On This Day in History November 21

November 21 – Events:

  • 164 BC – Judas Maccabaeus, son of Mattathias of the Hasmonean family, restores the Temple in Jerusalem. Events commemorated each year by the festival of Hanukkah.
  • 1272 – Following Henry III of England’s death on November 16, his son Prince Edward becomes King of England.
  • 1620 – Plymouth Colony settlers sign the Mayflower Compact (November 11, O.S.).
  • 1783 – In Paris, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, Marquis d’Arlandes, make the first untethered hot air balloon flight.
  • 1789 – North Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution and is admitted as the 12thS. state.
  • 1791 – Colonel Napoléon Bonaparte is promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the French Republic.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints Judah Benjamin secretary of war.
  • 1877 – Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound.
  • 1894 – Port Arthur massacre: Port Arthur, Manchuria falls to the Japanese, a decisive victory of the First Sino-Japanese War.
  • 1905 – Albert Einstein’s paper, “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” is published in the journal “Annalen der Physik”. This paper reveals the relationship between energy and mass. This leads to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².
  • 1916 – HMHS Britannic sinks in the Aegean Sea after a mine explodes, killing 30 people.
  • 1920 – Bloody Sunday during the Anglo-Irish War.
  • 1922 – Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator.
  • 1927 – Columbine Mine Massacre: Striking coal miners were allegedly attacked with machine guns by a detachment of state police dressed in civilian clothes.
  • 1942 – The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) is celebrated (however, the highway was not usable by general vehicles until 1943).
  • 1953 – Authorities at the British Natural History Museum announce that the “Piltdown Man” skull, held to be one of the most famous fossil skulls in the world, was a hoax.
  • 1962 – The Chinese People’s Liberation Army declares a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War.
  • 1964 – The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opens to traffic (at the time it was the world’s longest suspension bridge).
  • 1964 – Second Vatican Council: The third session of the Roman Catholic Church’s ecumenical council closes.
  • 1967 – Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland tells news reporters: “I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing.”
  • 1969 – U.S. President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agree in Washington, D.C. on the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972. Under the terms of the agreement, the U.S. is to retain its rights to bases on the island, but these are to be nuclear-free.
  • 1970 – Vietnam War: Operation Ivory Coast – A joint Air Force and Army team raids the Son Tay prison camp in an attempt to free American prisoners of war thought to be held there.
  • 1971 – Indian troops partly aided by Mukti Bahini (Bengali guerrillas) defeat the Pakistan army in the Battle of Garibpur.
  • 1974 – The Birmingham Pub Bombings by the IRA kill 21 people. The Birmingham Six were sentenced to life in prison for this but subsequently acquitted.
  • 1977 – Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Allan Highet announces that ‘the national anthems of New Zealand shall be the traditional anthem “God Save the Queen” and the poem “God Defend New Zealand”, written by Thomas Bracken, as set to music by John Joseph Woods, both being of equal status as national anthems appropriate to the occasion.
  • 1979 – The United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is attacked by a mob and set alight, killing four.
  • 1980 – A deadly fire breaks out at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada (now Bally’s Las Vegas). 87 people are killed and more than 650 are injured in the worst disaster in Nevada history.
  • 1980 – Lake Peigneur drained into an underlying salt deposit. A misplaced Texaco oil probe was drilled into the Diamond Crystal Salt Mine, causing water to flow down into the mine, eroding the edges of the hole. The resulting whirlpool sucked the drilling platform, several barges, houses and trees thousands of feet, to the bottom of the dissolving salt deposit.
  • 1985 – United States Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard is arrested for spying (he was caught giving Israel classified information on Arab nations and was eventually sentenced to life in prison).
  • 1986 – Iran-Contra Affair: National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary start to shred documents implicating them in the sale of weapons to Iran and channeling the proceeds to help fund the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
  • 1988 – Canadian federal election, 1988 – Canadians re-elect the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney after an election campaign fought mainly over the issue of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement.
  • 1990 – Charter of Paris for a New Europe refocusses the efforts of the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europeon post-Cold War issues.
  • 1995 – The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialled at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio, ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The agreement was formally ratified in Paris, on December 14 that same year.
  • 1995 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 5,000 (5,023.55) for the first time.
  • 1996 – A propane explosion at the Humberto Vidal shoe store and office building in San Juan, Puerto Rico kills 33.
  • 2002 – NATO invites Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.
  • 2004 – The second round of the Ukrainian presidential election is held, unleashing massive protests and controversy over the election’s integrity.
  • 2004 – The island of Dominica is hit by the most destructive earthquake in its history. The northern half of the island receives the most damage, especially the town of Portsmouth. It is also felt in neighboring Guadeloupe, where one person is killed as a result.
  • 2004 – The Paris Club agrees to write off 80% (up to $100 billion) of Iraq’s external debt.

