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 May 21? There are more than 281 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 May 21

May 21 is the 141st day of the year 2019. There are 224 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Tuesday. This day falls under the 21st week of the year 2019.

On this day in Ghent, West Virginia 25843 sunrise will occur at 11:09 AM and sunset will occur at 01:32 AM (local time).

The zodiac sign of a person born on this day is Taurus. The modern birthstone for this month is Emerald while the mystical birthstone is Sapphire.

According to the Chinese calendar, there are 249 days remaining before the start of the next Chinese New Year (January 25, 2020).

Birthday curiousity Is your birthday coming up in two days? Are you not curious to find out who is sharing your special day? Discover all the May 23 famous birthdays. There are fun facts about that day that you must know. (Sponsored link)

Historical Events For May 21

  • 293
    Roman Emperors Diocletian and Maximian appoint Galerius as Caesar to Diocletian, beginning the period of four rulers known as the Tetrarchy.
  • 878
    Syracuse, Italy is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.
  • 879
    Pope John VIII gives blessings to duke Branimir and to Croatian people, considered to be international recognition of the Croatian state.
  • 996
    Sixteen-year-old Otto III is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
  • 1349
    Dušan’s Code, the constitution of the Serbian Empire, is enacted by Dušan the Mighty.
  • 1502
    The island of Saint Helena is discovered by the Portuguese explorer João da Nova.
  • 1554
    A royal Charter is granted to Derby School as a grammar school for boys in Derby, England, by Queen Mary I.
  • 1674
    The nobility elect John Sobieski King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.
  • 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.
  • 1758
    Mary Campbell is abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War.
  • 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.
  • 1851
    Slavery is abolished in Colombia, South America.
  • 1856
    Lawrence, Kansas is captured and burned by pro-slavery forces.
  • 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.
  • 1863
    Organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 1871
    Opening of the first rack railway in Europe, the Rigi-Bahnen on Mount Rigi.
  • 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.
  • 1881
    The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton in Washington, D.C.
  • 1894
    The Manchester Ship Canal in England is officially opened by Queen Victoria, who later knights its designer Sir Edward Leader Williams.
  • 1904
    The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is founded in Paris.
  • 1911
    Mexican President 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, and thus concluding the initial phase of the Mexican Revolution.
  • 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.
  • 1917
    The Great Atlanta fire of 1917.
  • 1924
    University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks in a “thrill killing”.
  • 1927
    Charles Lindbergh touches down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 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.
  • 1934
    Oskaloosa, Iowa, becomes the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of 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.
  • 1937
    A Soviet station becomes the first scientific research settlement to operate on the drift ice of the Arctic Ocean.
  • 1939
    The Canadian National War Memorial is unveiled by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Ottawa.
  • 1946
    Physicist Louis Slotin is fatally irradiated in a criticality incident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
  • 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.
  • 1961
    American civil rights movement: Alabama Governor John Malcolm Patterson declares martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out.
  • 1966
    The Ulster Volunteer Force declares war on the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.
  • 1969
    Civil unrest in Rosario, Argentina, known as Rosariazo, following the death of a 15-year-old student.
  • 1972
    Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is damaged by a vandal, the mentally disturbed Hungarian geologist Laszlo Toth.
  • 1979
    White Night riots in San Francisco following the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk.
  • 1981
    Irish Republican hunger strikers Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara die on hunger strike in Maze prison.
  • 1981
    The Italian government releases the membership list of Propaganda Due, an illegal pseudo-Masonic lodge that was implicated in numerous Italian crimes and mysteries.
  • 1982
    Falklands War: British amphibious assault during Operation Sutton lead to the Battle of San Carlos.
  • 1990
    Democratic Republic of Yemen and North Yemen agree to merge into the Republic of Yemen.
  • 1991
    Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by a female suicide bomber near Madras.
  • 1991
    Mengistu Haile Mariam, president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, flees Ethiopia, effectively bringing the Ethiopian Civil War to an end.
  • 1994
    The Democratic Republic of Yemen unsuccessful attempts to secede from Republic of Yemen; a war breaks out.
  • 1996
    The MV Bukoba sinks in Tanzanian waters on Lake Victoria, killing nearly 1,000.
  • 1996
    The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas are executed.
  • 1998
    In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker.
  • 2001
    French Taubira law officially recognizes the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.
  • 2003
    An earthquake hits northern Algeria killing more than 2,000 people.
  • 2005
    The tallest roller coaster in the world, Kingda Ka opens at Six Flags Great Adventure.
  • 2006
    The Republic of Montenegro holds a referendum proposing independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The Montenegrin people choose independence with a majority of 55%.

