On This Day

On This Day in History for October 21

Events in History

  • 310 St Eusebius ends his reign as Catholic Pope

RomanRoman Empire

335 Roman Emperor Constantine the Great rules that Jews are not allowed to purchase and circumcise Christian slaves

Roman Emperor Constantine the Great
Roman Emperor
Constantine the Great
  • 686 Conon begins his reign as Catholic Pope
  • 1096 Sultan Kilidj Arslan of Nicea defeats The People's Crusade at the Battle of Civetot, only about 3,000 out of 20,000 Crusaders survive
  • 1187 Alberto de Morra elected as Pope Gregorius VIII (12/17/1187)

Papal VisitThe Protestant Reformation

1512 Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.

Learn More
1517 copy of Martin Luther's 95 theses, the publication of which began the Protestant Reformation in Europe
1517 copy of Martin Luther's 95 theses, the publication of which began the Protestant Reformation in Europe
Learn More

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1520 Explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his fleet reach Cape Virgenes and become the first Europeans to sail into the Pacific Ocean

  • 1553 Volumes of Talmud are burned

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1555 Emperor Charles V makes Erard of Pallandt earl of Culemborg

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V
  • 1555 English parliament refuses to recognize Philip of Spain as king
  • 1568 2nd Altenburger sermon: Philippisten/Gnesiolutheranen
  • 1591 Nijmegen surrenders to Earl Mauritius van Nassau
  • 1601 Memorial service for Daitokuji's Shinju held for Ikkyu Sojun in Kyoto
  • 1639 Sea battle at Dunes, Lt Admiral Maarten Tromp defeats Spanish armada under De Oquendo
  • 1652 King Louis XIV returns to Paris
  • 1708 Dutch & English troops occupy Lille (Rijsel)
  • 1727 Russian & Chinese accord to correct boundaries
  • 1774 First display of the word "Liberty" on a flag, raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts and which was in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.
  • 1789 French Revolution: The National Assembly declares martial law in France to prevent uprisings
  • 1797 The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) is launched in Boston

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1803 English scientist John Dalton reads his paper on the absorption of gases by water to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Soc - 1st outline of his atomic theory

Chemist, Physicist and Meteorologist John Dalton
Chemist, Physicist and Meteorologist
John Dalton

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1805 Battle of Trafalgar: British Admiral Horatio Nelson defeats combined French and Spanish fleet. Nelson shot and killed during battle.

  • 1816 The Penang Free School is founded in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, by the Rev Hutchings. It is the oldest English-language school in Southeast Asia.
  • 1824 Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement (Yorkshire, England)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1854 Florence Nightingale with a staff of 38 nurses is sent to the Crimean War

  • 1861 Battle of Balls Bluff, VA (Leesburg, Harrison's Island)
  • 1864 Battle of Westport, MO (Kansas City)
  • 1868 Severe earthquake at 7:53 AM, centered in Hayward, California
  • 1869 1st shipment of fresh oysters comes overland from Baltimore
  • 1871 1st US amateur outdoor athletic games (NY)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1878 German chancellor Otto von Bismarck delegates end of "Socialism"

German Statesman Otto von Bismarck
German Statesman
Otto von Bismarck
  • 1887 Detroit clinches best-of-15 touring World Championship with its 8th victory in Game 11 this afternoon in Baltimore, 13-3
  • 1895 The Republic of Formosa collapses as Japanese forces invade.
  • 1897 Yerkes Observatory of University of Chicago is dedicated
  • 1899 Battle at Elandslaagte Natal: (Boers vs British army)
  • 1902 In the United States, a five month strike by United Mine Workers ends.
  • 1911 RS Hichens & M Hudsons "Garden of Allah" premieres in NYC
  • 1913 Transvaal women satyagrahis begin defiance activities, hawking without licenses in Vereeniging; they cross the Natal border and encourage the miners in Newcastle to strike
  • 1914 Battle of Warsaw ends with German defeat
  • 1915 1st transatlantic radiotelephone message, Arlington, Va to Paris

