Today in History
August 21

1794   France surrenders the island of Corsica to the British.
1808   Napoleon Bonaparte‘s General Junot is defeated by Wellington at the first Battle of the Peninsular War at Vimeiro, Portugal.
1831   Nat Turner leads a slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia that kills close to 60 whites.
1858   The first of a series of debates begins between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Douglas goes on to win the Senate seat in November, but Lincoln gains national visibility for the first time.
1863   Confederate raiders under William Quantrill strike Lawrence, Kansas, leaving 150 civilians dead.
1864   Confederate General A.P. Hill attacks Union troops south of Petersburg, Va., at the Weldon railroad. His attack is repulsed, resulting in heavy Confederate casualties.
1911   The Mona Lisa, the famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, is stolen from the Louvre in Paris, where it had hung for more than 100 years. It is recovered in 1913.
1915   Italy declares war on Turkey.
1942   U.S. Marines turn back the first major Japanese ground attack on Guadalcanal in the Battle of Tenaru.
1944   The Dumbarton Oaks Conference, which lays the foundation for the establishment of the United Nations, is held in Washington, D.C.
1945   President Harry S. Truman cancels all contracts under the Lend-Lease Act.
1959   Hawaii is admitted into the Union.
1963   The South Vietnamese Army arrests over 100 Buddhist monks in Saigon.
1968   Soviet forces invade Czechoslovakia because of the country’s experiments with a more liberal government.
1976   Operation Paul Bunyan commences after North Korean guards killed two American officers sent to trim a poplar tree along the DMZ on Aug. 18, US and ROK soldiers with heavy support chopped down the tree.
1988   A ceasefire is declared in the 8-year war between Iran and Iraq.
1991   Communist hardliners’ coup is crushed in the USSR after just 2 days; Latvia declares independence from the USSR.
2001   NATO decides to send a peacekeeping force to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Born on August 21
1798   Jules Michelet, French historian who wrote the 24-volume Historie de France.
1904   William “Count” Basie, American band leader and composer.
1936   Wilt Chamberlin, four-time MVP for the National Basketball Association and only player to score 100 points in a professional basketball game.
1938   Kenny Rogers, singer, actor; one of the top-selling artists of all time; voted Favorite Singer of All Time in a 1986 poll.
1944   Jackie DeShannon (Sharon Lee Meyers), singer/songwriter (“Lonely Girl,” “What the World Needs Now”); toured as The Beatles opening act in 1964; inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2010.
1944   Peter Weir, film director; among the leaders of Australian New Wave cinema (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli); Academy Award nominee (Dead Poets Society, Master and Commander).
1950   Arthur Bremer, would-be assassin who shot segregationist Alabama governor George C. Wallace in May 1972.
1951   Harry Smith, TV co-anchor (The Early Show and its predecessor CBS Morning Show, 1987–96, 2002–10).
1952   Joe Strummer, lead singer of British punk band The Clash (“Rock the Casbah”).
1953   Ivan Stang (Douglass St. Clair Smith), writer, Church of the SubGenius.
1954   Archie Griffin, NFL running back; only college player to win two Heisman trophies (Ohio State) and first player to start in four Rose Bowls; member, College Football Hall of Fame.
1956   Kim Cattrall, actress (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Sex in the City TV series).
1961   Stephen Hillenburg, animator and cartoonist; created character of Spongebob Squarepants.
1973   Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google.

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