On This Day in History for December 21

Events in History

Events 1 - 100 of 105

  • 1163 Hurricane hits villages in Holland/Friesland, causing floods
  • 1561 Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Archbishop of Mechelen, made Cardinal
  • 1582 Flanders adopts Gregorian calendar, tomorrow is 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 103 Mayflower Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts [OS=Dec 11]
  • 1650 Johan de Witt installed as Dutch pension advisor of Dordrecht

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1784 John Jay becomes acting US Secretary of State (1789-990)

Ist US Chief Justice John Jay
Ist US Chief Justice
John Jay
  • 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 battleVictory 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1894 Mackenzie Bowell becomes the 5th Prime Minister of Canada

5th Prime Minister of Canada Mackenzie Bowell
5th Prime Minister of Canada
Mackenzie Bowell

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1898 French Scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discover radium

Physicist Marie Curie
Marie Curie

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Author and Nobel Laureate Gerhart Hauptmann
Author and Nobel Laureate
Gerhart Hauptmann
  • 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)
  • 1909 Clyde Fitch' "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
  • 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)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

First Director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover
First Director of the FBI
J. Edgar Hoover
  • 1921 Supreme Court rules labor injunctions & picketing unconstitutional
  • 1923 Nepal changes from British protectorate to independent nation
  • 1925 Stork Hendry scores 325 for Victoria against NZ
  • 1929 1st group hospital insurance plan offered (Dallas Tx)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Famous Clown Coco the Clown
Famous Clown
Coco the Clown
  • 1933 Dried human blood serum 1st prepared, University of Pennsylvania
  • 1933 Newfoundland reverts to being a crown colony of Great Britain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1939 Hitler named Adolf Eichmann leader of "Referat IV B"

SS officer Adolf Eichmann
SS officer
Adolf Eichmann
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • 1941 German submarine U-567 sinks
  • 1942 US Supreme court declares Nevada separation legal
  • 1944 Cards' Marty Marion wins NL MVP
  • 1946 Earthquake in South Japan, kills 1,086
  • 1946 Morton Gould's "Minstrel Show" premieres in Indianapolis
  • 1948 O'Neil Place in the Bronx erronously renamed O'Neill Place
  • 1948 State of Eire (formerly Irish Free State) declares its independence
  • 1949 Dutch 1st Chamber accept sovereignty of Indonesia
  • 1952 Broadway Tunnel opens in San Francisco

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Civil Rights Activist
Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 1957 Indonesia proclaims end to state of war

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

French President Charles de Gaulle
French President
Charles de Gaulle
  • 1959 10th largest snowfall in NYC history (13.7")

  • 1959 Citizens of Deerfield Ill block building of interracial housing
  • 1961 US President Kennedy & British PM MacMillan meet in Bermuda

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Astronaut Frank Borman
Frank Borman
  • 1968 David Crosby, Stephen Stills & Graham Nash premiere together in Calif
  • 1969 Diana Ross final TV appearance as a Supreme (Ed Sullivan Show)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 1974 Raiders RB Clarence Davis somehow catches game-winning touchdown pass among "the sea of hands" of three Dolphins defenders with 24 seconds left in the game, eliminating Miami from the playoffs, 1st time in 3 years
  • 1975 1st NY Jet to gain 1,000 yards rushing (John Riggins)
  • 1975 Madagascar adopts constitution
  • 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

MurderMurder of Interest

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

Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy
Serial Killer
John Wayne Gacy
  • 1979 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1979 New constitution for Zimbabwe agreed
  • 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 to space station Mir
  • 1987 Vladimir Titov & Musa Manarov launched
  • 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: Pan Am Flight 103 destroyed mid air by a terrorist bomb killing all 258 on board over Scotland
  • 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 The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
  • 1996 Pakistan all out 67 to lose to Tasmania by an inning

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

AIDS Researcher David Ho
AIDS Researcher
David Ho
  • 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.
  • 2006 Puzzle Play aired to network Ten, replacing In the Box

Birthdays in History

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1117 Thomas Becket, English archbishop of Canterbury (1162-1170), born in London, England (d. 1170)

Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket
Archbishop of Canterbury
Thomas Becket
  • 1401 Tommaso Masaccio, Italian painter (d. 1428)
  • 1518 Mark van Vaernewijck, Flemish nobleman/politician
  • 1537 Johan III, king of Sweden (1569-92)
  • 1596 Petro Mohyla, Moldovan Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Kiev and Galicia (d. 1646)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1603 Roger Williams, English theologian and colonist, born in London (d. 1684)

Theologian and Colonist Roger Williams
Theologian and Colonist
Roger Williams
  • 1714 John Bradstreet, Canadian-born soldier (d. 1774)
  • 1778 Anders Sandøe Ørsted, Danish politician (d. 1860)
  • 1795 Leopold von Ranke, German historian who founded the modern concept of source-based history, born in Wiehe, Saxony, Holy Roman Empire (d. 1886)
  • 1800 Barnwell Rhett Robert, (Confederacy), (d. 1876)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1804 Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, British Prime Minister (Tory: 1868, 1874-80) and writer, born in London (d. 1881)

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli
British Prime Minister
Benjamin Disraeli
  • 1805 Thomas Graham, British chemist and father of colloid chemistry (d. 1869)
  • 1815 Thomas Couture, French painter/author
  • 1818 Amalia, wife of king Otto of Greece
  • 1818 Lewis H Morgan, American etnologist (Systems of Consanguinity)
  • 1823 Jean Henri Fabre, French entomologist (insects & spiders)
  • 1832 John Henry Ketcham, American politician and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Dover Plains, New York (d. 1906)
  • 1840 Mehmed N Kemal, Turkish journalist (Vatan)
  • 1843 Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealand poet (d. 1898)
  • 1849 James Lane Allen, American writer (Kentucky Cardinal)
  • 1851 Thomas Chipman McRae, American politician, 34th Governor of Arkansas (d. 1929)
  • 1853 Isolde Kurz, German writer/poetess (Meine Mutter)
  • 1859 Gustave Kahn, French poet (claimed to have invented vers libre)
  • 1860 Henrietta Szold, founder (Hadassah)
  • 1870 Sir Patrick Duncan, Fortrie, Banffshire, Scotland, Governor-General of the Union of South Africa (1937 to 1943)
  • 1872 Albert P Terhune, American novelist (Lad, a Dog)
  • 1874 Juan Bautista Sacasa, President of Nicaragua (1932-36)
  • 1878 Jan Łukasiewicz, Polish philosopher and mathematician (d. 1956)
  • 1879 Theodore Limperg, business economist (substitute value)
  • 1886 Hermann A J Kees, German Egyptologist (Problems of Egyptology)
  • 1889 Sewall Wright, American biologist (d. 1988)
  • 1890 Hermann Joseph Muller, American geneticist and Nobel laureate (d. 1967)
  • 1891 John W McCormack, (D) Speaker of House (1962-70)
  • 1892 Amy Key Clarke, English mystical poet (d. 1980)
  • 1896 Carl Romme, Dutch catholic foreman/KVP-min Socialist Business
  • 1896 Constantine Rokossovski, Russian marshal/vice-premier of Poland
  • 1898 Ira S Bowen, US physicist/astronomer (Mt Wilson/Palomar)
  • 1900 Oda Schaefer, German author/poet (Die Windharfe, Ladies Only)
  • 1900 Vsevolod Vishnevsky, Russian playwright and journalist, born in Saint Petersburg (d. 1951)
  • 1901 Juan A de Zunzunegui y Loredo, Spanish writer
  • 1905 Anthony Powell, English novelist (Infants of Spring)
  • 1907 Garmt Stuiveling, Dutch literary (Poet in Love)
  • 1908 Pat Weaver, TV Executive (started Today show), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1909 George Ball, Iowa, lawyer/undersecretary of state
  • 1909 Seicho Matsumoto, Japanese mystery writer and journalist (d. 1992)
  • 1914 Ivan Generalić, Austro-Hungarian-born Croatian painter (d. 1992)
  • 1916 Eve Perrick, journalist
  • 1916 John Boon, publisher (Mills and Boon), born in King's Lynn, Norfolk (d. 1996)
  • 1917 Alicia Alonso, ballerina (American Ballet Theatre), born in Havana, Cuba
  • 1917 Andre Eglevsky, choreographer (Limelight)
  • 1917 Sophie Masloff, American politician
  • 1918 Donald Regan, White House staffer/US Secretary of Treasury (1981-85)
  • 1918 Kurt Waldheim, Austrian 4th Secretary-General of the United Nations (1972-81) and 9th President of Austria (1986-92), born in Sankt Andrä-Wördern, Austria (d. 2007)
  • 1920 Bob Bindig, American cartoonist (d. 2006)
  • 1921 James Tye, safety expert
  • 1923 Intizar Hussain, Urdu writer and columnist, born in Dibai, Bulandshahr (d. 2016) (approx. date)
  • 1924 Johan W "Jo" van Marle, KNVB-chairman (1980-93)
  • 1930 Willem R "Wim" van der Zee, secretary of Council of Churches
  • 1932 Edward Hoagland, American essayist
  • 1933 Huib Eversdijk, Dutch 2nd chamber member (CDA)
  • 1935 Phil Donahue, TV talk show host (The Phil Donahue Show), born in Cleveland, Ohio
  • 1935 Yusuf Bey (Joseph Stephens), American activist (d. 2003)
  • 1935 Edward Schreyer, Canadian politician, Premier of Manitoba
  • 1937 Harald V, King of Norway (1991-present)
  • 1937 Donald F. Munson, American politician (former Maryland Senator), born in Hagerstown, Maryland
  • 1939 Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian politician

