Wikipedia defines history as the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. It came from the Greek word ‘historia’ – which means ‘inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation’.

Today In HistoryThis website utilizes entries from Wikipedia to extract historical events from 3761 BC up to the present. There are 105,062 records in the database that include events, births and deaths of popular individuals. The present day Gregorian calendar was adopted to show dates of interest.

Let us begin with what happened today in history. You may also enter a specific day using the form on the right sidebar.

What happened on December 21? There are more than 249 events that were made this day in history. Here are the important historical events, facts, and some myths about this day.

Interesting Facts & Myths About December 21

December 21 is the 355th day of the year 2014. There are 10 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Sunday. This day falls under the 51st week of the year 2014.

On this day in Wolford, Virginia 24658 sunrise will occur at 01:38 PM and sunset will occur at 11:14 PM (local time).

The zodiac sign of a person born on this day is Sagittarius. The modern birthstone for this month is Turquoise while the mystical birthstone is Onyx.

According to the Chinese calendar, there are 60 days remaining before the start of the next Chinese New Year (February 19, 2015).

Buy a gift icon Out of the blue, there is someone out there thinking of you today. If that special someone wants to buy a gift for you, which one will you choose: gift baskets, boat tours or boxes of chocolate?

December 21: A Day In History

This is a frequent day for the winter solstice to occur in the northern hemisphere and summer solstice to occur in the southern hemisphere.

Historical Events For December 21

  • 69
    The Roman Senate declares Vespasian as Roman emperor, the last in the Year of Four Emperors.
  • 1140
    Conrad III of Germany besieged Weinsberg.
  • 1598
    Battle of Curalaba: The revolting Mapuche, led by cacique Pelentaru, inflict a major defeat on Spanish troops in southern Chile.
  • 1620
    Plymouth Colony: William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • 1826
    American settlers in Nacogdoches, Mexican Texas, declare their independence, starting the Fredonian Rebellion.
  • 1832
    Egyptian–Ottoman War: Egyptian forces decisively defeat Ottoman troops at the Battle of Konya.
  • 1844
    The Rochdale Pioneers commence business at their cooperative in Rochdale, England, starting the Cooperative movement.
  • 1861
    Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • 1872
    Challenger expedition: HMS Challenger, commanded by Captain George Nares, sails from Portsmouth.
  • 1879
    World première of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen.
  • 1883
    The first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army are formed: The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment.
  • 1907
    The Chilean Army commits a massacre of at least 2,000 striking saltpeter miners in in Iquique, Chile.
  • 1910
    An underground explosion at the Hulton Bank Colliery No. 3 Pit in Over Hulton, Westhoughton, England, kills 344 miners.
  • 1913
    Arthur Wynne’s “word-cross”, the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World.
  • 1919
    American anarchist Emma Goldman is deported to Russia.
  • 1937
    Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world’s first full-length animated feature, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theater.
  • 1941
    World War II: A formal treaty of alliance between Thailand and Japan is signed in the presence of the Emerald Buddha in Wat Phra Kaew.
  • 1946
    An 8.1 Mw earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Nankaidō, Japan, kill over 1,300 people and destroy over 38,000 homes.
  • 1962
    Rondane National Park is established as Norway’s first national park.
  • 1967
    Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, dies in Cape Town, South Africa, after living for 18 days after the transplant.
  • 1968
    Apollo program: Apollo 8 launched from the Kennedy Space Center, placing its crew on a lunar trajectory for the first visit to another celestial body by humans.
  • 1969
    The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • 1973
    The Geneva Conference on the Arab-Israeli conflict opens.
  • 1979
    Lancaster House Agreement: An independence agreement for Rhodesia is signed in London by Lord Carrington, Sir Ian Gilmour, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo, Bishop Abel Muzorewa and S.C. Mundawarara.
  • 1988
    A bomb explodes on board Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270.
  • 1992
    A Dutch DC-10, flight Martinair MP 495, crashes at Faro Airport, killing 56 people.
  • 1994
    Mexican volcano Popocatepetl, dormant for 47 years, erupts gases and ash.
  • 1995
    The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control.
  • 1999
    The Spanish Civil Guard intercepts a van loaded with 950 kg of explosives that ETA intended to use to blow up Torre Picasso in Madrid.
  • 2004
    Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers.

Who Were Born On December 21?

