On This Day in 325 – The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened, starting the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church.[1]

History Delivered

OnThisDay is a simple API that can be used to fetch historical events into JSON format. While it's not hard to find a similar API, most of them require registration or just plain suck. Our service makes development quick and to the point.

No API Key Required

The OTD-API can be used free of charge but you may not use this service in a manner that exceeds reasonable request volume. When no API key is provided, attribution is required and the number of requests per IP address is limited.

Check out the full documentation →

Unlimited Requests

If you would like to enable Access-Control-Allow-Origin headers, obtain unlimited API requests and run your own version of ZenQuotes, please consider a premium subscription.


Events for May 20

1971 – In the Chuknagar massacre, Pakistani forces massacre thousands, mostly Bengali Hindus.

1873Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive a U.S. patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.

2013 – An EF5 tornado strikes the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, killing 24 people and injuring 377 others.

325 – The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened, starting the first ecumenical council of the Christian Church.

1840York Minster is badly damaged by fire.

2016 – The government of Singapore authorised the controversial execution of convicted murderer Kho Jabing for the murder of a Chinese construction worker despite the international pleas for clemency, notably from Amnesty International and the United Nations.

1956 – In Operation Redwing, the first United States airborne hydrogen bomb is dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

1883Krakatoa begins to erupt; the volcano explodes three months later, killing more than 36,000 people.

1983 – First publications of the discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS in the journal Science by a team of French scientists including Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Jean-Claude Chermann, and Luc Montagnier.

1932Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a female pilot, landing in Ireland the next day.

1498 – Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India when he arrives at Kozhikode (previously known as Calicut), India.

1497John Cabot sets sail from Bristol, England, on his ship Matthew looking for a route to the west (other documents give a May 2 date).

1983 – Church Street bombing: A car bomb planted by Umkhonto we Sizwe explodes on Church Street in South Africa's capital, Pretoria, killing 19 people and injuring 217 others.

794 – While visiting the royal Mercian court at Sutton Walls with a view to marrying princess Ælfthryth, King Æthelberht II of East Anglia is taken captive and beheaded.

2002 – The independence of East Timor is recognized by Portugal, formally ending 23 years of Indonesian rule and three years of provisional UN administration (Portugal itself is the former colonizer of East Timor until 1976).

1927Treaty of Jeddah: The United Kingdom recognizes the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud in the Kingdoms of Hejaz and Nejd, which later merge to become the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law, opening 84 million acres of public land to settlers.

1802 – By the Law of 20 May 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte reinstates slavery in the French colonies, revoking its abolition in the French Revolution.

1985Radio Martí, part of the Voice of America service, begins broadcasting to Cuba.

1521Ignatius of Loyola is seriously wounded in the Battle of Pampeluna.

