May 21st in History

May 21 is the 141st day of tThis day in historyhe year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 224 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 216, B.C., Hannibal & allies defeat Romans at Cannae, kill 40,000

In 293,  Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian appoint Galerius as Caesar to Diocletian, beginning the period of four rulers known as the Tetrarchy.

In 878,  Syracuse, Sicily, is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.

In 879,  Pope John VIII gives blessings to Branimir of Croatia and to the Croatian people, considered to be international recognition of the Croatian state.

In 996, A.D., Pope Gregory V crowns his cousin Otto III German emperor. He was 16 years old.

In 1085,  The Swedish town of Helsingborg is founded.

In 1349,  Dušan’s Code, the constitution of the Serbian Empire, is enacted by Dušan the Mighty.

In 1403,  Henry III of Castile sends Ruy Gonzáles de Clavijo as ambassador to Timur to discuss the possibility of an alliance between Timur and Castile against the Ottoman Empire.

In 1420, Betrothal of Henry VI, King of England, to Catherine de Valois of France; England and France swear perpetual peace; French King Charles VI recognizes English King Henry V as Duke of Normandy & heir to the French throne.

In 1424, Coronation of James I, King of Scotland

In 1471, Edward IV, King of England, enters London and Henry VI, deposed King of England, murdered in the Tower

In 1502, The island of Saint Helena is discovered by the Portuguese explorer João da Nova.

In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River. He was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who was involved in expeditions in Nicaragua and the Yucatan Peninsula, and played an important role in Pizarro’s conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, but is best known for leading the first Spanish and European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States (through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and most likely Arkansas). He is the first European documented as having crossed the Mississippi River.

In 1554,  Queen Mary I grants a royal charter to Derby School, as a grammar school for boys in Derby, England.

In 1664,  Elizabeth Poole, English-American settler, founded Taunton, Massachusetts (b. 1588) dies. She was an English settler in Plymouth Colony who founded the town of Taunton, Massachusetts. She was the first woman known to have founded a town in the Americas. Poole was a well-born woman from Shute in East Devon, near Axminster. She was the daughter of Sir William Pole, who was knighted by James I in 1601, and Mary Peryam, the daughter of Sir William Peryam, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. Until 2009, her family’s descendants, the Pole-Carews, lived in the Devonshire house she was born in, Shute Barton a National Trust property which is open to the public on four weekends during the year. (The property is now refurbished and let by the Trust as holiday accommodation).

Elizabeth sailed from Plymouth, England in 1633 on the Speedwell with two friends, fourteen servants, goods, and twenty tons of salt for fishing provision. She intended to form a settlement and for the conversion of the Native Americans to Christianity. Although the Taunton town seal depicts Poole purchasing land from the local Wampanoag Indians, she was not actually involved in the original transaction. However, together with her brother William Poole, she acquired a large section of this land in 1637. This led to the development of the Taunton settlement in 1638. The next year, on 3 March 1639, the settlement was officially incorporated.

At her time of death in 1654, she was a wealthy spinster who had built her own house with an orchard which was occupied by her brother as well as a second home she purchased from Robert Thornton. She was one of the few women at that time who left a will leaving her property, including a 40-acre meadow, to John Poole, her nephew and merchant in Boston.

The inscription on her gravestone reads:

Here rest the remains of Elizabeth Poole, a native of Old England, of good family, friends, and prospects, all which she left in the prime of her life, to enjoy the religion of her conscience, in this distant wilderness; a great proprietor of the township of Taunton, a chief promoter of its settlement, and its incorporation in 1639-40; about which time she settled near this spot, and having employed the opportunity of her virgin state in piety, liberality, and sanctity of manners, died May 21, 1654, aged 65.

In 1674,  The nobility elect John Sobieski King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

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

In 1758,  Ten-year-old Mary Campbell is abducted in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War. She is returned six and a half years later.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark head into the wilderness.

In 1809,  The first day of the Battle of Aspern-Essling between the Austrian army led by Archduke Charles and the French army led by Napoleon I of France sees the French attack across the Danube held.