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1942 Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (2002-12) and President of the People's Republic of China (2003-13), born in Taizhou, Jiangsu

Paramount Leader of China Hu Jintao
Paramount Leader of China
Hu Jintao
  • 1943 André Arthur. Quebec radio host
  • 1944 Zheng Xiaoyu, Chinese bureaucrat (d. 2007)
  • 1945 Millie Hughes-Fulford, Wells Tx, astronaut (STS 40)
  • 1948 Willem AFG Vermeend, Dutch economist/undersecretary of Finance (1994-)
  • 1949 Nikolaos Sifounakis, Greek politician
  • 1953 Tina Brown, journalist (New Yorker)
  • 1967 Mikhail Saakashvili, Soviet-born President of Georgia
  • 1971 Fenton Keogh, Australian celebrity chef

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1977 Emmanuel Macron, President of France (2017-), born in Amiens, France

President of France Emmanuel Macron
President of France
Emmanuel Macron
  • 1982 Erica Hayden, American journalist and radio personality

Weddings in History

HeartWedding of Interest

1762 British Explorer Captain James Cook marries Elizabeth Batts

Explorer James Cook
James Cook

HeartWedding of Interest

1886 Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA Juliette Gordon Low (26) weds William Mackay Low in Savannah, Georgia

Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA Juliette Gordon Low
Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA
Juliette Gordon Low

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1959 Shah of Persia Mohammed Reza Pahlavi marries Farah Pahlavi Diba

Last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Last Shah of Iran
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

HeartWedding of Interest

1989 Explorer Edmund Hillary (70) weds June Mulgrew

Mountaineer and Explorer Edmund Hillary
Mountaineer and Explorer
Edmund Hillary
  • 2012 "Good Morning America" weather anchor Sam Champion (51) weds fine-arts photographer Rubem Robierb (35) at the couple's apartment in Manhattan

Divorces in History

Broken heartDivorce of Interest

1945 American author and journalist "The Old Man and the Sea" Ernest Hemingway and journalist Martha Gellhorn divorce after 5 years of marriage.

Deaths in History

  • 72 Thomas the Apostle dies in Mylapore, India (according to tradition)
  • 1295 Marguerite Berenger of Provence, wife of Louis IX of France (bc. 1221)
  • 1308 Henry I, the Child, 1st landgrave of Hessen (1256-1308), dies at 64
  • 1375 Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian poet (Vita di Dante), dies at 62
  • 1504 Bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, German archbishop and elector (b. 1442)
  • 1549 Marguerite of Navarre, wife of Henry II of Navarre (b. 1492)
  • 1579 Vicente Masip, Spanish painter
  • 1597 Petrus Canisius, Dutch jesuit/saint, dies at 76
  • 1674 Rutger van Haersolte, viceroy of Overijsselse, dies at about 66
  • 1736 Alessandro Galilei, Italian architect (Cappella Corsini), dies at 45
  • 1807 John Newton, English cleric and hymnist, died at 82
  • 1824 James Parkinson, English physician, geologist, paleontologist, and political activist (b. 1755)
  • 1859 Nicolaas C Kist, Dutch church historian/archivist, dies at 66
  • 1873 Francis Garnier, French explorer, dies at 34
  • 1889 Joseph B Lightfoot, English theologist/bishop of Durham, dies at 61
  • 1889 Friedrich August von Quenstedt, German geologist (b. 1809)
  • 1900 Roger Wolcott, American political figure, 39th Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1847)
  • 1907 Oskar Lassar, German dermatologist (public baths), dies at 58
  • 1921 P B S Pinchback, major Reconstruction politician, dies at 84
  • 1928 Luigi Cadorna, Italian fieldmarshal (WW I, Caporetto), dies at 78
  • 1933 Knud J V Rasmussen, Danish Pole explorer (Thule), dies at 54
  • 1935 Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist/writer (Panter, Tiger & Co), dies at 45

