Learn more about October 21
October 21 is the 294th day of the year (295th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 71 days remaining.
- 686 - Conon becomes Pope.
- 1512 - Martin Luther joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg
- 1600 - Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats the leaders of rival Japanese clans in the Battle of Sekigahara, which marks the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate, who in effect rule Japan until the mid-Nineteenth century.
- 1774 - First display of the word "Liberty" on a flag, raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts and which was in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.
- 1797 - In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched.
- 1805 - Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Trafalgar - a British fleet led by Admiral Lord Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet off the coast of Spain under Admiral Villeneuve. It signalled the virtual end of French maritime power and left Britain navally unchallenged until the twentieth century.
- 1805 - Napoleonic Wars: Austrian General Mack surrenders his army to the Grand Army of Napoleon at Ulm, reaping Napoleon over 30,000 prisoners and inflicting 10,000 casualties on the losers. Ulm was considered to be one of Napoleon's finest hours.
- 1824 - Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement.
- 1854 - Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.
- 1861 - American Civil War: Battle of Ball's Bluff - Union forces under Colonel Edward Baker are defeated by Confederate troops in the second major battle of the war. Baker, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, is killed in the fighting.
- 1867 - Manifest Destiny: Medicine Lodge Treaty - Near Medicine Lodge, Kansas a landmark treaty is signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty requires Native American Plains tribes to relocate a reservation in western Oklahoma.
- 1879 - Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb (it lasted 13½ hours before burning out).
- 1892 - Opening ceremonies for the World's Columbian Exposition were held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.
- 1895 - The Republic of Formosa collapses as Japanese forces invade.
- 1902 - In the United States, a five month strike by United Mine Workers ends.
- 1921 - President Warren G. Harding delivers the first speech by a sitting President against lynching in the deep south.
- 1944 - The first kamikaze attack: HMAS Australia was hit by a Japanese plane carrying a 200 kg (441 pound) bomb off Leyte Island, as the Battle of Leyte Gulf began.
- 1945 - Women's suffrage: Women are allowed to vote in France for the first time.
- 1945 - Argentine military officer and politician Juan Perón married actress Evita.
- 1947 - 21 die as a fire destroys an asylum in Hoff, Germany.
- 1954 - The first part of JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring is published in the U.S.A.
- 1957 - The movie Jailhouse Rock, starring Elvis Presley, opens.
- 1959 - In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opens to the public. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- 1959 - US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.
- 1965 - Helen Schucman commits the first lines of A Course in Miracles to paper.
- 1966 - Aberfan disaster: A coal tip falls on the village of Aberfan in Wales, killing 144 people, mostly schoolchildren
- 1967 - Vietnam War: More than 100,000 war protesters gather in Washington, DC. A peaceful rally at the Lincoln Memorial is followed by a march to The Pentagon and clashes with soldiers and United States Marshals protecting the facility (event lasts until October 23; 683 people were arrested). Similar demonstrations occurred simultaneously in Japan and Western Europe.
- 1969 - A coup d'état in Somalia brings Siad Barre to power.
- 1973 - John Paul Getty III's ear is cut off by his kidnappers and sent to a newspaper in Rome; it doesn't arrive until November 8.
- 1976 - Keith Moon plays his last public show with The Who. He will die in 1978.
- 1977 - The European Patent Institute is founded
- 1977 - Meat Loaf's hit album Bat Out of Hell is released under Epic's Cleveland International Records
- 1978 - Australian civilian pilot Frederick Valentich vanishes in a Cessna 182 over the Bass Strait south of Melbourne, after reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft.
- 1983 - The metre is defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures in terms of the speed of light as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
- 1986 - In Lebanon, pro-Iranian kidnappers claim to have abducted American writer Edward Tracy (he was released in August 1991).
- 1987 - Former Miss America Bess Myerson is arrested on charges of bribery, conspiracy, and mail fraud, all involving an alimony-fixing scandal. She is later found not guilty.
