On This Day in History March 21

March 21 – Events:

  • 630 – Byzantine emperor Heraclius restores the True Cross to Jerusalem.
  • 717 – Battle of Vincy between Charles Martel and Ragenfrid.
  • 1188 – Accession to the throne of Japan by emperor Antoku.
  • 1413 – Henry V becomes King of England.
  • 1556 – In Oxford, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer is burned at the stake.
  • 1788 – A fire destroys 856 buildings in New Orleans and leaves most of the town in ruins.
  • 1800 – With the church leadership driven out of Rome during an armed conflict, Pius VII is crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mâché.
  • 1801 – The Battle of Alexandria is fought between British and French forces near the ruins of Nicopolis in Egypt.
  • 1804 – Code Napoléon is adopted as French civil law.
  • 1821 – First revolutionary act in Monastery of Agia Lavra, Kalavryta, Greek War of Independence.
  • 1844 – The Bahá’í calendar begins. This is the first day of the first year of the Bahá’í calendar. It is annually celebrated by members of the Bahá’í Faith as the Bahá’í New Year or Náw-Rúz.
  • 1844 – The original date predicted by William Miller for the return of Christ.
  • 1849 – The Norwegian city of Hamar is reestablished by royal decree.
  • 1857 – An earthquake in Tokyo, Japan kills over 100,000.
  • 1859 – Zoological Society of Philadelphia, 1st in US, incorporated
  • 1871 – Otto von Bismarck is appointed Chancellor of the German Empire.
  • 1871 – Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.
  • 1913 – Over 360 are killed and 20,000 homes destroyed in the Great Dayton Flood in Dayton, Ohio.
  • 1918 – World War I: Second Battle of the Somme begins.
  • 1919 – The Chinese High School is established in Singapore by Tan Kah Kee.
  • 1928 – Charles Lindbergh is presented the Medal of Honor for his first trans-Atlantic flight.
  • 1933 – Construction of Dachau, the first Nazi Germany concentration camp, is completed.
  • 1935 – Shah Reza Pahlavi formally asks the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran, which means ‘Land of the Aryans.’
  • 1940 – Paul Reynaud becomes Prime Minister of France.
  • 1943 – Massacre of the town of Kalavryta, Greece by German Nazi troops.
  • 1945 – World War II: British troops liberate Mandalay, Burma.
  • 1952 – Alan Freed presents the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • 1960 – Apartheid: Massacre in Sharpeville, South Africa: Police open fire on a group of unarmed black South African demonstrators, killing 69 and wounding 180.
  • 1963 – Alcatraz, a federal penitentiary on an island in San Francisco Bay, closes.
  • 1964 – In Copenhagen, Denmark, Gigliola Cinquetti wins the ninth Eurovision Song Contest for Italy singing “Non ho l’età” (“I’m not old enough”).
  • 1965 – Ranger program: NASA launches Ranger 9 which is the last in a series of unmanned lunar space probes.
  • 1965 – Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
  • 1968 – Battle of Karameh in Jordan between Israeli Defense Forces and Fatah.
  • 1970 – The first Earth Day proclamation is issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto.
  • 1970 – Vinko Bogataj crashes during a ski-jumping championship in Germany; his image becomes that of the “agony of defeat guy” in the opening credits of ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
  • 1970 – In Amsterdam, Netherlands, Dana wins the fifteenth Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland singing “All Kinds of Everything.”
  • 1980 – US President Jimmy Carter announces a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.
  • 1980 – On the season finale of the soap opera Dallas, the infamous character J.R. Ewing is shot by an unseen assailant, leading to the catchphrase “Who Shot JR?”
  • 1985 – Canadian paraplegic athlete and humanitarian Rick Hansen begins his circumnavigation of the globe in a wheelchair in the name of spinal cord injury medical research.
  • 1989 – Sports Illustrated reports allegations tying baseball player Pete Rose to baseball gambling.
  • 1990 – Namibia becomes independent after 75 years of South African rule.
  • 1999 – Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones become the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon.
  • 2002 – In Pakistan, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh along with three other suspects are charged with murder for their part in the kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
  • 2004 – In Malaysia, the 11th Federal and State elections are held, returning the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional to power with an increased majority.
  • 2005 – Red Lake High School massacre: Jeff Weise shoots and kills seven people at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minnesota before committing suicide. Weise had killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend prior to the massacre.