Who Were Born On May 21?

  • 1471
    Albrecht Dürer, German painter (d. 1528)
  • 1527
    King Philip II of Spain (d. 1598)
  • 1653
    Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria (d. 1697)
  • 1664
    Giulio Alberoni, Italian cardinal (d. 1754)
  • 1688
    Alexander Pope, English poet (d. 1744)
  • 1755
    Alfred Moore, American judge (d. 1810)
  • 1763
    Joseph Fouché, French statesman (d. 1820)
  • 1775
    Lucien Bonaparte, French politician, soldier and academic (d. 1840)
  • 1780
    Elizabeth Fry, British social reformer (d. 1845)
  • 1792
    Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, French scientist (d. 1843)
  • 1799
    Mary Anning, British fossil collector and paleontologist (d. 9 March 1847).
  • 1827
    William P. Sprague, American politician (d. 1899)
  • 1832
    Elizabeth Storrs Mead, American educator (d. 1917)
  • 1835
    František Chvostek, Moravian physician (d. 1884)
  • 1843
    Charles Albert Gobat, Swiss politician (d. 1914)
  • 1844
    Henri Rousseau, French artist (d. 1910)
  • 1850
    Giuseppe Mercalli, Italian vulcanologist (d. 1914)
  • 1851
    Léon Bourgeois, French statesman, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (d. 1925)
  • 1853
    Jacques Marie Eugène Godefroy Cavaignac, French politician (d. 1905)
  • 1856
    José Batlle y Ordóñez, Uruguayan politician (d. 1929)
  • 1860
    Willem Einthoven, Dutch physiologist; Nobel laureate (d. 1927)
  • 1863
    Archduke Eugen of Austria, Austrian field marshal (d. 1954)
  • 1864
    Princess Stephanie of Belgium (d. 1945)
  • 1873
    Hans Berger, German neuroscientist (d. 1941)
  • 1878
    Glenn Curtiss, American aviation engineer (d. 1930)
  • 1880
    Tudor Arghezi, Romanian writer (d. 1967)
  • 1884
    Manuel Pérez y Curis, Uruguayan poet (d. 1920)
  • 1885
    Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg, wife of William, Prince of Albania (d. 1936)
  • 1898
    Armand Hammer, American businessman and physician (d. 1990)
  • 1898
    Charles Léon Hammes, Luxembourgian lawyer and jurist (d. 1967)
  • 1901
    Horace Heidt, American band leader (d. 1986)
  • 1901
    Manfred Aschner, German-born Israeli microbiologist (d. 1989)
  • 1901
    Sam Jaffe, American film producer (d. 2000)
  • 1901
    Suzanne Lilar, Belgian essayist and playwright (d. 1992)
  • 1902
    Earl Averill, American baseball player (d. 1983)
  • 1902
    Marcel Lajos Breuer, Hungarian-born architect (d. 1981)
  • 1903
    Manly Wade Wellman, American writer (d. 1986)
  • 1904
    Fats Waller, American pianist (d. 1943)
  • 1904
    Robert Montgomery, American actor (d. 1981)
  • 1907
    John C. Allen, American roller coaster designer (d. 1979)
  • 1909
    François-Albert Angers, Quebec economist (d. 2003)
  • 1912
    Akiva Vroman, Dutch-born Israeli geologist (d. 1989)
  • 1912
    John Curtis Gowan, American psychologist (d. 1986)
  • 1912
    Monty Stratton, American baseball player (d. 1982)
  • 1913
    Gina Bachauer, Greek pianist (d. 1976)
  • 1916
    Harold Robbins, American novelist (d. 1997)
  • 1916
    Tinus Osendarp, Dutch runner (d. 2002)
  • 1917
    Raymond Burr, Canadian actor (d. 1993)
  • 1918
