On This Day

Historical Events on December 21

  • 1163 Hurricane hits villages in Holland/Friesland, causing floods
  • 1561 Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Archbishop of Mechelen, made Cardinal

Gregory Conquers Julius Caesar

1582 Flanders adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping 11 days making the next day Jan 1, 1583

  • 1598 Battle of Curalaba: the Mapuche people led by Pelentaru revolt and inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile
  • 1620 Mayflower Pilgrims come ashore at in Plymouth Bay, traditionally thought to be at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts [OS=Dec 11]

Historic Event

1650 Johan de Witt installed as Dutch Pensionary of Dordrecht

Historic Event

1784 John Jay becomes acting US Secretary of State (1789-90)

  • 1788 Hue Tay Son becomes emperor Quang Trung of Vietnam
  • 1829 1st stone arch railroad bridge in US dedicated, Baltimore
  • 1835 HMS Beagle sails into Bay of Islands, New Zealand
  • 1844 The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.
  • 1849 1st US skating club formed (Philadelphia)

Victory in Battle

1864 General Sherman conquers Savannah, Georgia

  • 1866 Fetterman Massacre: Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indians kill all 81 US Army soldiers in the worst military disaster ever suffered by the U.S. Army on the Great Plains

Historic Event

1872 Phileas Fogg completes his round the world trip in 80 days, in Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days"

  • 1890 Pim Mulier 1st & only trip to "Alvesteddetocht"

Sports History

1891 1st game of basketball, based on rules created by James Naismith, played by 18 students in Springfield, Massachusetts

Historic Event

1894 Mackenzie Bowell becomes the 5th Prime Minister of Canada

Historic Event

1898 Scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium

Theater Premiere

1900 Gerhart Hauptmann's play "Michael Kramer" premieres in Berlin

  • 1906 British Parliament pass two important pieces of social legislation: The Trades Disputes Bill, legalizing peaceful picketing, and The Workingmen's Compensation Act, broadening employers' liability for accidents
  • 1907 Dutch government of De Master falls due to war budget
  • 1909 1st junior high school established (Berkeley California)

Theater Premiere

1909 Clyde Fitch's play "The City" premieres in NYC

  • 1909 Unitversity of Copenhagen rejects American Explorer Frederick A Cook's claim that he was 1st to North Pole
  • 1910 Explosion in coal mine in Hulton England, 344 mine workers dies
  • 1912 Denmark, Norway & Sweden declare neutrality in Comende war
  • 1913 1st crossword puzzle (with 32 clues) printed in NY World

Film Release

1914 1st feature-length silent film comedy "Tillie's Punctured Romance" released starring Marie Dressler, Mabel Normand and Charlie Chaplin

  • 1914 2,800 African miners strike at the Van Rhyn Deep mines in a bid to redress some of their grievances
  • 1915 10.17" (25.83 cm) of rainfall, Glenora, Oregon (state record)
  • 1918 Red Sox trade Dutch Leonard, Ernie Shore & Duffy Lewis to Yankees for Ray Caldwell & Slim Love, Frank Gilhooey, Al Walters & $15,000

Historic Event

1919 J. Edgar Hoover deports anarchists/feminist Emma Goldman to Russia

Music Premiere

1920 Jerome Kern/BG DeSylva's musical "Sally" premieres in NYC

  • 1921 Supreme Court rules labor injunctions & picketing unconstitutional
  • 1923 Nepal changes from British protectorate to independent nation
  • 1925 "Battleship Potemkin", Soviet silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein, starring Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barksy and Grigori Aleksandrov, premieres in Moscow
  • 1925 Test batsman Hunter "Stork" Hendry scores career best unbeaten 325 for Victoria against New Zealand in drawn tour match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • 1926 Soccer team DOS Struggle forms
  • 1929 1st group hospital insurance plan offered (Dallas Tx)