November 21 – Birthdays:

  • 1495 – John Bale, English churchman (d. 1563)
  • 1567 – Anne de Xainctonge, French saint (d. 1621)
  • 1692 – Carlo Innocenzio Maria Frugoni, Italian poet (d. 1768)
  • 1694 – Voltaire, French philosopher (d. 1778)
  • 1744 – Abigail Adams, first lady of the second president of the U.S.A. (d. 1818)
  • 1761 – Dorothy Jordan, British actress (d. 1816)
  • 1768 – Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, German theologian (d. 1834)
  • 1787 – Samuel Cunard, Canadian-born shipping magnate (d. 1865)
  • 1811 – Zeng Guofan, Chinese military (d. 1872)
  • 1835 – Hetty Green, American businesswoman (d. 1916)
  • 1840 – Victoria, Princess Royal of Great Britain and German Empress (d. 1901)
  • 1852 – Francisco Tárrega, father of modern classical guitar (d. 1909)
  • 1854 – Pope Benedict XV (d. 1922)
  • 1860 – Tom Horn, American gunman (d. 1903)
  • 1870 – Joe Darling, Australian cricketer (d. 1946)
  • 1870 – Sigfrid Edström, Swedish sports official (d. 1964)
  • 1878 – Gustav Radbruch, German law professor (d. 1949)
  • 1886 – Harold Nicolson, British diplomat (d. 1968)
  • 1897 – Mollie Steimer anarchist agitator (d. 1980)
  • 1898 – René Magritte, Belgian painter (d. 1967)
  • 1899 – Jobyna Ralston, American actress (d. 1967)
  • 1902 – Foster Hewitt, Canadian radio pioneer (d. 1985)
  • 1904 – Coleman Hawkins, American musician (d. 1969)
  • 1908 – Elizabeth George Speare, American author (d. 1994)
  • 1912 – Eleanor Powell, American actress and dancer (d. 1983)
  • 1913 – Roy Boulting, British film director (d. 2001)
  • 1916 – Sid Luckman, American football player (d. 1998)
  • 1919 – Steve Brodie, American actor (d. 1992)
  • 1920 – Ralph Meeker, American actor (d. 1988)
  • 1920 – Stan Musial, American baseball player
  • 1921 – Joonas Kokkonen, Finnish composer (d. 1996)
  • 1922 – Maria Casares, Spanish-born actress (d. 1996)
  • 1922 – Abe Lemons, American basketball coach
  • 1924 – Christopher Tolkien, British author
  • 1927 – Georgia Frontiere, co-owner of the St. Louis Rams (d. 2008)
  • 1929 – Laurier LaPierre, Canadian journalist, broadcaster and senator
  • 1929 – Marilyn French, American feminist writer
  • 1931 – Revaz Dogonadze, Georgian scientist (d. 1985)
  • 1931 – Malcolm Williamson, Australian composer (d. 2003)
  • 1933 – Joseph Campanella, American actor
  • 1935 – Fairuz, Lebanese singer
  • 1936 – Victor Chang, Australian physician (d. 1986)
  • 1937 – Marlo Thomas, American actress
  • 1939 – Budd Dwyer, American politician (d. 1987)
  • 1939 – Mulayam Singh Yadav, Indian politician
  • 1940 – Dr. John, American musician
  • 1940 – Richard Marcinko, American author
  • 1941 – Idil Biret, Turkish pianist
  • 1941 – Juliet Mills, British actress
  • 1942 – Afa Anoa’i, Samoan/American wrestler
  • 1942 – Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, German politician
  • 1943 – Phil Bredesen, American politician
  • 1943 – Larry Mahan, American rodeo cowboy