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1915 William Jennings Bryan's successor as US Secretary of State, Robert Lansing, sends a note to Britain protesting interference with US shipping

US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan
US Secretary of State
William Jennings Bryan
  • 1917 1st Americans to see action on front lines of WWI: US troops enter front lines at Sommervillier under French command
  • 1917 Petrograds garrison accepts Revolutionary Military Committee
  • 1918 Margaret Owen sets world typing speed record of 170 wpm for 1 min
  • 1921 Tuschinski Theater opens in Amsterdam
  • 1921 Former Hungarian King Karl stages a second attempted coup and is arrested
  • 1923 1st planetarium opens at Deutsche Museum in Munich
  • 1924 KLM Fokker's F7 H-NACC departs to Dutch East Indies
  • 1925 Sidney Howards "Lucky Sam McGarver" premieres in NYC

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1937 Francisco Franco's troops occupy Gijon

Spanish Dictator and General Francisco Franco
Spanish Dictator and General
Francisco Franco
  • 1938 Japanese troops occupies Canton
  • 1940 RAF drops 1st anti-nazi pamphlets on Netherlands
  • 1944 Canadian troops occupy Breskens
  • 1944 World War II: US troops capture Aachen, 1st large German city to fall
  • 1945 Women in France allowed to vote for 1st time
  • 1947 Dutch Dakota explodes near Coopenhagen, 16 die
  • 1948 Beersheba liberated by Israeli army
  • 1948 Dutch Constellation crashes at Prestwick Scotland (40 murder)
  • 1948 Facsimile high-speed radio transmission demonstrated (Washington, D.C.)
  • 1948 UN rejects Russian proposal to destroy atomic weapons

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1949 Author of "Brave New World" Aldous Huxley writes to congratulate George Orwell on his new novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

  • 1950 Chinese forces occupy Tibet
  • 1950 Death penalty abolished in Belgium
  • 1950 Tom Powers of Duke scores 6 touchdowns
  • 1952 Dutch government refuses New Guinea (West-Irian)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1954 Dorothy Parker/Arnaud d'Usseau's "Ladies of the Corridor" premieres

Short Story Writer Dorothy Parker
Short Story Writer
Dorothy Parker
  • 1954 Indonesian troops land in New Guinea
  • 1957 Giants purchase Class-A Phoenix team
  • 1958 1st women in British House of Lords
  • 1959 Contra revolutionaries bomb Havana

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1959 Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in New York

  • 1959 Players Association approves 2 All-Star Games in 1960, to be held in KC & NY
  • 1960 1st British nuclear sub HMS Dreadnought launched

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1960 JFK & Nixon clashed in 4th & final presidential debate (NYC)

35th US President John F. Kennedy
35th US President
John F. Kennedy
  • 1961 USSR performs nuclear test at Sary Shagan USSR

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1964 Society Hill Towers, a complex of three 31-story skyscrapers designed by I.M. Pei and Associates, inaugurated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Architect I. M. Pei
I. M. Pei
  • 1965 Nobel prize for chemistry awarded to Robert B Woodward
  • 1965 Vivian Beaumont Theater (NYC) opens
  • 1965 Comet Ikeya-Seki approaches perihelion, passing 450,000 kilometers from the sun.

The Tragedy of AberfanThe Tragedy of Aberfan

1966 116 children and 28 adults died as a coal waste heap slid and engulfed a school in Aberfan, South Wales

Read Article
The rooftops of Pantglas Junior school poke out of the sludge and debris that engulfed it as rescuers continue to hunt for survivors
The rooftops of Pantglas Junior school poke out of the sludge and debris that engulfed it as rescuers continue to hunt for survivors
Read Article
  • 1967 Egypt sinks Israeli torpedo boat
  • 1967 Tens of thousands of anti-Vietnam War protesters march on the Pentagon, besieging the military headquarters for two days
  • 1969 Bloodless coup in Somalia (National Day)
  • 1969 Leonard Gersh's "Butterflies are Free" premieres in NYC

