|May 21 in recent years
May 21 is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 224 days remaining until the end of the year.
- 878 - Syracuse is captured by the Muslim sultan of Sicily.
- 879 - Pope John VIII gives blessings to duke Branimir and to Croatian people, considered to be international recognition of Croatian state
- 996 - Sixteen-year-old Otto III is crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
- 1260 - Kublai Khan of the Mongol Empire sends his envoy Hao Jing and two other advisors to the Chinese Song Dynasty court of Emperor Lizong of Song; while attempting to negotiate with the Song in order to resolve their conflict, Hao Jing and his fellow emissaries were imprisoned by order of the high Chinese chancellor, Jia Sidao.
- 1502 - The island of Saint Helena is discovered by the Portuguese navigator João da Nova.
- 1554 - Royal Charter of Derby School at Derby, England
- 1674 - the nobility elects John Sobieski King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.
- 1725 - The Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was instituted in Russia by the empress Catherine I. It would later be discontinued and then reinstated by the Soviet government in 1942 as the Order of Alexander Nevsky.
- 1758 - Mary Campbell is abducted from her home in Pennsylvania by Lenape during the French and Indian War.
- 1851 - Abolition of slavery in Colombia, South America.
- 1856 - Lawrence is captured and burned by pro-slavery forces.
- 1863 - American Civil War: Siege of Port Hudson – Union forces begin to lay siege to the Confederate-controlled Port Hudson.
- 1871 - French Government troops invade the Paris Commune and engage its residents in street fighting. By the close of "Bloody Week" some 20,000 communards have been killed and 38,000 arrested.
- 1879 - War of the Pacific: Two Chilean ships blocking the harbor of Iquique (then belonging to Peru), battle two Peruvian vessels in the Battle of Iquique.
- 1881 - The American Red Cross is established by Clara Barton.
- 1894 - The Manchester Ship Canal in England is officially opened by Queen Victoria, who knights its designer Sir Edward Leader Williams.
- 1894 - 22-year-old French Anarchist Émile Henry is executed by guillotine.
- 1904 - Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) founded in Paris.
- 1917 - Great Atlanta fire of 1917.
- 1924 - University of Chicago students Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks in a "thrill killing."
- 1927 - Charles Lindbergh touches down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world's first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
- 1932 - Amelia Earhart, because of bad weather, lands in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
- 1934 - Oskaloosa, becomes the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint each of its citizens.
- 1936 - Sada Abe is arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days with her dead lover's severed genitals in her hand. Her story soon became one of Japan's most notorious scandals.
- 1937 - a Soviet station becomes the first scientific research settlement to operate on the drift ice of the Arctic Ocean.
- 1941 - World War II: 950 miles off the coast of Brazil, the freighter SS Robin Moor becomes the first United States ship sunk by a German U-boat.
- 1945 - United States screen legend Humphrey Bogart marries actress Lauren Bacall.
- 1951 - opening of the Ninth Street Show otherwise known as the 9th Street Art Exhibition was a gathering of a number of notable artists, and it was the stepping-out of the post war New York avant-garde, collectively know as the New York School.
- 1956 - Nuclear testing: Shot Redwing-Cherokee is successfully detonated at Bikini Atoll at the Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall Islands. With a yield of 3.8 megatons, it is the first aircraft deliverable hydrogen bomb tested by the United States.
- 1958 - United Kingdom Postmaster General Ernest Marples announces that from December, Subscriber Trunk Dialling will be introduced in the Bristol area.
- 1961 - American civil rights movement: Alabama Governor John Malcolm Patterson declares martial law in an attempt to restore order after race riots break out.
- 1972 - Michelangelo's Pietà, in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, is damaged by a vandal.
- 1979 - White Night riots in San Francisco following the manslaughter conviction of Dan White for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk.
- 1981 - Pierre Mauroy becomes Prime Minister of France.
- 1991 - Former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi is assassinated by a female suicide bomber near Madras.
- 1994 - The Democratic Republic of Yemen secedes from the Republic of Yemen.
- 1996 - The MV Bukoba sinks in Tanzanian waters on Lake Victoria, killing nearly 1000.
- 1996 - The Trappist Martyrs of Atlas are executed.