  • 1943 – Viktor Sidjak, Russian fencer
  • 1943 – Jacques Laffite, French former racing driver
  • 1944 – Richard Durbin, American politician
  • 1944 – Earl Monroe, American basketball player
  • 1944 – Harold Ramis, American actor/director
  • 1945 – Goldie Hawn, American actress
  • 1946 – Jacky Lafon, Belgian actress
  • 1948 – George Zimmer, American entrepreneur, the founder and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse
  • 1948 – Alphonse Mouzon, American jazziest
  • 1950 – Stephen Geyer, American film & television songwriter
  • 1950 – Alberto Juantorena, Cuban athlete
  • 1952 – Lorna Luft, American actress and singer, daughter of Judy Garland
  • 1956 – Ed Kaz, American journalist
  • 1962 – Steven Curtis Chapman, American musician
  • 1962 – Sabine Busch, German athlete
  • 1963 – Nicollette Sheridan, British actress
  • 1964 – Liza Tarbuck, British entertainer
  • 1964 – Shane Douglas, American wrestler
  • 1965 – Björk, Icelandic singer
  • 1965 – Alexander Siddig, British actor
  • 1966 – Troy Aikman, American football player
  • 1967 – Tripp Cromer, American baseball player
  • 1967 – Toshihiko Koga, Japanese Judoka
  • 1968 – Alex James, English bassist
  • 1968 – Christopher Noxon, American journalist
  • 1969 – Ken Griffey, Jr., American baseball player
  • 1970 – Justin Langer, Australian cricketer
  • 1971 – Michael Strahan, American football player
  • 1972 – Rain Phoenix, American singer/actress
  • 1972 – David Tua, Samoan boxer
  • 1973 – Brook Kerr, American actress
  • 1973 – Inés Sastre, Spanish model and actress
  • 1974 – Kelsi Marie Osborn, American Singer (SHeDAISY)
  • 1975 – Cherie Johnson, American actress
  • 1975 – Chris Moneymaker, American poker player
  • 1976 – Dasha, Czech adult actress
  • 1976 – Martin Meichelbeck, German footballer
  • 1976 – Daniel Whiston, British ice skater
  • 1977 – Bruno Berner, Swiss footballer
  • 1977 – Myles Heskett, Australian musician (Wolfmother)
  • 1977 – Jonas Jennings, American Football Player
  • 1977 – Tobias Sammet, German singer (Edguy)
  • 1977 – Yolande James, Quebec politician
  • 1978 – Lucía Jiménez, Spanish actress
  • 1979 – Stromile Swift, professional basketball player
  • 1979 – Alex Tanguay, Canadian hockey player
  • 1979 – Kim Dong Wan, Korean singer (Shinhwa)
  • 1979 – Vincenzo Iaquinta, Italian footballer
  • 1980 – Hank Blalock, American baseball player
  • 1980 – Leonardo González, Costa Rican footballer
  • 1980 – Elaine Yiu, Hong Kong Actress
  • 1981 – Wesley Britt, National Football League offensive lineman
  • 1981 – Piet Rinke, Zimbabwean cricketer
  • 1981 – Jonny Magallón, Mexican footballer
  • 1982 – Georgios Kalogiannidis, Greek archer
  • 1982 – Ryan Starr, American singer
  • 1983 – Jamie Langley, English rugby player
  • 1984 – Álvaro Bautista, Spanish motorcycle racer
  • 1984 – Jena Malone, American Actress
  • 1985 – Jesús Navas, Spanish footballer
  • 1992 – Nevada-Tan, Japanese internet culture icon, known for slaying classmate.

