On This Day

Historical Events on May 21

  • 878 Syracuse is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily
  • 879 Pope John VIII gives blessings to duke Branimir and to Croatian people, considered to be international recognition of the Croatian state
  • 996 Pope Gregory V crowns his cousin Otto III as Holy Roman Emperor in St Peter's Basilica in Rome
  • 1040 King Henry III gives Utrecht the Groninger currency

Historic Event

1216 French crown prince Louis enters England, having been invited by barons at war with King John

Historic Event

1260 Hao Jing, envoy of Mongol leader Kublai Khan imprisoned by order of the high Chancellor of China, Jia Sidao at the Song Dynasty court of Emperor Lizong while attempting to negotiate with the Song

  • 1281 Kublai Khan's second invasion of Japan begins with an attack on Tsushima Island but meets fierce resistance; his troops are forced to withdraw
  • 1382 Earthquake centered on Dover Straits with estimated magnitude of 6.0 causes widespread damage, including to Canterbury Cathedral
  • 1420 Treaty of Troyes: Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the throne of France upon the death of King Charles VI of France

Historic Event

1471 King Edward IV enters London

Appointment of Interest

1499 Francisco De Bobadilla appointed Governor of the Indies, succeeding Christopher Columbus

  • 1502 Portuguese explorer João Da Nova discovers St Helena
  • 1602 Martha's Vineyard 1st sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold
  • 1674 General John Sobieski chosen King of Poland
  • 1683 West Indian Company sells 1/3 of Suriname

Historic Event

1725 The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky is instituted in Russia by the empress Catherine I. It would later be discontinued and then reinstated by the Soviet government in 1942 as the Order of Alexander Nevsky.

  • 1758 Mary Campbell is abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War
  • 1792 Mount Unzen on Japan's Shimabara Peninsula, erupts creating a tsunami, killing about 15,000; Japan's deadliest volcanic eruption
  • 1793 Curacao Island Council forbids criticism of House of Orange

Victory in Battle

1809 Battle of Aspern-Essling: Austrian archduke Charles beats Napoleon and his army. Napoleon's first defeat in 10 years.

  • 1819 1st bicycles (swift walkers) in US introduced in NYC
  • 1832 1st US Democratic National Convention held in Baltimore
  • 1840 Captain William Hobson proclaims British sovereignty over New Zealand; the North Island by treaty and the South Island by 'discovery'
  • 1846 1st steamship arrives in Hawaii

Historic Event

1854 Frederic Mistral, Joseph Roumanille, and five other Provencal poets found Félibrige, a literary and cultural association

  • 1856 Lawrence, Kansas, is captured and sacked by pro-slavery forces
  • 1861 Richmond, Virginia, is designated the Confederate Capital
  • 1863 Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, begins
  • 1864 General David Hunter takes command of Department of West Virginia
  • 1864 Russia declares an end to the Russian-Circassian War and many Circassians are forced into exile. The day is designated to be the Circassian Day of Mourning.
  • 1866 1st-class debut of cricketer Fred Grace aged 15 years 159 days at the Magdalen Ground, Oxford
  • 1871 -July 28] French regular troops attack Commune of Paris; 17,000 die
  • 1878 4th Kentucky Derby: Jimmy Carter aboard Day Star wins in 2:37.25
  • 1879 Battle of Iquique: Chilean naval forces overcome Peruvian ships (War of the Pacific)

Historic Event

1881 American Red Cross founded by Clara Barton

  • 1881 US National Lawn Tennis Association is established in NYC, New York
  • 1886 14th Preakness: S Fisher aboard Bard wins in 2:45
  • 1891 Australian boxer Peter Jackson and future world heavyweight champion Jim Corbett fight a No Contest in 61 rounds at California Athletic Club, San Francisco
  • 1892 Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera "I Pagliacci" premieres in Milan
  • 1894 22-year-old French Anarchist Émile Henry is executed by guillotine. His last words were reputed to be "Courage, camarades! Vive l'anarchie!"
  • 1897 Yerkes Observatory 40" (1m) refractor used for 1st time
  • 1898 US Assay Office in Seattle, Washington, authorized
  • 1904 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) forms in Paris
  • 1904 France recalls its ambassador to the Vatican to protest the Pope's attempt to discipline two French bishops; this is yet another incident driving France and the Catholic Church apart
  • 1906 Louis H. Perlman patents a demountable tire carrying rim for cars
  • 1906 The US and Mexico sign an agreement over distribution of the waters of the Rio Grande, increasingly diverted to the US for irrigation
  • 1907 32nd Preakness: G Mountain aboard Don Enrique wins in 1:45.4
  • 1908 1st American horror movie silent film "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" premieres in Chicago

