This Day in History – May 21

Today is the 141st day of 2021. There are 224 days left in the year.


1981: Jamaican reggae icon Bob Marley is accorded a state funeral, 10 days after his passing in a Miami hospital.



1471: England’s King Henry VI is murdered on orders from the future King Edward VI.

1541: Members of a Spanish expedition seeking gold, led by Hernando de Soto, become the first Europeans to see the Mississippi River, south of what is now Memphis, Tennessee.

1542: Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto dies while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.

1813: Battle of Bautzen, Germany, between France’s Napoleon Bonaparte and the armies of Prussia and Russia, ends with heavy losses on both sides.

1840: New Zealand is declared a British colony.

1894: Serbian Constitution of 1869 is restored.

1924: Fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks is murdered in a “thrill killing” committed by Nathan Leopold Jr and Richard Loeb, two students at the University of Chicago.

1927: US aviator Charles A Lindbergh lands in Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across Atlantic Ocean.

1944: Allied forces break through Hitler Line in Italy during World War II.

1956: First hydrogen bomb is exploded by United States over Bikini Atoll in Pacific.

1967: More than 300 people die in department store fire in Brussels, Belgium.

1968: The nuclear-powered US submarine Scorpion, with 99 men aboard, goes missing. The remains of the sub are later found on the ocean floor 645 kilometres (400 miles) south-west of the Azores.

1982: British troops establish a beachhead on Falkland Islands. Argentine forces on the island surrender three weeks later.

1984: In Bombay, India, troops battle thousands of rioters in Hindu-Muslim violence that has claimed more than 100 lives.

1989: Students occupying Tiananmen Square in China reject Government ultimatum to leave the square.

1991: Rajiv Gandhi, candidate for prime minister of India, is assassinated by Sri Lanka’s separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels in a suicide bomb attack in the South Indian city of Madras.

1994: Bakili Muluzi sworn in as Malawi’s first democratically elected president.

1996: A ferry strikes a rock and sinks in Lake Victoria in Tanzania. About 550 people drown.

1997: Ukraine and Poland sign a reconciliation agreement to formally end conflict and put centuries of bloodshed behind them.

1998: After weeks of protests and riots in Indonesia, President Suharto resigns, ending a 32-year reign.

2001: The UN Security Council declares the Congo River open again after 2 1/2 years of war. The closure had affected food and medicine supplies for millions across Congo.

2003: A magnitude 6.8 earthquake strikes Algeria’s northern coast, 70 kilometres (45 miles) east of Algiers. At least 2,200 people are killed in the initial earthquake and in aftershocks.

2008: A group of up to 300 young men brutally kill 11 people who were accused of being witches and wizards in western Kenya.

2009: The Gurkhas, storied Nepalese warriors who have served in the British military for two centuries, get the automatic right to settle in Britain, gaining a hard-won victory after years of lawsuits and lobbying.

2010: Roman Catholic Church officials say that the recently created first synthetic cell could be a positive development if correctly used, but warn scientists that only God can create life.

2012: US President Barack Obama and leaders around the globe lock in place their exit path from the war in Afghanistan, affirming they will close the largely stalemated conflict at the end of 2014, but keep their troops fighting and dying there for two more years.

2013: Iran’s election overseers remove potential wild card candidates from the presidential race, blocking a top aide of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a former president who revived hopes of reformers.



Albrecht Duerer, German artist (1471-1528); Alexander Pope, English poet (1686-1744); Henri Rousseau, French painter (1844-1910); Lazaro Cardenas, Mexican president (1895-1970); Andrey Sakharov, Russian physicist, dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (1921-1989); J Malcolm Fraser, former Australian prime minister (1930-2015); Leo Sayer, British singer (1948- ); Mr T, US actor (1952- ); Al Franken, US comedian/politician (1951- )


– AP and Jamaica Observer

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