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21st May: Find Out Important Events That Occurred On This Day In History

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21st May is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 224 days remain until the end of the year. 21st May also marks the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Find out some of the events that occurred on this day, 21st May, in history.


Historical events

143 — Earliest known date in Amer-pre Mayan king Harvest-Bergvorst installed.

878 — Syracuse captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.

879 — Pope John VIII gives blessings to duke Branimir and to Croatian people. They consider this as the international recognition of the Croatian state.

996 — Pope Gregory V crowns his cousin Otto III as Holy Roman Emperor.

1420 — Treaty of Troyes: Henry V of England and his heirs would inherit the throne of France upon the death of King Charles VI of France.

1602 — Martha’s Vineyard first sighted (Captain Bartholomew Gosnold).

1674 — General John Sobieski chosen King of Poland.

1683 — West Indian Company sells one-third of Suriname.

1725 — The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky is instituted in Russia by the Empress Catherine I. It would later be discontinued and then reinstated by the Soviet government in 1942 as the Order of Alexander Nevsky.

1758 — Mary Campbell abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War.

1792 — Mount Unzen on Japan’s Shimabara Peninsula, erupts creating a tsunami, killing about 15,000; Japan’s deadliest volcanic eruption.

1793 — Curacao Island Council forbids criticism of House of Orange.


21st May in the 19th Century

1819 — The first bicycles (swift walkers) in the US introduced in NYC.

1832 — The first Democratic National Convention (Baltimore).

1840 — Captain William Hobson proclaims British sovereignty over New Zealand; the North Island by treaty and the South Island by ‘discovery’.

1846 — The first steamship arrives in Hawaii.

1854 — Frederic Mistral, Joseph Roumanille, and five other Provencal poets found Félibrige, a literary and cultural association.

1864 — Russia declares an end to the Russian-Circassian War, forcing many Circassians into exile. The country designates the day as the Circassian Day of Mourning.

1881 — American Red Cross founded by a pioneering nurse and humanitarian Clara Barton.

1881 — The US Nation Lawn Tennis Association forms.

1894 — 22-year-old French Anarchist Émile Henry is executed by guillotine. His last words were reputed to be “Courage, camarades! Vive l’anarchie!”


21st May in the 20th Century

1904 — France recalls its ambassador to the Vatican to protest the Pope’s attempt to discipline two French bishops; this is yet another incident driving France and the Catholic Church apart.

1906 — Louis H Perlman patents a demountable tire carrying rim for cars.

1906 — The US and Mexico sign an agreement over the distribution of the waters of the Rio Grande, increasingly diverted to the US for irrigation.

1908 — The first horror movie (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) premieres in Chicago.

1916 — Britain begins “Summer Time” (daylight saving time).

1918 — US House of Representatives passes an amendment allowing women to vote.

1920 — Mexican President Venustiano Carranza is executed by army generals after fleeing an armed rebellion in Mexico.

1921 — Oldest radio station west of Mississippi River licensed in Greeley Co.

1922 — “On the Road to Moscow” is the first cartoon to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

1929 — Automatic electric stock quotation board installed, NYC.

1932 — After flying for 17 hours from Newfoundland, Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Northern Ireland, becoming the 1st transatlantic solo flight by a woman.

1934 — Oskaloosa, Iowa, becomes the first US city to fingerprint its citizens.

1936 — Sada Abe is arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover’s severed genitals in her hand. Her story soon becomes one of Japan’s most notorious scandals.

1944 — Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler begins an attack on British/US “terror pilots”.

1946 — Physicist Louis Slotin is exposed to a lethal dose of radiation while preparing a plutonium core experiment at the Los Alamos lab. He dies 9 days later and the accident ends all hands-on nuclear assembly work at Los Alamos.


More dates

1951 — The opening of the Ninth Street Show, otherwise known as the 9th Street Art Exhibition – a gathering of a number of notable artists, and the stepping-out of the post war New York avant-garde, collectively known as the New York School.

1954 — Amendment to give 18-year-olds the right to vote is defeated.

1955 — The first transcontinental round-trip solo flight-sunrise to sunset.

1956 — The US explodes the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll.