    Dennis Day, American singer and comedian (d. 1988)
  • 1920
    Anthony Steel, British actor (d. 2001)
  • 1920
    Forrest White, American musical instruments industry executive (d. 1994)
  • 1921
    A.S. Douglas, British computer scientist (d. 2010)
  • 1921
    Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist (d. 1989)
  • 1923
    Ara Parseghian, American football coach
  • 1923
    Armand Borel, Swiss mathematician (d. 2003)
  • 1923
    Evelyn Ward, American actress
  • 1923
    Vernon Biever, American photographer (d. 2010)
  • 1924
    Peggy Cass, American actress (d. 1999)
  • 1926
    Robert Creeley, American poet (d. 2005)
  • 1928
    Tom Donahue, American disc jockey (d. 1975)
  • 1929
    Alice Drummond, American actress
  • 1930
    Malcolm Fraser, Australian politician
  • 1933
    Maurice André, French trumpeter
  • 1933
    Yevgeni Minaev, Soviet weightlifter (d. 1993)
  • 1934
    Bengt I. Samuelsson, Swedish biochemist, Nobel laureate
  • 1936
    Günter Blobel, German biologist, Nobel laureate
  • 1939
    Heinz Holliger, Swiss oboist, composer and conductor
  • 1941
    Bobby Cox, American baseball manager and former player
  • 1941
    Martin Carthy, English folk singer and guitarist
  • 1941
    Ronald Isley, American singer (The Isley Brothers)
  • 1942
    Danny Ongais, American race car driver
  • 1943
    Hilton Valentine, British guitarist (The Animals)
  • 1944
    Marcie Blane, American singer
  • 1944
    Mary Robinson, President of Ireland
  • 1945
    Ernst Messerschmid, German astronaut
  • 1947
    Bill Champlin, American singer
  • 1947
    Jonathan Hyde, Australian-born actor
  • 1948
    Elizabeth Buchan, née Oakleigh-Walker, English writer
  • 1948
    Leo Sayer, English singer and songwriter
  • 1951
    Al Franken, American comedian and politician, junior senator of Minnesota
  • 1952
    Mr. T, American actor
  • 1954
    Marc Ribot, American guitarist and composer
  • 1955
    Paul Barber, British field hockey player
  • 1955
    Stan Lynch, American drummer (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
  • 1957
    Bruce Buffer, American Mixed Martial Arts announcer
  • 1957
    James Bailey, American basketball player
  • 1957
    Judge Reinhold, American actor
  • 1957
    Nadine Dorries, British Conservative politician
  • 1957
    Renée Soutendijk, Dutch actress
  • 1958
    Jefery Levy, American television director
  • 1959
    Nick Cassavetes, American actor and director
  • 1960
    Jeffrey Dahmer, American serial killer (d. 1994)
  • 1960
    Jeffrey Toobin, American writer and political analyst
  • 1960
    Kent Hrbek, American baseball player
  • 1960
    Mohanlal, Indian actor
  • 1960
    Vladimir Salnikov, Russian swimmer
  • 1962
    Richard Caputo, American Author
  • 1963
    Kevin Shields, American-born Irish vocalist and guitarist (My Bloody Valentine)
  • 1963
    Richard Appel, American writer
  • 1964
    Carolyn Lawrence, American actress
  • 1964
    Danny Bailey, English footballer
  • 1964
    Danny Lee Clark, American football player
  • 1964
    Nancy Benoit, American professional wrestler (d. 2007)
  • 1967
    Blake Schwarzenbach, American musician (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil)
