This Day In History : May 20

1902 Cuba

Cuba gains independence from the United States

With the end of United States Military Government (USMG) jurisdiction, Cuba gained formal independence on 20 May 1902, as the Republic of Cuba.

Also on This Day in History May 20

Discover what happened on May 20 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, May 20
  • 1772 Sir William Congreve

    2nd Baronet, English inventor who designed Congreve rockets

  • 1851 Emile Berliner

    German-American inventor who invented the flat phonograph record

  • 1913 William Hewlett

    American engineer who co-founded Hewlett-Packard Co.

  • 1934 José Mujica

    40th President of Uruguay (2010-2015), champion of the poor and former urban guerrilla with the Tupamaros

  • 1942 Carlos Hathcock

    American Marine Corps sniper with a service record of 93 confirmed kills (Vietnam War)

Deaths on This Day, May 20
  • 1506 Christopher Columbus

    Italian explorer who discovered America

  • 2011 Randy Savage

    American pro wrestler (WWF/SMW/ICW; WWE Hall of Fame)

  • 2005 William Seawell

    United States Army Brigadier General

  • 1961 Nannie Helen Burroughs

    American educator and civil rights activist (founded National Training School for Women and Girls)

  • 1932 Bipin Chandra Pal

    Indian nationalist and freedom fighter


Germany, Austria-Hungary, and France sign the Triple Alliance

The Triple Alliance was a secret agreement formed in May 1882 between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. It was periodically renewed until World War I.

The Armed Forces Security Agency is formed in the U.S.

The Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) was established in the United States on May 20, 1949. It served as a national organization responsible for centralizing cryptologic activities within the Department of Defense.

The Hubble Space Telescope sends its 1st photograph's from space

The Hubble Space Telescope captured its first-ever photograph on May 20, 1990. This historic image featured the binary star HD96755 in the open cluster NGC 3532, located approximately 1,300 light years away.

Amelia Earhart Departs Newfoundland

Amelia Earhart leaves Newfoundland on her journey to become the 1st woman to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic
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