March 21 – Birthdays:

  • 1521 – Maurice, Elector of Saxony (d. 1553)
  • 1527 – Hermann Finck, German composer (d. 1558)
  • 1685 – Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer (d. 1750)
  • 1713 – Francis Lewis, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (d. 1803)
  • 1763 – Jean Paul, German writer (d. 1825)
  • 1768 – Joseph Fourier, French mathematician (d. 1830)
  • 1801 – Maria Theresa of Tuscany, Queen of Sardinia (d. 1855)
  • 1806 – Benito Juárez, Mexican statesman and national hero (d. 1872)
  • 1811 – Nathaniel Woodard, English educationalist (d. 1891)
  • 1839 – Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Russian composer (d. 1881)
  • 1854 – Alick Bannerman, Australian cricketer (d. 1924)
  • 1863 – George Owen Squier, American inventor and Major General in U.S. Signal Corp (d.1934)
  • 1869 – Florenz Ziegfeld, theater producer (d. 1932)
  • 1876 – John Tewksbury, American athlete (d. 1968)
  • 1880 – Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson, American actor (d. 1971)
  • 1885 – Pierre Renoir, French stage and film actor and director (d. 1952)
  • 1895 – Zlatko Balokovic, Croatian violinist (d. 1955)
  • 1901 – Karl Arnold, German politician (d. 1958)
  • 1902 – Son House, American musician (d. 1988)
  • 1904 – Forrest Mars, Sr., American candymaker (d. 1999)
  • 1904 – Nikolaos Skalkottas, Greek composer (d. 1949)
  • 1906 – Jim Thompson, American designer and businessman
  • 1910 – M S Khan, Bangladeshi intellectual (d. 1978)
  • 1913 – George Abecassis, English race car driver (d. 1991)
  • 1913 – Heinz “Pritzl” Bär, German fighter pilot (d. 1957)
  • 1914 – Paul Tortelier, French cellist (d. 1990)
  • 1920 – Georg Ots, Estonian singer (d. 1975)
  • 1920 – Manolis Chiotis, Greek bouzouki virtuoso and song writer (d. 1970)
  • 1921 – Arthur Grumiaux, Belgian violinist (d. 1986)
  • 1922 – Russ Meyer, American film director and producer (d. 2004)
  • 1923 – Shri Mataji Nirmala Srivastava, Indian founder of Sahaja Yoga
  • 1923 – Philip Abbott, American actor (d. 1998)
  • 1925 – Hugo Koblet, Swiss cyclist (d. 1964)
  • 1925 – Peter Brook, British film director and producer
  • 1927 – Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German politician
  • 1929 – Maurice Catarcio, wrestler
  • 1932 – Walter Gilbert, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1932 – Joseph Silverstein, American violinist and conductor
  • 1930 – James Coco, American actor (d. 1987)
  • 1933 – Michael Heseltine, English politician
  • 1934 – Al Freeman, Jr., American actor
  • 1935 – Brian Clough, English footballer and football manager (d. 2004)
  • 1936 – Ed Broadbent, Canadian politician
  • 1936 – Mike Westbrook, British jazz composer, bandleader and pianist
  • 1940 – Solomon Burke, American singer
  • 1942 – Françoise Dorléac, French actress (d. 1967)
  • 1943 – Vivian Stanshall, English musician, artist, actor, writer, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (d. 1995)
