June 21st in History

This day in historyJune 21 is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 193 days remaining until the end of the year.

This day usually marks the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, which is the day of the year with the most hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere and the fewest hours of daylight in the Southern Hemisphere.



In 217 BC,  The Romans, led by Gaius Flaminius, are ambushed and defeated by Hannibal at the Battle of Lake Trasimene.

In 533,  A Byzantine expeditionary fleet under Belisarius sails from Constantinople to attack the Vandals in Africa, via Greece and Sicily.

In 1307,  Külüg Khan is enthroned as Khagan of the Mongols and Wuzong of the Yuan.

Edward-III-king-England.jpgIn 1377,  Edward III of England (b. 1312) died of a stroke at Sheen on 21 June. He was succeeded by his ten-year-old grandson, King Richard II, son of the Black Prince, since the Black Prince himself had died on 8 June 1376. He was King of England from 25 January 1327 until his death; he is noted for his military success and for restoring royal authority after the disastrous reign of his father, Edward II. Edward III transformed the Kingdom of England into one of the most formidable military powers in Europe. His long reign of fifty years also saw vital developments in legislation and government—in particular the evolution of the English parliament—as well as the ravages of the Black Death.

Edward was crowned at age fourteen after his father was deposed by his mother and her lover Roger Mortimer. At age seventeen he led a successful coup against Mortimer, the de facto ruler of the country, and began his personal reign. After a successful campaign in Scotland he declared himself rightful heir to the French throne in 1337 but his claim was denied due to the Salic law. This started what would become known as the Hundred Years’ War. Following some initial setbacks the war went exceptionally well for England; victories at Crécy and Poitiers led to the highly favourable Treaty of Brétigny. Edward’s later years, however, were marked by international failure and domestic strife, largely as a result of his inactivity and poor health.

Edward III was a temperamental man but capable of unusual clemency. He was in many ways a conventional king whose main interest was warfare. Admired in his own time and for centuries after, Edward was denounced as an irresponsible adventurer by later Whig historians such as William Stubbs. This view has been challenged recently and modern historians credit him with some significant achievements

In 1529,  French forces are driven out of northern Italy by Spain at the Battle of Landriano during the War of the League of Cognac.

In 1582,  Sengoku period: Oda Nobunaga, the most powerful of the Japanese daimyo, was forced to commit suicide by his own general Akechi Mitsuhide.

In 1621,  Execution of 27 Czech noblemen on the Old Town Square in Prague as a consequence of the Battle of White Mountain.

In 1734,  In Montreal in New France, a slave known by the French name of Marie-Joseph Angélique is put to death, having been convicted of setting the fire that destroyed much of the city.

In 1749,  Halifax, Nova Scotia, is founded.

In 1768,  James Otis, Jr. offends the King and Parliament in a speech to the Massachusetts General Court.

In 1788,  New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution of the United States and is admitted as the 9th state in the United States.

In 1791,  King Louis XVI of France and his immediate family begin the Flight to Varennes during the French Revolution.

Richard Gridley.jpg

Richard Gridley

In 1796,  Richard Gridley, American soldier and engineer (b. 1710) dies from blood poisoning induced by cutting dogwood bushes, in Stoughton, Massachusetts. He was a soldier and engineer who served for the British Army during the French and Indian Wars and for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He married Hannah Deming 25 February 1730. They had nine children. Gridley was a military engineer during the French and Indian Wars from the reduction of Fortress Louisbourg in 1745 to the fall of Quebec. For his services he was awarded a commission in the British Army, a grant of the Magdalen Islands, 3,000 acres (12 km²) of land in New Hampshire, and a life annuity. He sided with the Thirteen Colonies during the American Revolutionary War and was made Chief Engineer in the New England Provincial Army. He laid out the defenses on Breed’s Hill and was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill. When the Continental Congress first created a Continental Army under command of George Washington in 1775 he was named to Chief Engineer (artillery). He directed the construction of the fortifications on Dorchester Heights which forced the British to evacuate Boston in March 1776. When Washington moved his army south, Gridley remained as Chief Engineer of the Eastern Department.

In 1798,  Irish Rebellion of 1798: The British Army defeats Irish rebels at the Battle of Vinegar Hill.

In 1813,  Peninsular War: Battle of Victoria.

In 1824,  Greek War of Independence: Egyptian forces capture Psara in the Aegean Sea.

