On This Day

2021 in History

Events in History

  • Jan 1 Cuba's "day zero" unifies its two currencies by withdrawing the Cuban convertible peso (CUC), alongside steep increases in prices and salaries, effectively devaluing the remaining Cuban Peso for the first time since 1959 [1]
  • Jan 1 African Continental Free Trade Area, signed by 54 countries comes into effect, largely symbolically with full implementation expected to take years [1]

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 3 US President Donald Trump says to Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger "I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” in recording released by the Washington Post

45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
  • Jan 4 First Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccinations given in the UK
  • Jan 4 South Korea, already the country with world's lowest birth rate, records more deaths than births for the first time [1]

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 4 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces new national lockdown for England following Scotland, as COVID-19 variant spreads rapidly with hospitalizations now higher than the first wave

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson
  • Jan 5 Six Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, sign an agreement to ease the blockage with Qatar, in place since 2017
  • Jan 5 Daily new cases of COVID-19 top 60,000 in the UK as data reveals one in fifty in England had COVID-19 within the last week
  • Jan 5 In Georgia Senate run-off elections Raphael Warnock (D) defeats Kelly Loeffler (R) and Jon Ossoff (D) defeats David Perdue (R) to give Democrats control of the US Senate
  • Jan 6 More than 50 pro-democracy activists rounded up and arrested in Hong Kong
  • Jan 6 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says country's five-year economic plan has failed at opening of a rare meeting of the Workers' Party
  • Jan 6 Supporters of President Donald Trump storm US Capitol in Washington during congressional certification of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris's win, resulting in five deaths and prompting evacuation of lawmakers and vice-president Mike Pence

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 7 US Congress completes the ceremonial certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory late in the night after an earlier unprecedented breach of the Capitol by Trump supporters

46th US President, Vice President and Senator Joe Biden
46th US President, Vice President and Senator
Joe Biden
  • Jan 7 Arizona is now the COVID-19 “hotspot of the world" according to local health officials with an average of 118.3 new cases per 100,000 people

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 7 Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, becomes the world's richest man, worth $186 billion, overtaking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos

Entrepreneur Elon Musk
Entrepreneur
Elon Musk
Amazon Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos
Amazon Entrepreneur
Jeff Bezos
  • Jan 7 WHO warns Europe needs to do more to "flatten the steep vertical line" of COVID-19 cases and control the spread of the new variant, with 230 million already living under lockdown

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 7 Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg blocks President Donald Trump from Facebook and Instagram till January 20, following suspension of his other social media accounts the previous day

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook Founder
Mark Zuckerberg
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 8 Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga declares a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding areas after COVID-19 cases surge to their highest level

Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga
Prime Minister of Japan
Yoshihide Suga
  • Jan 8 Twitter bans US President Donald Trump permanently "due to the risk of further incitement of violence"
  • Jan 8 Storm Filomena hits Spain with 50cm (20 inches) of snow falling on Madrid, resulting in four deaths and leaving thousands stranded

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 8 US Speaker Nancy Pelosi demands President Donald Trump's resignation or he will face impeachment, while also calling for vice-president Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
US Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
48th Vice President of the United States Mike Pence
48th Vice President of the United States
Mike Pence
  • Jan 9 Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 crashes in the Java Sea just after take off from Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 62 on board
  • Jan 9 China places two cities, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai, under lockdown after over 130 cases of COVID-19 reported
  • Jan 10 America records more than 3,000 deaths a day for the first time reaching 3,249, passing 375,000 deaths in total a day later
  • Jan 11 Ireland becomes the country with the world's highest COVID-19 infection rate after a dramatic surge results in seven-day rolling average of 1,394 cases per million
  • Jan 11 US House Democrats introduce one article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for "incitement of insurrection" for encouraging his supporters to riot at the Capitol
  • Jan 11 The king of Malaysia, Al-Sultan Abdullah declares a state of emergency over COVID-19 till 1 August, suspending parliament and giving the government new powers
  • Jan 12 India's Supreme Court puts on hold three controversial new farm laws that ignited weeks of protests by farmers in Delhi
  • Jan 13 President Donald Trump is impeached by the US House of Representatives voting 232-197, for “incitement of insurrection”, first time in history a US President is impeached twice
  • Jan 13 Deadliest air raid by Israel on Syria since 2018, when 10 soldiers and 47 allied fighters killed in attacks on military positions [1]
  • Jan 13 Irish PM Minister Micheal Martin issues apology for treatment of unmarried mothers and babies in church-run institutions 1920-1990s after report 9,000 children had died [1]
  • Jan 13 World's oldest known cave painting of an animal - a pig, 45,000 years old, discovered in Leang Tedongnge cave, island of Sulawesi, Indonesia [1]
  • Jan 14 Uganda elections re-elect President Museveni (in power since 1986), with main opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine disputing the result