- 1998 - At Thurston High School in Springfield, Kipland Kinkel, suspended for bringing a gun to school, shoots a semi-automatic rifle into a room filled with students, killing 2 wounding 25 others after killing his parents at home.
- 1998 - In Miami, five abortion clinics are hit by a butyric acid attacker.
- 1998 - Soeharto, Indonesian dictator who had been ruling for 32 years, resigned.
- 2000 - A chartered British Aerospace Jetstream 31 crashes near Wilkes-Barre, killing 19.
- 2001 - French Taubira law which officially recognize the Atlantic slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity.
- 2003 - An earthquake hits northern Algeria, killing more than 2,000 people.
- 2004 - Sherpa Pemba Dorjie climbs Mount Everest in 8 hours 10 minutes, breaking his rival Sherpa Lakpa Gelu's record from the previous year.
- 2004 - Stanislav Petrov is awarded the World Citizen Award for averting a potential World War III in 1983.
- 2005 - In Kiev, Ukraine, Greece wins the fiftieth Eurovision Song Contest with "My Number One" performed by Elena Paparizou.
- 2006 - The Republic of Montenegro holds a referendum proposing independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro; Montenegrin people choose independence by the majority of 55%.
- 2006 - The Swedish ice hockey team Tre Kronor takes gold in the World Championship, becoming the first nation to hold both the World and Olympic titles separately in the same year.
- 2007 - One of the best-preserved clippers in existence, the Cutty Sark, while preserved in Greenwich, is severely damaged by fire.
- 1471 - Albrecht Dürer, German painter (d. 1528)
- 1527 - King Philip II of Spain (d. 1598)
- 1653 - Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria, queen consort of Poland and Lthuania (d. 1697)
- 1664 - Giulio Alberoni, Italian cardinal (d. 1754)
- 1688 - Alexander Pope, English poet (d. 1744)
- 1755 - Alfred Moore, American judge (d. 1810)
- 1763 - Joseph Fouché, French statesman (d. 1820)
- 1775 - Lucien Bonaparte, French politician, soldier and academic (d. 1840)
- 1780 - Elizabeth Fry, British social reformer (d. 1845)
- 1792 - Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, French scientist (d. 1843)
- 1827 - William P. Sprague, American politician from Ohio (d. 1899)
- 1832 - Elizabeth Storrs Mead, American educator (d. 1917)
- 1835 - František Chvostek, Moravian physician (d. 1884)
- 1843 - Charles Albert Gobat, Swiss politician (d. 1914)
- 1844 - Henri Rousseau, French artist (d. 1910)
- 1850 - Giuseppe Mercalli, Italian volcanologist (d. 1914)
- 1851 - Léon Bourgeois, French statesman, Nobel laureate (d. 1925)
- 1853 - Jacques Marie Eugène Godefroy Cavaignac, French politician (d. 1905)
- 1860 - Willem Einthoven, Dutch inventor, Nobel laureate (d. 1927)
- 1863 - Archduke Eugen of Austria, Austrian field marshal (d. 1954)
- 1864 - Princess Stephanie of Belgium (d. 1945)
- 1873 - Hans Berger, German neuroscientist (d. 1941)
- 1878 - Glenn Curtiss, American aviation pioneer (d. 1930)
- 1880 - Tudor Arghezi, Romanian writer (d. 1967)
- 1885 - Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg, wife of Prince William of Wied (d.1936)
- 1898 - Armand Hammer, American physician (d. 1990)
- 1901 - Horace Heidt, American band leader (d. 1986)
- 1901 - Sam Jaffe, American film producer (d. 2000)
- 1901 - Suzanne Lilar, Belgian essayist, novelist and playwright (d. 1992)
- 1902 - Earl Averill, baseball player (d. 1983)
- 1902 - Marcel Lajos Breuer, Hungarian-born architect (d. 1981)
- 1903 - Manly Wade Wellman, American author (d. 1986)
- 1904 - Robert Montgomery, American actor (d. 1981)
