It happened today – this day in history – January 21

1720: Sweden and Prussia sign a peace treaty ending hostilities during the Great Northern War.

1793: Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine in Paris.

1919: Sinn Féin creates its own parliament in Dublin and declares Ireland independent of Great Britain, sparking the Irish War of Independence.

1921: Writer Agatha Christie publishes her first novel “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” introducing the character Hercule Poirot.

1924: Russian revolutionary leader Lenin (Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov) dies of a stroke aged 53.

1934: Henri Littière appears in a Paris court charged with forcing his adulterous wife to wear a chastity belt. He had been convicted of the same crime two years earlier.

1941: Australian and British troops attack Tobruk, Libya.

1943: Soviet forces reconquer Gumrak airport near Stalingrad.

1944: 447 German bombers attack London.

1950: Writer George Orwell (Eric Blair) dies of tuberculosis aged 46.

1952: Jawaharlal Nehru’s Congress party wins the general election in India.

1959: Director Cecil B DeMille dies aged 77.

1965: Iranian premier Hassan Ali Mansur is assassinated by 17-year-old Mohammad Bokharaei of the Fadayan-e Islam.

1966: The Monte Carlo rally ends in uproar over the disqualification of the British cars expected to fill the first four places for alleged infringements of regulations about the way their headlights dipped. On the same day, George Harrison marries Patti Boyd at Leatherhead Register Office with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney his best man.

1968: Jimi Hendrix records the Bob Dylan song All Along the Watchtower at Olympic Studios in London. On the same day, a US B-52 bomber with a nuclear bomb on board crashes in Greenland. Also, The Battle of Khe Sanh – one of the most publicised and controversial battles of the Vietnam War – begins.

1969: A partial meltdown at the Lucens nuclear reactor in Switzerland seriously contaminates the cavern containing the reactor. The plant is sealed and decommissioned.

1976: Concorde’s first commercial flight.

1977: US President Jimmy Carter pardons almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.


1979: Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys, 35-31 to win the Super Bowl.

1981: Former Ulster Unionist MPs Norman Stronge and his son James are assassinated by the IRA at their home Tynan Abbey, which is then burnt down.

1984: Singer Jackie Wilson dies aged 49, more than eight years after falling into a coma due to suffering a heart attack on stage and landing on his head..

1990: John McEnroe becomes the first player ever to be expelled from the Australian Open tennis event.

1994: Abused wife Lorena Bobbitt is found to have been temporarily insane when she cut off her husband John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis and threw it into a field in Virginia.

1996: Singles chart:

  1. Spaceman – Babylon Zoo
  2. Jesus To A Child – George Michael
  3. Whole Lotta Love – Goldbug
  4. Anything – 3T
  5. Earth Song – Michael Jackson
  6. Father And Son – Boyzone
  7. One By One – Cher
  8. Missing – Everything But The Girl
  9. Wonderwall – Oasis
  10. So Pure – Baby D
1996: Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill

Album chart:

  1. What’s The Story Morning Glory – Oasis
  2. Different Class – Pulp
  3. Robson & Jerome – Robson and Jerome
  4. First Love – Michael Ball
  5. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
  6. History: Past, Present and Future Book 1 – Michael Jackson
  7. Said And Done – Boyzone
  8. Something To Remember – Madonna
  9. Crazy Sexy Cool – TLC
  10. The Memory Of Trees – Enya

1997: More than 80 people are named as child abusers in statements to a North Wales inquiry into the treatment of children who passed through the care system in Clwyd and Gwynedd over two decades. On the same day, goalkeeper Peter Shilton plays his 1005th and last match in the Football League for Leyton Orient against Wigan Athletic. The nine matches he played for the O’s saw him become the first person ever to play in 1000 League matches. Also, Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker (Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk) dies of a stroke in Las Vegas at the age of 87.

2002: Singer, songwriter and actress Peggy Lee (Norma Egstrom) dies of complications from diabetes and a heart attack at the age of 81.

2003: David Palmer, former keyboard player for Jethro Tull changes his name to Dee Palmer after a successful sex change operation.

2005: Former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates buys Leeds United FC.

2008: The Eyak language in Alaska becomes extinct as its last native speaker dies.

2013: Director Michael Winner dies aged 77.

2015: Former Home Secretary Leon Brittan dies aged 75.

2019: A light aircraft carrying Cardiff City’s record signing Emiliano Sala of FC Nantes disappears near the Channel islands en route to Wales.

2020: Director/writer and Monty Python star Terry Jones dies from dementia aged 77.

BIRTHDAYS: Jack Nicklaus, golfer, 81; (José) Plácido Domingo (Embil), operatic tenor, 80; Martin Shaw, actor, 76; Jill Eikenberry, actress, 74; Pye [Julian] Hastings, musician (Caravan) 74; Billy Ocean MBE (Leslie Sebastian Charles), singer-songwriter, 71; Nigel Glockler, drummer, (Saxon) 67; Jeff Koons, artist, 66; Geena (Virginia) Davis, actress, 65; Alex McLeish, former Scotland football manager, 62; Robert Del Naja, producer (Massive Attack), 56; Cat Power (Chan Marshall), singer-songwriter, 49; Emma Bunton, singer (Spice Girls) 45; Phil Neville, football manager, 44; Brian O’Driscoll, Irish rugby legend, 42; Joe Ledley, footballer, 34; Laura Robson, British tennis star, 27.