In 1826,  Maniots defeat Egyptians under Ibrahim Pasha in the Battle of Vergas.

In 1848,  In the Wallachian Revolution, Ion Heliade Rădulescu and Christian Tell issue the Proclamation of Islaz and create a new republican government.

In 1854,  The first Victoria Cross is awarded during the bombardment of Bomarsund in the Åland Islands.

In 1864,  American Civil War: The Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road begins.

In 1864,  New Zealand land wars: The Tauranga Campaign ends.

In 1877,  The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrants convicted of murder, are hanged at the Schuylkill County and Carbon County, Pennsylvania prisons. The Molly Maguires was an Irish 19th-century secret society active in Ireland, Liverpool and parts of the eastern United States, best known for their activism among Irish-American and Irish immigrant coal miners in Pennsylvania. After a series of often violent conflicts, twenty suspected members of the Molly Maguires were convicted of murder and other crimes and were executed by hanging in 1877 and 1878. This history remains part of local Pennsylvania lore.

In 1898,  The United States captures Guam from Spain.

In 1900,  Boxer Rebellion. China formally declares war on the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Japan, as an edict issued from the Empress Dowager Cixi.

In 1915,  The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Guinn v. United States 238 US 347 1915, striking down an Oklahoma law denying the right to vote to some citizens.

In 1919,  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police fire a volley into a crowd of unemployed war veterans, killing two, during the Winnipeg General Strike.

A large warship rolls onto its side

SMS Derfflinger sinking

In 1919,  Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttles the German fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney. The nine sailors killed are the last casualties of World War I.

The scuttling of the German fleet took place at the Royal Navy‘s base at Scapa Flow, in Scotland, after the end of the First World War. The High Seas Fleet was interned there under the terms of the Armistice whilst negotiations took place over the fate of the ships. Fearing that all of the ships would be seized and divided amongst the allied powers, the German commander, Admiral Ludwig von Reuter, decided to scuttle the fleet.

The scuttling was carried out on 21 June 1919. Intervening British guard ships were able to beach a number of the ships, but 52 of the 74 interned vessels sank. Many of the wrecks were salvaged over the next two decades and were towed away for scrapping. Those that remain are popular diving sites.

In 1929,  An agreement brokered by U.S. Ambassador Dwight Whitney Morrow ends the Cristero War in Mexico.

In 1930,  One-year conscription comes into force in France.

In 1940,  The first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage begins at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In 1942,  World War II: Tobruk falls to Italian and German forces.

In 1942,  World War II: A Japanese submarine surfaces near the Columbia River in Oregon, firing 17 shells at nearby Fort Stevens in one of only a handful of attacks by Japan against the United States mainland.

In 1945,  World War II: The Battle of Okinawa ends when the organized resistance of Imperial Japanese Army forces collapses in the Mabuni area on the southern tip of the main island.

In 1952,  The Philippine School of Commerce, through a republic act, is converted to Philippine College of Commerce, later to be the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

In 1957,  Ellen Fairclough is sworn in as Canada’s first female Cabinet Minister.

In 1963,  Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini is elected as Pope Paul VI.

In 1964,  Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner, are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1970,  Penn Central declares Section 77 bankruptcy, largest ever US corporate bankruptcy up to this date.

In 1973,  In handing down the decision in Miller v. California 413 US 15, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the Miller test for obscenity in U.S. law.

In 1977,  Bülent Ecevit, of the CHP forms the new government of Turkey.

In 1982,  John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

In 2000,  Section 28 (of the Local Government Act 1988), outlawing the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in the United Kingdom, is repealed in Scotland with a 99 to 17 vote.

In 2001,  A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Virginia, indicts 13 Saudis and a Lebanese in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen.

SpaceShipOne Flight 15P photo D Ramey Logan.jpg

SpaceShipOne after its successful flight into space, June 21, 2004.

In 2004,  SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately funded spaceplane to achieve spaceflight.

In 2005,  Edgar Ray Killen, who had previously been acquitted for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner, is convicted of manslaughter 41 years afterwards (the case had been reopened in 2004).

In 2006,  Pluto‘s newly discovered moons are officially named Nix & Hydra.

In 2009,  Greenland assumes self-rule.

In 2012,  A boat carrying more than 200 refugees capsized in the Indian Ocean between the Indonesian island of Java and Christmas Island, killing 17 people and leaving 70 others missing.

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