Historic Event

1910 Louis Botha becomes the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa

  • 1911 French troop enter Fez in Morocco to quell anti-European agitation
  • 1914 39th Preakness: Andy Schuttinger aboard Holiday wins in 1:53.8
  • 1914 Greyhound Bus Co begins in Minnesota
  • 1916 Britain begins "Summer Time" (daylight saving time)
  • 1917 Leo Pinckney, 1st American drafted during WWI
  • 1917 The Great Fire of Atlanta: at least 10,000 people were displaced, but there was only one fatality
  • 1918 US House of Representatives passes amendment allowing women to vote
  • 1920 Mexican President Venustiano Carranza is executed by army generals after fleeing an armed rebellion in Mexico
  • 1921 Oldest radio station west of Mississippi River licensed in Greeley Co.
  • 1922 Rollin Kirby's "On the Road to Moscow" is the 1st cartoon to receive a Pulitzer Prize
  • 1922 Colonel Jacob Ruppert buys out Colonel Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston's interest in NY Yankees for $1,500,000 to become sole owner

Historic Event

1922 Pulitzer prize awarded to Eugene O'Neill for his play "Anna Christie"

  • 1924 Nathan Leopold & Richard Loeb kidnap and kill Bobby Franks to demonstrate their supposed intellectual superiority by committing a "perfect crime"
  • 1925 George Lloyd, Baron Lloyd of Dolobran, becomes British High Commissioner in Egypt
  • 1925 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsun leaves Spitsbergen with 2 seaplanes for the North Pole
  • 1926 White Sox Earl Sheely hits a record 6th consecutive double

Historic Event

1927 Aviator Charles Lindbergh, in the Spirit of St Louis, lands in Paris after the first solo air crossing of Atlantic

  • 1929 Automatic electric stock quotation board installed in NYC
  • 1929 Sergei Prokoviev's ballet "Prodigal Son" premieres in Paris

Baseball Record

1930 Yankees' legendary slugger Babe Ruth hits 3 HRs as NY blows 6-0 lead in 4th against Philadelphia A's at Shibe Park; go on to lose, 15-7

  • 1932 1st Curtis Cup for Women's team amateur golf: US wins, 5½-3½ at Wentworth Club (Wentworth, England)

Amelia Earhart Flies Across the Atlantic

1932 After flying for 17 hours from Newfoundland, Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Northern Ireland, becoming the 1st transatlantic solo flight by a woman

Historic Event

1933 Mount Davidson Cross, San Francisco, lit by FDR via telegraph

  • 1934 Oskaloosa, Iowa, becomes first US city to fingerprint its citizens
  • 1936 Sada Abe is arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover's severed genitals in her hand. Her story soon becomes one of Japan's most notorious scandals.

Sports History

1938 Batsman Don Bradman scores 143 for Australia v Surrey, in 198 mins, with 11 fours

  • 1940 AVRO-chairman Willem Vogt fires all Jewish employees
  • 1940 Allied counter attack at Atrecht, northern France
  • 1940 Paul Reynaud forms French government
  • 1941 SS Robin Moor becomes the first US ship sunk by a U-boat during World War II
  • 1941 German airforce occupies airport at Maleme, Crete
  • 1941 Singer Johan Heesters visits Dachau concentration camp
  • 1942 Convoy PQ16 departs Great Britain for Russia
  • 1943 Fastest 9 inning AL baseball night game (89 mins), Chicago White Sox beat visiting Washington Senators, 1-0
  • 1945 Australian Services win 1st Victory Test Cricket at Lord's by 6 wickets
  • 1946 Physicist Louis Slotin is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation while preparing a plutonium core experiment at the Los Alamos lab, he dies 9 days later and the accident ends all hands-on nuclear assembly work at Los Alamos

Sports History

1948 NY Yank Joe DiMaggio hits for cycle (single, double, triple, HR)

Historic Event

1950 Vietnamese troops of Ho Chi-Minh attack Cambodia

  • 1951 The opening of the Ninth Street Show, otherwise known as the 9th Street Art Exhibition - a gathering of a number of notable artists, and the stepping-out of the post war New York avant-garde, collectively know as the New York School.
  • 1952 Booklyn Dodgers score 15 runs in their 1st inning to beat Cincinnati Reds 19-1
  • 1952 Dutch Queen Juliana opens Amsterdam-Rhine Canal
  • 1953 French government of René Mayer resigns
  • 1954 US Twenty-sixth amendment to give 18-year-olds right to vote is defeated

