This Day in History - May 21

May 21

427 BC – Greek philosopher Plato is born

996 – Sixteen-year-old Otto III is crowned the Roman Emperor

1471 – King Henry VI is killed in the Tower of London leaving Edward IV to take the throne

1471 – German painter, mathematician, and engraver, Albrecht Durer is born

1527 – King of Spain and Portugal, Philip II is born

1536 – The Reformation is officially adopted in Geneva, Switzerland

1539 – Black Spanish explorer Estevan, is reported as having been killed to Fray Marcus. Estevan served as the slave guide to Marcus and was the first non-Indian to visit the pueblo lands of the American Southwest

1542 – Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto dies in present-day Louisiana, while on a three-year journey searching for gold. He had claimed divinity, and in an effort to conceal his death from the Indians, de Soto’s men buried his body in the Mississippi River

1620 – Present-day Martha’s Vineyard is first sighted by Captain Bartholomew Gosnold

1758 – 10-year-old Mary Campbell is abducted from her Pennsylvania home by Lenape Indians. At the conclusion of the Pontiac’s War between Western Indians and the British, Mary was returned, now aged 16, to a European settlement. She had been an icon of the French and Indian War at the time of her capture

1771 – English actor, playwright, and poet, Christopher Smart dies

1790 – Paris is divided into 48 zones

1792 – Mount Unzen on Japan’s Shimabara Peninsula erupts, creating a tsunami, killing about 15,000. It was one of Japan’s deadliest eruptions

1832 – The Democratic Party holds its first national convention

1844 – French painter Henri Rousseau is born

1856 – Philanthropist Grace Hoadley is born

1856 – Lawrence, Kansas is captured by pro-slavery forces

1860 – Physiologist and inventor of the electrocardiogram, Willem Einthoven is born

1863 – The siege of the Confederate Port Hudson, Louisiana begins

1867 – Ethnomusicologist Frances Densmore is born

1871 – French regular troops attack the Commune of Paris, resulting in the deaths of 17,000

1878 – Aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss is born

1881 – The American Red Cross is founded by Clara Barton

1898 – American entrepreneur and industrialist Armand Hammer is born

1901 – Connecticut becomes the first state to pass a law regulating speed for motor vehicles

1902 – Architect Marcel Breuer is born

1904 – FIFA, the world governing body of association football, is founded

1909 – Artist Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel is born

1910 – French author Colette begins to publish her novel The Vagabond, in serial form

1911 – French troops occupy the Moroccan city of Fez, sparking a second Moroccan Crisis between the Germans and French

1917 – Actor Raymond Burr is born

1921 – Russian physicist Andrei Sakharov is born

1924 – Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, two wealthy college graduates of unusual intelligence, both graduating at 18 and 17-Leopold speaking nine languages and holding an IQ of 200, attempted to commit the “perfect crime.” Leopold had perverse sexual desires and Loeb, a homosexual fascinated with criminal psychology, agreed to participate in Leopold’s eccentric sexual practices in exchange for Leopold’s cooperation with his criminal endeavors. They abducted Bobbie Franks and stabbed him to death, but made a couple of key errors leading to their arrest. Loeb was killed by a fellow inmate in prison during a razor fight in the prison shower, and Leopold was released on parole in 1958, in part, from a letter written on his behalf by poet Carl Sandburg. He spent the rest of his life in Puerto Rico, dying in 1971

1926 – Poet Robert Creeley is born

1927 – Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris, completing the first solo air crossing of the Atlantic

1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first pilot to repeat Charles Lindbergh’s solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic, five years to the day

1935 – American social worker and Nobel Prize laureate, Jane Addams, dies

1940 – British forces attack German General Erwin Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division at Arras, slowing his blitzkrieg of France

1940 – A “special unit” of Nazis, carry out the murders of more than 1,500 hospital patients in East Prussia, exterminating everyone deemed “unfit”

1941 – The first US ship, the SS Robin Moor, is sunk by a U-boat

1942 – 4,300 Jews are deported from the Polish town of Chelm to the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, where all are gassed to death. On the same day, the German firm IG Farben sets up a factory outside Auschwitz, in order to take advantage of Jewish slave laborers from the Auschwitz concentration camps

1944 – First woman president of Ireland, Mary Bourke Robinson, is born

1951 – The US Eight Army counterattacks to drive the Communist Chinese and North Koreans out of South Korea

1951 – The 9th Street Show, an art exhibition, opens in New York

1955 – Chuck Berry records the album that will make him famous: “Maybellene”

1960 – The first tremor of a series of earthquakes hits Chile. By the time it is over, 5,000 were dead, and 2 million were homeless. The first quake registered at a 7.6 but turned out to be only a foreshock to one of the most powerful quakes ever recorded, an 8.5 that caused landslides and tsunamis-one of which that resulted in a 35-foot wave

1961 – Governor John Patterson declares martial law in Montgomery, Alabama

1970 – The US National Guard mobilizes to quell disturbances at Ohio State University

1978 – 21-year-old rookie golfer Nancy Lopez defeats her childhood hero, JoAnne Carner, on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the Coca-Cola-Classic in Jamesburg, New Jersey

1979 – Violent clashes follow the lenient sentencing for Harvey Milk’s murderer. Milk, the first openly gay US politician, had been shot and killed, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, by Dan White. White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, triggering the White Night Riots

1980 – Belgian - Australian singer and songwriter Gotye is born

1988 – Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev dismisses the Communist Party leaders in the Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, in an effort to consolidate power

1991 – In Madras, India, a suicide bomber kills the former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi

1992 – Amy Fisher, aka “Long Island Lolita,” is arrested for shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco on the front porch of her Massapequa, New York, home. 17-year-old Fisher was having an affair with Mary Jo’s husband, Joey, 38. Mary Jo survived but was left with a partially paralyzed face. Fisher received 5 to 15 years for the crime. Despite Mary Jo’s inability to blame her husband for his part in the affair but referring to Fisher as a “prostitute,” the courts, on the other hand, gave Joey six months in jail for statutory rape. Fisher filed a $220 million lawsuit claiming she had been raped by the guards while in prison, but the judge said it read like a “cheap dime-store novel,” tossing it out. She also claimed that her defense attorney, with whom she was having an affair at the time, coerced her into pleading guilty. To make this odd story even weirder, Mary Jo Buttafuoco ended up helping Fisher get out of prison, forgiving her. The Buttafuocos moved to California, and Joey attempted to become a movie star and talk-show host

1996 – Richard Keech shoots his son-in-law, Nicholas Candy, to death outside his Long Beach, California, home. Keech, a POW during WWII, then claimed that he was suffering from PSTD when he was shooting Candy, but the jury didn’t buy it and convicted him of first-degree murder in 1997

1999 – After 19 nominations without a win, soap star Susan Lucci finally wins an Emmy for her performance as Erica Kane on ABC’s All My Children

 2000 – The bones of President James Garfield’s spine are on display for a final day as part of the Out of the Blue Closets exhibit at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC. The exhibit featured medical oddities from the museum’s archives

2000 – English actor, director, and producer, John Gielgud dies

2004 – Stanislav Petrov is awarded the World Citizen Award for averting a potential nuclear war in 1983 after correctly guessing the Russian early warning system was faulty

2006 – American dancer, Katherine Dunham, dies

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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