Electoral defeatElection of Interest

1969 German statesman Willy Brandt is elected chancellor of West Germany (1969-1974)

Chancellor of West Germany Willy Brandt
Chancellor of West Germany
Willy Brandt
  • 1969 Maj Gen Mohamed Siad Barre becomes President of Somali
  • 1970 777 Unification church couples wed in Korea
  • 1970 Caledonian Airways takes over British United Airways
  • 1970 Nobel prize of peace awarded to Norman E Borlaugh
  • 1970 Bernadette Devlin is released from prison having served four months of her six month sentence for riotous behaviour

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1971 Nobel prize for literature awarded to Pablo Neruda

  • 1971 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR
  • 1971 William H Rehnquist & Lewis F Powell nominated to US Supreme Court by Nixon, following resignations of Justices Hugo Black & John Harlan
  • 1974 1st Islander shut-out opponent-Billy Smith 5-0 vs Caps
  • 1975 Coast Guard Academy 1st allows women to enroll
  • 1975 Mexico City's 1st major subway accident takes 26 lives
  • 1975 USSR performs nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya USSR

Nobel prizeNobel Prize

1976 Nobel prize for literature awarded to American Saul Bellow

Novelist Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow
  • 1977 US recalls William Bowdler, ambassador to South Africa
  • 1977 The European Patent Institute is founded.

Birthdays in History

  • 1449 George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III (d. 1478)
  • 1527 Louis I, Cardinal of Guise, French cardinal (d. 1578)
  • 1581 Domenico Zampieri, Italian painter (d. 1641)
  • 1582 Johan Ernst earl of Nassau-Siegen, military/son of Johan VII
  • 1650 Jean Bart, French captain/sea hero (Escape from Plymouth)
  • 1660 Georg Ernst Stahl, German scientist (d. 1734)
  • 1672 Pylyp Orlyk, Ukrainian Zaporozhian Cossack starshina and diplomat, born in Vileyka Raion, Belarus (d. 1742)
  • 1675 Emperor Higashiyama of Japan (d. 1710)
  • 1687 Nicolaus I Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician (d. 1759)
  • 1712 Sir James Steuart, British economist (d. 1780)
  • 1725 Franz Moritz Graf von Lacy, Austrian field marshal (d. 1801)
  • 1757 Pierre Augereau, Marshal of France and duc de Castiglione (d. 1816)
  • 1761 Louis AG baron de Bacler d'Albe, French cartographer/brigadier general
  • 1762 Herman W Daendels, Dutch Brigadier-General and Governor-General of Dutch-Indies (1807-11), born in Hattem, Gelderland, Dutch Republic (d. 1818)

Person of interestSamuel Taylor Coleridge

1772 Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English romantic poet (Rime of Ancient Mariner), born in Ottery St Mary, Devon (d. 1834)

Poet, Critic and Philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Poet, Critic and Philosopher
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • 1790 Alphonse-Marie Louis de Lamartine, Macon France, writer (René)
  • 1803 George Wright, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Norwich, Vermont (d. 1865)
  • 1822 Levinus Keuchenius, Dutch minister of Colonies (1888-90)
  • 1827 Petrus PM Alberdingk Thijm, Dutch historian/writer

Person of interestAlfred Nobel

1833 Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist who invented dynamite and founded the Nobel Prizes, born in Stockholm, Sweden (d. 1896)