Musical Finale

1955 Harold Arlen and Truman Capote' musical "House of Flowers" closes at Alvin Theater, NYC, after 165 performances

  • 1955 1st transcontinental round-trip solo flight-sunrise to sunset
  • 1955 WFRV TV channel 5 in Green Bay, Wisconsin (ABC/NBC) begins broadcasting
  • 1956 Jordan government of Said el-Mufti forms
  • 1956 US explodes 1st airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll
  • 1956 WITI TV channel 6 in Milwaukee, WI (CBS/ABC) begins broadcasting
  • 1957 French government of Guy Mollet resigns
  • 1958 Indonesian paratroopers reconquer Morotai Island
  • 1958 US performs nuclear test at Bikini Island (atmospheric tests)
  • 1959 "Gypsy" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 702 performances
  • 1959 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Children's Petting Farm opens (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • 1960 85th Preakness: Bobby Ussery aboard Bally Ache wins in 1:57.6

Music History

1960 Leontyne Price becomes the first African American to sing the lead at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in "Aida"

  • 1961 Governor Patterson declares martial law in Montgomery, Alabama
  • 1962 3 more Cleveland HR set AL record for most HR (26) over 8 games
  • 1964 1st nuclear-powered lighthouse begins operations (Chesapeake Bay)
  • 1964 Fire in Belgian resort kills 19
  • 1964 US begin intelligence flights above Laos
  • 1966 "Downtown" by Mrs Miller hits #82
  • 1966 "Time for Singing" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 41 performances
  • 1966 91st Preakness: Don Brumfield aboard Kauai King wins in 1:55.4
  • 1966 Louie Louie by The Kingsmen reentered the chart & hits #97

Boxing Title Fight

1966 Muhammad Ali TKOs Henry Cooper in 6 for heavyweight boxing title

  • 1966 A "loyalist" group calling itself the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issued a statement declaring war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA)
  • 1967 "Sing, Israel Sing" closes at Brooks Atkinson NYC after 14 performances
  • 1968 Cubs Billy Williams sets outfielder record of 695 straight game
  • 1968 USSR performs nuclear test (underground)
  • 1968 WEKW TV channel 52 in Keene, NH (PBS) begins broadcasting
  • 1968 Nuclear-powered sub USS Scorpion, with 99 men, reported missing & is later found at the bottom of the ocean off Azores

Murder of Interest

1969 Robert F. Kennedy's murderer Sirhan Sirhan sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment

  • 1969 Slovan Bratislava of Czechoslovakia win 9th European Cup Winner's Cup against FC Barcelona of Spain 3-2 in Basel
  • 1969 Civil unrest in Rosario, Argentina, aka Rosariazo, following the death of a 15-year-old student.
  • 1970 National Guard mobilizes to quell disturbances at Ohio State University
  • 1970 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR
  • 1971 Chelsea win 11th European Cup Winner's Cup against Real Madrid 2-1 in Athens (replay)
  • 1971 National Guard mobilizes to quell riot in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Album Release

1971 Marvin Gaye' eleventh album "What's Going On" is released; considered the best album off all-time by critic surveys in Rolling Stone (2020); The Guardian (1997); and New Music Express (1985)

White Night Riots

1971 White Night riots occur in San Francisco after Dan White is given a lenient sentence for assassinating Mayor George Moscone and the openly gay elected official Harvey Milk

  • 1972 "Heathen!" opens & closes at Billy Rose Theater NYC for 1 performance

Theatrical Finale

1972 "Lost in the Stars" based on the novel "Cry the Beloved Country" by Alan Paton closes at Imperial Theater NYC after 39 performances

Historic Event

1972 Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is damaged by a vandal

  • 1972 The Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA) kidnaps and shoots dead William Best (19), a soldier in the Royal Irish Rangers stationed in Germany whilst on leave at home
  • 1975 Lowell W Perry confirmed as chairman of US Equal Opportunity Commission
  • 1975 Trial against Baader-Meinhof-group begins in Stuttgart
  • 1977 "Fiddler on the Roof" closes at Winter Garden NYC after 167 performances
  • 1977 102nd Preakness: Jean Cruguet aboard Seattle Slew wins in 1:54.4
  • 1977 Albert Innaurato's "Gemini" premieres in NYC
  • 1977 Fire in hotel Duc de Brabant Brussels, kills 19
  • 1977 San Diego Padres beat Mont Expos, 11-8, in 21 innings
  • 1977 Electric Light Orchestra releases "Telephone Line" in the UK; it would peak in the Top 10 in the UK and US

#1 in the Charts

1977 Stevie Wonder's single "Sir Duke", a tribute to Duke Ellington and other musical influences of Wonder's, begins a 3-week run at #1

  • 1978 118 Unification church couples wed in England
  • 1978 Yamada Mumon Roshi appointed head of Zen Rinzai Sect

Historic Event

1979 Dan White convicted of the voluntary manslaughter of San Francisco mayor George Moscone and openly gay councilor Harvey Milk. The conviction on a lesser charge outraged the gay community and led to the White Night riots.