  • 1943 – István Gyulai, Hungarian General Secretary of the IAAF (d. 2006)
  • 1943 – Hartmut Haenchen, German conductor
  • 1944 – Marie-Christine Barrault, French actress
  • 1945 – Rose Stone, American musician (Sly & the Family Stone)
  • 1946 – Timothy Dalton, British actor
  • 1949 – Slavoj Žižek, Slovenian sociologist, philosopher and cultural critic
  • 1949 – Eddie Money, American musician
  • 1950 – Roger Hodgson, English musician, former member of Supertramp
  • 1951 – Russell Thompkins Jr, American singer (The Stylistics)
  • 1956 – Guy Chadwick, English guitarist, vocalist and songwriter (The House of Love)
  • 1956 – Ingrid Kristiansen, Norwegian runner
  • 1958 – Sabrina Le Beauf, American actress
  • 1958 – Gary Oldman, English actor
  • 1959 – Nobuo Uematsu, Japanese composer
  • 1960 – Ayrton Senna, Brazilian race car driver and three-time F1 World Champion (d. 1994)
  • 1960 – Robert Sweet, American drummer
  • 1961 – Shawn Lane, American guitar virtuoso
  • 1961 – Lothar Matthäus, German footballer
  • 1962 – Matthew Broderick, American actor
  • 1962 – Rosie O’Donnell, American comedian, actress, talk show host, and publisher
  • 1962 – Mark Waid, American comic book writer
  • 1963 – Shawon Dunston, baseball player
  • 1963 – Ronald Koeman, Dutch footballer and football manager
  • 1964 – Ahmed Radhi, Iraqi international football star
  • 1964 – Jesper Skibby, Danish professional cyclist
  • 1965 – Xavier Bertrand, French politician
  • 1967 – Jonas “Joker” Berggren, Swedish musician (Ace of Base)
  • 1967 – Adrian Chiles, British television and radio presenter
  • 1967 – Maxim Reality, British MC (The Prodigy)
  • 1968 – DJ Premier (Preemo), hip hop producer
  • 1969 – Ali Daei, Iranian footballer, Highest International Goal Scorer
  • 1972 – Chris Candido, professional wrestler (d. 2005)
  • 1973 – Ananda Lewis, American model and television personality
  • 1973 – Stuart Nethercott, English footballer
  • 1973 – Jerry Supiran, American actor
  • 1974 – Jose Clayton, Tunisian footballer
  • 1975 – Fabricio Oberto, Argentine basketball player
  • 1975 – Justin Pierce, British actor (d. 2000)
  • 1975 – Mark Williams, Welsh snooker player
  • 1977 – Brian Shaw, American Entertainer/Recording Artist
  • 1978 – Kevin Federline, American dancer/hip hop artist
  • 1978 – Charmaine Dragun, Australian news anchor channel 10 (d.2007)
  • 1978 – Cristian Guzmán, baseball player
  • 1978 – Rani Mukherjee, Indian actress
  • 1980 – Marit Bjørgen, Norwegian cross-country skier
  • 1980 – Ronaldinho Gaucho, Brazilian international footballer
  • 1980 – Deryck Whibley, Canadian guitarist and singer (Sum41)
  • 1982 – Aaron Hill, American baseball player
  • 1982 – Colin Turkington, British racing driver
  • 1985 – Adrian Peterson, Professional Football Player
  • 1988 – Lee Cattermole, English footballer
  • 2004 – Count Claus-Casimir of Orange-Nassau, Jonkheer van Amsberg

