On This Day … 21 March

Events

  • 537 – Siege of Rome: King Vitiges attempts to assault the northern and eastern city walls, but is repulsed at the Praenestine Gate, known as the Vivarium, by the defenders under the Byzantine generals Bessas and Peranius.
  • 717 – Battle of Vincy between Charles Martel and Ragenfrid.
  • 1800 – With the church leadership driven out of Rome during an armed conflict, Pius VII is crowned Pope in Venice with a temporary papal tiara made of papier-mâché.
  • 1801 – The Battle of Alexandria is fought between British and French forces near the ruins of Nicopolis near Alexandria in Egypt.
  • 1804 – Code Napoléon is adopted as French civil law.
  • 1814 – Napoleonic Wars: Austrian forces repel French troops in the Battle of Arcis-sur-Aube.
  • 1861 – Alexander Stephens gives the Cornerstone Speech.
  • 1871 – Otto von Bismarck is appointed as the first Chancellor of the German Empire.
  • 1918 – World War I: The first phase of the German Spring Offensive, Operation Michael, begins.
  • 1919 – The Hungarian Soviet Republic is established becoming the first Communist government to be formed in Europe after the October Revolution in Russia.
  • 1921 – The New Economic Policy is implemented by the Bolshevik Party in response to the economic failure as a result of war communism.
  • 1925 – The Butler Act prohibits the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.
  • 1928 – Charles Lindbergh is presented with the Medal of Honour for the first solo trans-Atlantic flight.
  • 1935 – Shah of Iran Reza Shah Pahlavi formally asks the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran.
  • 1943 – Wehrmacht officer Rudolf von Gersdorff plots to assassinate Adolf Hitler by using a suicide bomb, but the plan falls through; von Gersdorff is able to defuse the bomb in time and avoid suspicion.
  • 1945 – World War II: British troops liberate Mandalay, Burma.
  • 1945 – World War II: Operation Carthage: Royal Air Force planes bomb Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. They also accidentally hit a school, killing 125 civilians.
  • 1945 – World War II: Bulgaria and the Soviet Union successfully complete their defence of the north bank of the Drava River as the Battle of the Transdanubian Hills concludes.
  • 1968 – Battle of Karameh in Jordan between the Israel Defence Forces and the combined forces of the Jordanian Armed Forces and PLO.
  • 1980 – US President Jimmy Carter announces a United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet–Afghan War.
  • 1990 – Namibia becomes independent after 75 years of South African rule.

People (Births)

  • 1825 – Alexander Mozhaysky, Russian soldier and engineer (d. 1890).
  • 1865 – George Owen Squier, American general (d. 1934).
  • 1874 – Alfred Tysoe, English runner (d. 1901).
  • 1876 – Walter Tewksbury, American runner and hurdler (d. 1968).
  • 1918 – Patrick Lucey, American captain and politician, 38th Governor of Wisconsin (d. 2014).
  • 1925 – Hugo Koblet, Swiss cyclist (d. 1964).
  • 1927 – Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German soldier and politician, Vice-Chancellor of Germany (d. 2016).
  • 1931 – Catherine Gibson, Scottish swimmer (d. 2013).
  • 1940 – Andrea Elle, German bicyclist.
  • 1943 – István Gyulai, Hungarian sprinter and sportscaster (d. 2006).
  • 1944 – Mike Jackson, English general.
  • 1945 – Charles Greene, American sprinter and coach.
  • 1955 – Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian politician and retired military officer, 38th President of Brazil.
  • 1955 – Bärbel Wöckel, East German sprinter.
  • 1956 – Dick Beardsley, American runner.
  • 1956 – Ingrid Kristiansen, Norwegian runner.
  • 1958 – Marlies Göhr, German sprinter.
  • 1960 – Benito T. de Leon, Filipino general.
  • 1961 – Kim Turner, American hurdler.
  • 1964 – Jesper Skibby, Danish cyclist.
  • 1966 – Hauke Fuhlbrügge, German runner.
  • 1971 – Zsolt Kürtösi, Hungarian decathlete.
  • 1972 – Derartu Tulu, Ethiopian runner.
  • 1978 – Sally Barsosio, Kenyan runner.
  • 1981 – Sébastien Chavanel, French cyclist.
  • 1982 – Ejegayehu Dibaba, Ethiopian runner.
  • 1986 – Romanos Alyfantis, Greek swimmer.
  • 1988 – Kateřina Čechová, Czech sprinter.
  • 1988 – Eric Krüger, German sprinter.
  • 1990 – Ryann Krais, American runner and heptathlete.

People (Deaths)

  • 1843 – Guadalupe Victoria, Mexican general and politician, 1st President of Mexico (b. 1786).
  • 1854 – Pedro María de Anaya, Mexican soldier. President (1847-1848) (b. 1795).
  • 1863 – Edwin Vose Sumner, American general (b. 1797).
  • 1869 – Juan Almonte, son of José María Morelos, was a Mexican soldier and diplomat who served as a regent in the Second Mexican Empire (1863-1864) (b. 1803).
  • 1891 – Joseph E. Johnston, American general (b. 1807).
  • 1939 – Ali Hikmet Ayerdem, Turkish general and politician (b. 1877).
  • 1943 – Cornelia Fort, American soldier and pilot (b. 1919).
  • 1945 – Arthur Nebe, German SS officer (b. 1894).
  • 1958 – Cyril M. Kornbluth, American soldier and author (b. 1923).
  • 1987 – Robert Preston, American captain, actor, and singer (b. 1918).
  • 2002 – Herman Talmadge, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 70th Governor of Georgia (b. 1913).
  • 2007 – Sven O. Høiby, Norwegian hurdler and journalist (b. 1936).
  • 2009 – Mohit Sharma, Indian army officer (b. 1978).
  • 2014 – Bill Boedeker, American football player and soldier (b. 1924).
  • 2015 – Ishaya Bakut, Nigerian general and politician, Governor of Benue State (b. 1947).
  • 2015 – Chuck Bednarik, American lieutenant and football player (b. 1925).
  • 2015 – James C. Binnicker, American sergeant (b. 1938).
  • 2017 – Mike Hall, British cyclist (b. 1981).
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