MPSHome Alumni Calendar Contact MyMPS
This Day in History: October 21

Events

1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait now known as Strait of Magellan.

1774 – First display of the word "Liberty" on a flag, raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.

1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched.

1824 – Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement.

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 to a reservation in western Oklahoma.

1879 – Thomas Edison invents a workable electric light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J. which was tested the next day and lasted 13.5 hours. This would be the invention of the first commercially practical incandescent light. Popular belief is that he invented the first light bulb, which he did not.

1892 – Opening ceremonies for the World's Columbian Exposition are held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.

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 U.S. President against lynching in the deep South.

1921 – George Melford’s silent film, The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, premiers.

1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls is published.

1944 – World War II: The first kamikaze attack. A Japanese fighter plane carrying a 200-kilogram (440 lb) bomb attacks HMAS Australia off Leyte Island, as the Battle of Leyte Gulf began.

1944 – World War II: Nemmersdorf massacre against the German civilians takes place.

1944 – World War II: Battle of Aachen: The city of Aachen falls to American forces after three weeks of fighting, making it the first German city to fall to the Allies.

1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens to the public.

1959 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.

1967 – Vietnam War: More than 100,000 war protesters gather in Washington, D.C.. 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. Similar demonstrations occurred simultaneously in Japan and Western Europe.

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.

1973 – Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams becomes the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.

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.

Births

1845 – Will Carleton, American poet and journalist (d. 1912)

1917 – Dizzy Gillespie, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (d. 1993)

1942 – Judith Sheindlin, American judge and television host

1950 – Ronald McNair, American physicist and astronaut (d. 1986)

1952 – Patti Davis, American actress and author

1956 – Carrie Fisher, American actress and screenwriter

Deaths

1775 – Peyton Randolph, American lawyer and politician, 1st President of the Continental Congress (b. 1721)

1969 – Jack Kerouac, American novelist and poet (b. 1922)

1995 – Maxene Andrews, American singer (The Andrews Sisters) (b. 1916)

2012 – George McGovern, American historian, lieutenant, and politician (b. 1922)

2014 – Ben Bradlee, American journalist and author (b. 1921)