March 21 – Deaths:

  • 1076 – Robert I, Duke of Burgundy (b. 1011)
  • 1181 – Taira Kiyomori, Japanese Feudal general (b. 1118)
  • 1306 – Robert II, Duke of Burgundy (b. 1248)
  • 1487 – Nicholas of Flue, Swiss hermit and saint (b. 1417)
  • 1556 – Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury (burned at the stake) (b. 1489)
  • 1617 – Pocahontas, Native American, daughter of Powhatan (b. c. 1595)
  • 1656 – James Ussher, Irish Anglican archbishop (b. 1581)
  • 1676 – Henri Sauval, French historian (b. 1623)
  • 1729 – John Law, Scottish economist (b. 1671)
  • 1734 – Robert Wodrow, Scottish historian (b. 1679)
  • 1751 – Johann Heinrich Zedler, German publisher (b. 1706)
  • 1762 – Nicolas Louis de Lacaille, French astronomer (b. 1713)
  • 1772 – Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, French cartographer (b. 1703)
  • 1795 – Giovanni Arduino, Italian geologist (b. 1714)
  • 1801 – Andrea Luchesi, Italian composer (b. 1741)
  • 1804 – Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d’Enghien (executed) (b. 1772)
  • 1843 – Robert Southey, English poet (b. 1774)
  • 1843 – Guadalupe Victoria, first President of Mexico (b. 1786)
  • 1850 – Miguel Pedrorena, American settler
  • 1881 – Samuel Courtauld, American-born textile magnate (b. 1793)
  • 1884 – Ezra Abbot, American bible scholar (b. 1819)
  • 1910 – Nadar, French photographer (b. 1820)
  • 1915 – Frederick Winslow Taylor, American inventor (b. 1856)
  • 1934 – Franz Schreker, Austrian composer (b. 1878)
  • 1936 – Alexander Glazunov, Russian composer (b. 1865)
  • 1951 – Willem Mengelberg, Dutch conductor (b. 1871)
  • 1958 – Cyril M. Kornbluth, American writer (b. 1923)
  • 1970 – Manolis Chiotis, Greek songwriter and musician (b. 1920)
  • 1975 – Joe Medwick, baseball player (b. 1911)
  • 1980 – Peter Stoner, American mathematician, astronomer and Christian apologist (b. 1888)
  • 1984 – Shauna Grant, American actress (suicide) (b. 1963)
  • 1985 – Sir Michael Redgrave, English actor (b. 1908)
  • 1987 – Dean Paul Martin, American musician (b. 1951)
  • 1987 – Robert Preston, American actor (b. 1918)
  • 1991 – Leo Fender, American guitar manufacturer (b. 1909)
  • 1992 – John Ireland, Canadian film actor and director (b. 1914)
  • 1992 – Natalie Sleeth, American composer (b. 1930)
  • 1994 – Macdonald Carey, American actor (b. 1913)
  • 1994 – Dack Rambo, American actor (b. 1941)
  • 1994 – Lili Damita, French actress (b. 1904)
  • 1997 – W. V. Awdry, English children’s writer (b. 1911)
  • 1998 – Galina Ulanova, Russian prima ballerina assoluta (b. 1910)
  • 1999 – Ernie Wise, British comedian (b. 1925)
  • 2001 – Chung Ju-young, Korean industrialist (b. 1915)
  • 2001 – Norma MacMillan, Canadian voice actress (b. 1921)
  • 2001 – Anthony Steel, English actor (b. 1920)
  • 2002 – Herman Talmadge, American politician (b. 1913)
  • 2003 – Umar Wirahadikusumah, Fourth Vice President of Indonesia (b. 1924)
  • 2004 – Ludmilla Tchérina, French ballet dancer and actress (b. 1924)
  • 2005 – Barney Martin, American actor (b. 1923)
  • 2005 – Bobby Short, American singer (b. 1924)
  • 2007 – Sven O. Høiby, the father of Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway (b. 1936)

March 21 – Holidays:

  • Astrology: First day of star sign Aries. (International Astrology Day)
  • Traditional date of vernal equinox, the real equinox varies between years.
  • Persian (Iranian) New Year’s Day (Nowruz): (also celebrated in many other countries of Asia) Iranian calendar
  • Traditional date of vernal equinox, used for reckoning Easter. The real equinox varies between years.
  • Japan: Vernal Equinox Day (public holiday)
  • China: Chunfen
  • Namibia: Independence Day
  • Australia: Harmony Day
  • Poland: Truant’s Day
  • South Africa: Human Rights Day
  • Benito Juárez Day, a Fiesta Patria in Mexico
  • The third day of Quinquatria in ancient Rome, held in honor of Minerva
  • Ostara – Neopagan festival of Ostara.
  • World Poetry Day – UNESCO
  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – United Nations
  • World Down Syndrome Day
  • Mother’s Day in Jordan, Lebanon,and Syria
  • St. Nicholas of Flue
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