Chemist, Engineer & Innovator Alfred Nobel
Chemist, Engineer & Innovator
Alfred Nobel
  • 1839 Georg von Siemens, founder (Deutsche Bank)
  • 1843 Mark M Antokolski, Russian/French sculptor (Peter the Great)
  • 1846 Edmondo de Amicis, Italian writer (Cuore)
  • 1858 Ramabai Dongre' Medhavi, India, social reformer
  • 1873 George P Gooch, English historian/MP
  • 1874 Albert Aftalion, Bulgaria/French economist
  • 1885 Jan Altink, Dutch painter/co-founder (Ploeg)
  • 1890 Gerrit Engelke, German writer/poet (Love Letters)
  • 1891 John Metzelaar, Dutch/US (About Tropical Atl Visschen)
  • 1894 Rampo Edogawa, Japanese author and critic (d. 1965)
  • 1895 Alexander d'Arbeloff, entrepreneur
  • 1898 Amedeo duke of Aosta, viceroy of Ethiopia/gov-gen of Italian East-Africa
  • 1901 Gerhard von Rad, German old testament scholar (Deuteronomium)
  • 1904 Edmond [Moore] Hamilton, American sci-fi author (Danger Planet)
  • 1904 Patrick Kavanagh, Irish poet (d. 1967)
  • 1906 Lillian Asplund, last American Titanic survivor (d. 2006)
  • 1907 Nikos Engonopoulos, Greek painter and poet (d. 1985)
  • 1914 Martin Gardner, Scientific American math & puzzles columnist
  • 1919 Claire Sterling, journalist
  • 1919 Daniel John Chapman Cunningham, physiologist
  • 1922 Liliane de Bettencourt, French heir to L'Oreal and richest woman in the world from 2016, born in Paris, France (d. 2017)
  • 1925 Louis J. Robichaud, Canadian premier of New Brunswick (d. 2005)
  • 1928 Yú Guāngzhōng [Yu Kwang-chung], Taiwanese poet, essayist, and translator (Nostalgia), born in Nanjing, Republic of China (d. 2017)
  • 1929 George Stinney, African-American wrongfully executed at 14 for murder, born in Pinewood, South Carolina (d. 1944)
  • 1929 Ursula K. Le Guin, American sci-fi author (The Left Hand of Darkness, Tombs of Atuan), born in Berkeley, California (d. 2018)
  • 1930 Doreen Cannon, teacher of acting (London)
  • 1934 Jerry Lewis, (Rep-R-California, 1979- )
  • 1936 James H "Simon" Gray, English playwright (Butley)
  • 1940 Don Ritter, (Rep-R-PA, 1979- )
  • 1940 Frances FitzGerald, American journalist/author (Fire in the Lake), born in NYC, New York
  • 1941 Marina Ripa, countess/writer (My First 40 Years), born in Rome, Italy
  • 1942 Les AuCoin, (Rep-D-OR, 1975- )
  • 1943 Tariq Ali, Pakistani author and historian
  • 1944 Janet Ahlberg, illustrator
  • 1945 Nikita Mikhalkov, director (Dark Eyes, Slave of Love)
  • 1948 Moses J "Moss" Mayekiso, South African union/SACP-leader
  • 1948 Shaye Cohen, Historian and Professor at Harvard University
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister of Israel
Benjamin Netanyahu
  • 1949 Jonathon Silver, entrepreneur/arts patron
  • 1950 David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood, grandson of English Princess Mary
  • 1950 Ronald E McNair, Lake City SC, astr (STS 41B, 51L-Challenger disaster)
  • 1952 Allen Hoey, American poet and novelist
  • 1953 Peter Mandelson, British politician
  • 1954 Brian Tobin, Canadian premier of Newfoundland
  • 1957 Wolfgang Ketterle, German physicist, Nobel laureate
  • 1971 Jade Jagger, daughter of Mick & Bianca Jagger, born in Paris, France
  • 1972 Evhen Tsybulenko, Ukrainian professor of international law
  • 1976 Mélanie Turgeon, French Canadian alpine skier
  • 1986 Natalee Holloway, U.S teen, disappeared in Aruba
  • 1988 Hope Hicks, American political operative, White House Communications Director (2017-), born in Greenwich, Connecticut

Weddings in History

  • 1917 Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats (52) weds Georgie Hyde-Lees (25)