  • 1118
    Thomas Becket, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1170)
  • 1401
    Tommaso Masaccio, Italian painter (d. 1428)
  • 1596
    Petru Movilă, Moldovan religious figure (d. 1646)
  • 1603
    Roger Williams, English theologian and founder of the American colony Providence Plantations (d. 1684)
  • 1682
    Calico Jack Rackham, English pirate (d. 1720)
  • 1714
    John Bradstreet, Canadian-born soldier (d. 1774)
  • 1778
    Anders Sandøe Ørsted, Danish politician (d. 1860)
  • 1795
    John Russell, English parson and dog breeder (d. 1883)
  • 1795
    Leopold von Ranke, German historian (d. 1886)
  • 1804
    Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1881)
  • 1805
    Thomas Graham, British chemist (d. 1869)
  • 1811
    Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1882)
  • 1815
    Thomas Couture French painter and teacher (d. 1879)
  • 1818
    Amalia of Oldenburg, Queen of Greece (d. 1875)
  • 1832
    John H. Ketcham, American politician (d. 1906)
  • 1840
    Namık Kemal, Turkish nationalist poet (d. 1888)
  • 1843
    Thomas Bracken, Irish-born New Zealand poet (d. 1898)
  • 1850
    William Wallace Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln (d. 1862)
  • 1850
    Zdeněk Fibich, Bohemian composer (d. 1900)
  • 1851
    Thomas Chipman McRae, American politician (d. 1929)
  • 1859
    Gustave Kahn, French poet (d. 1936)
  • 1866
    Maud Gonne, Irish activist (d. 1953)
  • 1872
    Albert Payson Terhune, American author (d. 1942)
  • 1872
    Don Lorenzo Perosi, Italian composer (d. 1956)
  • 1872
    Sidney Ainsworth, British actor (d. 1922)
  • 1873
    Blagoje Bersa, Croatian composer (d. 1934)
  • 1876
    Jack Lang, Australian politician (d. 1975)
  • 1878
    Jan Łukasiewicz, Polish philosopher and mathematician (d. 1956)
  • 1885
    Frank Patrick, Canadian hockey player (d. 1960)
  • 1889
    Sewall Wright, American biologist (d. 1988)
  • 1890
    Hermann Joseph Muller, American geneticist and Nobel laureate (d. 1967)
  • 1891
    John William McCormack, American politician (d. 1980)
  • 1892
    Amy Key Clarke, English mystical poet (d. 1980)
  • 1892
    Rebecca West, British writer (d. 1983)
  • 1892
    Walter Hagen, American golfer (d. 1969)
  • 1896
    Leroy Robertson, American composer (d. 1971)
  • 1905
    Anthony Powell, British author (d. 2000)
  • 1908
    Herbert Hutner, American banker and attorney (d. 2008)
  • 1909
    Seicho Matsumoto, Japanese mystery writer and journalist (d. 1992)
  • 1911
    Josh Gibson, American baseball player (d. 1947)
  • 1913
    Arnold Friberg, American illustrator (d. 2010)
  • 1914
    Frank Fenner, Australian microbiologist (d. 2010)
  • 1914
    Ivan Generalić, Austro-Hungarian-born Croatian painter (d. 1992)
  • 1915
    Joe Mantell, American actor (d. 2010)
  • 1915
    Werner von Trapp, member of the Trapp Family Singers (d. 2007)
  • 1917
    Heinrich Böll, German writer and Nobel laureate (d. 1985)
  • 1917
    Sophie Masloff, American politician
  • 1918
    Donald Regan, American civil servant (d. 2003)
  • 1918
    Kurt Waldheim, Austrian politician and diplomat (d. 2007)
  • 1920
    Alicia Alonso, Cuban ballerina
  • 1920
    Bob Bindig, American cartoonist (d. 2006)
  • 1920
    Jean Gascon, Canadian actor (d. 1988)
  • 1921
    John Severin, American comics artist
  • 1921
    Robert Lipshutz, American attorney and counsel to the Carter Adminisrtation (d. 2010)
  • 1922
    Itubwa Amram, Nauruan pastor and politician (d. 1989)
  • 1922
    Paul Winchell, American ventriloquist (d. 2005)
  • 1923
    Intizar Hussain, Urdu writer and columnist
  • 1924
    Rita Reys, Dutch jazzsinger
  • 1926
    Arnošt Lustig, Czech author
  • 1926
    Joe Paterno, American football coach
  • 1928
    Ed Nelson, American actor
  • 1932
    Edward Hoagland, American essayist
  • 1935
    Edward Schreyer, Canadian politician, Premier of Manitoba
  • 1935
    John G. Avildsen, American film director
  • 1935
    Lorenzo Bandini, Italian racecar driver (d. 1967)
  • 1935
    Phil Donahue, American talk show host
  • 1935
    Yusuf Bey, American activist (d. 2003)
  • 1937
    Donald F. Munson, American politician
  • 1937
    Jane Fonda, American actress
  • 1938
    Frank Moorhouse, Australian author
  • 1938
    Larry Bryggman, American actor
  • 1939
    Lloyd Axworthy, Canadian politician
  • 1940
    Arvi Lind, Finnish news broadcaster
  • 1940
    Frank Zappa, American musician (d. 1993)
  • 1940
    Ray Hildebrand, American singer (Paul & Paula)
  • 1942
    Carla Thomas, American singer
