Today in History: October 21

1512 – Martin Luther joined the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg.

1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovered a strait now known as the Strait of Magellan.

1520 – João Álvares Fagundes discovered the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, bestowing them their original name of “Islands of the 11,000 Virgins.”

1774 – The flag of Taunton, Massachusetts was the first to include the word “Liberty.”

1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.

1805 – Napoleonic Wars: A British fleet led by Lord Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet under Admiral Villeneuve in the Battle of Trafalgar.

1824 – Portland cement was patented.

1854 – Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War.

1861 – American Civil War: Union forces under Colonel Edward Baker were defeated by Confederate troops in the second major battle of the war.

1867 – The Medicine Lodge Treaty was signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty required Native American Plains tribes to relocate to a reservation in the western Indian Territory.

1879 – Thomas Edison applied for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb.

1892 – Opening ceremonies for the World’s Columbian Exposition were held in Chicago, though because construction was behind schedule, the exposition did not open until May 1, 1893.

1908 – A Saturday Evening Post advertisement offered a chance to buy a two-sided record from Columbia.

1921 – President Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting U.S. president against lynching in the Deep South.

1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was published.

1944 – World War II: The first kamikaze attack damaged HMAS Australia as the Battle of Leyte Gulf begins.

1944 – World War II: The Nemmersdorf massacre against German civilians took place.

1944 – World War II: The city of Aachen fell to American forces after three weeks of fighting, the first German city to fall to the Allies.

1945 – In the 1945 French legislative election French women voted for the first time.

1958 – Buddy Holly recorded his last studio session. Holly and the Crickets recorded “True Love Ways,” “Moondreams,” “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” and “Raining in my Heart.”

1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened to the public.

1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the transfer of all US Army space-related activities to NASA, including most of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency.

1964 – The movie musical My Fair Lady made its world premier in New York.

1965 – Comet Ikeya–Seki approached perihelion and passed 279,617 miles from the sun.

1967 – The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam organized a march of fifty thousand people from the Lincoln Memorial to the Pentagon.

1973 – Fred Dryer of the Los Angeles Rams became the first player in NFL history to score two safeties in the same game.

1974 – Queen’s single “Killer Queen” was released.

1976 – At the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada, Keith Moon played his final tour date with The Who.

1977 – “Bat Out Of Hell” was released by Meat Loaf.

1978 – Australian civilian pilot Frederick Valentich vanished over the Bass Strait south of Melbourne, after reporting contact with an unidentified aircraft.

1983 – The meter was defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

1992 – The erotic photograph book, Sex, was released by Madonna. The first run of 500,000 copies sold out.

1992 – Elton John files a $35 Million lawsuit accusing a reporter from the TV show “Hard Copy” of falsely stating that he had moved to Atlanta to be near an AIDS treatment center.

1994 – North Korea and the United States signed an Agreed Framework that required North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.

1995 – Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) died of a cocaine overdose at the age of 28.

1998 – Alice Cooper filed suit against KISS members Paul Stanley and Bruce Kulick alleging their song “Dreamin'” sounds too much like the song “Eighteen” by Cooper.

2005 – Images of the dwarf planet Eris were taken and subsequently used in documenting its discovery.

2011 – Iraq War: President Barack Obama announced that the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq would be complete by the end of the year.

2021 – A shooting occurred on the set of the film Rust, in which actor Alec Baldwin discharged a prop weapon which had been loaded, and killed the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, and injured director Joel Souza.

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