Today In History, 21 January

Today is 21 January, which looks like another normal day in the first month of the year, but that is not so. 21st January holds a key place in world history.

Dive in to find out what major events transpired on this day (Jan. 21) in sports, politics and art, along with famous birthdays and deaths in world history.

Historical Events On This Day

  • In 1789, the first American novel, “The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth,” by William Hill Brown, was printed in Boston.
  • In 1793, Louis XVI, the last Bourbon king of France, was tried for treason, convicted, and executed by the guillotine in Paris during the French Revolution.
  • In 1952, famed Indian politician and freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru’s Congress party won the general election in India.
  • In 1954, the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched on the Thames River in Connecticut.
  • In 1972, the northeastern region of India, comprising Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura, became separate states of the Indian Union. Mizoram was declared a union territory.
  • In 1976, the French-British commercial supersonic plane, the Concorde, began its service.
  • In 2017, the women’s march took place across 400 cities in the US and over 160 countries on Donald Trump’s first full day as US President.

Sports Events Today

  • In 1978, Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán became the undisputed WBC world lightweight champion with a 12th-round TKO of Esteban De Jesus.
  • In 2010, LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant become the youngest NBA player to score 25,000 career points at 31 years, and 151 days, beating the record of fellow NBA legend, Wilt Chamberlain.
  • In 2019, Li Na of China became the first Asian player to be elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Art and Culture Events Today

  • In 1921, celebrated British crime writer Agatha Christie’s first novel, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” was published in the UK and introduced the iconic detective Hercule Poirot.
  • In 1950, T.S. Eliot’s acclaimed play “The Cocktail Party” premiered in New York City.
  • In 1956, Danish-American comedian and pianist Victor Borge’s one-man show “Comedy in Music” closed after a Guinness World Record of 849 performances.
  • In 1982, Chinese martial artist and actor Jet Li made his film debut in the film Shaolin Temple, which was the first Hong Kong film shot in China.

Notable Deaths On This Day

Sr NoDeath YearPersonality
11793Louis XVI, the last king of France who was dethroned during the French Revolution, tried for treason and executed via the guillotine
21924Vladimir Lenin, Russian politician and revolutionary who became the Soviet Union’s first head of state and developed a new form of Marxism, now known as Leninism
31938Georges Melies, French illusionist and filmmaker who made surreal, groundbreaking sci-fi movies like A Trip to the Moon and The Impossible Voyage using highly innovative special effects
41945Rash Behari Bose, Indian freedom fighter and revolutionary who orchestrated the Ghadar Conspiracy and founded the First Indian National Army during World War II
51950George Orwell, English novelist, journalist and critic known for his writings like “1984” and “Animal Farm,” opposing totalitarianism and support of democratic socialism
61959Cecil B. DeMille, American film director, producer and actor who is considered as a founding father of American cinema and made multiple commercially successful films

Famous Birthdays On This Day

Sr NoBirth YearPersonality
11338Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor who ushered a new, peaceful and prosperous era for Europe following the end of the devastating hundred-year war
21869Rasputin, Russian mystic and self-proclaimed healer who befriended and manipulated the royal family of Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia
31905Christian Dior, French fashion designer known for founding one of the world’s most iconic and luxurious fashion houses, Christian Dior SE
41940Jack Nicklaus, American sportsperson who is considered the greatest golfer of all time
51953Paul Allen, American investor, businessman and philanthropist who is known for co-founding the tech giant Microsoft Corporation with childhood friend Bill Gates
61963Hakeem Olajuwon, Nigerian-American former professional basketball player who is regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport and NBA
71986Sushant Singh Rajput, Indian film and television actor who became famous for his humble beginnings and incredible performances in films like M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and Kai Po Che