  • 1979 National Volksraad installed in Namibia
  • 1979 Stanley Cup Final, Montreal Forum, Montreal, Quebec: 4 consecutive titles for Montreal Canadiens; beat NY Rangers, 4-1 for a 4 games to 1 series win
  • 1980 US Coast Guard Ensign Jean Marie Butler is 1st woman to graduate from US service academy

Music History

1980 "Star Wars Episode V - Empire Strikes Back", produced by George Lucas opens in cinemas in UK and North America

  • 1981 Kim Seelbrede, (Ohio), crowned 30th Miss USA
  • 1981 Stanley Cup Final, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY: NY Islanders win back-to-back titles; beat Minnesota North Stars, 5-1 for 4 games to 1 series win

Music History

1981 Reggae musician Bob Marley receives a Jamaican state funeral

  • 1982 British troops land on Falkland Islands
  • 1983 "Bang The Drum All Day" by Todd Rundgren hits #63
  • 1983 108th Preakness: Donald Miller Jr on Deputed Testamony wins in 1:55.4
  • 1983 Challenger moves to Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center (Florida), for mating for STS-7 mission

#1 in the Charts

1983 David Bowie's "Let's Dance" single goes #1

  • 1985 Israel exchanges 1,150 prisoners with the PFLP-GC in return for 3 Israeli soldiers
  • 1986 Atlanta Brave Rafael Ramirez hits 4 doubles in a game
  • 1986 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1987 Military coup in Fiji under Lt. Col Sitivani Rabuka
  • 1987 Xignals PC Board BBS begins in Alabama
  • 1988 "Da'Butt" by EU hits #35

Music History

1988 Weird Al Yankovic's "Fat" (a parody of Micheal Jackson's "Bad") hits #99

  • 1988 113th Preakness: Eddie Delahoussaye aboard Risen Star wins in 1:56.2
  • 1988 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

LPGA Championship

1989 LPGA Championship Women's Golf, Jack Nicklaus GC: Nancy Lopez wins her 3rd LPGA C'ship by 3 strokes from Ayako Okamoto of Japan

  • 1990 Dow Jones avg hits a record 2,844.68
  • 1990 Last episode of "Newhart" airs on CBS-TV

Cannes Film Festival

1990 43rd Cannes Film Festival: "Wild at Heart" directed by David Lynch starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern wins the Palme d'Or

  • 1991 Ethiopia's Marxist president (Mengistu Haile Mariam) resigns
  • 1992 China performs nuclear test at Lop Nor, PRC
  • 1992 NJ senate overrides Governor Florio's veto & lowers sales tax to 6%
  • 1993 Dayanara Torres, 18, of Puerto Rico, crowned 42nd Miss Universe
  • 1993 Opposition leader Xanana Gusmao of East-Timor sentenced to life
  • 1993 Robin Smith scores 167 in England Texaco Trophy loss v Australia
  • 1993 Venezuela president Carlos Andres Perez fired
  • 1994 "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" closes at Lunt-Fontanne NYC after 16 performances

Sports History

1994 119th Preakness: Pat Day aboard Tabasco Cat wins in 1:56.4

  • 1994 Reds bat out of order against Dodgers in 2nd inning
  • 1994 South Yemen secedes from Yemen
  • 1996 Blackout in many areas of Queens, NY

Baseball Record

1996 Ken Griffey Jr, 26, is 8th youngest to hits 200 home runs

  • 1996 The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas are executed.
  • 1996 "You're Makin' Me High" single released by Toni Braxton (Grammy Award - Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, 1997)

Sports History

1997 Blue Jays pitcher Roger Clemens beats the Yankees for his 200th win

Daytime Emmy Awards

1997 Emmy 24th Daytime Award presentation - Susan Lucci loses for 17th time

  • 1998 In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker.

Historic Event

1998 Indonesian president Suharto resigns after 31 years in power

  • 1999 All My Children star Susan Lucci finally wins a Daytime Emmy after being nominated 19 times, the longest period of unsuccessful nominations in television history
  • 2001 French Taubira law officially recognizes the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.
  • 2001 The Enron Corporation's power generating venture in India, the Dabhol Power Company, serves formal notice that it will terminate its power supply contract and pull out
  • 2001 NHL Western Conference Final: Colorado Avalanche beat St. Louis Blues, 4 games to 1
  • 2003 An earthquake hits northern Algeria killing more than 2,000 people.

Music Awards

2003 38th Academy of Country Music Awards: Toby Keith, Martina McBride & Kenny Chesney win

  • 2004 Sherpa Pemba Dorjie climbs Mount Everest in 8 hours 10 minutes, breaking his rival Sherpa Lakpa Gelu's record from the previous year.