This Day in History

June 21


217BC  Roman army is ambushed and decisively defeated by Cathaginians led by Hannibal at the Battle of Lake Trasimene in Italy   2234
1307      Khayishan Külüg Khan is crowned seventh Great Khan of the Mongols and Emperor Wuzong of Yuan   711
1527      Italian author Niccolò Machiavelli dies, age 58   491
1631      John Smith, leader of the Virginia Colony, dies in London, age 51   387
1652      British architect Inigo Jones dies, age 78   366
1749      Halifax, Nova Scotia, founded by British Edward Cornwallis   269
1788      New Hampshire is the ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution—Constitution is ratified!   230
1798      British military defeat United Irish rebels in the Battle of Vinegar Hill in County Wexford   220
1813      decisive allied victory over the French in the Battle of Vitoria in Spain leads to eventual victory in the Penisular War   205
1820      French physicist Alexis Thérèse Petit dies, age 28   198
1861      Central Pacific Railroad of California incorporated   157
1874      Swedish physicist Anders Jonas Ångström dies, age 59   144
1893      first Ferris wheel opens at Chicago's Columbian Exposition   125
1895      opening of the Kiel Canal connecting the Baltic and North Seas   123
1908      Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov dies, age 64   110
1919      Germans scuttle interned German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow to prevent allied powers from using the ships—52 of 72 ship sank   99
1945      last resistance ends the Battle of Okinawa—bloodiest battle of the Pacific War—14,000 allied, 77,000 Japanese, 149,000 civilians killed   73
1948      Columbia Records unveils the 33 1/3 LP vinyl record   70
1948      Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine runs first electronically stored program   70
1960      last operational fight of a B-29 Superfortress almost 18 years after the first flight   58
1975      West Indies wins the first Cricket World Cup—held in England   43
1982      heir to the British throne, William, Duke of Cambridge, born in London   36
1986      first annual Burning Man event on Baker Beach in San Francisco—now in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada   32
1990      7.4 earthquake in northern Iran near the cities of Rudbar and Manjil kills 30,000 to 50,000 and injures 60,000 to 105,000 others   28
1993      Andrew Wiles proves Fermat's Last Theorem   25
1994      American astronomer and astrophysicist William Wilson Morgan dies, age 88   24
2000      Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness dies, age 89   18
2001      American actor, producer, and director John Carroll O'Connor dies in Culver City, California, age 76   17
2001      world's longest train—BHP Iron Ore in Western Australia—682 loaded iron ore cars and 8 locomotives; 7.353 km (4.568 mi) long   17
2003      American novelist Leon Marcus Uris dies, age 78   15
2004      SpaceShipOne achieves the first privately funded human spaceflight—Michael Winston Melvill is first commercial astronaut   14
2008      passenger ferry MV Princess of the Stars capsizes and sinks during typhoon Fengshen in the Philippines—over 800 die   10
2009      Greenland achieves self-rule   9
2010      Cassini performs a flyby 880 km from the surface of Titan—below the moon's ionosphere   8
2010      Swift detects a gamma ray burst so long and intense its processing software is overwhelmed   8
2012      American economist, "one of the world's greatest monetary scholars," Anna Jacobson Schwartz dies in New York City, age 96   6
2013      communications lost with Jason-1 global ocean level satellite 11 1/2 years into its three-year mission   5
2013      American physicist in the field of optics James Power Gordon dies in New York City, age 85   5
2015      American composer, conductor, author, historian, and jazz musician Gunther Alexander Schuller dies, age 89   3
2015      first International Day of Yoga   3

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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