  • 1967
    Chris Benoit, Canadian professional wrestler (d. 2007)
  • 1967
    Lisa Edelstein, American actress
  • 1968
    Julie Vega, Filipino child actress and singer (d. 1985)
  • 1968
    Matthias Ungemach, German rower
  • 1969
    George LeMieux, American politician
  • 1969
    Georgiy R. Gongadze, Ukrainian/Georgian journalist
  • 1969
    Masayo Kurata, Japanese voice actress
  • 1969
    Pierluigi Brivio, Italian footballer
  • 1970
    Carl Veart, Australian soccer player
  • 1970
    Dorsey Levens, American football player
  • 1972
    Adriano Cintra, Brazilian musician (CSS)
  • 1972
    Alesha Oreskovich, American model
  • 1972
    The Notorious B.I.G., American rapper (d. 1997)
  • 1973
    Noel Fielding, British comedian
  • 1973
    Stewart Cink, American golfer
  • 1974
    Fairuza Balk, American actress
  • 1974
    Havoc, American rapper (Mobb Deep)
  • 1975
    Lee Gaze, Welsh guitarist (Lostprophets)
  • 1976
    Aditi Gowitrikar, Indian model, actress and physician
  • 1976
    Deron Miller, American singer, guitarist and songwriter (CKY)
  • 1977
    Michael Fuß, German footballer
  • 1977
    Quinton Fortune, South African footballer
  • 1977
    Ricky Williams, American football player
  • 1978
    Adam Gontier, Canadian singer (Three Days Grace)
  • 1978
    Jamaal Magloire, Canadian basketball player
  • 1979
    Briana Banks, German-American pornographic actress and model
  • 1979
    Damián Ariel Álvarez, Argentinian footballer
  • 1979
    Gaspard Augé, French DJ
  • 1979
    James Clancy Phelan, Australian novelist
  • 1979
    Jamie Hepburn, Scottish politician
  • 1979
    Scott Smith, American mixed martial arts fighter
  • 1980
    Chris Raab, American television personality
  • 1980
    Gotye, Australian Musician
  • 1981
    Craig Anderson, American ice hockey player
  • 1981
    Edson Buddle, American footballer
  • 1981
    Josh Hamilton, American baseball player
  • 1981
    Maximilian Mutzke, German singer and drummer
  • 1982
    Brian Klemm, American guitarist and vocalist (Suburban Legends)
  • 1983
    Veloso, Brazilian footballer
  • 1984
    Brandon Fields, American football player
  • 1984
    Lorena Ayala, Dutch/Spanish model
  • 1984
    Sara Goller, German beach volleyball player
  • 1985
    Alexander Dale Oen, Norwegian swimmer
  • 1985
    Andrew Miller, American baseball player
  • 1985
    Isa Guha, English cricketer
  • 1985
    Kano, British rapper
  • 1985
    Marco Carta, Italian singer
  • 1985
    Marie McCray, American adult actress
  • 1985
    Mark Cavendish, Manx cyclist
  • 1985
    Mutya Buena, English singer (Sugababes)
  • 1986
    Alexander Noyes, American drummer (Honor Society)
  • 1986
    Mario Mandžukić, Croatian footballer
  • 1986
    Myra, American singer
  • 1988
    Jonathan Howson, English footballer
  • 1988
    Park Gyuri, Korean singer/actress/disc jockey
  • 1989
    Hal Robson-Kanu, Welsh footballer
  • 1989
    Katy B, English singer-songwriter
  • 1991
    Sarah Ramos, American actress
  • 1992
    Hutch Dano, American actor
  • 1992
    Olivia Olson, American singer and actress
  • 1994
    Tom Daley, English diver and Olympian