Notable Births & Deaths for May 20

  2019Niki Lauda, Austrian race car driver (b. 1949)
  2013Flavio Costantini, Italian painter and illustrator (b. 1926)
  1992 – Jack Gleeson, Irish actor
  2012 – Robin Gibb, Manx-English singer-songwriter and producer (b. 1949)
  1983 – Matt Langridge, English rower
  2016Kho Jabing, Malaysian convicted murderer who was executed by hanging in Singapore (b. 1984)
  2015 – Femi Robinson, Nigerian actor and playwright (b. 1940)
  2012Leela Dube, Indian anthropologist and scholar (b. 1923)
  2015Bob Belden, American saxophonist, composer, and producer (b. 1956)
  1986 – Jiřina Svobodová, Czech pole vaulter
  1992 – Enes Kanter, Turkish basketball player
  1992Cate Campbell, Malawian-Australian swimmer
  1986Dexter Blackstock, English footballer
  2014Sandra Bem, American psychologist and academic (b. 1944)
  2013 – Denys Roberts, English judge and politician (b. 1923)
  2014 – Barbara Murray, English actress (b. 1929)
  2013 – Anders Eliasson, Swedish composer (b. 1947)
  1984Mauro Rafael da Silva, Brazilian footballer
  1985 – Brendon Goddard, Australian footballer
  2013 – Ray Manzarek, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer (b. 1939)
  1998Jamie Chadwick, English race car driver
  2012 – Andrew B. Steinberg, American lawyer (b. 1958)
  1984 – Keith Grennan, American football player
  2013 – Zach Sobiech, American singer-songwriter (b. 1995)
  1988Joel Moon, Australian rugby league player
  1987 – Julian Wright, American basketball player
  2011Randy Savage, American wrestler and actor (b. 1952)
  2012 – Ken Lyons, American bass guitarist (b. 1953)
  2012 – Eugene Polley, American engineer, invented the remote control (b. 1915)
  1991Bastian Baker, Swiss singer, songwriter, and performer
  2014 – Robyn Denny, English-French painter (b. 1930)
  1986 – Stéphane Mbia, Cameroonian footballer
  1998 – Nam Nguyen, Canadian figure skater
  2013 – Billie Dawe, Canadian ice hockey player and manager (b. 1924)
  2013 – Miloslav Kříž, Czech basketball player and coach (b. 1924)
  1982 – Daniel Ribeiro, Brazilian director, producer, and screenwriter
  2014 – Prince Rupert Loewenstein, Spanish-English businessman (b. 1933)
  1983Óscar Cardozo, Paraguayan footballer
  2012 – David Littman, English-Swiss historian, author, and academic (b. 1933)
  2014 – Arthur Gelb, American journalist, author, and critic (b. 1924)
  1993Caroline Zhang, American figure skater
  1985Chris Froome, Kenyan-English cyclist
  1996Brian Kelly, Australian rugby league player
  1987Mike Havenaar, Japanese footballer
  1989Siosia Vave, Australian-Tongan rugby league player
  1984 – Patrick Ewing, Jr., American basketball player
  2014 – Ross Brown, New Zealand rugby player (b. 1934)
  1991 – Emre Colak, Turkish footballer

 Quick Start

Our API is incredibly easy to use, check out the code samples below to get started:

Read the full documentation →

Fetch Historical Events

All you need to do is send a request to https://today.zenquotes.io/api/[month]/[day]/[key] in order to generate a JSON array of historical events, including notable births and deaths. API data pulled from WikiPedia.

*[key] not required but recommended.

Sample Requests

https://today.zenquotes.io/api/1/1 - Generate notable events, births, and deaths for January 1.

https://today.zenquotes.io/api/5/5 - Generate notable events, births, and deaths for May 5.

https://today.zenquotes.io/api/12/25 - Generate notable events, births, and deaths for December 25.


The result data is formatted as a JSON array, grouped by event type.

{ "info":"OnThisDay API", "date":"April_20", "updated":"1615972324",
  "Events":[ { "text":"1303 &#8211; The Sapienza University of Rome is instituted by a bull of Pope Boniface VIII.&#91;1&#93;", "html":"<a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/1303\" title=\"1303\">1303</a> &#8211; The <a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapienza_University_of_Rome\" title=\"Sapienza University of Rome\">Sapienza University of Rome</a> is instituted by a <a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_bull\" title=\"Papal bull\">bull</a> of <a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Boniface_VIII\" title=\"Pope Boniface VIII\">Pope Boniface VIII</a>." },
  //.. MORE DATA ..//
  "Births":[ { "text":"1494 &#8211; Johannes Agricola, German theologian and reformer (d. 1566)&#91;8&#93;", "html":"<a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/1494\" title=\"1494\">1494</a> &#8211; <a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Agricola\" title=\"Johannes Agricola\">Johannes Agricola</a>, German theologian and reformer (d. 1566)" },
  //.. MORE DATA ..//
  "Deaths":[ { "text":"689 &#8211; Cædwalla, king of Wessex (b. 659)&#91;21&#93;", "html":"<a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/689\" title=\"689\">689</a> &#8211; <a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A6dwalla_of_Wessex\" title=\"Cædwalla of Wessex\">Cædwalla</a>, king of <a href=\"https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Wessex\" title=\"Wessex\">Wessex</a> (b. 659)" },
  //.. MORE DATA ..//
} }

 Usage Limits and Attribution

Requests are restricted to 5 per 30 second period, an API key or registered IP is required for unlimited access and to enable Access-Control-Allow-Origin headers. We require that you show attribution with a link back to https://today.zenquotes.io/ when using the free version of this API. Contact support@zenquotes.io to chat with our friendly dev team and get registered.

Historical event data provided by <a href="https://today.zenquotes.io/" target="_blank">ZenQuotes.io</a>
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