- 1904 - Fats Waller, American pianist (d. 1943)
- 1909 - François-Albert Angers, Quebec economist (d. 2003)
- 1912 - Monty Stratton, baseball player (d. 1982)
- 1913 - Gina Bachauer, Greek pianist (d. 1976)
- 1916 - Tinus Osendarp, Dutch runner (d. 2002)
- 1916 - Harold Robbins, American novelist (d. 1997)
- 1917 - Raymond Burr, American actor (d. 1993)
- 1918 - Dennis Day, American singer and comedian (d. 1988)
- 1920 - Anthony Steel, British actor (d. 2001)
- 1921 - Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist (d. 1989)
- 1923 - Armand Borel, Swiss mathematician (d. 2003)
- 1923 - Ara Parseghian, American football coach
- 1924 - Peggy Cass, American actress (d. 1999)
- 1926 - Robert Creeley, American poet (d. 2005)
- 1928 - Tom Donahue, American disc jockey (freeform radio) (d. 1975)
- 1930 - Malcolm Fraser, Australian politician
- 1933 - Maurice André, French trumpeter
- 1934 - Bengt I. Samuelsson, Swedish biochemist, Nobel laureate
- 1936 - Günter Blobel, German biologist, Nobel laureate
- 1939 - Heinz Holliger, Swiss musician
- 1941 - Martin Carthy, English musician
- 1941 - Ronald Isley, American singer (The Isley Brothers)
- 1943 - Hilton Valentine, British guitarist (The Animals)
- 1944 - Mary Robinson, President of Ireland
- 1944 - Marcie Blane, American singer
- 1945 - Ernst Messerschmid, German astronaut
- 1947 - Jonathan Hyde, Australian-born actor
- 1948 - Leo Sayer, English musician
- 1951 - Al Franken, American comedian
- 1952 - Mr. T, American actor
- 1954 - Marc Ribot, American musician
- 1955 - Paul Barber, British field hockey player
- 1955 - Stan Lynch, American drummer
- 1957 - Bruce Buffer, American Mixed Martial Arts Announcer
- 1957 - Judge Reinhold, American actor
- 1957 - Renée Soutendijk, Dutch actress
- 1959 - Nick Cassavetes, American actor
- 1960 - Jeffrey Dahmer, American serial killer (d. 1994)
- 1960 - Kent Hrbek, American professional baseball player
- 1963 - Richard Appel, American writer
- 1963 - Kevin Shields, Musician (My Bloody Valentine)
- 1964 - Danny Bailey, English footballer
- 1964 - Carolyn Lawrence, American actress
- 1964 - Danny Lee Clark, American football player
- 1964 - Nancy Daus, American professional wrestler (d. 2007)
- 1966 - Lisa Edelstein, American actress
- 1967 - Chris Benoit, Canadian professional wrestler (d. 2007)
- 1968 - Julie Vega, Filipino child actress and singer (d. 1985)
- 1968 - Matthias Ungemach, German rower
- 1969 - Masayo Kurata, Japanese voice actress
- 1970 - Carl Veart, Australian soccer player
- 1972 - Adriano Cintra, Brazilian musician (CSS)
- 1972 - The Notorious B.I.G., American musician (d. 1997)
- 1972 - Alesha Oreskovich, American model
- 1973 - Noel Fielding, British comedian
- 1974 - Fairuza Balk, American actress
- 1974 - Havoc, American rapper (Mobb Deep)
- 1975 - Lee Gaze, Welsh guitarist
- 1976 - Deron Miller, American rock musician
- 1976 - Kardinal Offishall, Canadian rapper
- 1977 - Quinton Fortune, South African footballer
- 1977 - Ricky Williams, American football player
- 1978 - Briana Banks, German-American pornographic actress
- 1978 - Jamaal Magloire, Canadian professional basketballer
- 1978 - Adam Gontier, Canadian singer Three Days Grace
- 1979 - Damian Ariel Álvarez, Argentinian footballer
- 1979 - Jesse Capelli, Canadian pornographic actress
- 1979 - Jamie Hepburn, Member of the Scottish Parliament
- 1979 - Scott Smith, mixed martial arts fighter
- 1980 - Chris Raab, American actor
- 1981 - Belladonna, American pornographic actress
- 1981 - Max, German singer
- 1984 - Bria Myles, American model
- 1985 - Andrew Miller, American baseball player
- 1985 - Kano, British rapper
