Today in History: March 21 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: March 21

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


630   Heraclius restores the True Cross, which he has recaptured from the Persians.
1556   Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is burned at the stake at Oxford after retracting the last of seven recantations that same day.
1617   Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe) dies of either small pox or pneumonia while in England with her husband, John Rolfe.
1788   Almost the entire city of New Orleans, Louisiana, is destroyed by fire.
1806   Lewis and Clark begin their trip home after an 8,000 mile trek of the Mississippi basin and the Pacific Coast.
1865   The Battle of Bentonville, N.C. ends, marking the last Confederate attempt to stop Union General William Sherman.
1851   Emperor Tu Duc orders that Christian priests are to put to death.
1858   British forces in India lift the siege of Lucknow, ending the Indian Mutiny.
1871   Otto von Bismarck is appointed chancellor of the German Empire after helping lead Prussia’s rise to power during the Wars of Unification. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1906   Ohio passes a law that prohibits hazing by fraternities.
1908   Frenchman Henri Farman carries a passenger in a bi-plane for the first time.
1910   The U.S. Senate grants ex-President Teddy Roosevelt an annual pension of $10,000.
1918   The Germans launch the ‘Michael’ offensive, better remembered as the First Battle of the Somme.
1928   President Calvin Coolidge presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Charles Lindbergh, a captain in the US Army Air Corps Reserve, for making the first solo trans-Atlantic flight. On June 11, 1927, Lindbergh had received the first Distinguished Flying Cross ever awarded.
1939   Singer Kate Smith records “God Bless America” for Victor Records.
1941   The last Italian post in East Libya, North Africa, falls to the British.
1951   Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall reports that the U.S. military has doubled to 2.9 million since the start of the Korean War.
1963   Alcatraz Island, the federal penitentiary in San Francisco Bay, California, closes.
1965   The United States launches Ranger 9, last in a series of unmanned lunar explorations.
1971   Two U.S. platoons in Vietnam refuse their orders to advance.
1975   As North Vietnamese forces advance, Hue and other northern towns in South Vietnam are evacuated.
1980   President Jimmy Carter announces to the U.S. Olympic Team that they will not participate in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.
1984   A Soviet submarine crashes into the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Japan.
Born on March 21
1685   Johann Sebastian Bach, German composer.
1806   Benito Juarez, President of Mexico.
1869   Albert Kahn, architect who originated modern factory design.
1869   Florenz Ziegfeld, producer, creator of Ziegfeld Follies.
1885   Raoul Lufbery, French-born American fighter pilot of World War I.