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 14 Pope Francis, 84, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Pope Pope Francis
Pope
Pope Francis
265th Pope Benedict XVI
265th Pope
Benedict XVI
  • Jan 14 Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder charged and pleads not guilty to two counts of willful neglect of duty over the Flint water scandal that killed 12 people
  • Jan 14 Brazilian governor of Amazonas state Wilson Lima says their COVID-19 surge is now as bad as April 2020, with hospitals running out of oxygen and patients ventilated manually

  • Jan 14 US Secret Service takes control of Joe Biden's inauguration as 20,000 troops authorized to guard Washington D.C., more than those stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Somali
  • Jan 15 Global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic passes 2 million (true total likely much higher)
  • Jan 15 Dutch government led by PM Mark Rutte resigns after falsely accusing thousands of families of welfare fraud
  • Jan 15 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia's island of Sulawesi kills at least 42 with hundreds injured
  • Jan 16 India begin the vaccination of its 1.3 billion people for COVID-19

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

Jan 16 Armin Laschet is elected leader of Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU), to replace long-serving leader Angela Merkel

Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel
Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel
  • Jan 16 10 Nepali climbers become the first to reach the summit of K2 in winter on the China-Pakistan border
  • Jan 17 Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is arrested immediately on his return to Russia after recovering from nerve-agent poisoning [1]
  • Jan 18 Brazil begins vaccinations for COVID-19 with the world's second-highest death toll at 209,000

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 19 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says China is committing genocide in its repression of Uighurs and other Muslim people

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo
  • Jan 19 The US death toll from COVID-19 passes 400,000
  • Jan 20 Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America and Kamala Harris as the 49th Vice President, the first female, black or south Asian Vice President. Amanda Gorman recites "The Hill We Climb".
  • Jan 20 US President Joe Biden signs 15 executive orders on his first day in office to re-join the WHO, the Paris Climate Agreement, revoking the Keystone XL Pipeline and mandating masks on federal properties

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 21 Avril Haines is sworn in as the first female US Director of National Intelligence by VP Kamala Harris

49th US Vice President and Senator Kamala Harris
49th US Vice President and Senator
Kamala Harris
  • Jan 22 Lloyd Austin confirmed as defense secretary by the US Senate, and the first black head of the Pentagon

AppointmentAppointment of Interest

Jan 25 Janet Yellen is confirmed as the first female treasury secretary by the US Senate

Economist and Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen
Economist and Chair of the Federal Reserve
Janet Yellen
  • Jan 26 Antony Blinken confirmed by US Senate as Secretary of State
  • Jan 28 Share trading app Robinhood, favored by Reddit, suspends trading of Gamestop amid huge surge in share price of the previously short listed stock by Wall Street

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 28 Bernie Sanders mittens worn to the inauguration raise $1.8 million for Vermont charities after images go viral

US Senator Bernie Sanders
US Senator
Bernie Sanders
  • Jan 28 Mexico's COVID-19 death toll becomes the world's third highest, overtaking India's at 155,145 [1]
  • Jan 29 Johnson & Johnson's Janssen single-dose vaccine shown to be 66% effective in trials, with complete protection against hospitalization and death [1]
  • Jan 29 Novavax vaccine shows 89% efficacy in UK trials, including against UK variant [1]
  • Jan 29 "Proposal to Prevent the Feminisation of Male Adolescents" published by China's Education Ministry asks schools to use sports to cultivate masculinity [1]