Historic Event

1929 Coco the Clown first appears for Bertram Mills Circus in Manchester, England

  • 1932 Giants sign former outfielder Billy Southworth as a coach
  • 1933 Dried human blood serum 1st prepared, University of Pennsylvania

Contract of Interest

1933 Fox Films signs Shirley Temple aged 5, to a studio contract

  • 1933 Newfoundland reverts to being a crown colony of Great Britain

Film Premier

1934 French film "Zouzou" premieres in Paris, starring Josephine Baker; 1st black woman to star in a major motion picture

Sports History

1936 Bradman's 2nd consecutive Test Cricket duck! Australia all out for 80

  • 1937 O'Reilly completes 14-98 for cricket match, NSW v South Aust

Film Premier

1937 The first full-length animated feature film and the earliest in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre

  • 1937 Chicago Black Hawks left wing Paul Thompson becomes first player in NHL history to score a goal against his brother; scores on bro Cecil of the Boston Bruins with just 9 seconds left in regulation; Bruins win though, 2-1

Appointment of Interest

1939 Adolf Hitler names Adolf Eichmann leader of "Referat IV B", responsible for evictions and Jewish immigration

  • 1941 Chicago Bears Ray McLean makes last NFL drop kick for an extra point

NFL Championship

1941 National Football League Championship, Wrigley Field, Chicago: Chicago Bears beat New York Giants, 37-9; first team in NFL championship game era (since 1933) to win consecutive titles; Bears 5th title overall

  • 1941 David Diamond's 1st Symphony premieres
  • 1941 German submarine U-567 sinks
  • 1942 US Supreme court declares Nevada separation legal
  • 1944 Cards' Marty Marion wins NL MVP
  • 1945 "Billion Dollar Baby" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 219 performances
  • 1946 "If the Shoe Fits" closes at Century Theater NYC after 20 performances
  • 1946 Earthquake in South Japan, kills 1,086
  • 1946 Morton Gould's "Minstrel Show" premieres in Indianapolis
  • 1948 O'Neil Place in the Bronx erroneously renamed O'Neill Place
  • 1948 State of Eire (formerly Irish Free State) declares its independence
  • 1948 1949 NFL Draft: University of Pennsylvania linebacker/center Chuck Bednarik is selected first by Philadelphia Eagles
  • 1949 Dutch 1st Chamber accept sovereignty of Indonesia

Film Premier

1949 "Samson and Delilah", directed and produced by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature, premieres in New York

Music Premiere

1950 Cole Porter's musical "Out of this World" premieres at New Century Theater NYC; runs for 157 performances

  • 1951 Pioneering telenovela "Sua Vida Me Pertence" premieres in Brazil
  • 1952 Broadway Tunnel opens in San Francisco
  • 1952 WSBT TV channel 22 in South Bend, IN (CBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1953 KOMU TV channel 8 in Columbia, MO (NBC/PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1955 2nd National Film Awards (India): "Mirza Ghalib" wins the Golden Lotus

Historic Event

1956 Martin Luther King Jr. and others sit in the new integrated bus

  • 1957 Indonesia proclaims end to state of war

Historic Event

1958 Charles de Gaulle wins 7 year term as 1st President of the 5th Republic of France

  • 1959 10th largest snowfall in NYC history (13.7")
  • 1959 Citizens of Deerfield Ill block building of interracial housing

Sports History

1959 Tom Landry accepts coaching job with Dallas Cowboys (stays until 1988)

Music Recording

1960 Ornette Coleman records his influential album "Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation", establishes the name for the Free Jazz sound

  • 1961 Beatles record "Sweet Georgia Brown" & "Ready Teddy"

Meeting of Interest

1961 US President John F. Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan meet in Bermuda

Historic Event

1961 Gangster Joe Gallo is sentenced to 7 to 14 years in state prison for extortion

  • 1962 Angolin leaves Comecon
  • 1962 US & Cuba accord, releases bay of pigs captive
  • 1966 USSR launches Luna 13; soft-landed in Oceanus Procellarum

