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On this day in history - May 21

What Happened On This Day – May 21

  • 1991 Former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, is assassinated

    The attacker was a woman believed to be linked the Sri Lankan separatist militant organization, the Tamil Tigers. At least 14 people lost their lives in the suicide bombing.

  • 1979 Violent clashes follow the lenient sentencing for Harvey Milk's murderer

    Milk, the first openly gay U.S. politician, had been shot and killed together with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. The assassin, Dan White, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter only, triggering the White Night Riots.

  • 1951 The 9th Street Show opens in New York

    The ground-breaking art exhibition showing works by artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning is considered the birth hour of the artistic avant-garde referred to as the New York School.

  • 1932 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic

    The U.S. aviatress' disappearance on an attempted round-the-world flight five years later is one of the most discussed unsolved mysteries in the history of flight.

  • 1904 FIFA, the world governing body of association football, is founded

    The Fédération Internationale de Football Association is responsible for the organization of the World Cup, which is one of the world's most viewed sporting events.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
May 21

  • 1980 Gotye

    Belgian/Australian singer-songwriter

  • 1921 Andrei Sakharov

    Russian physicist

  • 1844 Henri Rousseau

    French painter

  • 1527 Philip II of Spain

  • 1471 Albrecht Dürer

    German painter, engraver, mathematician

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
May 21

  • 2006 Katherine Dunham

    American dancer

  • 2000 John Gielgud

    English actor, director, producer

  • 1991 Rajiv Gandhi

    Indian politician, 6th Prime Minister of India

  • 1935 Jane Addams

    American social worker, Nobel Prize laureate

  • 1771 Christopher Smart

    English actor, playwright, poet