c20 August AD 14

The day after Augustus’s death, his exiled grandson Agrippa Postumus is murdered on the orders of the new emperor, Tiberius.


20 August 1580

Death of Sir George Bowes. A loyal servant of Elizabeth I, he oversaw the transfer of Mary, Queen of Scots from Carlisle to Bolton Castle in 1568. In 1569 he held Barnard Castle against the northern rebels for two weeks.

20 August 1779

Jöns Jakob Berzelius was born near Linkoping in Sweden. Considered one of the founders of modern chemistry, he discovered a number of elements including cerium, selenium and thorium.

20 August 1841

Under the command of Captain HD Trotter RN, the steamers Albert, Wilberforce and Soudan began their ascent of the Niger river.

20 August 1902

Birth of Scottish doctor Margaret Henderson Thompson. A prisoner of the Japanese on Sumatra during the Second World War, she helped provide medical care for her fellow inmates and in 1943, while still in captivity, she was awarded the MBE.

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20 August 1991

After a KGB-backed coup to depose Mikhail Gorbachev, 100,000 Muscovites join Boris Yeltsin to demonstrate outside the Russian parliament.

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