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This Day in History - March 21

March 21

630 – Heraclius restores True Cross, which he has recaptured from the Persians

1349 – 3,000 Jews killed in Black Death riots in Efurt, Germany

1556 – Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, is burned at the stake after retracting the last of seven recantations that same day

1617 – Pocahontas aka Rebecca Rolfe, dies of either smallpox or pneumonia while in England with her husband, John Rolfe

1656 – Irish Archbishop James Ussher dies

1678 – The London Gazette offers a reward to anyone who can reveal the author of a pamphlet called An Account of the Growth of Property, which later would be revealed to have been authored by Andrew Marvell

1685 – German composer Johann Sebastian Bach is born

1778 – The Massacre at Hancock’s Bridge occurs, where 20 members of the Salem militia were killed by Loyalists, many while trying to surrender

1788 – Fire destroys nearly the entire city of New Orleans, Louisiana

1804 – French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte enacts the “Napoleonic Code,” the first post-revolutionary France’s set of laws concerning property, colonial affairs, family and individual rights

1806 – Lewis and Clark begin their trip home after an 8,000-mile trek of the Mississippi Basin and the Pacific Coast

1806 – President of Mexico, Benito Juarez, is born

1843 – 1st President of Mexico, Guadalupe Victoria, dies

1865 – The Battle of Bentonville, NC ends, marking the last Confederate attempt to stop Union General William Sherman

1869 – Architect who originated modern factory design, Albert Kahn, is born

1869 – Producer Florenz Ziegfeld is born

1851 – Emperor Tu Duc orders all Christians priests to be put to death

1858 – British forces in India lift the siege of Lucknow, ending the Indian Mutiny

1863 – Union General Edwin Vose Sumner dies

1871 – Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his famous search through Africa for the missing explorer Dr. David Livingstone. He is successful and upon seeing the doctor for the first time, extended his hand and said the famous line, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

1882 – Gilbert M. Anderson, the first western movie star known as “Broncho Billy” is born

1885 – American fighter pilot in World War I, Raoul Lufbery is born

1906 – Ohio passes a law prohibiting hazing by fraternities

1908 – Frenchman Henri Farman carries a passenger in a bi-plane for the first time

1910 – The US Senate grants ex-President Teddy Roosevelt an annual pension of $10,000

1918 – The Germans launch the First Battle of the Somme

1928 – President Calvin Coolidge presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Charles Lindbergh for making the first solo trans-Atlantic flight

1932 – A series of tornadoes kills more than 350 across the Southeast, seriously injures thousands and leaves many homeless

1939 – Singer Kate Smith records “God Bless America” for Victor Records

1940 – Singer, songwriter Solomon Burke is born

1941 – The Last Italian post in East Libya, North Africa, falls to the British

1943 – The second military conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler in a week, is foiled

1951 – Secretary of Defense George Marshall reports that the US military has doubled to 2.9 million since the start of the Korean War

1952 – The Moondog Coronation Ball, held in Cleveland, became history’s first rock concert

1960 – Three-time Formula One champion Ayrton Senna da Silva is born

1960 – Police open fire on black South African demonstrators in Sharpeville, near Johannesburg, killing 69 and wounding 180

1963 – The federal Penitentiary Alcatraz Island closes

1965 – The US launches Ranger 9, the last in a series of unmanned lunar explorations

1965 – 3,200 civil rights demonstrators led by Martin Luther King Jr. begin a historic march from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol at Montgomery

1970 – Earth Day is celebrated for the first time

1971 – Two US platoons in Vietnam refuse their orders to advance

1972 – The Khmer Rouge shell Phnom Penh in Cambodia, killing over 100 civilians and wounding 280

1975 – As North Vietnamese forces advance, Hue and other northern towns in South Vietnam are evacuated

1975 – Ethiopia abolishes its monarchy after 3,000 years

1978 – Indian actress Rani Mukerji is born

1980 – In one of television’s most famous cliffhangers, J.R. Ewing is shot by an unknown assailant on prime-time drama Dallas, leading to widespread media coverage and the question, “Who shot JR?”

1980 – President Jimmy Carter announces to the US Olympic Team that they will not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan

1980 – Soccer star Ronaldo de Assis Moreira aka Ronaldinho, is born

1984 – A Soviet submarine crashes into the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Japan

1985 – South African police kill at least 21 blacks commemorating a similar mass shooting 25 years prior

2006 – Jack Dorsey sends the world’s first message on Twitter

2008 – German guitarist and songwriter Klaus Dinger dies

2010 – The House of Representatives passes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

2013 – Nigerian author, poet, and academic, Chinua Achebe dies

2014 – Russia formally annexes Crimea amid international condemnation


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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