This Day in History - February 21

February 21

1173 – Pope Alexander III canonizes Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury

1431 – The first day of interrogation begins during Joan of Arc’s trial for heresy

1595 – The Jesuit poet Robert Southwell is hanged for “treason,” being a Catholic

1631 – Michael Romanov is elected Russian Tsar

1677 – Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza dies

1744 – The British blockade of Toulon is broken by 27 French and Spanish warships attacking 29 British ships

1775 – As troubles with Great Britain increase, colonists in Massachusetts vote to buy military equipment for 15,0000 men

1777 – George Weedon is promoted to brigadier general of the Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army

1791 – Austrian pianist and composer Carl Czerny is born

1794 – Mexican Revolutionary, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna is born

1797 – Trinidad surrenders to the British

1801 – English theologian and writer John Henry Newman

1804 – The world’s first railway journey takes place in Wales, in a locomotive designed by Richard Trevithick

1821 – Businessman Charles Scribner is born

1828 – The first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is printed

1848 – Karl Marx publishes The Communist Manifesto

1848 – Former President John Quincy Adams suffers a stroke

1849 – In the Second Sikh War, Sir Hugh Gough’s British troops win a victory over a Sikh force twice the size on the Chenab River

1862 – The Texas Rangers win a Confederate victory in the Battle of Val Verde, New Mexico

1878 – The world’s first telephone book is issued by the New Haven Connecticut Telephone Company

1885 – The Washington Monument is dedicated in Washington, DC

1893 – Spanish classical guitarist Andres Segovia is born

1905 – The Mukden campaign of the Russo-Japanese War begins

1907 – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet WH Auden is born

1916 – The Battle of Verdun begins with an unprecedented German artillery campaign against the French

1918 – Allied forces and British troops along with the Australian mounted cavalry capture the city of Jericho in Palestine from the Turkish troops

1920 – World War II fighter ace Robert Johnson is born

1922 – Great Britain grants Egypt independence

1924 – 2nd President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe is born

1926 – Greta Garbo makes her US debut in The Torrent

1927 – Author and humorist Erma Bombeck is born

1933 – Singer, songwriter, and pianist Nina Simone is born

1934 – Nicaraguan rebel leader Augusto Cesar Sandino dies

1940 – The Germans begin construction of the concentration camp at Auschwitz

1941 – Nobel Prize-winning physician Frederick Banting dies

1944 – Hideki Tojo becomes chief of staff of the Japanese Army

1946 – English actor Alan Rickman is born

1948 – NASCAR is founded

1949 – Nicaragua and Cost Rica sign a friendship treaty ending hostilities over borders

1949 – Indonesian activist Tan Malaka dies

1951 – The US Eighth Army launches Operation Killer, a counterattack to push Chinese forces north of the Han River in Korea

1953 – Francis Crick and James Watson discover structure of DNA-molecule

1956 – A grand jury indicts 115 in a Negro bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama

1958 – Gerald Holtom designs the peace symbol

1960 – Havana places all Cuban industry under the direct control of government

1961 – Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a con man who used the alias of Clark Rockefeller, who will kidnap his daughter and be convicted of murder, is born

1965 – El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz aka Malcolm X is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while giving a speech in Washington Heights

1967 – Writer and historian Bernard Fall is killed by a Viet Cong mine

1970 – National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger begins secret peace talks with North Vietnam outside Paris

1971 – More than 100 die in a series of tornadoes that strike Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee

1972 – Richard Nixon arrives in Beijing, China, becoming the first president to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the US

1994 – CIA operative Aldrich Ames is arrested for selling secrets to the Soviet Union and will later be convicted and sentenced to life in prison

1995 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to cross the Pacific solo in a balloon

2002 – It is confirmed that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl is dead, at the hands of Islamic militants

2012 – Eurozone finance ministers agree on a 130-billion bailout for Greece

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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