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 31 Widespread protests in Russia against detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the government with 5,000 people arrested

Political Activist Alexei Navalny
Political Activist
Alexei Navalny

BattleCoup d'état

Feb 1 Military stage a coup in Myanmar, detaining civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and declare a one-year state of emergency

Burmese Politician Aung San Suu Kyi
Burmese Politician
Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Feb 1 Wildfires ignite on the outskirts of Perth, Australia, forcing evacuations amid five-day COVID-19 lockdown
  • Feb 1 Wisdom the albatross, the world's oldest known bird, hatches at chick at 70 at the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge, North Pacific [1]
  • Feb 2 Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine deemed 91.6% effective according to analysis published in "The Lancet" [1]
  • Feb 2 Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to be confirmed to a US cabinet post as transportation secretary
  • Feb 2 Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant to be confirmed as head of the US Department of Homeland Security

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 2 Jeff Bezos announces he is stepping down as CEO of Amazon after 30 years, becoming executive chairman

Amazon Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos
Amazon Entrepreneur
Jeff Bezos
  • Feb 2 Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny jailed for three and a half years in jail over alleged parole violations in Moscow
  • Feb 3 US and Russia extend their New START nuclear arms control treaty for five years, the last remaining nuclear arms deal between the two countries
  • Feb 3 US President Joe Biden signs executive orders to reunite immigrant families, setting up a new taskforce to address around 1000 remaining separated families [1]
  • Feb 3 Engineers at MIT engineered spinach to send emails when detecting explosive materials in groundwater as part of plant nanobionic research [1]
  • Feb 4 US President Joe Biden announces an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen's civil war
  • Feb 4 Denmark approves plans for world's first energy island in the North Sea to provide power to 3 million Europeans
  • Feb 4 International Criminal Court convicts Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen of war crimes and crimes against humanity including forced pregnancy in legal first [1]
  • Feb 4 First successful face and double hand transplant announced performed on 22 year-old Joe DiMeo in New York
  • Feb 5 Ocean life is being drowned out by human noise, especially shipping, construction, sonar and seismic surveys according to new research [1]
  • Feb 7 Himalayan glacier crashes into the Dhauliganga river, destroying a dam and causing a huge flood in Uttarakhand province, India, killing 26, leaving 150 missing
  • Feb 8 South Africa halts rollout of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after research into the South African variant showed no protection again mild and moderate illness
  • Feb 8 Martial law declared in Mandalay, Myanmar, amid continuing protests against the country's military coup
  • Feb 9 WHO team investigating origin of COVID-19 in Wuhan say it is "extremely unlikely" that it leaked from a local research lab [1]
  • Feb 9 US Senate Impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump begins in Washington D.C.
  • Feb 9 United Arab Emirates is the fifth entity to successfully orbit a probe around Mars, as probe Hope begins to study the planet's atmosphere.
  • Feb 10 17,000 year old couch shell discovered to be oldest known wind instrument, after being reassessed by archaeologists, originally found in Marsoulas cave, Pyrenees [1]
  • Feb 10 Astronomers confirm the planetoid named Farfarout as the most distant orbiting the Sun, almost four times more distant than Pluto [1]
  • Feb 11 World's second oldest person French nun Sister André' celebrates her 117th birthday after surviving COVID-19 in Toulon
  • Feb 11 US President Joe Biden rescinds the national emergency order used by Donald Trump to fund the border wall with Mexico
  • Feb 11 California's COVID-19 death toll overtakes New York's, reaching 45,496 amid first sign of falling infection numbers (Johns Hopkins)
  • Feb 11 UK Kent COVID-19 strain set "to sweep the world" and become the dominant strain globally according to UK scientist Sharon Peacock after strain detected in over 50 countries
  • Feb 12 Tokyo Olympics Chief Yoshiro Mori resigns after his comments talkative women made meetings “drag on too long”
  • Feb 13 Former US President Donald Trump acquitted in second Senate impeachment trial on charge of incitement of insurrection after senators vote 57 to 43 in favor of conviction, less than the two thirds majority required for impeachment
  • Feb 13 Archaeologists announce discovery of oldest known beer factory in Abydos, Egypt, from early Dynastic period 3150 B.C.- 2613 B.C

