21st March In History

In a typical Gregorian calendar of 365 days, there are hardly a few of them which may seem prominent to us. We might conclude that the others have no significance at all, but a bit of research might prove this assumption of ours incorrect. Various online sources cite different iconic events to have occurred on a particular date of the calendar. A glance through the list of several such events to have occurred on March 21, might leave one completely surprised. These episodes include wars and political developments. Various renowned incidents related to the ‘World War II’ have occurred on this date, which not many are aware of. Apart from conflicts, many significant political developments from around the world, which took place in the 11th and 12th centuries on this date, have also been recorded. These include the crowning ceremonies of several famous emperors and empresses. Those who indulge in studies related to world history can speak in length about the prominence of March 21. So, if you thought March 21st is yet another day of the year, this list might give you second thoughts.


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 21st March



1188

Politics

The Crowning Of Antoku

Those who closely follow the history of Japan know how important the date is to Japanese masses. Antoku, a royal, was formally announced as the 81st emperor of Japan on March 21, 1188.


1413

Politics

Henry V Rises To Power

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that World history is incomplete without the stories of English monarchs. King Henry V occupied the esteemed throne left behind by his late father on March 21, 1413. The ruler was known for consistently defeating his opponents by mercilessly torturing them.


1790

Politics

Thomas Jefferson Becomes Secretary Of State

Most Americans know that the statesman Thomas Jefferson holds an important place in the books of U.S history. Jefferson, reached a milestone of his political career on 21 March, 1790, when he was appointed as the first secretary of state of U.S.


1804

Politics

Adoption Of The ‘Napoleon Code’

Also known as the ‘French Civil Code’, these set of laws proposed by the monarch Napoleon I, was enforced on March 21, 1804. The code emphasized on equality and stressed that employment opportunities should be based on skill and not on basis of favoritism or personal prejudices.


1806

Politics

Benito Juarez Becomes The President Of Mexico

Mexican lawyer Benito Juarez joined the league of famous political leaders on March 21st 1806. The man was crowned the president of Mexico on this date and eventually went on to be elected for the post several times.


1871

Politics

Otto Von Bismarck Becomes The Chancellor Of The German Empire

The prominent Prussian politician earned the title of being the ‘First Chancellor of Germany’ on March 21st 1871. He went on to serve in this esteemed position for almost two decades. Back then Adolf Hitler wasn’t a very influential figure in the nation.


1925

Politics

The ‘Butler Act' Of 1925

The authorities of the southeastern U.S state of Tennessee enforced a ‘puzzling’ law on the 21st of March 1925. According to this rule, educational institutions weren’t supposed to teach pupils the ‘theory of evolution’, since they believed the famous scientific explanation apparently hurt religious sentiments.


1937

Politics

The Ponce Massacre

A peaceful protest took an ugly turn on 21st March, 1937, at Ponce, Puerto Rico, when police opened fire, leading to the death of 19 civilians. The protest was organized by the members of the ‘Puerto Rican Nationalist Party’ in a bid to raise their concern about slavery.


1943

Politics

Attempt To Assassinate Adolf Hitler

Infuriated by the tyranny of the infamous Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, German army officer Rudolf Gersdorff made an attempt to eliminate the Chancellor by suicide bombing. However, the plan which was to be executed at a public gathering on 21st March, foiled and luckily Gersdorff escaped the wrath of Hitler.


1960

Politics

The ‘Sharpeville Massacre’

The South African township of Sharpeville, witnessed its bloodiest agitation on 21st March 1960. The ‘Pass Laws’ implemented by the authorities was disliked by certain sections of the society and thousands of protestors marched towards a police station to express their objection. However, around 60 to 70 of them were gunned down by the cops. The reason which provoked the policemen to open fire is still a subject of debate.


1965

Politics

Martin Luther King Jr. Leads The ‘Civil March’

The face of the ‘African –American Civil Rights Movement’, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 3200 followers of his ideology created history on this day. These protestors marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in a bid to fight for civil rights and the agitation did pay off.


1975

Politics

Ethiopia Ends Monarchy

Ethiopia’s political history witnessed a drastic change on 21st March, 1975. The date marked the end of monarchy, after the dictator Haile Selasie I was overthrown as a result of a political conflict.


1980

Politics

Jimmy Carter’s ‘Olympics’ Announcement

On the 21st of March 1980, former American president Jimmy Carter announced that his country would be boycotting the ‘1980 Olympics’ sporting event, which was to be hosted by Russia. The move was America’s way of protesting against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.


1984

Politics

EEC Refund Row

One of the highlights of the Margaret Thatcher government was the ‘EEC Refund Row’ which adversely affected the British economy. The ‘European Economic Commission’ owed Great Britain a refund of 730 Million Pounds, of which only 580 Million Pounds were returned. This triggered a furor across the nation on 21st March 1984.


1985

Politics

Shootout During The 25th Anniversary Of ‘Sharpeville Massacre’

Around eighty thousand people took part in a protest march in 1985 to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1960 ‘Sharpeville’ tragedy. Again, a conflict arose between the mourners and the police forces, leading to the death of around 20 to 43 people.


1990

Politics

Independence Of Namibia

After being a colony ruled by South Africa for a little more than seven decades, Namibia gained its independence in 1990, leaving its citizens jubilant. The freedom was a result of the 25 year long ‘Namibian War of Independence’.


2010

Politics

American Health Care Bill Passed

Apart from signing the famous ‘Jobs Bill’, another accomplishment of U.S President Barack Obama, was the health care bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives on March 21, 2010.


1864

Wars

Battle At Henderson’s Hill

Also remembered as the ‘Red River Campaign’, this clash started on the 21st March 1964 at Louisiana. The military regiments of ‘Texas Light Artillery’ and the ‘2nd Louisiana Cavalry and Edgar’s Battery’ were captured by the ‘35th Iowa Infantry and 33rd Missouri Infantry’ on this date. The capture was helped by the harsh weather conditions, mainly rain.


1918

Wars

World War I – The Start Of ‘Operation Michael’

While summarizing the highlights of World War I, it wouldn’t be fair to exclude ‘Operation Michael’, which began on March 18, 1918. The date marked the advent of the ‘Spring Offensive’, which was a series of attacks carried out by the German forces along the Western Front (consisting of several parts of Belgium).


1945

Wars

‘Operation Carthage’ – World War II

Launched on March 21st, 1945, this military operation played a vital role in putting an end to the Nazi era. The ‘Royal Air Force’ of the United States, attacked the police headquarters, located in Gestapo, which shook the Nazis. Unfortunately, even a school ended up being bombed by the planes resulting in the death of more than a hundred individuals.


1945

Wars

Battle Of The Transdanubian Hills Ends

In a battle which lasted a fortnight, Bulgarian armed forces successfully managed to defeat the Germans in their purpose of capturing the northern bank of the river Drava. The Bulgarians were also supported by the Yugoslav and Soviet military troops in this war.


1968

Wars

Battle Of Karameh

The war-torn Middle Eastern nation, Jordan, witnessed another serious conflict on 21st March, 1968 – the bloody ‘Battle of Karameh’. The ‘Israel Defence Forces’ (IDF),’Jordanian Armed Forces’ (JAF) and ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’ (PLO), locked horns in this war, which lasted six days leaving several dead and wounded.


1991

Wars

Release Of Kuwaiti Prisoners Of War

One of the important developments of the ‘Gulf War’ was the 21st March 1991, release of Kuwait nationals, who were imprisoned by the Iraqi forces. A grave incident which occurred on this day was the crash of a plane belonging to the ‘Royal Air Force of Saudi Arabia’, at Ras-Al – Mashab airport of the same nation, which left around 92 soldiers dead.


1788

Disasters & Natural Calamities

The Infamous New Orleans Fire Mishap

Several residents of New Orleans consider March 21st a dark day in the history of the state. The reason is a mishap which occurred in 1788 on the same date. A fire caused havoc in this place and around 856 buildings in the city were gutted as a result of this tragedy.


1824

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Fire At The Cairo Ammunitions Storage Area

An ammunition depot located at Cairo, Egypt went up in flames in a freak accident that occurred in 1824. This resulted in the death of around 4000 horses. The reason why so many horses were being used for loading ammunitions remains unknown till date.


1857

Disasters & Natural Calamities

A Devastating Earthquake Hits Japan

The fact that the ‘Land Of The Rising Sun’, Japan, is prone to natural disasters is quite well known. On 21st March, 1857, another deadly earthquake rocked the nation, leaving 100,000 dead.


1913

Disasters & Natural Calamities

‘Great Dayton Flood’

Dayton, one of the most populous cities in the state of Ohio, was greatly damaged by floods caused due to the swelling of the ‘Great Miami River’. This natural calamity, which occurred on 21st March 1913, caused destruction worth $100,000,000.


1932

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Tornadoes In 5 U.S States

Also known as the ‘The Deep South Super Outbreak’, this was one of the worst natural calamities of all time to hit the United States. A series of 36 tornadoes struck 5 American states on 21st March 1932, resulting in the death of around 330 people and more than 2000 were grievously injured due to its impact.


1946

Sports

A Historic Day For American Football

Sportsman Kenny Washington was roped in by the famous American football team ‘Los Angeles Rams’ in 1946. Thus, Washington also earned himself a spot in U.S sports history by becoming the first black man to play American Football, since 1933.


1986

Sports

Debi Thomas Becomes A Household Name

Athlete Debi Thomas turned into a national sensation across the United States after becoming the first person of African American origin to win the ‘World Figure Skating Championships’ on March 21, 1986. Debi also went on to win a bronze medal in the ‘1988 Winter Olympics’ held in Calgary, Canada.


1964

Literature & Entertainment

‘She Loves You’ Claims Top Spot

Fans of the Beatles can’t stop raving about this melodious number by the iconic band ‘The Beatles’. On March 21, 1964, the band’s popular song ‘She Loves You’ attained the top spot on the ‘U.S Billboard Charts’.


1980

Literature & Entertainment

The Controversial Episode From ‘Dallas’

‘Dallas’ an American television soap, which was aired on ‘CBS’, gained a lot of popularity amongst TV viewers. A March 21, 1980 episode titled ‘Who shot J.R’ stirred a controversy across the U.S since it referred to the assassination of John. F. Kennedy and it even led to an investigation.


1994

Literature & Entertainment

Steven Spielberg StealsThe Show At The ‘66th Academy Awards’ Night

‘Schindler’s List’ is perhaps one of the most spectacular works of celluloid, which is also believed to have portrayed events from the ‘World War’ period with great accuracy. Master filmmaker Steven Spielberg grabbed two Academy Awards in the ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Motion Picture’ categories respectively for this acclaimed flick, on 21st March 1994.


1556

Trivia

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer Punished

Not many would imagine that a peace seeking religious leader’s life would end in such a heinous manner. Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was sentenced to death on March 21, 1556 and the religious leader was eventually burnt at Oxford. It is believed that charges of treachery and his disagreement with the orthodox religious beliefs of that time were the prime reasons behind Cranmer's execution.


1844

Trivia

The Start Of The First Bahai Calendar

During the first half of the 19th century, the ‘Babism’ religious movement grew popular and this paved the way for the first ‘Bahai Calendar’. Unlike the other calendars of the world, this one has 19 months and 19 days.


1928

Trivia

Charles Lindbergh Honored

American aviator Charles Lindbergh was felicitated with a ‘Medal of Honor’ On March 21, 1928 for his path-breaking achievement. The man’s historic transatlantic flight journey from New York to Paris, braving turbulent weather conditions catapulted Lindbergh to international fame.


1933

Trivia

The Completion Of The First Concentration Camp

Most of you are aware of the horror stories from Nazi concentration camps, but here is a fact which is rather unfamiliar to many. The construction of the dreaded ‘Dachau’ concentration camp, located a few kilometers away from Munich ended on March 21st 1933. The happenings inside this dwelling went on to be known as one of history’s ugliest events.


1963

Trivia

Closure Of Alcatraz Prison

A nightmare to most convicts, the infamous ‘Alcatraz Prison’, located off the San Francisco Bay, was closed on March 21st 1963. The jail, located on an island was also the inspiration behind several celluloid works such as ‘Escape from Alcatraz’.


1966

Trivia

Blocks Moved To Facilitate Construction Of ‘World Trade Center’

Undoubtedly one of the tallest structures to have ever been constructed in the history of Earth, the first few blocks which facilitated the construction of the ‘World Trade Center’ were put to use on March 21st, 1966. The collapse of these iconic twin towers in 2001 left most Americans jolted.