- 1985 - Mutya Buena, British singer (ex-Sugababes)
- 1986 - Myra, Mexican-American singer
- 1987 - Ashlie Brillault, American actress
- 987 - King Louis V of France
- 1254 - Conrad IV of Germany (b. 1228)
- 1481 - King Christian I of Denmark, Norway and Sweden (b. 1426)
- 1512 - Pandolfo Petrucci, ruler of Siena
- 1524 - Thomas Howard, English soldier
- 1542 - Hernando de Soto, Spanish explorer
- 1607 - John Rainolds, English scholar (b. 1549)
- 1639 - Tommaso Campanella, Italian theologian (b. 1568)
- 1647 - Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft, Dutch poet (b. 1581)
- 1650 - James Graham, Scottish royalist (b. 1612)
- 1664 - Elizabeth Poole, Puritan businesswoman
- 1670 - Niccolo Zucchi, Italian astronomer (b. 1586)
- 1686 - (N. S.) Otto von Guericke, German scientist (b. 1602)
- 1690 - John Eliot, English Puritan missionary (b. 1604)
- 1719 - Pierre Poiret, French mystic (b. 1646)
- 1724 - Robert Harley, English statesman (b. 1661)
- 1742 - Lars Roberg, Swedish physician (b. 1664)
- 1771 - Christopher Smart, English poet (b. 1722)
- 1786 - Carl Wilhelm Scheele, Swedish chemist (b. 1742)
- 1790 - Thomas Warton, English poet (b. 1728)
- 1844 - Giuseppe Baini, Italian composer (b. 1775)
- 1862 - John Drew, Irish-born American actor (b. 1827)
- 1879 - Arturo Prat, Chilean naval officer (b. 1848)
- 1894 - Emile Henry, French anarchist (b. 1872)
- 1894 - August Kundt, German physicist (b. 1839)
- 1895 - Franz von Suppé, Austrian composer (b. 1819)
- 1911 - Williamina Fleming, Scottish-born astronomer (b. 1857)
- 1915 - Leonid Gobyato, Russian general (b. 1875)
- 1919 - Yevgraf Fyodorov, Russian mathematician (b. 1853)
- 1920 - Venustiano Carranza, 54th President of Mexico (b. 1859)
- 1929 - Archibald Primrose, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1847)
- 1935 - Jane Addams, American social worker, Nobel laureate (b. 1860)
- 1949 - Klaus Mann, German writer (b. 1906)
- 1952 - John Garfield, American actor (b. 1913)
- 1957 - Aleksandr Vertinsky, Russian singer (b. 1889)
- 1964 - James Franck, German-born physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1882)
- 1965 - Geoffrey de Havilland, British aircraft designer (b. 1882)
- 1970 - E. L. Grant Watson, Australian biologist (b. 1885)
- 1973 - Vaughn Monroe, American musician (b. 1911)
- 1981 - Patsy O'Hara, Irish hunger striker (b. 1957)
- 1981 - Raymond Mccreesh, Irish hunger striker (b. 1957)
- 1984 - Ann Little, American actress (b. 1891)
- 1985 - Julie Vega, Philippine Actress (b. 1968)
- 1988 - Sammy Davis, American dancer (b. 1900)
- 1991 - Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (b. 1944)
- 1996 - Paul Delph, American musician and producer (b. 1957)
- 1996 - Lash LaRue, American actor (b. 1917)
- 1999 - Karnail "Bugz" Pitts, American rapper (D12) (b. 1979)
- 2000 - Barbara Cartland, English author (b. 1901)
- 2000 - Sir John Gielgud, British actor (b. 1904)
- 2000 - Mark R. Hughes, American entrepreneur (b. 1956)
- 2002 - Niki de Saint Phalle, French artist (b. 1930)
- 2003 - Frank D. White, American politician (b. 1933)
- 2003 - Alejandro de Tomaso, Argentine-Italian racing driver and car manufacturer (b. 1928)
- 2005 - Howard Morris, American comic actor and director (b. 1919)
- 2006 - Cherd Songsri, Thai film director (b. 1931)
- 2006 - Katherine Dunham, American dancer (b. 1909)
- 2006 - Spencer Clark, American racecar driver (b. 1987)
- 2006 - Billy Walker, American singer (b. 1929)
Holidays and observances
Roman Catholic :
82 Familypedia people were born on May 21
122 Familypedia people died on May 21
75 Familypedia people were first married on May 21