  • 1942
    Hu Jintao, Chinese president
  • 1942
    Reinhard Mey, German singer
  • 1943
    Albert Lee, English guitarist
  • 1943
    André Arthur. Canadian radio host
  • 1943
    Jack Nance, American actor (d. 1996)
  • 1944
    Bill Atkinson, English footballer
  • 1944
    Michael Tilson Thomas, American conductor
  • 1944
    Zheng Xiaoyu, Chinese bureaucrat (d. 2007)
  • 1946
    Carl Wilson, American musician (The Beach Boys) (d. 1998)
  • 1946
    Christopher Keene, American conductor (d. 1995)
  • 1947
    Bryan Hamilton, Northern Irish footballer
  • 1947
    Paco de Lucía, Spanish musician
  • 1948
    Dave Kingman, American baseball player
  • 1948
    Samuel L. Jackson, American actor
  • 1948
    Willi Resetarits, Austrian musician
  • 1949
    Nikolaos Sifounakis, Greek politician
  • 1949
    Thomas Sankara, Burkinabé military figure (d. 1987)
  • 1950
    Jeffrey Katzenberg, American film producer
  • 1950
    Lillebjørn Nilsen, Norwegian singer-songwriter
  • 1951
    Nick Gilder, English musician (Sweeney Todd)
  • 1952
    Joaquín Andújar, Dominican baseball player
  • 1953
    Betty Wright, American singer
  • 1954
    Chris Evert, American tennis player
  • 1955
    Jane Kaczmarek, American actress
  • 1955
    Kazuyuki Sekiguchi, Japanese musician
  • 1957
    Ray Romano, Italian-American comedian
  • 1957
    Tom Henke, American baseball player
  • 1959
    Florence Griffith Joyner, American sprinter (d. 1998)
  • 1960
    Andy Van Slyke, American baseball player
  • 1960
    Louis Demetrius Alvanis, British pianist
  • 1960
    Roger McDowell, American baseball player
  • 1961
    Del Wilkes, American pro wrestler
  • 1961
    Francis Ng, Hong Kong actor
  • 1961
    Ryuji Sasai, Japanese video game composer
  • 1963
    Govinda Ahuja, Indian actor and politician
  • 1964
    Fabiana Udenio, Argentine actress
  • 1964
    Joe Kocur, Canadian hockey player
  • 1964
    Rob Kelly, English football manager
  • 1965
    Andy Dick, American actor and comedian
  • 1965
    Anke Engelke, German comedian
  • 1965
    Stuart Mitchell, Scottish Composer
  • 1966
    Adam Schefter, American sports journalist
  • 1966
    Karri Turner, American actress
  • 1966
    Kiefer Sutherland, British-born Canadian actor
  • 1967
    Ervin Johnson, American basketball player
  • 1967
    Fritz Karl, Austrian actor
  • 1967
    Mikhail Saakashvili, Soviet-born President of Georgia
  • 1967
    Terry Mills, American basketball player
  • 1969
    Jack Noseworthy, American actor
  • 1969
    Julie Delpy, French actress
  • 1969
    Mihails Zemļinskis, Latvian footballer
  • 1971
    Brett Scallions, American singer (Fuel)
  • 1971
    Fenton Keogh, Australian celebrity chef
  • 1971
    Matthieu Chedid, French musician
  • 1972
    Claudia Poll, Costa Rican swimmer
  • 1972
    Dustin Hermanson, American baseball player
  • 1972
    Erwin Schrott, Uruguayan opera singer
  • 1972
    Gloria De Piero, English journalist
  • 1972
    Latroy Hawkins, American baseball player
  • 1972
    Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Indian politician
  • 1973
    Irakli Alasania, Georgian politician and diplomat
  • 1973
    Karmen Stavec, German-born Slovenian singer
  • 1973
    Mike Alstott, American football player
  • 1974
    Karrie Webb, Australian golfer
  • 1975
    Paloma Herrera, Argentine ballet dancer
  • 1976
    Lukas Rossi, Canadian rock singer (Rock Star Supernova)
  • 1976
    Mirela Manjani, Greek javelin thrower
  • 1977
    Toby Rand, Australian singer (Juke Kartel)
  • 1978
    Emiliano Brembilla, Italian swimmer
  • 1978
    Mike Vitar, American actor
  • 1979
    Tuva Novotny, Swedish actress and singer
  • 1980
    Royce Ring, American baseball player
  • 1981
    Cristian Zaccardo, Italian football player
  • 1981
    Frankie Abernathy, American actress (d. 2007)
  • 1981
    Lynda Thomas, Mexican singer
  • 1982
    Erica Hayden, American journalist and radio personality
  • 1982
    Iljo Keisse, Belgian cyclist
  • 1982
    Mike Gansey, American basketball player
  • 1982
    Philip Humber, American baseball player
  • 1982
    Tom Payne, British actor
  • 1984
    Darren Potter, Irish football player
  • 1985
    James Stewart Jr., American motorcycle racer
  • 1985
    Tom Sturridge, British actor
  • 1987
    Brad Howard, Australian footballer
  • 1987
    Valerie Concepcion, Filipino actress
  • 1988
    Alexa Goddard, British R&B singer
  • 1988
    Yasmin, British DJ and Singer
  • 1989
    Mark Ingram, Jr., American football player
  • 1989
    Tamannaah, Indian actress

