you need to! And, you can walk right on over to our Sagittarius facts page to learn more!



Our guide to your star sign helps you break down what makes you tick, and might even help you navigate the wild and wonderful world of horoscopes. Want to know what lies in store for you? Take a look at our fact file to get started.

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