It happened today – this day in history – May 21

120BC: Aurelia Cotta, mother of Julius Caesar is born in Rome.

1216: French crown prince Louis enters England, having been invited by barons at war with King John.

1281: Kublai Khan’s second invasion of Japan begins with an attack on Tsushima Island but meets fierce resistance and his troops are forced to withdraw.

1471: Edward IV enters London.

1502: Portuguese admiral Da Nova discovers the island of St Helena.

1688: Birth of poet Alexander Pope in London.

1792: Mount Unzen on Japan’s Shimabara Peninsula, erupts creating a tsunami which kills about 15,000.

1904: FIFA forms in Paris.

1922: Eugene O’Neill wins the Pulitzer Prize for his play “Anna Christie”.

1927: Aviator Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris after the first solo air crossing of Atlantic.

1929: Sergei Prokoviev’s ballet “Prodigal Son” premieres in Paris.

1932: Amelia Earhart lands near Londonderry, Northern Ireland, completing the first transatlantic solo flight by a woman.

1945: Nazi SS-Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler is captured.

1950: A tornado devastates the Home Counties, killing two men in Kempston, Beds, who are struck by lightning. On the same day, Ho Chi-Minh’s troops attack Cambodia.

1955: Chuck Berry records Maybellene at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago.

1961: Martial law is imposed in the town of Montgomery, Alabama, after violent racial clashes.

1966: Cassius Clay beats Britain’s Henry Cooper in the sixth round of their World Heavyweight bout at Highbury football stadium in North London. The fight is stopped due to a cut above Cooper’s left eye. On the same day, in Northern Ireland, a “loyalist” group calling itself the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issues a statement declaring war on the IRA.

1967: Goalkeeping brothers Ron and Peter Springett swap clubs with Peter moving from QPR to Sheffield Wednesday and vice versa.

1968: Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones appears at Great Marlborough Street Magistrates court, charged with possession of marijuana. He is released on £200 bail.

1969: Senator Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan is sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.

1970: The National Guard mobilizes to quell disturbances at Ohio State University.

1971: Chelsea defeat Real Madrid 2-1 in Athens to win the European Cup Winner’s Cup.


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1972: Pietà by Michelangelo in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is damaged by a vandal. On the same day, the IRA kidnaps and shoots dead William Best,19, a soldier in the Royal Irish Rangers stationed in Germany, whilst on leave at home.

1975: The trial of the terrorist Baader-Meinhof-group begins in Stuttgart.

1979: Elton John, with percussionist Ray Cooper, becomes the first western artist to play in Russia.

1980: Joe Strummer of The Clash is arrested at a gig in Hamburg after smashing his guitar over the head of a member of the audience.

1981: Francois Mitterand becomes president of France. On the same day, Bob Marley is given a Jamaican state funeral.

1982: The Hacienda Club opens in Manchester.

1990: “Wild at Heart” directed by David Lynch wins the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

1991: Former Indian prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, is assassinated in a bomb attack in Tamil Nadu.

1998: Indonesian President Suharto resigns after 31 years in power.

2005: Arsenal beats Manchester United, 5-4 on penalties following a 0–0 draw after extra time to win the FA Cup at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

2006: Singles chart:

  1. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
  2. From Paris To Berlin – Infernal
  3. Control Myself – LL Cool J ft Jennifer Lopez
  4. Say I – Christina Milian ft Young Jeezy
  5. Somebody’s Watching Me – Beatfreaks
  6. Touch It – Busta Rhymes
  7. SOS – Rihanna
  8. Dani California – The Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  9. First Time – Sunblock ft Robin Beck
  10. No Promises – Shayne Ward
2006: The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers

Album chart:

  1. Stadium Arcadium – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
  2. Broken Boy Soldiers – The Raconteurs
  3. The Singles – Feeder
  4. Eyes Open – Snow Patrol
  5. St Elsewhere – Gnarls Barkley
  6. Superbi – The Beautiful South
  7. Inside In/Inside Out – The Kooks
  8. In Between Dreams – Jack Johnson
  9. Waterloo To Anywhere – Dirty Pretty Things
  10. Shayne Ward – Shayne Ward

2007: The Cutty Sark, the last surviving tea clipper, is badly damaged by fire in Greenwich.

2008: Lou Pearlman, the music mogul who created the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, is sentenced to 25 years in federal prison over a decades-long scam that swindled thousands of investors out of their life savings. On the same day, Manchester United win the European Cup, beating Chelsea on penalties in Moscow.

2010: Bono has emergency spinal surgery in Munich after suffering an injury while preparing for a U2 tour.

2013: Trevor Bolder, bassist with David Bowie’s early seventies backing band The Spiders From Mars, dies from cancer aged 62.

2014: The Thai army declares martial law and closes down several news stations.

2016: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, leader of the Afghan Taliban is reportably killed by a US drone in Pakistan. On the same day, Manchester United beat Crystal Palace, 2-1 after extra time to win the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium.

2019: Nepalese Sherpa Kami Rita sets a new record for the number of climbs of Mt Everest – 24. On the same day, Washington becomes the first US state to legalize human composting.

BIRTHDAYS: Ronald Isley, singer-songwriter (The Isley Brothers) 80; Martin Carthy, singer/guitarist, 80; John Dalton, bassist (The Kinks) 78; Mary Robinson, former Irish President, 77; Leo (Gerard) Sayer, singer-songwriter, 73; Andrew Neil, journalist/broadcaster, 72; Mr T (Lawrence Tureaud), actor, 69; Marc Ribot, guitarist, 67; Nadine Dorries MP, politician, 64; Judge (Edward) Reinhold, actor, 64; Kevin Shields, guitarist/singer-songwriter (My Bloody Valentine) 58; Lisa Edelstein, actress/playwright, 55; Noel Fielding, comedian/writer/actor, 48; Sally Lindsay, actress, 48; Quinton Fortune, footballer, 44; Gotye (Wouter De Backer) singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, 41; Mutya Buena, singer (Sugarbabes), 36; Hal Robson-Kanu, footballer, 32; Tom Daley, Olympic diver, 27.

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