On This Day … 21 February

Events

  • 1440 – The Prussian Confederation is formed.
  • 1613 – Mikhail I is unanimously elected Tsar by a national assembly, beginning the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia.
  • 1797 – A force of 1,400 French soldiers invaded Britain at Fishguard in support of the Society of United Irishmen. They were defeated by 500 British reservists.
  • 1804 – The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.
  • 1808 – Without a previous declaration of war, Russian troops cross the border to Sweden at Abborfors in eastern Finland, thus beginning the Finnish War, in which Sweden will lose the eastern half of the country (i.e. Finland) to Russia.
  • 1842 – John Greenough is granted the first US patent for the sewing machine.
  • 1848 – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Battle of Valverde is fought near Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory.
  • 1913 – Ioannina is incorporated into the Greek state after the Balkan Wars.
  • 1916 – World War I: In France, the Battle of Verdun begins.
  • 1919 – German socialist Kurt Eisner is assassinated.
    • His death results in the establishment of the Bavarian Soviet Republic and parliament and government fleeing Munich, Germany.
  • 1921 – Constituent Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Georgia adopts the country’s first constitution.
  • 1921 – Rezā Shāh takes control of Tehran during a successful coup.
  • 1929 – In the first battle of the Warlord Rebellion in northeastern Shandong against the Nationalist government of China, a 24,000-strong rebel force led by Zhang Zongchang was defeated at Zhifu by 7,000 NRA troops.
  • 1934 – Augusto Sandino is executed.
  • 1937 – The League of Nations bans foreign national “volunteers” in the Spanish Civil War.
  • 1945 – World War II: During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Japanese kamikaze planes sink the escort carrier USS Bismarck Sea and damage the USS Saratoga.
  • 1945 – World War II: the Brazilian Expeditionary Force defeat the German forces in the Battle of Monte Castello on the Italian front.
  • 1947 – In New York City, Edwin Land demonstrates the first “instant camera”, the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.
  • 1952 – The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to “set the people free”.
  • 1958 – The CND symbol, aka peace symbol, commissioned by the Direct Action Committee in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.
  • 1972 – United States President Richard Nixon visits the People’s Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations.
  • 1973 – Over the Sinai Desert, Israeli fighter aircraft shoot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 jet killing 108 people.
  • 1974 – The last Israeli soldiers leave the west bank of the Suez Canal pursuant to a truce with Egypt.
  • Armed Forces Day (South Africa).

People (Births)

  • 1609 – Raimondo Montecuccoli, Italian military commander (d. 1680).
  • 1705 – Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke, English admiral and politician (d. 1781).
  • 1788 – Francis Ronalds, British scientist, inventor and engineer who was knighted for developing the first working electric telegraph (d. 1873).
  • 1794 – Antonio López de Santa Anna, Mexican general and politician, 8th President of Mexico (d. 1876).
  • 1881 – Kenneth J. Alford, English soldier, bandmaster, and composer (d. 1945).
  • 1887 – Korechika Anami, Japanese general and politician, 54th Japanese Minister of War (d. 1945).
  • 1910 – Douglas Bader, English captain and pilot (d. 1982).
  • 1914 – Ilmari Juutilainen, Finnish soldier and pilot (d. 1999).
  • 1937 – Ron Clarke, Australian runner and politician, Mayor of the Gold Coast (d. 2015).
  • 1964 – Mark Kelly, American captain, pilot, and astronaut.
  • 1964 – Scott Kelly, American captain, pilot, and astronaut.
  • 1967 – Leroy Burrell, American runner and coach.
  • 1967 – Sari Essayah, Finnish athlete and politician.
  • 1975 – Scott Miller, Australian swimmer.

People (Deaths)

  • 4 AD – Gaius Caesar, Roman consul and grandson of Augustus (b. 20 BC).
  • 1543 – Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi, Somalian general (b. 1507).
  • 1590 – Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, English nobleman and general (b. 1528).
  • 1824 – Eugène de Beauharnais, French general (b. 1781).
  • 1829 – Kittur Chennamma, Indian queen and freedom fighter (b. 1778).
  • 1891 – James Timberlake, American lieutenant and police officer (b. 1846).
  • 1934 – Augusto César Sandino, Nicaraguan rebel leader (b. 1895).
  • 1972 – Zhang Guohua, Chinese general and politician (b. 1914).
  • 1994 – Johannes Steinhoff, German general and pilot (b. 1913).
  • 1999 – Ilmari Juutilainen, Finnish soldier and pilot (b. 1914).
  • 2012 – H. M. Darmstandler, American general (b. 1922).
  • 2015 – Aleksei Gubarev, Russian general, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1931).
  • 2016 – Eric Brown, Scottish-English captain and pilot (b. 1919).
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