This Day in History - August 21

August 21

1129 – Warrior Yoritomo is made Shogun in Japan

1525 – Estevao Gomes returns to Portugal after a failed expedition to find a clear waterway to Asia

1680 – Pueblo Indians drive out Spanish and take over Santa Fe, New Mexico

1754 – The most feared officer in the British army during the War for American Independence during the American Revolution, “Bloody Ban” Banastre Tarleton, is born

1762 – English author, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, dies

1765 – William IV of the UK is born

1794 – The island of Corsica is surrendered to the British by France

1798 – French historian, Jules Michelet, is born

1808 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s General Junot is defeated by Wellington at the first Battle of the Peninsular War in Portugal

1831 – A slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia led by Nat Turner, results in the deaths of almost 60 whites

1858 – Abraham Lincoln gains national visibility for the first time in a series of debates with Stephen Douglas. Douglas goes on to win the Senate seat in November

1863 – William Quantrill and his Confederate raiders kill 150 civilians in a strike at Lawrence, Kansas during the Civil War

1864 – During the Civil War, Union troops are attacked at the Weldon railroad by Confederate General A.P. Hill, but ultimately the Union prevails and many Confederate lives are lost

1883 – During the Old West, the trial of bank robber Frank James begins in Gallatin, Missouri

1904 – American composer, William “Count” Basie, is born

1911 – The theft of the Mona Lisa is discovered at the Louvre in Paris. Just the day before, Vincenzo Perugia had stolen it in what is considered to be the most brazen art theft of all time

1914 – The second and third of what will be four “Battles of the Frontiers” is fought between German and Allied forces near Ardennes and Charleroi in northern France during World War I

1915 – Italy declares war on Turkey

1920 – Christopher Robin Milne is born and will later be immortalized in his father’s books, Winnie-the-Pooh

1935 – The Swing Era begins after Benny Goodman’s Palomar Ballroom performance in Los Angeles, California

1936 – The only player to score 100 points in a professional basketball game, Wilt Chamberlin, is born

1938 – Singer and one of the top-selling artists of all time, Kenny Rogers, is born

1940 – Founder of the Red Army, Russian theorist, and politician, Leon Trotsky, dies

1942 – US Marines fight back successfully against the first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal in the Battle of Tenaru

1944 – The Dumbarton Oaks conference is held in Washington, D.C., laying the foundation for the establishment of the United Nations

1944 – Singer, songwriter, Jackie DeShannon, is born

1944 – Director, Peter Weir, is born

1945 – President Truman cancels all contracts under the Lend-Lease Act

1950 – Man who shot Alabama governor George C. Wallace in 1972, Arthur Bremer, is born

1951 – TV co-anchor, Harry Smith, is born

1952 – Lead singer of British band, The Clash, Joe Strummer, is born

1953 – Writer, Ivan Stang, is born

1954 – NFL running back, Archie Griffin, is born

1956 – Actress Kim Cattrall is born

1959 – Hawaii joins the Union as the 50th state

1961 – The leader of the Kenyan Independence movement, Jomo Kenyatta, is released by British colonial authorities after almost nine years of imprisonment

1961 – Animator, Stephen Hillenburg, is born

1963 – Over 100 Buddhist monks are arrested by the South Vietnamese Army in Saigon during the Vietnam War

1965 – US pilots received approval to destroy any Soviet-made missiles they come across while raiding North Vietnam during the Vietnam War

1968 – Soviets invade Czechoslovakia

1971 – Antiwar protestors raid draft offices in Buffalo, New York and Camden, New Jersey and destroy draft records. FBI and police arrest 25

1972 – Copernicus, the US orbiting astronomy observatory, is launched

1973 – Co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, is born

1976 – Mary Langdon in Battle, East Sussex becomes Britain’s first firewoman

1976 – During Operation Paul Bunyan, the US and ROK soldiers chop down a poplar tree along the DMZ after North Korean guards killed two American officers sent to trim it a few days earlier

1979 – Italian soccer player, Giuseppe Meazza, dies

1983 – Filipino politician, Benigno Aquino, Jr., dies

1984 – Wrestler, model, and dancer, Eve Torres, is born

1986 – Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, is born

1986 – 2,000 die from poisonous gas from a volcanic eruption at Lake Nyos in Cameroon

1987 – Dirty Dancing opens in theaters

1989 – Voyager 2 begins a flyby of planet Neptune

1991 – Latvia declares independence from USSR

1991 – The coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in the Soviet Union collapses

1993 – American soprano, Tatiana Troyanos, dies

1994 – Ernesto Zedillo wins Mexico’s presidential election

1996 – New Globe theater opens in England

2001 – NATO sends a peacekeeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

2004 – Michael Phelps wins his eighth gold medal at the Athens Olympics


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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