This Day in History - November 21

November 21

1620 – The “Mayflower Compact” is created to help with unity among the settlers

1694 – French philosopher, historian, poet, novelist and dramatist Voltaire aka Francois-Marie Arouet is born

1776 – Continental Commander in Chief General George Washington writes to General Charles Lee in Westchester County, NY, ordering him to New Jersey

1783 – Jean de Rozier and the Marquis d’Arlandes make the first free-flight ascent in a balloon to over 500 feet in Paris

1789 – North Carolina becomes the 12th state to ratify the Constitution

1854 – Pope Benedict XV is born

1855 – Pro-slavery Franklin Colman shoots and kills Charles Dow, a Free Stater, near Lawrence, Kansas

1860 – Notorious hired killer, Tom Horn is born

1861 – Confederate President Jefferson Davis names Judah Benjamin the Secretary of War

1864 – Confederate General John B. Hood launches the Franklin-Nashville Campaign into Tennessee

1864 – President Abraham Lincoln allegedly composes a letter to Lydia Bixby, a widow, and mother of five men who had been killed in the Civil War, according to legend. The Boston Evening Transcript published a copy of the letter, but the original has never been found

1877 – Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph

1898 – Surrealist painter, Rene Magritte is born

1899 – 24th Vice President of the US, Garret Hobart dies

1904 – Jazz saxophonist, Coleman Hawkins is born

1904 – Motorized omnibuses replace the horse-drawn cars in Paris

1906 – President Theodore Roosevelt pledges citizenship for Puerto Rican people in a visit to San Juan

1907 – During a one-day run, the Cunard liner Mauritania sets a new speed record for steamship travel at 624 miles

1908 – Writer of historical children’s novels, Elizabeth G. Speare is born

1911 – Suffragettes storm Parliament in London, are arrested, and all choose prison terms

1916 – The Britannic, sister ship to the Titanic, sinks in the Aegean Sea, killing 30 people, although more than 1,000 were rescued

1916 – After reigning for 66 years, the popular monarch Franz Josef of Austria dies

1917 – German ace Rudolf von Eschwege is killed over Macedonia after attacking a booby-trapped observation balloon that was filled with explosives

1918 – The last German troops leave Alsace-Lorraine, France

1920 – Hall of Fame baseball player, Stan “The Man” Musial is born

1927 – Police use machine guns on striking Colorado mine workers, killing five and wounding 20

1927 – Time magazine puts the Holland Tunnel, which runs under the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey City, on its cover, explaining its significant ventilation system

1929 – Novelist and critic, Marilyn French is born

1934 – Gloria Vanderbilt is deemed unfit for custody of her daughter by a New York court

1934 – Cole Porter’s musical, Anything Goes, premieres at New York’s Alvin Theatre

1934 – A teenage Ella Fitzgerald, whose name was literally drawn from a hat to appear on stage at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, makes a last minute decision to sing rather than dance, and as a result, not only wins Amateur Night at the Apollo but goes on to become a musical legend

1936 – Chinese Australian cardiac surgeon who developed the artificial heart valve, Victor Chang is born

1941 – Albert Speer, Adolf Hitler’s chief architect and minister for armaments and war production, asks for 30,000 Soviet prisoners of war to use as slave laborers to begin a large building program in Berlin

1944 – US Senate Majority Whip 2017-2015, Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois is born

1944 – Pro basketball player Earl “The Pearl” Monroe is born

1945 – Academy Award-winning actress, director, producer Goldie Hawn is born

1948 – Businessman who founded Men’s Wearhouse, George Zimmer is born

1949 – The UN grants Libya its independence, although the act will not be completed until 1952

1959 – American actor and boxer, Max Baer dies

1965 – Icelandic singer, songwriter, actress, and producer, Bjork is born

1966 – Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame pro football quarterback Troy Aikman is born

1967 – President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the air quality act, which allotted $428 million to fight against pollution

1967 – General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam tells the media that the communists are losing

1969 – American baseball player, Ken Griffey, Jr. is born

1970 – US planes conduct widespread bombing campaigns in North Vietnam

1970 – Nobel Prize-winning physicist, C.V. Raman dies

1975 – A Senate committee issues a report stating that U.S. government officials were behind assassination plots against two foreign leaders and were heavily involved in at least three other plots. The Senate Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Senator Frank Church, alleged that U.S. officials instigated plots to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. The report went on to state U.S. officials “encouraged or were privy to” plots that led to the assassinations of Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, General Rene Schneider of Chile, and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. The attempts against Castro failed, but the other four leaders were killed

1976 – Rocky, starring Sylvester Stallone, debuts in New York City

1980 – 350 million viewers tune in to find out who shot J.R. Ewing on episode 21 of the hit television series “Dallas”

1985 – US Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Pollard is arrested for spying and passing classified information to Israel

1986 – The Justice Department begins an inquiry into the National Security Council in what will later be named the Iran-Contra Scandal, and National Security Council staff member Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, begin shredding documents that would have exposed their participation in a range of illegal activities regarding the sale of arms to Iran and the diversion of the proceeds to a rebel Nicaraguan group. On November 25, North will be fired but Hall will continue to sneak documents to him by hiding them in her skirts and boots

1995 – The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialized at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, which, once ratified in Paris on Dec. 14th, will end an over three-year war between Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996 – Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Abdus Salam dies

2006 – Anti-Syrian Lebanese Minister and MP Pierre Gemayel are assassinated in Beirut

2012 – Pakistani terrorist, Ajmal Kasab 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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