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1937 Frank Kellogg, US Secretary of State and Nobel laureate, dies at 80

US Secretary of State Frank Kellogg
US Secretary of State
Frank Kellogg

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1940 F. Scott Fitzgerald, American author (Great Gatsby, Zelda), dies of a heart attack at 44

  • 1942 Leendert Round, sculptor (Giraffen, Blijdorp), dies at 63

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1945 George S. Patton, American WWII general (Sicily, Italy and Normandy) known as "Old Blood & Guts", dies of congestive heart failure at 60

US WWII General George S. Patton
US WWII General
George S. Patton
  • 1948 Seishiro Itagaki, Japanese General/min of War, hanged
  • 1956 Lewis M Terman, psychologist (Genetic studies of genius), dies at 79
  • 1958 Lion Feuchtwanger, philosopher/writer (Der falsche Nero), dies at 74
  • 1959 Rosanjin, Japanese calligrapher, restaurateur and ceramicist (b. 1883)
  • 1964 Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (b. 1880)
  • 1967 Louis Washkansky, 18 days after 1st heart transplant, dies at 55
  • 1972 Horace Mann Bond, president of Lincoln University (Pa), dies at 70
  • 1974 James Henry Govier, British artist (b. 1910)
  • 1980 Marc Connelly, playwright (One Minute Please), dies at 90
  • 1983 Paul de Man, Belgian-born literary critic (b. 1919)
  • 1987 John Spence, founding No Doubt member (b. 1969)
  • 1988 Nicholas Tinbergen, Dutch/British biologist, dies at 81
  • 1990 Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, American aeronautical engineer (Lockheed Skunk Works; b. 1910)
  • 1992 Nathan Milstein, Ukrainian/US violist (Beethoven, Bach), dies at 87
  • 1992 Sybil Andrews, English/Canada painter, dies at 94
  • 1993 Philip Christison, British general (Rangoon), dies at 100
  • 1994 Dean Rusk, US Sect of State, dies at 85
  • 1995 Robert Francis Vere Heuston, professor of law, dies at 72
  • 1995 Trenchard Cox, British museum director, dies at 90
  • 1996 Margaret E Rey, author of children's books, dies at 90
  • 1996 Olga Maria Nicolis di Robilant, patron of the arts, dies at 96
  • 1997 Michael Lyne, air-marshal, dies at 78
  • 1998 Ernst Gunther Schenck, German doctor who joined the Sturmabteilung in 1933 {b. 1904)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2000 Alfred J. Gross, American inventor (invented the walkie-talkie), dies at 82

Inventor Alfred J. Gross
Alfred J. Gross
  • 2003 Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Spanish playboy and businessman (b. 1924)
  • 2004 Autar Singh Paintal, Indian medical scientist (b. 1925)
  • 2006 Saparmurat Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan (b. 1940)
  • 2007 Ken Hendricks, American businessman (b. 1941)
  • 2010 David Hennessy [Lord Windlesham], British politician (C) (Leader of the House of Lords 1973-4) and TV executive, dies at 78
  • 2013 Eli Beeding, American Air Force Captain and rocket test pilot, dies at 85
  • 2014 Sonia d’Artois, British Canadian WWII resistance agent, dies at 90
  • 2017 Bruce McCandless II, American aviator, electrical engineer and astronaut who made the 1st untethered space walk (STS 41B, STS-31), dies at 80