In 1832, the first Democratic National Convention got underway in Baltimore. The delegates would nominate President Jackson for a second term.

In 1851,  Slavery is abolished in Colombia, South America.

In 1856,  Lawrence, Kansas is captured and burned by pro-slavery forces.

In 1861, North Carolina became the 10th state to secede from the Union. Richmond, Va., is made the capital of the Confederate States of America.

In 1863,  American Civil War: The Union Army succeeds in closing off the last escape route from Port Hudson, Louisiana, in preparation for the coming siege.

In 1863,  Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

In 1864,  Russia declares an end to the Russian–Circassian War and many Circassians are forced into exile. The day is designated the Circassian Day of Mourning.

In 1864,  American Civil War: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House ends.

In 1864,  The Ionian Islands reunite with Greece.

In 1871,  French troops invade the Paris Commune and engage its residents in street fighting. By the close of “Bloody Week“, some 20,000 communards have been killed and 38,000 arrested.

In 1871,  Opening of the first rack railway in Europe, the Rigi-Bahnen on Mount Rigi.

In 1879,  War of the Pacific: Two Chilean ships blocking the harbor of Iquique (then belonging to Peru) battle two Peruvian vessels in the Battle of Iquique.

In 1881, The American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton.

In 1894,  The Manchester Ship Canal in the United Kingdom is officially opened by Queen Victoria, who later knights its designer Sir Edward Leader Williams.

In 1898, Armand Hammer, head of the Occidental Petroleum Corp, was born. He struck up a strong relationship with Soviet authorities and often acted as intermediary between Moscow and Washington.

In 1904,  The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is founded in Paris.

In 1906, Louis H. Perlman of New York City received his patent for the demountable tire-carrying rim on this day — similar to the ones we use on our cars today, only wider.

In 1911,  President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz and the revolutionary Francisco Madero sign the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez to put an end to the fighting between the forces of both men, concluding the initial phase of the Mexican Revolution.

In 1916, Daylight saving was introduced in England when clocks were set forward by one hour for the first time.

In 1917,  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is established through royal charter to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military forces.

In 1917,  The Great Atlanta fire of 1917 causes $5.5 million in damages, destroying some 300 acres including 2,000 homes, businesses and churches, displacing about 10,000 people but leading to only one fatality (due to heart attack).

In 1918, the House of Representatives pass the amendment that will allow women to vote 304-89.

In 1922, the first cartoon received a Pultizer Prize; it was “On The Road To Moscow” by Rollin Kirby.

In 1924, 14-year-old Bobby Franks was murdered in a “thrill killing” committed by Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, two students at the University of Chicago.

In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Lindberg covered the distance of 3,600 miles in 33-1/2 hours. He was awarded a $25,000 prize.

In 1929, the first automatic electric stock quotation board was put into operation by Sutro and Company of New York City

In 1932, Bad weather forces Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1933, Mount Davidson Cross was lit by President Roosevelt in Washington via the telegraph.

In 1934, Oskaloosa, Iowa, becomes the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens.

In 1935, the new church of St. James (Lakewood, Ohio) is dedicated, known as the best example of church art and decor in the country.

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

In 1937,  A Soviet station, North Pole-1, becomes the first scientific research settlement to operate on the drift ice of the Arctic Ocean.

In 1939,  The Canadian National War Memorial is unveiled by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Ottawa.

In 1940, Allied counter attack at Atrecht North-France.

In 1941, a German U-boat sank the American freighter S.S. “Robin Moor” in the South Atlantic.

In 1941, President Roosevelt proclaimed “an unlimited state of national emergency,” seven months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1944, Hitler begins attack on English/US “terror pilots”

In 1945, German war criminal Heinrich Himmler captured.

In 1945, Syria and Lebanon broke off negotiations with France and demanded full independence.

In 1946,  Physicist Louis Slotin is fatally irradiated in a criticality incident during an experiment with the demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In 1950, Vietnamese troops of Ho Chi-Minh attack Cambodia.

In 1954, Proposed Constitutional Amendment giving 18 year olds the right to vote is voted down.

