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1073 Apr 21
Pope Alexander II, born as Anselmo da Baggio, died. He had begun serving as Pope in 1061.
Links: Vatican     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1509 Apr 21
Henry VII (b.1457), 1st Tudor king of England (1485-1509), died. In 2011 Allen Lane authored “Winter King: The Dawn of Tudor England.”
Links: Britain     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1519 Apr 21
Hernan Cortes landed at Veracruz, Mexico, on Holy Thursday.
Links: Spain, Mexico     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1526 Apr 21
Mongol Emperor Babur annihilated Indian Army of Ibrahim Lodi. Babar, King of Kabul, established in this year the Mughal dynasty at Delhi.
Links: Afghan     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1689 Apr 21
(NS) William III and Mary II were crowned joint king and queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Links: Britain, Scotland, Ireland     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1792 Apr 21
Jose da Silva Xavier, aka Tiradentes (teeth puller), considered by many to be Brazil's George Washington, was drawn and quartered by the Portuguese. He was hung in Rio de Janeiro. His body was broken to pieces. A document was written With his blood declaring his memory infamous. His head was exposed in Vila Rica. Pieces of his body were exposed in the cities between Vila Rica and Rio, in an attempt to scare the people who had listened to his independence ideas.
Links: Brazil     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1801 Apr 21
Saudi Arabs led Sunni raids into Karbala, Iraq, killing about 5,000 people.
Links: Iraq, Saudi Arabia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1806 Apr 21
Saudi Arabs led Sunni raids into Najaf, Iraq, killing about 5,000 people.
Links: Iraq, Saudi Arabia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1836 Apr 21
Some 910 Texians led by Sam Houston, the former governor of Tennessee, defeated the Mexican army under Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at San Jacinto. The victory in the 18 minute battle sealed Texan independence from Mexico. Houston counted 9 fatalities. 630 Mexicans were killed out of some 1,250 troops. Some 700 were taken prisoner.
Links: USA, Mexico, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1861 Apr 21
In Australia the Burke party of 3 reached Cooper’s Creek and found a message that the 4-man depot party under William Brahe had left earlier the same day for Darling with 6 camels and 12 horses. The Burke party departed Cooper’s Creek for the police station at Mount Hopeless, 150 miles away.
Links: Australia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1898 Apr 21
The Spanish-American War began. The US North Atlantic Fleet, under the command of Rear Admiral William T. Sampson, was ordered to begin the blockade of Cuba. The fleet with the armored cruiser New York steamed out of Key West, Fla., at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. The fleet had hardly left port when it pursued and captured a Spanish merchant vessel, Buenaventura. The Spanish-American War had begun. In 1998 David Traxel published “1898: The Birth of the American Century,” a history of the Spanish-American War. http://lcweb.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/subjects.html
Links: Cuba     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1908 Apr 21
Arctic explorer Frederick A. Cook claimed to have discovered the North Pole a year ahead of Peary. Many historians suspect that neither explorer succeeded. The term “Dr. Cook weather” refers to an incident where Dr. Cook once left a chilly New York baseball game after which the city papers trumpeted; “Game called, even too cold for Dr. Cook.” Cook's assertion was later proved false. In 2005 Bruce Henderson authored “True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole.” [see Apr 6, 1909]
Links: Arctic     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1910 Apr 21
Author Mark Twain (b.1835), born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, died in Redding, Conn. His work included "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," and "More Tramps Abroad." His short story "The War Prayer" was published after his death. In 1912 Albert Bigelow Paine authored "Mark Twain: A Biography." In 1959 Charles Neider authored "The Autobiography of Mark Twain." In 1966 Justin Kaplan authored "Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography." In 1997 Andrew Hoffman authored "Inventing Mark Twain, The Lives of Samuel Langhorn Clemens. In 2005 Ron Powers authored “Mark Twain: A Life.” In 2007 Peter Krass authored “Ignorance, Confidence, and Filthy Rich Friends: The Business Adventures of Mark Twain.” In 2010 Jerome Loving authored “Mark Twain: The Adventures of Samuel L. Clemens.” In 2010 Volume I of Twain’s dictated autobiography was published. In 2013 Volume II was published.
Links: USA, Writer, Connecticut, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1918 Apr 21
Baron Manfred von Richthofen (25), the cousin of Frieda Lawrence and the highest-scoring German ace of World War I with 80 victories, was killed in a dogfight over France's Somme Valley over Amiens. As he pursued a Canadian pilot with jammed guns, von Richthofen, flying a red Fokker triplane, broke one of his own flying rules by following his prey too long, too far and too low. Two miles behind Allied lines, Richthofen was mortally wounded when he was fired upon simultaneously by another Canadian pilot and Australian ground troops. The following day, the Red Baron was buried by his enemies with full military honors. He was replaced with Hermann Goering.