Film Premier

1966 Cult film "King of Hearts" (Le Roi de cœur) premieres directed by Philippe de Broca starring Alan Bates

Historic Event

1968 Apollo 8: 1st manned Moon voyage launched with Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders

  • 1968 David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills & Nash) premiere together in California

#1 in the Charts

1968 Glen Campbell's album "Wichita Lineman" goes to #1 in the US

TV Show Appearance

1969 Diana Ross' final TV appearance as a Supreme on "The Ed Sullivan Show", performing “Someday We’ll Be Together", after which Sullivan announced her upcoming departure from the group

  • 1969 Vince Lombardi (Washington Redskins) coaches his last football game, a 20-10 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas, for a 7-5-2 season and 105-35-6 career

Elvis Meets Nixon

1970 Elvis Presley meets US President Richard Nixon in the White House - the image of this meeting is the most requested photo from the entire National Archives

  • 1970 WUTV TV channel 29 in Buffalo, NY (IND) begins broadcasting
  • 1970 Oregon v. Mitchell Supreme Court case was decided, lowering the minimum voting age in U.S. federal elections to 18. The voting age for state and local elections was left to states discretion

Historic Event

1971 UN Security Council chooses Kurt Waldheim as 4th Secretary-General

  • 1971 A publican is killed as he tried to remove a bomb from his pub, Northern Ireland
  • 1972 Soviet Union signs a separate peace with East Germany
  • 1973 Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, US & USSR meet in Geneva to discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict
  • 1975 Revival of "Hello, Dolly" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 51 performances
  • 1975 "Very Good Eddie" opens at Booth Theater NYC for 307 performances
  • 1975 1st NY Jet to gain 1,000 yards rushing (John Riggins)

Davis Cup

1975 Davis Cup Men's Tennis, Stockholm, Sweden: Home town hero Björn Borg beats Czech Jan Kodeš 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to give Sweden unassailable 3-1 lead; ends 3-2

  • 1975 Madagascar adopts constitution
  • 1975 Buffalo Sabres set NHL record of 40 points beating Caps 14-2 scoring 5 goals vs Washington Caps in 4:57
  • 1976 20th Islander shut-out opponent-Billy Smith 3-0 vs Bruins
  • 1976 Patricia R Harris named secretary of HUD
  • 1976 UN General Assembly passes a resolution declaring 1979-Year of Child
  • 1976 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1978 Charles Strouse and Lee Adams' musical "A Broadway Musical" opens and closes at Lunt Fontanne Theater, NYC, after 1 performance

Murder of Interest

1978 Police in Des Plaines, Illinois, arrest John Wayne Gacy for murder

  • 1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1979 New constitution for Zimbabwe agreed
  • 1979 Garry Unger’s NHL record for consecutive games ends at 914, as his Atlanta Flames lose 5-1 to the St Louis Blues and he is benched by coach Al MacNeil; record eventually broken by Doug Jarvis (964)
  • 1980 Harold Carmichael ends NFL streak of 127 consecutive game receptions
  • 1981 Cincinnati beats Bradley 75-73 in 7 OTs (NCAA record)
  • 1983 Musical "Tap Dance Kid" opens at Broadhurst Theater NYC for 669 performances
  • 1983 NCAA rules rescinded last 2-minute men's basketball free throw rule
  • 1984 Brigham Young University (BYU) beats Michigan, 24-17 in the Holiday Bowl at Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego to remain undefeated and secure their first ever NCAA Division I-A football title
  • 1984 Islander Kelly Hrudy's 1st shut-out win-Whalers 1-0
  • 1984 USSR launches Vega 2 for fly-by of Halley's Come
  • 1985 ARCO Anchorage runs aground near Port Angeles, WA
  • 1985 Heart's "Heart" album goes #1
  • 1987 3 white NY teens convicted of manslaughter in death of a black man
  • 1987 Soyuz TM-4 launches 3 cosmonauts - Vladimir Titov, Musa Manarov, and Anatoli Levchenko - to space station Mir. Titov and Manarov stay in space for just under 366 days, setting a new spaceflight record
  • 1988 Drexel agrees guilt to security felonies, pays a $650 million fine
  • 1988 Vladimir Titov & Musa Manarov return to earth (a year) with Chretien
  • 1988 Lockerbie disaster: A terrorist bomb destroys Pan Am Flight 103 mid-air, over Scotland; kills all 259 passengers and crew on board, and 11 people on the ground [1]
  • 1989 VP Quayle sends out 30,000 Xmas cards with word beacon spelled beakon
  • 1989 New Zealand is the first country to set a formal inflation target (0-2%) for how much prices should rise each year. Similar targets are subsequently adopted by most developed countries.
  • 1990 Steve & Mark Waugh complete 464* partnership for NSW v WA
  • 1991 95 share in Madrid Spain $1.3 billion lottery (#47996)
  • 1991 El Sayid Nosair acquitted of killing Meir Kahane
  • 1991 Soviet Union formally dissolves as 11 of 12 republics sign treaty forming Commonwealth of Independent States
  • 1992 Dutch DC-10 in fire at landing on Faro Portugal, 56 die
  • 1993 "The Sign" single released in the US by Ace of Base (Billboard Song of the Year 1994)
  • 1994 Bomb goes off on #4 train on Fulton Street NYC
  • 1995 Martina Ertl of Germany wins her 3rd giant slalom world cup
  • 1995 SF Giants announce plans to build a new stadium to open in 2000
  • 1995 The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
  • 1996 Pakistan all out 67 to lose to Tasmania by an inning

Historic Event

1996 Taiwanese-American AIDS researcher David Ho is named Time Magazine's Man of the Year

  • 1997 Detroit Lions Barry Sanders is 3rd to run for 2,000 yards in a season
  • 1997 Detroit Lions linebacker Reggie Brown, knocked unconscious in game
  • 1999 The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.

Football Awards

1999 Ballon d'Or: FC Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo is named best football player in Europe ahead of Manchester United midfielder David Beckham and Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko

Sports History

2005 Joe Sakic is named captain of the 2006 Team Canada Olympic team

  • 2005 Civil Partnership Act comes into force in the UK, with singer Elton John and David Furnish one of the first couples to form a same-sex civil union
  • 2006 Puzzle Play aired to network Ten, replacing In the Box
  • 2007 The Schengen Agreement area increases to include 9 European Union member states; Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia on land and sea borders.
  • 2012 39 people are killed in violent clashes in Kenya
  • 2012 The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar reaches the date 13.0.0.0.0

Music History

2012 "Gangnam Style" by Psy becomes the first video to reach one billion views on YouTube

  • 2012 The NHL announces a further cancellation of games until January 14 bringing the total number of cancelled games to 625

Music History

2012 Flavor Flav's Chicken & Ribs opens in Sterling Heights, Michigan

Historic Event

2016 Carl Icahn is announced as Special Advisor to the President on Regulatory Reform, under President Donald Trump

Film Premier

2016 Indian sports drama film "Dangal" directed by Nitesh Tiwari and starring Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra premieres - first Indian film to earn $300 million worldwide

  • 2017 UN General Assembly votes 128 to 9 to denounce US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital
  • 2018 Tennis Australia announces a 10-point tie break to be implemented in Australian Open when deciding set reaches 6-6; takes place of 2-game advantage final sets

COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 US President-elect Joe Biden receives the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine live on TV

  • 2020 Governor of California Gavin Newson says there are now no intensive care beds left in Southern California or the San Joaquin valley
  • 2020 US begins vaccinating for COVID-19 using the Moderna vaccine
  • 2020 United States attorney general announces charges against Libyan Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi, accusing him of involvement in constructing the bomb that destroyed Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on the 32nd anniversary of the disaster