April 20, 2020
Day 111 of 366
April 20th is the 111th day of the year. It is United Nations Chinese Language Day, established in 2010 in an effort to “celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization”. April 20th was chosen as the date “to pay tribute to Cangjie, a mythical figure who is presumed to have invented Chinese characters about 5,000 years ago”.
Historical items of note:
- In 1534, Jacques Cartier began his first voyage to what is today the east coast of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador.
- In 1535, the sun dog phenomenon was observed over Stockholm. It was later depicted in the famous painting Vädersolstavlan, created by either Urban målare or Jacob Elbfas.
- In 1657, freedom of religion was granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam, later called New York City.
- In 1862, Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard completed the experiment disproving the theory of spontaneous generation.
- In 1902, Pierre and Marie Curie refined radium chloride.
- In 1937, actor and activist George Takei was born.
- In 1949, actress Veronica Cartwright was born.
- Also in 1949, actress Jessica Lange was born.
- In 1951, actress Louise Jameson was born.
- In 1959, actor Clint Howard was born.
- In 1964, actor and director Andy Serkis was born.
- In 1999, the Columbine High School shooting occurred. Thirteen people were murdered and twenty-four were injured before the two gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, committed suicide.
In 1946, the League of Nations officially dissolved, transferring most of its power to the United Nations.
The League of Nations was the first worldwide intergovernmental organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on January 10, 1920, following the Paris Peace Conference that ended World War I. President Woodrow Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for his role as the leading architect of the League.
The League proved incapable of preventing aggression by the Axis powers in the 1930s. Its credibility was weakened since the United States never joined. The Soviet Union also damaged the League’s credibility by joining late and then being expelled after invading Finland.
The beginning of World War II proved that the League of Nations had failed in its mission. The United Nations picked up the cause when its charter took effect on October 24, 1945.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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