LoveWedding of Interest

1929 Bank robber Willie Sutton (28) weds Louise Leudemann

Bank Robber Willie Sutton
Bank Robber
Willie Sutton
  • 1948 Science fiction pioneering author "Stranger in a Strange Land" Robert A. Heinlein marries 3rd wife Virginia "Ginny" Gerstenfeld

Deaths in History

  • 1125 Cosmas of Prague, Bohemian writer
  • 1204 Robert de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Leicester, English nobleman
  • 1221 Alix of Thouars, Duchess of Brittany (b. 1201)
  • 1266 Birger jarl, Swedish statesman (b. 1210)
  • 1422 Charles VI "the Well Beloved", King of France (1380-1422), dies at 54
  • 1439 Ambrose Traversari, Italian theologian and monk, dies at 53
  • 1500 Go-Tsuchimikado, 103rd Emperor of Japan, dies at 58
  • 1505 Paul Scriptoris, German mathematician
  • 1558 Julius Caesar Scaliger, Italian-French physician and scholar (On the Subtlety of Things), dies at 74
  • 1561 Johannes Vasaeus, Flemish humanist/historian, dies at about 49
  • 1600 Toda Katsushige, Japanese warlord (b. 1557)
  • 1623 William Wade, English statesman and diplomat (b. 1546)
  • 1627 Frederik de Houtman, navigator/governor of Ambon, dies at about 56
  • 1629 Tumengung Buraksa, Matarams/Javanese general, dies in battle
  • 1637 Laurens Reael, Dutch vice-governor of Ambon, poet, and admiral, dies at 54
  • 1650 Pedro de Espinosa, Spanish poet/writer, dies
  • 1687 Edmund Waller, English poet/plotter (Waller's plot), dies
  • 1765 Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian painter and architect, dies at 73
  • 1773 Johann Conrad Schlaun, German baroque architect, dies at 78
  • 1775 Peyton Randolph, American president of the Continental Congress (b. 1721)

Person of interestHoratio Nelson

1805 Horatio Nelson, British admiral and war hero, dies in Battle of Trafalgar at 47

  • 1861 Edward Dickinson Baker, US attorney/senator, dies in battle at 50
  • 1861 John Breckinridge Grayson, Confederate brigadier general, dies
  • 1863 Lambertus GC Ledeboer, Dutch old-reformed vicar, dies at 55
  • 1872 Jacques Babinet, French physicist/mathematician/astronomer, dies at 78
  • 1873 Johann Sebastian Welhaven, Norwegian poet (b. 1807)
  • 1886 Jose Hernandez, Argentine poet (La vuelta the MartinFierro), dies at 51
  • 1891 Alpheus Baker, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies at 63
  • 1896 James Henry Greathead, British engineer (b. 1844)
  • 1901 James A. Walker, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), dies at 69
  • 1904 Isabelle Eberhardt, Swiss explorer and writer (b. 1877)
  • 1907 Jules Chevalier, French Roman Catholic priest (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart), dies at 83
  • 1916 Karl von Storgkh, premier Austria, assassinated
  • 1931 A Schnitzler, writer, dies at 69
  • 1940 William G. Conley, Governor of West Virginia (b. 1866)
  • 1943 Dudley Pound, British admiral of the fleet and 1st Sea Lord (Jutland, WW II), dies at 66
  • 1944 Alois Kayser, German missionary to Nauru (b. 1877)
  • 1961 Nils Johan Einar Ferlin, Swedish poet (Barfotabarn), dies at 62
  • 1963 George Cressey, American geographer (Crossroads), dies at 66
  • 1963 Józef Franczak, Polish soldier and anti-communist resistance fighter who was the last cursed soldiers, dies in a firefight with 35 functionaries of a ZOMO (paramilitary riot police) at 45
  • 1967 Ejnar Hertzsprung, Danish astronomer (Hertzsprung-Russell diagram), dies at 94