In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1961, MEET THE PRESS Guest: John Birch Society founder Robert Welch

In 1964, the Baltimore Lighthouse, on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, becomes the first nuclear-powered lighthouse.

In 1968, the nuclear-powered U.S. submarine “Scorpion,” with 99 men aboard, was last heard from. The remains of the sub were later found on the ocean floor 400 miles southwest of the Azores.

In 1969, MAKING NEWS President NIXON nominates WARREN BURGER to be the new CHIEF JUSTICE of the SUPREME COURT

In 1979, former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the slayings of Mayor George Moscone (mahs-KOH’-nee) and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

In 1980, Ensign Jean Marie Butler became the first woman to graduate from a U.S. service academy as she accepted her degree and commission from the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn.

In 1981, In France, Francois Mitterrand was installed as President and set up a caretaker government under prime minister Pierre Mauroy.

In 1982, In the Falklands War, British troops established a bridgehead at Port San Carlos and HMS Ardent was sunk with the loss of 22 lives.

In 1984, In Washington, President Jose Napoleon Duarte of El Salvador appealed to Congress to approve more aid without attaching what he called “degrading” conditions.

In 1986, President Reagan vetoed a Congressional resolution blocking a scaled-down sale of advanced U.S. missiles to Saudi Arabia. (The veto was narrowly upheld the following month.).

In 1988, the Soviet news agency Tass reported that the Communist Party leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan had been dismissed after fresh outbreaks of ethnic tensions in the two southern Soviet republics.

In 1989, Thousands of native Chinese marched in Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo and scores of other cities in a worldwide show of support for the pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing.

In 1991, Ethiopia’s Marxist president (Mengistu Haile Mariam) resigned and fled into exile as rebels continued to advance.

In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during national elections by a suicide bomber.

In 1992,  After 30 seasons Johnny Carson hosted his penultimate episode and last featuring guests (Robin Williams and Bette Midler) of The Tonight Show.

In 1993, President Clinton met at the White House with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev (KOH’-zuh-rev); afterward, Clinton expressed pessimism over finding a long-term solution to the ethnic conflict in the Balkans, and pledged not to send American soldiers into a “shooting gallery.”

In 1993, Octavio Lepage was sworn in as the new acting leader of Venezuela after the suspension of President Carlos Andres Perez on corruption charges.

In 1994, Bakili Muluzi was sworn in as Malawi’s president and quickly moved to erase the worst excesses of defeated president Kamuzu Banda’s 30-year single-party rule.

In 1996, In east Africa’s worst marine disaster, as many as 886 people, many of them teen-agers, drowned when an overloaded Tanzanian ferry capsized in Lake Victoria. The ferry capsized near the western town of Mwanza. There was an estimated 1,000 on board and only 114 survived.

In 1998, Succumbing to protests, Indonesia’s President Suharto says he will step down after 32 years of authoritarian rule.

In 1998, a gunman opened fire inside Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killing two students; the suspect, Kip Kinkel, is also accused of killing his parents a day earlier.

In 1998,  In Miami, five abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker.

In 1998,  President Suharto of Indonesia resigns following the killing of students from Trisakti University earlier that week by security forces and growing mass protests in Jakarta against his ongoing corrupt rule.

In 2001,  French Taubira law is enacted, officially recognizing the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.

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

In 2005,  The tallest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opens at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

In 2006,  The Republic of Montenegro holds a referendum proposing independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro; 55% of Montenegrins vote for independence.

In 2010,  JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, launches the solar-sail spacecraft IKAROS aboard an H-IIA rocket. The vessel would make a Venus flyby late in the year.

In 2011,  Radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on this date.

In 2012,  A bus accident near Himara, Albania kills 13 people and injures 21 others.

In 2012,  A suicide bombing kills more than 120 people in Sana’a, Yemen.

In 2014,  A knife attack on a Taipei Metro train leaves four people dead and almost two dozen others injured.

In 2014,  The National September 11 Museum opens to the public.

%d bloggers like this: