May 21 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred,  famous birthdays, death day, legend quotes, and historical news on May 21.


Events on May 21

1471 King Henry VI of England dies in the Tower of London, probably the victim of murder instigated by King Edward IV.

1542 Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, the first European to cross the Mississippi, dies on the return journey.

1553 Lady Jane Grey, great granddaughter of Henry VII, is forced to marry Lord Guildford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland, who has ambitions for the throne of England.

1618 Death of Italian physician Hieronymus Fabricius ab Acquapendente, who discovered one-way valves in veins.

1804 Pere Lachaise cemetery was opened in Paris.

1840 New Zealand was proclaimed a British colony.

1894 Queen Victoria opened the Manchester Ship Canal.

1975 The Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang goes on trial in Stuttgart.

1990 Ion Iliescu won the first free elections in Romania.

2000 Death of Sir John Gielgud, aged 96, an actor and director for almost 80 years.

He was admired for his melodic speaking voice, his most famous role was Hamlet.

2003 More than 2,000 people die as a massive earthquake hits Algeria.

Famous Birthdays on May 21

Albrecht Durer 1471, German painter, engraver, draughtsman and woodcut designer.

Alexander Pope 1688, English poet, satirist and translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.

Henri Rousseau 1844, French naive painter and customs officer (hence his name “Le Douanier”).

Thomas “Fats” Waller 1904, American jazz pianist and composer.

Andrei Sakharov 1921, Russian physicist and civil rights campaigner who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965.

Quotes from Legend

Liberty is so much latitude as the powerful choose to accord to the weak.

- Billings Learned Hand, US federal judge, in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania Law School today, 1944.

Quotes from Legend

The House of Lords is a model of how to care for the elderly.

- Frank Field, British politician, 1981.

Historical News on May 21

Solitary Spirit of Lindbergh

charles lindbergh landed his plane in Paris on May 21
Charles Lindbergh

1927 Charles Lindbergh landed his plane in Paris this evening to win the %25,000 prizes for the first solo flight across the Atlantic A crowd of 1,00,000 turned out to welcome the 25-year-old American pilot in his specially-built plane, the Spirit of St Louis, as it landed at Le Bourget airport.

Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island early yesterday and was in the air for 33 hours and 40 minutes.

He learned to fly five years ago and was flying a mail run between Chicago and St Louis when he heard about the prize money on offer.

Now he is an international hero.

US President Calvin Coolidge is sending a Navy cruiser to take him back to the US.

1966 Cassius Clay is still The Greatest British contender Henry Cooper failed to deprive him of the world heavyweight boxing title tonight.

Clay knocked down Copper in the sixth round in about in London.

1924 Two Chicago teenagers kidnapped and murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks for “thrills”.

Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, both 19 and sons of millionaires, were arrested and have now confessed all.

Rajiv Gandhi Assassinated

rajiv gandhi the sixth prime minister of India, assassinated on May 21
Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India

1991 Rajiv Gandhi, the sixth prime minister of India, was assassinated in an explosion in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, India, The 46-year-old former prime minister (1984-1989) was campaigning in the area for the upcoming general elections.

The attack was carried out by Thenmozhi Rajaratnam, also known as Dhanu, who had greeted Rajiv Gandhi on his way to the dais to make a speech.

At 10.21 p.m., as she bent down to touch his feet, Dhanu detonated the RDX explosives hidden beneath her clothes.

At least 14 other people have died in the explosion and officials expect this number to increase as many others have been severely injured.

The footage of the events leading up to the assassination was caught on film, even though the cameraman died in the explosion.

The air is rife with speculation about the motives behind this crime, many posit a connection with the Indian involvement in the Sri Lankan civil war.

Rajiv Gandhi’s remains will be sent to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi for post-mortem, reconstruction, and embalming, and a funeral is expected to be held in the next few days.

Suharto Resigns

1998 Indonesia is preparing for a new political era as President Suharto resigns after 32 years in power.

His Vice-President, BJ Habibie, has been sworn in as the new president.

The news was greeted by chewing from protesting students.

Suharto had been under escalating pressure both at home and from abroad to step down amid the country’s worst political and economic crisis since he came to power.

During the televised announcement he asked, “for forgiveness if there were any shortcomings”.

Agincourt Victor to Rule France

1420 King Henry V of England is now the ruler of France too, in terms of the Treaty of Troyes signed today.

The agreement comes four years after Henry’s spectacular victory at Agincourt and he hopes it will ensure “perpetual ” peace between the two countries.

The treaty means that Henry can now marry the French princess Catherine de Valois and that he will become king on Charles de Valois death.

The English and French cultures are not expected to merge.

One problem remains, who will succeed Henry? The Salie Law in France does not allow a woman to rule France.

Unless Henry and Catherine produce a male heir, the French throne will again be occupied by a Frenchman.

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