May 20: Facts & Historical Events On This Day

Did you know that on this day, May 20, 1896, the chandelier of the Palais Garnier Opera House broke and its debris fell on a crowd?

May 20th is also known as World Bee Day & Pick Strawberries Day.

This day marks the 140th day of 2023, and there’s another 225 days to go.

Check out all the biggest historical events from May 20th with our top facts on areas such as exploration, inventions, disasters, fashion and more.

Did you know that on this day in 1896, the chandelier of the Palais Garnier Opera House broke and its debris fell on a crowd? While several were injured there was only one death.

Keep reading for more interesting facts about May 20th in history!

What Events Happened On May 20 In History?

2015 The US Air Force Space Command launched the Boeing X-37B spaceplane for a classified mission.

Mission USA-261 was the second launch of the second Boeing X-37B, a reusable robotic spacecraft that launched vertically atop a rocket and returned to earth horizontally as a spaceplane. In addition to flying a classified mission, the spacecraft carried a NASA payload of materials to test their exposure to space.

2013 The Church of Scotland voted in favor of allowing openly gay men and women to be ministers.


1980 Quebec held a referendum on whether to begin negotiations with Canada to become independent.

1979 Elton John and his entourage flew into Moscow, making him the first western pop star to tour the USSR.

1972 Hard Job Being God, a Broadway musical, closed at the Edison Theater NYC after six performances.


1932 Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland.

OTD in 1932: Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland.

When she left, she took a copy of the Telegraph-Journal as proof of the date of the flight. After a flight lasting 14 hours and 56 minutes, she landed in Northern Ireland. This made her the first woman to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic.

1896 The chandelier of the Palais Garnier Opera House broke, and its debris fell on a crowd.

OTD in 1896: The chandelier of the Palais Garnier Opera House broke

One of the chandelier's counterweights broke and fell into the auditorium, killing one person and injuring a few others. This event became a famous scene in the popular 1910 novel "Phantom of the Opera."

1891 The first public display of Thomas Edison’s prototype kinetoscope was shown to members of the National Federation of Women’s Club.

1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented the first blue jeans with copper rivets.

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1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Acts into law.

These Acts were to provide cheap land in the West to settlers. Applicants could gain ownership of government land or the public domain. Over 160 million acres of public land were given away for free to 1.6 million people.

1609 Shakespeare’s Sonnets were first published in London.

OTD in 1609: Shakespeare's Sonnets were first published in London.

The publisher, Thomas Thorpe, entered the book in the Stationers' Register. However, how he acquired the manuscripts is unconfirmed, and it may have been an illegal copy.

1498 After decades of failed attempts to reach the Indies, Vasco da Gama arrived in Calicut, India.

He was the first European to reach India by sea.

685 AD The Pictish armies of King Bridei Mac Bili won a decisive victory over the armies of Northumbria at the Battle of Dun Nechtain.

325 AD The first Christian ecumenical council opens at Nicaea, Asia Minor. It was the first attempt to achieve agreement in the church.

Famous People Born On May 20

Are you celebrating your birthday today? If so, did you know that you share the same birthday as Peyton Clark? See what other famous people were born on this day.

1946 Cher

American Singer

76 years old
Born In:
California, USA

1972 Busta Rhymes

American Rapper

Busta Rhymes
50 years old
Born In:
New York, USA

1994 Peyton Clark

American Actor

Peyton Clark
28 years old
Born In:
Indiana, USA

1968 Timothy Olyphant

American Actor

Timothy Olyphant
54 years old
Born In:
Hawaii, USA

Special Holidays On May 20

Are you looking for something to do today? Well, here’s a few special days that might just give you some ideas.

May 20: World Bee Day

World Bee Day

Bees play such an essential role in helping us to cultivate food. Today is World Bee Day, so be sure to take part by learning more about buzzing little bees, or you could even make a bee hotel to attract bees into your garden.

May 20: National Pick Strawberries Day

National Pick Strawberries Day

Buying strawberries from the store can always be a gamble, as there are always some bad strawberries hidden in the punnet. The best strawberries are picked fresh off the plant, so head out to your closest strawberry farm today and pick some of your own on Pick Strawberries Day!

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THe Fact Site's

Fun Fact Of The Day

The A.D. and B.C. system was not proposed until 525 A.D. by a monk. However, it was not widely used until the 9th Century.

May 20 Birthday Facts, Zodiac & Birthstone

Everyone who was born on May 20th shares the same zodiac sign, Taurus.

Taurus is represented by the bull and is the second sign in the zodiac. Anyone who was born between April 20 and May 20 falls into this astrological sign.

For all of you who were born in May, your allocated birthstone is Emerald. Green is a color that signifies hope, the coming of spring, regeneration, and new growth. Even the word “emerald” comes from the ancient Greek “smaragdos,” which means “green gem.”

If your birthday falls on May 20th, you would’ve likely been conceived around August 27th in the previous year.

A baby conceived on May 20th, 2023, will likely be born around February 10th, 2024.

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