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This Day in History: August 21


1680 – Pueblo Indians capture Santa Fe from the Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt.

1778 – American Revolutionary War: British forces begin besieging the French outpost at Pondichéry.

1831 – Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia.

1863 – Lawrence, Kansas is destroyed by Confederate guerrillas Quantrill's Raiders in the Lawrence Massacre.

1883 – An F5 tornado strikes Rochester, Minnesota, leading to the creation of the Mayo Clinic.

1888 – The first successful adding machine in the United States is patented by William Seward Burroughs.

1897 – Oldsmobile, a brand of American automobiles, is founded.

1942 – World War II: The Guadalcanal Campaign: American forces defeat an attack by Imperial Japanese Army soldiers in the Battle of the Tenaru.

1944 – Dumbarton Oaks Conference, prelude to the United Nations, begins.

1945 – Physicist Harry Daghlian is fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1959 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union. Hawaii's admission is currently commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day

1961 – Motown releases what would be its first #1 hit, "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes.

1968 – James Anderson, Jr. posthumously receives the first Medal of Honor to be awarded to an African American U.S. Marine.

1979 – Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defects to the United States.

1992 – Ruby Ridge Standoff in Idaho

1993 – NASA loses contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft.

2001 – NATO decides to send a peace-keeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


1800 – Hiram Walden, American general and politician (d. 1880)

1904 – Count Basie, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1984)

1906 – Friz Freleng, American animator, director, and producer (d. 1995)

1924 – Jack Buck, American sportscaster (d. 2002)

1929 – X. J. Kennedy, American poet and author

1929 – Marie Severin, American illustrator

1936 – Wilt Chamberlain, American basketball player and coach (d. 1999)

1938 – Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor

1983 – Josh Harrington, American BMX rider

1988 – Paris Bennett, American singer


1940 – Ernest Thayer, American poet and author (b. 1863)

1960 – David B. Steinman, American engineer, designed the Mackinac Bridge (b. 1886)

1974 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (b. 1937)