October 21 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

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

October 21

Events on October 21

1652 The exiled boy-king, Louis XIV, returns to Paris.

1789 Martial law is imposed in France.

1858 The first performance of French composer Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld is given in Paris.

1923 The world’s first planetarium opens in Munich.

1931 Death of Arthur Schnitzler, Austrian-Jewish dramatist, novelist and physician, whose works include the dramatic cycles Anatol and Reigen and his prose masterpiece Leutnant Gustl.

1952 President of the Kenya African movement Jomo Kenyatta is arrested as Britain crushes the Mau Mau rebels.

1967 Norman Mailer is arrested in an anti-Vietnam peace demo.

1969 Willy Brandt is elected Chancellor of West Germany.

1979 In Britain unions agreed to suspend The Times newspaper strike.

Famous Birthdays on October 21

Katsushka Hokusai 1760, Japanese painter, engraver and printmaker whose Japanese colour prints continue to be sold worldwide.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1772 English poet who maintained that the true end of poetry is to give pleasure “through the medium of beauty”.

Alfred Nobel 1833, Swedish industrialist and chemist who invented dynamite and founded the Nobel Prize to award the world’s leading scientists, artists and peacemakers.

Dizzie Gillespie 1917, American trumpet player and band leader responsible for the jazz classic “Night in Tunisia ”, and one of the originators of bebop.

Carrie Fisher 1956, American screen actress and novelist, whose roles include that of Princess Leia in Star Wars and who wrote the books Postcards from the Edge and Surrender the Pink.

Quotes from Legendary

Now, gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter.

- Lord Collingwood, British admiral, before the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.

Historical News on October 21

1979 Grete Waitz, the first lady of distance running, has won the New York marathon for the second consecutive year.

In last year’s event – her first ever marathon – she finished the race in the world record time of 2 hours 32 minutes 30 seconds, slicing more than two minutes off the previous best time.

This year, the 26-year-old Norwegian school-teacher reduced the record by nearly five minutes, finishing in 2 hours 27 minutes 33 seconds.

Opera House's Very Own Drama

Opera house's very own drama on October 21
Opera house's very own drama

1973 After almost 20 years of wrangling and dispute the Sydney Opera House was officially opened today by Her Majesty the Queen.

The unique design of the building caused costs to soar, from an estimated A$7 million (£3 million) to an astronomical A$ 100 million (£43 million) plus.

The most striking features of the house are its three sets of roof shells.

These contain about 2,000 panes of glass in more than 700 different sizes.

The functions of the two main halls in the building remain in doubt – concerts are to be given in the larger hall, operas in the smaller.

Concern has been expressed about the small size of the orchestra pit in the hall designated for opera.

There has even been talk of the need for a “proper” opera house.

End of The Road For Beat Guru

1969 The most famous spokesman for the Beat generation of writers, Jack Kerouac, died in Florida at the age of 47.

Kerouac inhabited the same sub-culture as his characters in On the Road, his best-known work – about writers, poets, mystics and eccentrics who thrived on a footloose existence enlivened by sex, drugs and jazz.

He has now paid the price for his philosophy of fast living, He despised the mundane and discarded a conventional writing technique after publication of his first novel in 1950.

His new method of writing prized energy and spontaneity above structure and polish – On the Road was written in just three weeks.

Nelson Triumphs

Nelson triumphs on October 21
Nelson triumphs

1805 Since January the British and Allied fleets have been engaged in a game of cat and mouse as Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson has pursued the French Admiral Villeneuve backwards and forwards across the Atlantic.

Threatened with losing his command, Villeneuve was forced earlier this month to break out of Cadiz with his combined FrancoSpanish fleet.

Nelson was again in hot pursuit and this time Villeneuve had no alternative but to fight.

After four hours of fierce exchanges and superlative manoeuvring by the British commanders, the Allied Fleet was beaten, losing 18 ships – more than half its strength.

The worst blow of all, however, was the loss of Admiral Nelson, who was mortally wounded by a French sniper as he stood on the deck of his flagship Victory.

The Battle of Trafalgar will be remembered as his finest victory.

Huge River Of Coal Crushes Aberfan

1966 The tiny Welsh coal mining community of Aberfan was hit by disaster today when a 500-ft (162-m) coal tip slipped, crushing Pantglas Junior School, a row of cottages and a farmhouse.

The death toll of 144 includes 116 children aged between seven and 11 years.

One eyewitness described the river of coal sludge that buried the village as “a black flood with a noise like thunder”.

The cause of the disaster is to be established by a special tribunal.

The safety procedures operated by the National Coal Board, who run the Merthyr Vale colliery, are expected to come under close scrutiny.

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