1958 — The US performs an atmospheric nuclear test at Bikini Island.

1960 — Opera soprano Leontyne Price becomes the first African American to sing the lead at Teatro alla Scala in Milan in “Aida”.

1964 — The first nuclear-powered lighthouse begins operations (Chesapeake Bay).

1969 — Robert F. Kennedy’s murderer Sirhan Sirhan sentenced to death: later commuted to life imprisonment.

1972 — Sculptor and painter Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is damaged by a vandal.

1979 — National Volksraad installed in Namibia.

1980 — “Star Wars Episode V – Empire Strikes Back”, produced by George Lucas opens in cinemas in the UK and North America.

1980 — Ensign Jean Marie Butler is the first woman to graduate from the US service academy.

1981 — Reggae musician Bob Marley receives a Jamaican state funeral.


More 20th Century dates

1983 — Singer-songwriter David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” single goes #1.

1990 — 43rd Cannes Film Festival: “Wild at Heart” directed by David Lynch wins the Palme d’Or.

1991 — Ethiopia’s Marxist president (Mengistu Haile Mariam) resigns.

1993 — Venezuela president Carlos Andres Perez fired.

1996 — The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas are executed.

1996 — “You’re Makin’ Me High” single released by Toni Braxton (Grammy Award Best Female R&B Vocal Performance 1997).

1997 — Emmy 24th Daytime Award presentation – Susan Lucci loses for the 17th time.

1998 — In Miami, Florida, a butyric acid attacker hits five abortion clinics

1999 — Memories of Elvis. Only one actor has appeared on film with both the Beatles and Elvis Presley: the little-known Norman Rossington.

1999 — All My Children star Susan Lucci finally wins a Daytime Emmy after being nominated 19 times. This is the longest period of unsuccessful nominations in television history.

2001 — French Taubira law officially recognizes the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.

2001 — The Enron Corporation’s power generating venture in India, the Dabhol Power Company, serves formal notice that it will terminate its power supply contract and pull out.

2003 — An earthquake hits northern Algeria killing more than 2,000 people.

2003 — 38th Academy of Country Music Awards: Toby Keith, Martina McBride and Kenny Chesney win.


More dates

2004 — Sherpa Pemba Dorjie climbs Mount Everest in 8 hours 10 minutes, breaking his rival Sherpa Lakpa Gelu’s record from the previous year.

2004 — Stanislav Petrov awarded World Citizen Award for averting a potential nuclear war in 1983 after correctly guessing Russian early warning system at fault.

2006 — The Republic of Montenegro holds a referendum proposing independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Montenegrin people choose independence with a majority of 55%.

2006 — The Swedish ice hockey team Tre Kronor takes gold in the World Championship, becoming the first nation to hold both the World and Olympic titles separately in the same year.

2007 — Cutty Sark, the last surviving tea clipper, badly damaged by fire in Greenwich, England.

2012 — 120 people killed and 350 injured by a suicide bomb in Sana’a, Yemen.

2012 — 13 people killed and 22 people injured after a bus falls 80 metres off a cliff in Albania.

2013 — Microsoft announces the release of Xbox One.

2014 — José Mário Vaz elected President of Guinea-Bissau.

2014 — Russian President Putin signs agreements with China in Beijing in relation to trade and infrastructure.]


More dates

2014 — Thai army declared martial law and closes down several news stations.

2015 — Rapper and TV star Flavor Flav arrested near Las Vegas on charges including speeding and driving under the influence.

2016 — Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, leader of the Afghan Taliban reportedly killed by a US drone in Pakistan.

2017 — BTS wins the Top Social Artist at the Billboard Awards, becoming the first Kpop group to win any Billboard Award.

2017 — Barnum and Bailey Circus performs for the last time at the Nassau Coliseum in NYC after 146 years.

2018 — Mushrooms have poisoned more than 800 in western Iran, killing 11.

2018 — Truckers begin a 10 strike in Brazil. They block roads in protest at the price of diesel leading to country-wide shortages.

2018 — Teenager who started California’s 2017 Eagle Creek Fire ordered to pay $36.6 million to cover damages by a district judge.

2018 — Former US president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama sign deal with Netflix to produce films and series.

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