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On February 21st...

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1440 The Prussian Confederation was formed.

1513 Pope Julius II died.

1598 Boris Godunov was crowned Tsar of Russia.

1728 Tsar Peter III of Russia was born.

1730 Pope Benedict XIII died.

Jethro Tull1741 Jethro Tull, inventor of the mechanized seed drill, died.

1792 The U.S. Congress passed the Presidential Succession Act.

Santa Ann1794 Mexican leader Antonio López de Santa Anna was born.

1795 Freedom of worship was constitutionally guaranteed in France.

1801 John Henry Cardinal Newman, British religious leader, was born.

1804 Richard Trevithick' locomotive ran for the first time, in Wales.

1817 Chocolatier Domenico Ghirardelli was born.

1828 The first American Indian newspaper, Cherokee Phoenix, was published.

1842 John Greenough patented a sewing machine.

1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto in London, England.

1857 The U.S. Congress outlawed the use of foreign currency as legal tender.

1858 Edwin T. Holmes installed the first known electric burglar alarm, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Lucy Hobbs Taylor1866 Lucy Hobbs Taylor became the first fully licensed female dentist in the United States (if not the world).

1878 The world's first telephone directory was issued, listing 50 subscribers in New Harbor, Connecticut.

Washington Monument1885 The Washington Monument was dedicated.

1887 Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day a holiday.

Andres Segovia1894 Classical guitarist Andrés Segovia was born.

1902 Dr. Harvey Cushing, the first brain surgeon in the United States, performed his first brain operation.

1903 The cornerstone for the U.S. Army War College in Washington, D.C., was laid.

1904 The National Ski Association was formed in Ishpeming, Michigan.

1907 The SS Berlin sank off the Hook of Holland, killing 142 persons.

1916 The Battle of Verdun began.

1917 The British troopship SS Mendi sank off the Isle of Wight, killing 646 persons.

Carolina Parakeet1918 The last Carolina parakeet died at the Cincinatti (Ohio) Zoo.

1922 The United Kingdom declared Egypt a sovereign state.

1925 The first issue of New Yorker magazine was published.
Sam Peckinpah1925 Film director Sam Peckinpah was born.

1927 Columnist Erma Bombeck was born.

1929 Associated Aircraft Company was formed.

1931 Alka Seltzer was introduced.

1932 W. N. Goodwin patented the camera exposure meter.

1934 Actress Rue McClanahan was born.

1936 American politician Barbara Jordan was born.

1937 Waldo Waterman's Arrowbile, a flying car, made its first flight.
1937 King Harald V of Norway was born.

1938 Astronomer George Ellery Hale died.

Frederick Banting1941 Frederick Banting, medical researcher who helped isolate insulin, died.

1943 Businessman David Geffen was born.

1946 Actress Tyne Daly was born.
1946 Tricia Nixon, daughter of U.S. President Richard Nixon, was born.

Edwin Herbert Land1947 Edwin Herbert Land first demonstrated his Polaroid Land camera.

1948 NASCAR was incorporated.
1948 James H. McGraw, co-founder of McGraw-Hill, died.

1952 Dick Button performed the first figure skating triple jump in competition.

1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA.
1953 Actor William Petersen was born.

1955 Actor Kelsey Grammer was born.

1958 Singer Mary Chapin Carpenter was born.

1961 Actor Christopher Atkins was born.

Telstar1963 Telstar, the world's first active communications satellite, went out of service.
1963 Actor William Baldwin was born.

1965 Civil rights activist Malcolm X was killed.

1970 The Jackson 5 made their television debut on "American Bandstand."

President Richard Nixon1972 Richard M. Nixon became the first U.S. President to visit China.

1973 Israeli jet fighters shot down a Libyan passenger jet, killing 108 persons.

1979 Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt was born.

1981 Peter Sutcliffe, aka "Yorkshire Ripper," was captured.

1988 Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart confessed his sins to his congregation.

1991 Dancer Margot Fonteyn died.

Eva Alberta Jessye1992 Eva Alberta Jessye, singer and choral director, died.

1996 American politician Barbara Jordan was born.

Gertrude Belle Elion1999 Pharmaceutical chemist Gertrude Belle Elion died.

2005 Televangelist Dr. Gene Scott died.

2013 A series of bombing attacks in Damascus, Syria, killed 83 persons and injured 250.
2013 A bombing in Hyderabad, India, killed 21 persons and injured 54.

2014 Police in Kiev, Ukraine, opened fire on protesters, killing 27 and injuring about 570.

2017 A plane crashed into a shopping center in Essendon, Melbourne, Australia, killing the 5 persons aboard.

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The Robinson Library >> On This Day

This page was last updated on December 20, 2017.