Links: Canada, France, Germany, WWI     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1930 Apr 21
In Columbus, Ohio, 322 people were killed at the Ohio Penitentiary after a fire started on scaffolding. Most died of smoke inhalation when breakdown in command kept guards from unlocking cell doors. This was the worst prison fire in US history.
Links: USA, Ohio, Tragedy     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1935 Apr 21
King Boris of Bulgaria forbade all political parties.
Links: Bulgaria     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1936 Apr 21
James Clayton Dobson, Christian conservative leader, was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He became an American psychologist and chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization founded in 1977 and based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 2007 his radio show pulled in 6 million listeners a week.
Links: USA, Louisiana, Radio, Religion     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1939 Apr 21
In Texas the new San Jacinto Monument was dedicated following 3 years of construction. It stood over 14 feet taller than the Washington Monument. The monument is topped with a 220-ton star that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution.
Links: USA, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1946 Apr 21
John M. Keynes (62), English economist, died. He had recently negotiated a loan from the US to keep Britain afloat. One condition of the $5 billion loan was that Britain make sterling fully convertible into dollars. In 2000 Robert Skidelsky authored “John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain: 1937-1946.” In 2009 Peter Clarke authored “Keynes: The Twentieth Century’s Most Influential Economist.” Robert Skidelsky authored “Keynes: The Return of the Master.” In 2015 Richard Davenport-Hines authored “Universal Man: The Lives of John Maynard Keynes.”
Links: Britain, USA, Money, Economics, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1954 Apr 21
USAF flew a French battalion to Vietnam.
Links: Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1960 Apr 21
Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), founded in 1952, helped fund its development.
Links: Brazil, Banking     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1961 Apr 21
The French army revolted in Algeria.
Links: Algeria     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1965 Apr 21
The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) debuted prototype cars and stations. The first BART service began in 1972 between Fremont and Oakland.
Links: USA, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1966 Apr 21
Emperor Haile Selassie (Ethiopia) visited Kingston, Jamaica.
Links: Ethiopia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1967 Apr 21
In Greece "The Colonels" led by Colonel George Papadopoulos (1919-1999) took power in a bloodless military coup. Papadopoulos, Stylianos Pattakos (1912-2016), and Nikolaos Makarezos (1919-2009) imposed martial law and cracked down heavily on political opponents, imprisoning or exiling thousands of mostly left-wing supporters, many of whom were tortured by military police.
Links: Greece, Major Event     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1968 Apr 21
In the 22nd Tony Awards: "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" and "Hallelujah Baby" won.
Links: USA, Theater     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968 Apr 21
The First Baptist Church of Oxford Mississippi voted to exclude black people from their congregation.
Links: USA, Black History, Mississippi     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1970 Apr 21
Bruno Kreisky (1911-1990) became the 1st socialist chancellor of Austria.
Links: Austria     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 Apr 21
In Haiti Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier (b.1907) died. He was succeeded by his teenage son Jean-Claude "Baby-Doc" Duvalier (19), under the guidance of Simone Duvalier, aka "Mama Doc."
Links: Haiti     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 Apr 21
Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke explored the surface of the moon with Boeing Lunar Rover #2.
Links: USA, NASA, Moon     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1973 Apr 21
Merian C. Cooper b.1893), film producer, died in San Diego, Ca. His films included “King Kong” (1933). In 2005 Mark Cotta Vaz authored “Living Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper.
Links: USA, Film, Biography     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973 Apr 21
The song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando reached the top of the charts.
Links: USA, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Apr 21
Bill Rodgers won the Boston Marathon, the 1st local winner in 30 years.
Links: USA, Massachusetts     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Apr 21
Members of the SLA robbed the Carmichael Bank in suburban Sacramento, Ca. Myrna Opsahl, a mother (42) of four, was shot dead. Patty Hearst drove the getaway car. Emily Harris shot Opsahl with a 12-gauge shotgun. 4 SLA members were arrested for the murder of Opsahl in 2002. Michael Bortin, William Harris, Sara Jane Olson and Emily Montague all pleaded guilty. Fugitive James Kilgore was arrested in South Africa Nov 8, 2002. In 2003 Montague was sentenced to 8 years, Harris to 7 years, Olson and Bortin to 6 years. In 2004 Kilgore was sentenced to 4 ½ years. Kilgore was paroled in 2009.
Links: USA, California, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Apr 21
Nguyen Van Thieu, the last South Vietnamese President, resigned after 10 years in office condemning the United States. Thieu resigned and was succeeded by Vice President Tran Van Huong. With the collapse of the Saigon regime imminent, Thieu addressed his nation on April 21, accused the U.S. of breaking its promises of support and military aid, and then resigned. Huong took control but at the National Assembly meeting on April 27, he named General Duong Van Minh to become president and end the war. On April 30, President Minh announced the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam to the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam.