Who Died On December 21?

  • 72
    Thomas the Apostle
  • 882
    Hincmar, French bishop (b. 806)
  • 1295
    Marguerite Berenger of Provence, wife of Louis IX of France (b. c.1221)
  • 1308
    Henry I of Hesse (b. 1244)
  • 1375
    Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian writer (b. 1313)
  • 1504
    Bertold von Henneberg-Römhild, German archbishop and elector (b. 1442)
  • 1549
    Marguerite of Navarre, wife of Henry II of Navarre (b. 1492)
  • 1579
    Vicente Masip, Spanish painter
  • 1597
    Petrus Canisius, Dutch Jesuit (b. 1521)
  • 1799
    Philip Affleck, British Admiral and First Lord of the Admiralty (b. 1726)
  • 1807
    John Newton, English cleric and hymnist (b. 1725)
  • 1824
    James Parkinson, English physician and paleontologist (b. 1755)
  • 1869
    Friedrich Ernst Scheller, German jurist and politician (b. 1791)
  • 1873
    Francis Garnier, French explorer (b. 1839)
  • 1889
    Friedrich August von Quenstedt, German geologist (b. 1809)
  • 1900
    Roger Wolcott, American politician (b. 1847)
  • 1920
    Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, Somalian nationalist leader (b. 1856)
  • 1933
    Knud Rasmussen, Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist (b. 1879)
  • 1935
    Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist and satirist (b. 1890)
  • 1937
    Frank B. Kellogg, American diplomat, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1856)
  • 1940
    F. Scott Fitzgerald, American writer (b. 1896)
  • 1945
    George Smith Patton Jr., American military commander (b. 1885)
  • 1957
    Eric Coates, English-born American composer (b. 1886)
  • 1958
    Lion Feuchtwanger, German writer (b. 1884)
  • 1959
    Rosanjin, Japanese calligrapher, restaurateur and ceramicist (b. 1883)
  • 1963
    Jack Hobbs, English cricketer (b. 1882)
  • 1964
    Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (b. 1880)
  • 1965
    Claude Champagne, Canadian composer (b. 1891)
  • 1967
    Stuart Erwin, American actor (b. 1903)
  • 1968
    Vittorio Pozzo, Italian football coach (b. 1886)
  • 1974
    James Henry Govier, British artist (b. 1910)
  • 1974
    Richard Long, American actor (b. 1927)
  • 1982
    Hafeez Jullundhri, Pakistani writer, poet composer of the National Anthem of Pakistan (b. 1900)
  • 1983
    Paul de Man, Belgian-born literary critic (b. 1919)
  • 1986
    Bill Simpson, Scottish actor (b. 1931)
  • 1987
    John Spence, American musician (No Doubt) (b. 1969)
  • 1988
    Nikolaas Tinbergen, Dutch ornithologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1907)
  • 1989
    Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Nigerian-born British photographer (b.1955)
  • 1990
    Clarence Johnson, American aeronautical engineer (b. 1910)
  • 1992
    Albert King, American blues musician (b. 1924)
  • 1992
    Nathan Milstein, Ukrainian violinist (b. 1903)
  • 1997
    Amie Comeaux, American country music singer (b. 1976)
  • 1998
    Ernst-Günther Schenck, German physician (b. 1904)
  • 1998
    Karl Denver, Scottish singer (b. 1931)
  • 1998
    Roger Avon, Durham actor (b. 1914)
  • 2001
    Dick Schaap, American sports journalist (b. 1934)
  • 2003
    Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, Spanish businessman (b. 1924)
  • 2004
    Autar Singh Paintal, Indian medical scientist (b. 1925)
  • 2005
    Elrod Hendricks, American baseball player and coach (b. 1940)
  • 2006
    Saparmurat Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan (b. 1940)
  • 2006
    Scobie Breasley, Australian jockey (b. 1914)
  • 2007
    Ken Hendricks, American businessman (b. 1941)
  • 2009
    Edwin G. Krebs, American biochemist (b. 1918)
  • 2010
    Enzo Bearzot, Italian football player and manager (b. 1927)

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