- 1992 - Madonna releases her conroversial book Sex.
- 1994 - North Korea nuclear weapons program: North Korea and the United States sign an agreement that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.
- 1994 - In Seoul, 32 people are killed when the Seongsu Bridge collapses.
- 2001 - "United We Stand" benefit concert for September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks victims, held at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Event organized and headlined by Michael Jackson, also featuring pop stars Aerosmith, Mariah Carey, The Backstreet Boys, and others.
- 2002 - Violence in Badlapur located in Mumbai Conurbation created a tension in the city resulted in a lot of property damage injuring 4 people.
- 2003 - Images of the dwarf planet Eris are taken and subsequently used in its discovery by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz.
- 1449 - George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III (d. 1478)
- 1527 - Louis I, Cardinal of Guise, French cardinal (d. 1578)
- 1581 - Domenico Zampieri, Italian painter (d. 1641)
- 1650 - Jean Bart, French admiral (d. 1702)
- 1660 - Georg Ernst Stahl, German scientist (d. 1734)
- 1675 - Emperor Higashiyama of Japan (d. 1710)
- 1687 - Nicolaus I Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician (d. 1759)
- 1712 - Sir James Steuart, British economist (d. 1780)
- 1725 - Franz Moritz Graf von Lacy, Austrian field marshal (d. 1801)
- 1757 - Pierre Augereau, Marshal of France and duc de Castiglione (d. 1816)
- 1762 - Herman Willem Daendels, Dutch statesman (d. 1818)
- 1772 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge, British poet (d. 1834)
- 1775 - Giuseppe Baini, Italian composer (d. 1844)
- 1790 - Alphonse de Lamartine, French writer (d. 1869)
- 1833 - Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and founder of the Nobel Prize (d. 1896)
- 1847 - Giuseppe Giacosa, Italian writer (d. 1906)
- 1851 - George Ulyett, British cricketer (d. 1898)
- 1895 - Edna Purviance, American actress (d. 1958)
- 1904 - Patrick Kavanagh, Irish poet (d. 1967)
- 1912 - Sir Georg Solti, Hungarian conductor (d. 1997)
- 1914 - Martin Gardner, American mathematician and writer
- 1917 - Dizzy Gillespie, American musician (d. 1993)
- 1921 - Sir Malcolm Arnold, British composer (d. 2006)
- 1924 - Celia Cruz, Cuban singer (d. 2003)
- 1925 - Louis Robichaud, Canadian premier of New Brunswick (d. 2005)
- 1928 - Whitey Ford, baseball player
- 1929 - Ursula K. Le Guin, American author
- 1938 - Carl Brewer, National Hockey League defenseman (d. 2001)
- 1940 - Geoff Boycott, British cricketer
- 1940 - Manfred Mann, British musician
- 1941 - Steve Cropper, American musician
- 1942 - Elvin Bishop, American musician
- 1942 - Judy Sheindlin, American judge
- 1943 - Brian Piccolo, American football player (d. 1970)
- 1946 - Jim Hill, American sportscaster
- 1949 - Benjamin Netanyahu, 9th Prime Minister of Israel
- 1949 - Mike Keenan, Canadian hockey coach/GM
- 1949 - Michel Brière, National Hockey League player (d. 1971)
- 1952 - Trevor Chappell, Australian Cricketer
- 1952 - Brent Mydland, American keyboardist (Grateful Dead) (d. 1990)
- 1953 - Peter Mandelson, British politician
- 1953 - Keith Green, American musician (d. 1982)
- 1954 - Brian Tobin, Canadian premier of Newfoundland
- 1955 - Rich Mullins, American musician (d. 1997)
- 1956 - Carrie Fisher, American actress and writer
- 1957 - Wolfgang Ketterle, German physicist, Nobel Prize laueate