Links: USA, Vietnam     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1976 Apr 21
Full-scale testing of the swine flu vaccine began in Washington, D.C.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Medical, DC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Apr 21
The musical play "Annie" opened on Broadway, the 1st of 2,377 performances. Laurie Beechman (d.1998) made her debut in the show based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip. Beechman later played Grizabella for 5 years in “Cats.”
Links: USA, NYC, Theater, Cartoons     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1980 Apr 21
At the Boston Marathon, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line; but she was disqualified as a fraud when officials discovered she had jumped into the race about a mile from the finish.
Links: USA, Massachusetts, Women, Fraud     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1981 Apr 21
Pres. Reagan called for support for the sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia. The proposed AWACS sale was just the beginning of a secret $50 billion plan to build surrogate military bases in Saudi Arabia.
Links: USA, Saudi Arabia, ReaganR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1983 Apr 21
Walter Slezak (b.1902), Austrian-born actor (Bedtime For Bonzo), committed suicide in NY.
Links: USA, Suicide, Filmstar     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1985 Apr 21
Tancredo Neves, elected president of Brazil on Jan 15, died. José Sarney became president.
Links: Brazil     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Apr 21
Rudi Gernreich (b.1922), US fashion designer, died. His creations included the “monokini” topless swimsuit, the transparent “no-bra bra,” and the introduction of the thong.
Links: USA, Fashion     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1985 Apr 21
The Public Theater staged Larry Kramer’s play about AIDS: “The Normal Heart.” In 2011 the show made its debut on Broadway.
Links: USA, NYC, Gays, Theater     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986 Apr 21
A vault in Chicago's Lexington Hotel that was linked to Al Capone was opened during a live TV special hosted by Geraldo Rivera; aside from a few bottles and a sign, the vault was empty.
Links: USA, Chicago, TV     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Apr 21
The Senate panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair voted to grant limited immunity to President Reagan's former national security adviser, Rear Adm. John M. Poindexter.
Links: USA, ReaganR     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1987 Apr 21
In Sri Lanka Tamil Tigers exploded a car bomb at the Colombo central bus stand and 113 people were killed.
Links: Sri Lanka     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1988 Apr 21
Tennessee Sen. Al Gore gave up his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, assuring supporters that "there will be other days for me and for the causes that matter to us."
Links: USA, Tennessee     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Apr 21
Tens of thousands of people crowded into Beijing's Tiananmen Square, cheering students who waved banners demanding greater political freedoms.
Links: China     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1989 Apr 21
In the Philippines there was a communist guerrilla ambush on Col. James Nicolas Rowe. His car was raked with bullets near his office in the Manila suburb of Quezon City, killing him and wounding his driver. Donato Continente and co-defendant Juanito Itaas, who admitted being a member of the communist New People's Army, were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1991. The Supreme Court later affirmed Itaas' sentence and reduced Continente's to 14 years after establishing he was an accomplice. Continente was released in 2005.
Links: Philippines, Assassin     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Apr 21
Pope John Paul II was greeted by hundreds of thousands of people as he visited Czechoslovakia to help celebrate the nation's peaceful overthrow of communist rule.
Links: Vatican, Czechoslovakia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1990 Apr 21
Bob Engel, a National League umpire was arrested in Bakersfield, Ca., for stealing baseball cards.
Links: USA, Baseball     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 21
Willi Boskovsky (81), Vienna Philharmonic conductor (New Year's concerts), died.
Links: Austria, Classical Music     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Apr 21
US Marines in northern Iraq began building the first safe-haven settlement for Kurdish refugees. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf arrived at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida to a hero’s welcome.
Links: Iraq, USA, Kurds     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1992 Apr 21
Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed at San Quentin by the state of California in 25 years as he was put to death in the gas chamber for the 1978 murder of two San Diego teen-age boys. Harris left some art that was later put on sale at Expressions Art Gallery in Oakland.
Links: USA, California, SF Bay Area     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1993 Apr 21
Brazil voted against a monarchy.
Links: Brazil     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1993 Apr 21
An 11-day siege at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville, Ohio, ended after rioting inmates reached an agreement with prison officials. One guard and nine inmates were killed during the siege.
Links: USA, Ohio     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1994 Apr 21
Serbian army bombed a distress clinic in Gorazde, Bosnia, and 28 were killed.
Links: Bosnia     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1994 Apr 21
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $28 billion get-tough-on-crime bill.
Links: USA     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Apr 21
The FBI arrested former soldier Timothy McVeigh at an Oklahoma jail where he had spent two days on minor traffic and weapons charges; he was charged in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing two days earlier in which over 200 people were killed by a truck bomb that exploded in front of a Federal building.
Links: USA, FBI, Oklahoma     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Apr 21
President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin traded warm compliments and played down nagging differences, insisting their election-year summit in Moscow was not being influenced by presidential politics.
Links: Russia, USA, ClintonB     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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