This Day in History July 21st 2016


  • 2012 Turkish adventurer Erden Eruç became the first person in history to complete a solo human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth.
  • 2011 STS-135, the final mission of the NASA Space Shuttle program, landed. NASA hosted an employee appreciation event on the occasion.
  • 2007 The seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in the UK, the US and Canada.
  • 2006 Died: Ta Mok, Cambodian military chief and soldier who was a senior figure in the Khmer Rouge. He was best known as the Butcher.
  • 2004 Died: Jerry Goldsmith, American composer and conductor best known for his work in scoring. In 1976, he was awarded an Oscar for The Omen.
  • 2004 Died: Edward B. Lewis, American geneticist who was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, sharing it with two scientists.
  • 1998 Died: Alan Shepard, American naval officer, aviator, test pilot, NASA astronaut and businessman. He was the second person to travel into space.
  • 1985 Born: Vanessa Lengies, Canadian actress, dancer and singer best known for her role as Roxanne Bojarski in American Dreams.
  • 1983 The world’s lowest temperature in an inhabited location was recorded at the Vostok Station in Antarctica. It is −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F; 184.0 K).
  • 1978 Born: Josh Hartnett, American actor and producer known for his roles as Trip Fontaine in The Virgin Suicides and Daniel Walker in Pearl Harbor.
  • 1978 Born: Justin Bartha, American actor known for his roles as Riley Poole in the National Treasure franchise and Doug Billings in The Hangover trilogy.
  • 1977 Died: Lee Miller, American photographer. During World War II, she was an acclaimed war correspondent, covering many major events.
  • 1973 Born: Ali Landry, American actress and model. She is the winner of Miss USA 1996 and the Doritos Girl from the 1998 Super Bowl commercial.
  • 1970 The construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was completed. It was a key objective of the government following the 1952 Revolution.
  • 1967 Died: Jimmie Foxx, American baseball first baseman. He was the second player in MLN to hit 500 career home runs, after Babe Ruth.
  • 1961 The second U.S. human spaceflight, Mercury-Redstone 4, took place. The spacecraft was piloted by astronaut Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom.
  • 1956 Born: Michael Connelly, American crime fiction writer whose best known characters are Mickey Haller and Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch.
  • 1954 The Geneva accords were issued, following the Geneva Conference. These agreements temporarily separated Vietnam into two zones.
  • 1951 Born: Robin Williams, American actor and comedian known for his roles in widely acclaimed films. In 1998, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
  • 1948 Died: Arshile Gorky (born Vosdanig Manoug Adoian), Armenian-American painter who considerably influenced on Abstract Expressionism.
  • 1948 Born: Garry Trudeau, American cartoonist, best known for his Doonesbury comic strip, which earned him the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
  • 1944 Died: Claus von Stauffenberg, German army officer who led the failed 20 July plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich.
  • 1938 Died: Owen Wister, American writer who is widely regarded as the “father” of western fiction. His best known work is The Virginian.
  • 1899 Born: Ernest Hemingway, American writer and journalist whose best known forks include The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms.
  • 1831 Leopold I became the first King of the Belgians following the independence of Belgium from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • 1822 General Agustín de Iturbide was crowned as Emperor of the First Mexican Empire. Augustine of Mexico was forced to abdicate in 1823.
  • 1816 Born: Paul Reuter, German-English entrepreneur and journalist primarily remembered as the founder of the Reuters news agency.
  • 1796 Died: Robert Burns Scottish poet and lyricist who is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. He wrote in the Scots language and in English.
  • 1620 Born: Jean Picard, French astronomer who was the first person to measure the size of the Earth to a reasonable degree of accuracy.
  • 365 The devastating Crete earthquake followed by a tsunami occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean, destroying nearly all towns in Crete.
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