This Day in History

April 21


753BC  legendary date for the founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus   2770
43BC  Mark Antony is defeated in the Battle of Mutina but opposing consul Hirtius killed—Octavian becomes leader of opposing forces   2060
900      The Laguna Copperplate inscription is the earliest known written document found in the Philippines   1118
1142      French scholastic philosopher and theologian Peter Abelard dies, age around 62   876
1509      Henry VIII ascends to the throne of England on the death of his father   509
1574      Cosimo I de' Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany, dies in Florence, age 54   444
1718      French mathematician and astronomer Philippe de La Hire dies, age 78   300
1749      George Frideric Handel's 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' is first performed in London's Vauxhall Gardens   269
1792      leading member of the Brazilian revolutionary movement Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes is executed, age 45   226
1816      English author Charlotte Brontë born in Yorkshire, England   202
1825      German mathematician Johann Friedrich Pfaff dies, age 59   193
1836      Sam Houston Texians defeat Santa Anna's army at San Jacinto   182
1838      John Muir born in Scotland   180
1855      first train to cross the Mississippi—Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa   163
1861      Burke, Wills & King reach 'Dig' tree on Cooper's Creek—hours after it was evacuated   157
1910      American writer Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) dies, age 74   108
1918      German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron", is shot down, age 25   100
1924      Italian actress Eleonora Duse dies in Pittsburgh, age 65   94
1926      Elizabeth, Queen of the Unied Kingdom, born in London   92
1934      Daily Mail publishes the "Surgeon's Photograph" of the Loch Ness Monster—shown to a hoax in 1999   84
1940      Robert Moffat Losey (age 31) becomes the first U.S. serviceman killed in WWII—during a German bombardment in Norway   78
1951      American mathematician and Fields Medal winner Michael Hartley Freedman born in Los Angeles   67
1960      Brazil officially moves its capital from Rio de Janero to the new city of Brasilia   58
1962      Space Needle in Seattle opens—at 605 ft is the tallest structure at the time in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River   56
1965      English physicist and Nobel laureate Edward Victor Appleton dies in Edinburgh, age 72   53
1982      Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers becomes the first pitcher to record 300 saves   36
1997      Pegasus launch vehicle carries samples of the remains of 24 persons into orbit—first private space burial   21
1998      French philosopher, sociologist, and literary theorist Jean-François Lyotard dies in Paris, age 73   20
2003      American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist Nina Simone dies in France, age 70   15
2004      a series of car bomb explosions in Basra, Iraq, kills 74 and injures more than 100 others   14
2007      Michael Lopez-Alegria returns to earth after setting longest single mission space American record of 215 days   11
2009      American street photographer Vivian Dorothy Maier dies in Chicago, age 83   9
2009      UNESCO and the U.S. Library of Congress launch the World Digital Library   9
2011      Dutch theologian and feminist Catharina Joanna Maria Halkes dies, age 90   7
2013      first launch of the privately developed (Orbital Sciences Corp) Antares rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia   5
2014      American engineer and a pioneering contributor to liquid crystal displays George Harry Heilmeier dies in Plano, Texas, age 77   4
2014      Flint, Michigan, switches its water source to the Flint River initiating water crisis leading to lead poisoning in up to 12,000 people   4
2015      Japan Railway maglev (magnetic levitation) train travels at a record 603 km/hr (374 mph)   3
2016      American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor Prince Rogers Nelson dies, age 57   2
2017      Cassini performs its 127th targeted and final encounter with Titan   1

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

day before yesterdayyesterday tomorrowday after tomorrow