Person of interestJack Kerouac

1969 Jack Kerouac, American writer (Doctor Sax, On the Road), dies at 47

Writer Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac
  • 1969 Waclaw Sierpinski, Polish mathematician (Sierpinski triangle), dies at 87

Person of interestJohn T. Scopes

1970 John T. Scopes, American teacher convicted for teaching evolution (Scopes "monkey trial" 1925), dies of cancer at 70

Teacher Convicted for Teaching Evolution John T. Scopes
Teacher Convicted for Teaching Evolution
John T. Scopes
  • 1973 Arabi El Goni, VP/Chad parliament, murdered
  • 1978 Anastas I Mikojan, Russian politician, dies at 83
  • 1978 Anastas Mikoyan, Armenian revolutionary and member of Supreme Soviet, dies at 82
  • 1980 Hans Asperger, Austrian pediatrician and eponym of Asperger syndrome, dies at 74
  • 1983 Theodorus H J Zwartkruis, Bishop (Haarlem), dies
  • 1984 Francois Truffaut, dir (Fahrenheit 451), dies of brain cancer at 52
  • 1986 Lionel Murphy, Australian politician and judge, dies at 64
  • 1987 Ying-Chin Ho, Taiwan government official, dies at 88
  • 1992 Jackson Weaver, voice of Smokey the Bear, dies of diabetes
  • 1992 Jim Garrison, Louisiana District Attorney who investigated JFK assassination, dies at 70
  • 1993 Assad Saftawi, Palestinian co-founder of al-Fatah, murdered at 58
  • 1993 Melchior Ndadaye, 1st Hutu President of Burundi (1993), murdered at 40
  • 1993 Sam Zolotow, US theater critic (NY Times), dies at 94
  • 1993 Scott Heiser, US photographer (Interview), dies at 44
  • 1993 James Leo Herlihy, American novelist (Midnight Cowboy), commits suicide at 66
  • 1994 Edward Moss Hutchinson, educationalist, dies at 85
  • 1994 Jerome Bert Weisner, military Scientist/Disarmer, dies at 79
  • 1995 Linda Goodman, American astrologer and poet, dies from complications of diabetes at 70
  • 1995 Jose Ignacio Cabrujas, writer, dies at 58
  • 1995 Jesús Blasco, Spanish comic book author (Cuto), dies at 75
  • 1996 Abdelhamid Benhadugah, novelist, dies at 71
  • 1996 Eric Halsall, sheepdog trial commentator, dies at 76
  • 1996 Georgios Zoitakis, leader of Greece (1967-72), dies
  • 1996 Robert O'Neill Crossman, politician, dies at 49
  • 1996 Wang Li, politician, dies at 78
  • 1998 Francis W. Sargent, 64th Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1915)
  • 1998 Alan Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury, British business executive, dies at 96
  • 1999 Ahmet Taner Kışlalı, Turkish politician, journalist, and educator, assassinated at 60
  • 2003 Luis A. Ferré, Puerto Rican industrialist and politician (Governor of Puerto Rico, 1969-73), dies at 99
  • 2003 Louise Day Hicks, American politician (b. 1916)
  • 2009 Louise Cooper, British sci-fi author (Nemesis, Inferno, Infanta, Nocturne), dies of a brain hemorrhage at 57
  • 2012 George McGovern, American politician and Presidential candidate (D-1972), dies at 90
  • 2012 Yash Chopra, Indian director (Waqt), dies from dengue fever and multiple organ failure at 80
  • 2013 Major R Owens, American politician (Rep-D-NY, 1983-2007), dies at 77

Person of interestBen Bradlee

2014 Ben Bradlee, American editor, journalist, newspaper executive (Washington Post), dies at 93

Journalist Ben Bradlee
Ben Bradlee
  • 2014 Gough Whitlam, Australian politician (Prime Minister, 1972-1975), dies at 98
  • 2018 Robert Faurisson, British-born French academic, dies at 89