- 1957 - Steve Lukather, American musician
- 1959 - Ken Watanabe, Japanese actor
- 1962 - David Campese, Australian rugby player
- 1964 - Jon Carin, American musician (Pink Floyd, The Who)
- 1967 - Paul Ince, British footballer
- 1968 - Melora Walters, Saudi American actress
- 1971 - Damien Martyn, Australian cricketer
- 1971 - Nick Oliveri, American musician
- 1972 - Felicity Andersen, Australian actress
- 1973 - Lera Auerbach, Russian composer
- 1976 - Lavinia Miloşovici, Romanian gymnast
- 1976 - Jeremy Miller, American TV actor
- 1978 - Joey Harrington, American football player
- 1978 - Will Estes, American actor
- 1978 - Jessica Jones, American costume designer
- 1979 - Gabe Gross, American baseball player
- 1980 - Brian Pittman, American musician (Relient K)
- 1981 - Nemanja Vidić, Serbian footballer
- 1983 - Jerome Faria, Portuguese musician
- 1984 - Kieran Richardson, British footballer
- 1986 - Alex Kew, British actor
- 1125 - Cosmas of Prague, Bohemian writer
- 1221 - Alix of Thouars, Duchess of Brittany (b. 1201)
- 1266 - Birger jarl, Swedish statesman and founder of Stockholm (b. 1210)
- 1422 - King Charles VI of France (b. 1368)
- 1500 - Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado of Japan (b. 1442)
- 1505 - Paul Scriptoris, German mathematician
- 1558 - Julius Caesar Scaliger, Italian humanist scholar (b. 1484)
- 1600 - Toda Katsushige, Japanese warlord (b. 1557)
- 1623 - William Wade, English statesman and diplomat (b. 1546)
- 1662 - Henry Lawes, English composer (b. 1595)
- 1687 - Sir Edmund Waller, English poet (b. 1606)
- 1765 - Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian painter and architect (b. 1691)
- 1775 - Peyton Randolph, American president of the Continental Congress (b. 1721)
- 1777 - Samuel Foote, English dramatist and actor (b. 1720)
- 1805 - Horatio Nelson, British admiral (mortally wounded in battle) (b. 1758)
- 1872 - Jacques Babinet, French physicist (b. 1794)
- 1873 - Johann Sebastian Welhaven, Norwegian poet (b. 1807)
- 1896 - James Henry Greathead, British engineer (b. 1844)
- 1904 - Isabelle Eberhardt, explorer and writer who spent a lot of time in North Africa (b. 1877)
- 1931 - Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian writer (b. 1862)
- 1944 - Alois Kayser, German missionary to Nauru (b. 1877)
- 1965 - Bill Black, American musician (b. 1926)
- 1969 - Jack Kerouac, American novelist (b. 1922)
- 1969 - Waclaw Sierpinski, Polish mathematician (b. 1882)
- 1975 - Charles Reidpath, American athlete (b. 1887)
- 1978 - Anastas Mikoyan, Soviet politician (b. 1895)
- 1980 - Hans Asperger, Austrian psychologist (b. 1906)
- 1984 - François Truffaut, French film director (b. 1932)
- 1986 - Lionel Murphy, Australian politician and judge (b. 1922)
- 1992 - Jim Garrison, American attorney (b. 1921)
- 1995 - Shannon Hoon, American singer (Blind Melon) (b. 1967)
- 1995 - Jesús Blasco, Spanish comic book author (b. 1919)
- 1995 - Maxene Andrews, American singer (The Andrews Sisters) (b. 1916)
- 2003 - Fred Berry, American actor (b. 1951)
- 2003 - Luis A. Ferré, Governor of Puerto Rico (b. 1940)
- 2003 - Louise Day Hicks, American politician (b. 1916)
- 2003 - Elliott Smith, American musician (b. 1969)
- 2005 - Tara Correa-McMullen, American actress (b. 1989)
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October 20 - October 22 - September 21 - November 21 – more historical anniversaries
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