Who Died On May 21?

  • 987
    King Louis V of France (b. 967)
  • 1237
    Olaf the Black, King of Mann and the Isles
  • 1254
    King Conrad IV of Germany (b. 1228)
  • 1481
    King Christian I of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (b. 1426)
  • 1512
    Pandolfo Petrucci, ruler of Siena (b. 1452)
  • 1524
    Thomas Howard, 2nd Duke of Norfolk, English soldier (b. 1443)
  • 1542
    Hernando de Soto, Spanish explorer (b. 1496 or 1497)
  • 1607
    John Rainolds, English scholar (b. 1549)
  • 1639
    Tommaso Campanella, Italian theologian (b. 1568)
  • 1647
    Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, Dutch poet (b. 1581)
  • 1650
    James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, Scottish royalist (b. 1612)
  • 1664
    Elizabeth Poole, English-born Puritan settler and founder of Taunton, Massachusetts (b. 1588)
  • 1670
    Niccolò Zucchi, Italian astronomer (b. 1586)
  • 1686
    Otto von Guericke, German scientist (b. 1602)
  • 1690
    John Eliot, English Puritan missionary (b. 1604)
  • 1719
    Pierre Poiret, French mystic (b. 1646)
  • 1724
    Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer, English statesman (b. 1661)
  • 1742
    Lars Roberg, Swedish physician (b. 1664)
  • 1771
    Christopher Smart, English poet (b. 1722)
  • 1786
    Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Swedish chemist (b. 1742)
  • 1790
    Thomas Warton, English poet (b. 1728)
  • 1844
    Giuseppe Baini, Italian composer (b. 1775)
  • 1862
    John Drew, Irish-born American actor (b. 1827)
  • 1879
    Arturo Prat, Chilean naval officer (b. 1848)
  • 1894
    August Kundt, German physicist (b. 1839)
  • 1894
    Emile Henry, French anarchist (b. 1872)
  • 1895
    Franz von Suppé, Austrian composer (b. 1819)
  • 1911
    Williamina Fleming, Scottish-born astronomer (b. 1857)
  • 1915
    Leonid Gobyato, Russian general (b. 1875)
  • 1919
    Yevgraf Fyodorov, Russian mathematician (b. 1853)
  • 1920
    Venustiano Carranza, 54th President of Mexico (b. 1859)
  • 1929
    Archibald Primrose, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1847)
  • 1935
    Jane Addams, American social worker, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (b. 1860)
  • 1949
    Klaus Mann, German writer (b. 1906)
  • 1952
    John Garfield, American actor (b. 1913)
  • 1956
    Harry Bensley, English rake and adventurer (b. 1877)
  • 1957
    Alexander Vertinsky, Russian poet, singer, composer, cabaret artist and actor (b. 1889)
  • 1964
    James Franck, German-born physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1882)
  • 1965
    Geoffrey de Havilland, British aircraft designer (b. 1882)
  • 1970
    E. L. Grant Watson, English biologist and writer (b. 1885)
  • 1973
    Vaughn Monroe, American baritone singer, trumpeter and big band leader (b. 1911)
  • 1981
    Patsy O'Hara, Irish hunger striker (b. 1957)
  • 1981
    Raymond McCreesh, Irish hunger striker (b. 1957)
  • 1983
    Kenneth Clark, English art historian (b. 1903)
  • 1984
    Ann Little, American actress (b. 1891)
  • 1988
    Sammy Davis, Sr., American dancer (b. 1900)
  • 1991
    Lino Brocka, Filipino movie Director (b. 1939)
  • 1991
    Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (b. 1944)
  • 1995
    Les Aspin, American politician (b. 1938)
  • 1996
    Lash LaRue, American actor (b. 1917)
  • 1996
    Paul Delph, American singer, songwriter and producer (b. 1957)
  • 1999
    Karnail “Bugz” Pitts, American rapper (D12) (b. 1979)
  • 2000
    Barbara Cartland, English author (b. 1901)
  • 2000
    Mark R. Hughes, American entrepreneur (b. 1956)
  • 2000
    Sir John Gielgud, British actor (b. 1904)
  • 2002
    Niki de Saint Phalle, French sculptor, painter and filmmaker (b. 1930)
  • 2003
    Alejandro de Tomaso, Argentine-Italian racing driver and car manufacturer (b. 1928)
  • 2003
    Frank D. White, American politician (b. 1933)
  • 2005
    Howard Morris, American comic actor and director (b. 1919)
  • 2006
    Billy Walker, American singer (b. 1929)
  • 2006
    Cherd Songsri, Thai film director (b. 1931)
  • 2006
    Katherine Dunham, American dancer (b. 1909)
  • 2006
    Spencer Clark, American racecar driver (b. 1987)

MyFirstName.Rocks [ Ad ] Did you know? In the United States, Mary was the most popular girl’s name in 1905 with 16,067 babies. For the boys, John was the most popular with 8,060 babies. (Source: ssa.gov)



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