1983

Trivia

‘Fainting Epidemic’ Takes A Toll On Israel And Palestine

On March 21, 1983, the ‘West bank Fainting Epidemic’ spread like wildfire across Israel and lasted a few months. The contagious disease also became a cause of rift between Israel and Palestine, since both nations accused each other of spreading a poisonous gas.


1994

Trivia

Bill Gates’ And Craig McCaw’s Famous Announcement

Business tycoons Bill Gates and Craig McCaw announced that they would be introducing the ‘Teledesic’ communication system on 21st March 1994. It was said that a whopping $9 Billion would be spent on this system which facilitated video conferencing and other modes of communication and would be more sophisticated than the internet.


1999

Trivia

Brian Jones And Bertrand Piccard’s Balloon Expedition

These two individuals, Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones created history on March 21, 1999 by becoming the first two people in history to traverse the globe on a hot air balloon.


2000

Trivia

Pope John Paul II Visits Israel

His highness, Pope John Paul II surprised many of his followers by visiting the war-torn nation Israel in 2000. He also earned a place in the record books by becoming the first man in history to visit the ‘Western Wall’, a place of great religious prominence.


2002

Trivia

Conviction Of The Murderers Of Daniel Pearl

Those who were deeply disturbed by the abduction and execution of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan were relieved to hear this news on March 21, 2002. Militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh as well as his accomplices were taken to task, by the authorities, on this day, for their role in the murder of Pearl. Omar Sheikh was eventually sentenced to death too.


2002

Trivia

The Memoirs Of Joseph Nicephore Niepce Sold

For those who are unfamiliar with this name, Niepse was the inventor of photography, who died in 1868. On 21st March 2002, the ‘world’s oldest photo’ said to be captured by this French genius was auctioned and sold to the ‘French National Library’ for a staggering 450,000 Euros.


2006

Trivia

Birth Of Twitter

The world famous social networking platform took wings on March 21st 2006 and soon became a popular mode of online communication. Founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Noah Glass, this social media giant had garnered US $1.4 Billion by 2014.


2007

Trivia

National Mourning In Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared 21st March, 2007 as a day of national mourning since the nation was plagued by three grave incidents which claimed 173 lives earlier that year. The deaths were caused by a methane explosion, a plane crash and a fire mishap at a retirement home, respectively.


2009

Trivia

Shootings At Oakland, California

United States has witnessed several shooting incidents in the past few years and what happened on March 21, 2009 was no different. Four police officers lost their lives while battling an armed convict named Lovelle Mixon. It is believed that Mixon had also raped two women on the same date.


2014

Trivia

Abolition Of The Ban On Same Sex Marriages

Homosexual residents belonging to the state of Michigan finally had something to cheer about on March 21, 2014. The authorities allowed people to formally tie the knot with members of the same sex, setting a trend to accept homosexuality.


People Born This Day

Modest Mussorgsky
(1839-1881)
Composer and Songwriter [ Russian ]
Joseph Fourier
(1768-1830)
Mathematician & Physicist [ French ]
Gary Oldman
(1958-)
Actor [ British ]
Jean Paul
(1763-1825)
Writer [ German ]
Ayrton Senna
(1960-1994)
[ Brazilian ]
Francis Lewis
(1713-1802)
[ American ]
Benito Juarez
(1806-1872)
[ Mexican ]
Matthew Broderick
(1962-)
Actor [ American ]
Bismillah Khan
(1913-2006)
[ Indian ]
Nizar Qabbani
(1923-1998)
Diplomat [ Syrian ]
Ronaldinho
(1980-)
Footballer [ Brazilian ]
Lothar Matthäus
(1961-)
Former German Footballer [ German ]
Walter Gilbert
(1932-)
Biochemist, Physicist, Molecular Biologist [ American ]
W. S. Van Dyke
(1889-1943)
Film Director [ American ]
Jace Lee Norman
(2000-)
Actor [ American ]
Yandy Smith
(1982-)
Reality TV Star [ American ]
Martina Stoessel
(1997-)
Actress [ Argentine ]
Cenk Urguy
(1970-)
Political Activist, Show Host [ Turkish ]


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