On September 20, 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew set out from Spain on five ships to find a western passage to the Spice Islands. (Magellan was killed enroute, but one of his ships eventually circled the world.)
In 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st president of the United States, succeeding the assassinated James A. Garfield.
In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival, lasting 16 days, opened in France.
In 1957, Buddy Holly released the single ‘Peggy Sue’ with ‘Everyday’ as the B-side. The song was originally entitled ‘Cindy Lou’, after Holly’s niece, but was later changed to ‘Peggy Sue’ in reference to Peggy Sue Gerron the girlfriend (and future wife) of Jerry Allison, the drummer for the Crickets, after the couple had temporarily broken up
In 1962, James Meredith, a Black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Democratic Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)
In 1967, the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 was christened by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in Clydebank, Scotland.
In 1968, Led Zeppelin (recording under the name of The Yardbirds) started recording their debut album at Olympic Studios, Barnes, London, England. The album took only about 36 hours of studio time to complete at a cost of around £1,782, with most of the tracks being recorded ‘live’ in the studio with very few overdubs
In 1973, in their so-called “battle of the sexes,” tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome.
In 1976, Playboy magazine released an interview in which Democratic presidential nominee Jimmy Carter admitted he’d “looked on a lot of women with lust.”
In 1984, a suicide car bomber attacked the U.S. Embassy annex in north Beirut, killing at least 14 people, including two Americans and 12 Lebanese. The family sitcoms “The Cosby Show” and “Who’s the Boss?” premiered on NBC and ABC, respectively.
In 1995, in a move that stunned Wall Street, AT&T Corporation announced it was splitting into three companies.
In 2000, Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced the end of the Whitewater investigation, saying there was insufficient evidence to warrant charges against President and Mrs. Clinton.
In 2004, CBS News apologized for a “mistake in judgment” in its story questioning President George W. Bush’s National Guard service, saying it could not vouch for the authenticity of documents featured in the report.
In 2017, Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years, struck the island, wiping out as much as 75 percent of the power distribution lines and causing an island-wide blackout.