It happened today – this day in history – July 21

365: An earthquake in Crete followed by a tsunami around the eastern Mediterranean allegedly destroys Alexandria.

1403: Henry IV defeats a rebel army led by Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy of Northumberland at the Battle of Shrewsbury.

1545: The first landing of French troops onto the coast of the Isle of Wight during the French invasion.

1588: First engagement between the English fleet and the Spanish Armada off the Eddystone Rocks.

1796: Scottish poet Robert Burns dies aged 37.

1798: Napoleon Bonaparte wins Battle of Pyramids in Egypt (Battle of Embabeh) against Mamluk rulers, wiping out most of the Egyptian army.

1831: Belgium gains independence from The Netherlands.

1861: The Confederates win the Battle of Bull Run, first major battle of the US Civil War near Manassas, Virginia.

1865: In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first true western showdown.

1866: A cholera epidemic kills hundreds in London.

1897: The Tate Gallery opens in London.

1899: Birth of author Ernest Hemingway in Oak Park, Illinois.

1904: Camille Jenatzy sets the world auto speed record at 65.79mph.

1917: Socialist Alexander Kerensky becomes Russian Prime Minister.

1920: Irish Nationalist and Loyalists reinforced by British Auxiliaries and troops engage in street fighting over Irish independence.

1921: US Colonel William Mitchell demonstrates how bombs dropped from planes can sink a captured German battleship.

1940: The Soviet Union annexes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania.

1941: Heinrich Himmler orders the building of Majdanek concentration camp in Poland.

1942: Mae West divorces vaudeville performer Frank Wallace after 31 years of marriage .

1944: Field Marshal Günther von Kluge warns Hitler of the impending collapse of the German front in Normandy.

1951: The Dalai Lama returns to Tibet.

1954: France cedes control of north Vietnam to the communist Viet Minh after signing the Geneva Accord.

1960: Francis Chichester arrives in New York aboard Gypsy Moth II, setting a record of 40 days for a solo Atlantic crossing.

1961: The launch of Mercury 4.

1962: 160 civil right activists are jailed after a demonstration in Albany, Georgia.

1963: Jack Nicklaus wins the PGA Championship in Dallas.

1964: Tottenham Hotspur forward John White is killed by lightning when sheltering under a tree during a thunderstorm at the Crews Hill golf course in Enfield.

1966: Gemini X returns to Earth.

1969: Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the Moon. On the same day, Russia’s Luna 15 impacts the Moon. Also, working on the Abbey Road album at EMI Studios, The Beatles begin work on the John Lennon song Come Together.


1970: The Aswan High Dam opens in Egypt.

1971: John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin filming the promotional film for Imagine at their home in Tittenhurst Park Ascot.

1972: Within the space of 75 minutes, the Provisional IRA explodes 22 bombs in Belfast.

1973: Canned Heat, Nazareth, Edgar Broughton Band, Groundhogs, Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Medicine Head, appear at Buxton Festival in Derbyshire. Hell’s Angels arrive in force and proceed to drink the site dry. About 20 minutes into his set Chuck Berry is showing one of the Angels how to do his duck-walk. He goes from one end of the stage to the other and disappears into the wings, carries on to his car and drives off at high speed.

1974: Thousands of Greek-Cypriots in London protest about the disputed government in Cyprus. On the same day, the US House Judiciary approves two Articles of Impeachment against President Richard Nixon and Eddy Merckx of Belgium wins the Tour de France for the fifth time.

1976: Christopher Ewart-Biggs, British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, and his secretary Judith Cook are assassinated in Dublin by a car bomb planted by the Provisional IRA.

1977: The Sex Pistols make their first appearance on Top of the Pops, miming to “Pretty Vacant”.

1978: General Juan Pereda stages a military coup in Bolivia. President Hugo Banzer flees.

1979: Seve Ballesteros wins the British Open at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s.

1980: Jean-Claude Droyer climbs the Eiffel Tower in 2hrs 18 mins.

1982: Flagship of the British taskforce to the Falklands, HMS Hermes, arrives back in Portsmouth.

1985: Sandy Lyle wins the British Open. On the same day, Bernard Hinault of France wins the Tour de France.

1989: Mike Tyson KOs Carl Williams in 1min 33secs for the heavyweight boxing title.

1990: Roger Waters stages The Wall in Berlin with guests including Van Morrison, The Scorpions, Marianne Faithfull and Joni Mitchell.

1994: Tony Blair becomes leader of the Labour Party.

1998: Astronaut Alan Shepherd, the first American in space, dies from leukemia aged 74.

2002: Record producer Gus Dudgeon and his wife are killed in a road accident on the M4 near Reading.

Singles chart:

  1. Anyone Of Us (Stupid Mistake) – Gareth Gates
  2. The Logical Song – Scooter
  3. Shooting Star – Flip & Fill
  4. Your Song – Elton John & Alessandro Safina
  5. Foolish – Ashanti
  6. A Little Les Conversation – Elvis vs JXL
  7. Work It Out – Beyonce
  8. Hot In Here – Nelly
  9. I’m Gonna Be Alright – Jenifer Lopez
  10. Here I Am – Bryan Adams
2002: Enrique Iglesias – Escape

Album chart:

  1. By The Way – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
  2. Heathen Chemistry – Oasis
  3. The Remote Part – Idlewild
  4. Ashanti – Ashanti
  5. Nellyville – Nelly
  6. Greatest Hits I, II & III – Queen
  7. Escape – Enrique Iglesias
  8. Spirit – Stallion Of The Cimarron Original Soundtrack – Bryan Adams
  9. The Eminem Show – Eminem
  10. Read My Lips – Sophie Ellis Bextor

2004: TV theme and film soundtrack composer Jerry Goldsmith dies after a long battle with cancer aged 75.

2005: Disaster is narrowly avoided on London Underground and a bus in Shoreditch when faulty explosives result in just detonators exploding in abandoned rucksack bombs. On the same day, English blues singer Long John Baldry dies aged 64.

2007: Music mogul Don Arden, father of Sharon Osbourne, dies in a Los Angeles nursing home at the age of 81. On the same day, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final instalment of the series, is published worldwide and sells 11 million copies in 24 hours.

2008: Amy Winehouse’s husband, Blake Fielder-Civil is jailed for 27 months for attacking a pub landlord in Hoxton and perverting the course of justice. On the same day, Bosnian-Serb war criminal Radovan Karadžić is arrested in Serbia.

2011: NASA’s Space Shuttle program ends with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

2013: Phil Mickelson wins the British Open at Muirfield. On the same day, Chris Froome of Great Britain wins the 100th Tour de France.

2017: Much lambasted White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigns after opposing the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci.

2020: Russian interference in British politics is ‘the new normal’ according to a report by British Intelligence.

BIRTHDAYS: Norman Jewison, director/screenwriter, 96; Yusuf (Cat Stevens/Steven Georgiou), singer-songwriter, 74; Brian Talbot, footballer/manager, 69; Marcelo Bielsa, football manager, 67; Jon Lovitz, comedian/actor, 65; Ross Kemp, actor/presenter, 58; Charlotte Gainsbourg, actress/singer-songwriter, 51; Jaime Murray, actress, 46; Josh Hartnett, actor, 44; Justin Bartha, actor, 44; Damian Marley, musician, 44; Paloma Faith (Blomfield), singer-songwriter/actress, 41; Betty Gilpin, actress, 36; Diane Guerrero, actress, 36; Rebecca Ferguson, singer, 36; Juno Temple, actress, 33; Jason Roy, cricketer, 32; Lucy Spraggan, singer-songwriter, 31; Erling Haland, footballer, 22.