November 21 – Deaths:

  • 496 – Pope Gelasius I
  • 1361 – Philip I, Duke of Burgundy (plague) (b. 1346)
  • 1555 – Georg Agricola, German scientist (b. 1490)
  • 1566 – Annibale Caro, Italian poet (b. 1507)
  • 1579 – Thomas Gresham, English merchant and financier
  • 1652 – Jan Brozek, Polish mathematician, physician, and astronomer (b. 1585)
  • 1695 – Henry Purcell, English composer
  • 1730 – François de Troy, French portrait artist
  • 1775 – John Hill, British writer
  • 1811 – Heinrich von Kleist, German writer (b. 1777)
  • 1844 – Ivan Krylov, Russian fabulist (b. 1769)
  • 1881 – Ami Boué, Austrian geologist (b. 1794)
  • 1899 – Garret Hobart, Vice President of the United States (b. 1844)
  • 1916 – Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria (b. 1830)
  • 1922 – Ricardo Flores Magón, Mexican anarchist (b. 1874).
  • 1924 – Florence Harding, American First Lady (b. 1860)
  • 1941 – Henrietta Vinton Davis American elocutionist, dramatist, impersonator, public speaker (b. 1860)
  • 1942 – Leopold Graf Berchtold, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister (b. 1863)
  • 1945 – Robert Benchley, American writer and actor (b. 1889)
  • 1953 – Larry Shields, American jazz clarinetist (b. 1893)
  • 1957 – Francis Burton Harrison, American political figure (b. 1873)
  • 1958 – Mel Ott, American baseball player (b. 1909)
  • 1959 – Max Baer, American boxer (b. 1909)
  • 1963 – Robert Stroud (The Birdman of Alcatraz), American prisoner (b. 1890)
  • 1969 – Mutesa II of Buganda, President of Uganda (1924)
  • 1970 – Newsy Lalonde, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1887)
  • 1970 – Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, Indian physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1888)
  • 1973 – Thomas Pelly, American politician (b. 1902)
  • 1974 – John B. Gambling, American radio talk show host (b. 1897)
  • 1980 – Sara García, Mexican actress (b. 1895)
  • 1974 – Frank Martin, Swiss composer (b. 1890)
  • 1981 – Harry Von Zell, American announcer (b. 1906)
  • 1982 – John Hargrave, British Social Credit advocate (b. 1894)
  • 1986 – Jerry Colonna, American comic (b. 1904)
  • 1986 – Dar Robinson, American film stuntman (b. 1947)
  • 1988 – Carl Hubbell, American baseball player (b. 1903)
  • 1990 – Dean Hart, Canadian professional wrestler (b. 1954)
  • 1991 – Sonny Werblin, former owner of the New York Jets (b. 1907)
  • 1993 – Bill Bixby, American actor and director (b. 1934)
  • 1995 – Peter Grant, British rock manager, actor (Led Zeppelin, Bad Company) (b. 1935)
  • 1995 – Noel Jones, British diplomat (b. 1940)
  • 1996 – Abdus Salam, Pakistani physicist and Nobel laureate (b. 1926)
  • 1999 – Quentin Crisp, British writer, raconteur and actor (b. 1908)
  • 2001 – Salahuddin of Malaysia, King of Malaysia (b. 1926)
  • 2002 – Hadda Brooks, American jazz singer, pianist, and composer (b. 1916)
  • 2005 – Alfred Anderson, last Scottish World War I (and Christmas Truce) veteran (b. 1896)
  • 2005 – Hugh Sidey, American journalist (b. 1927)
  • 2006 – Pierre Amine Gemayel, Lebanese Cabinet minister (assassinated) (b. 1972)
  • 2006 – Robert Lockwood, Jr., American blues guitarist (b. 1915)
  • 2007 – Fernando Fernán Gómez, Spanish actor, director, academic and playwright (b. 1921)
  • 2007 – Tom Johnson, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1928)
  • 2007 – Noel McGregor, New Zealand cricketer (b. 1931)

November 21 – Holidays:

  • C. Saints – Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Bangladesh – Armed Forces Day in Bangladesh
  • Brazil – Our Lady of Apresentação (Nossa Senhora da Apresentação) Day, City of Natal only
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