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Feb 13 Mario Draghi, former head of the European Central Bank, is sworn in as Italian Prime Minister ahead of a new coalition government

Economist and Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi
Economist and Prime Minister of Italy
Mario Draghi
  • Feb 14 Guinea declares an Ebola epidemic after three deaths, its first deaths since 2016
  • Feb 14 At least 60 people killed and hundreds missing after a boat capsizes on the Congo River carrying 700 people in western Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Feb 15 Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala becomes the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization
  • Feb 15 Major winter storm in the US stretches from Texas to Maine killing at least 31, with over 3 million without power in Texas
  • Feb 15 UK is the first European country to require travellers from COVID 'hotspots' to isolate in quarantine hotels, following other countries such as Australia, NZ and Singapore
  • Feb 16 US Winter storm continues with Dallas recording its lowest temperature in 70 years minus-2 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Feb 16 Athens and parts of Greece covered in unusual heavy snowfall
  • Feb 17 South Africa, Africa's worst-affected country begins COVID-19 vaccinations with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Cape Town

Divorces in History

  • Feb 19 Kim Kardashian West files for divorce from her third husband, Kanye West after almost seven years

Deaths in History

  • Jan 4 Albert Roux, French chef and restaurateur (Le Gavroche, 1st Michelin three-starred restaurant in Britain), dies at 85 [1]
  • Jan 6 Satya Paul, Indian fashion designer and entrepreneur who invented the modern sari, dies of a stroke at 79 [1]

Person of interestSheldon Adelson

Jan 11 Sheldon Adelson, American business magnate (CEO of Las Vegas Sands casino company) and major political donor to the GOP and Israel, dies at 87 [1]

Entrepreneur and Founder of Las Vegas Sands Sheldon Adelson
Entrepreneur and Founder of Las Vegas Sands
Sheldon Adelson
  • Jan 13 Siegfried Fischbacher, German American entertainer and magician (Siegfried and Roy), dies at 81 [1]
  • Feb 2 Tom Moore, English army captain knighted for raising £32 million for the NHS, dies with COVID-19 at 100
  • Feb 6 George P. Schultz, American economist, and statesman (Secretary of State, 1982-89; Secretary of the Treasury, 1972-74), dies at 100
  • Feb 13 Olle Nygren, Swedish speedway rider (World Team Cup 1960; World C'ship 1954 3rd; World Longtrack C'ship 1961 runner-up), dies at 91
  • Feb 13 Frank Orr, Canadian sports author and journalist (Hockey Hall of Fame; Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award; Toronto Star), dies at 84

Person of interestRush Limbaugh

Feb 17 Rush Limbaugh, American right wing radio personality, dies of lung cancer at 70

Radio Personality and Author Rush Limbaugh
Radio Personality and Author
Rush Limbaugh
  • Feb 17 Murray Weideman, Australian rules football CHF (Collingwood VFL premiers 1953, 58 [c]; B&F 1957, 61, 62; Victoria 1956-60) and coach (Collingwood 1975-76), dies at 85
  • Feb 22 Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American beat poet (Coney Island of the Mind), dies at 101 [1]
  • Feb 24 Tom Foley, Irish racehorse trainer (trainer Danoli, "the People's Champion"), dies from cancer at 74
  • Feb 26 John Mallard, English medical physicist (developed MRI and PET scans), dies at 94
  • Mar 6 Bengt Åberg, Swedish motocross racer (World 500cc Motocross Champion 1969, 70; Motocross des Nations gold 1970, 71, 74), dies at 76