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What Happened on April 21?

  • Henry VIII became the king of England. (1509) Henry VIII was an incredibly influential ruler, and oversaw the Anglican church's split with the Catholic church in the 1500s. He is best known for having six wives, one of whom produced his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, who was extremely influential in her own right.

  • Rome is said to have been founded. (753 BC) This day is the traditional date of the mythical founding of Rome by two brothers, Romulus and Remus. The brothers founded the city on the site where they had been reared by a she-wolf, and became involved in a quarrel over border lines, leading Romulus to kill Remus.

  • Student protests began in Tiananmen Square. (1989) Tensions began brewing for several days between student protesters and Chinese authorities in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, over the authoritarian nature of Chinese government and the deposition of a liberal leader. The conflict would eventually escalate into the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 3.

  • The Hutt River Province seceded from Australia. (1970) The Hutt River Province is a micronation, a tiny nation unrecognized by most countries. The members of the Hutt River Province — which originally only consisted of one family — seceded from Australia because of what they considered excessive wheat taxes, and as of 2011, remained independent.

  • Maryland declared freedom of religion for all Christians. (1649) The Maryland Toleration Act was the second law on religious toleration in the colonies, and allowed free worship for any kind of Christian denomination as long as they acknowledged the divinity of Christ. The law is also considered the first legislation on hate speech in the world.

  • The movie projector was first demonstrated in the US. (1895) Woodville Latham and his sons Otway and Gray demonstrated the Panopticon, the first movie projector developed in the US, to a crowd in New York City.

  • The Red Baron was killed in action. (1918) Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron, was an infamous flying ace in World War I. He downed 80 aircraft during the war and broke the flying ace records of both the German and Allied armies.

  • The first World Fair since WWII took place in the US. (1962) The Seattle World's Fair, also known as the Century 21 Exposition, was the first to take place in the US since before World War II. Around 10 million people attended, and the famous Space Needle was constructed as one of the exhibits.

  • The existence of extrasolar planets was announced. (1992) Alexander Wolszczan announced on this day that there were planets outside of our solar system. His discovery put a spotlight on extrasolar planets, and more than 500 were discovered within the next 20 years.

  • The Battle of San Jacinto took place. (1836) Sam Houston led the Texas militia in a surprise attack on the famous Mexican General Santa Anna, and completely routed the Mexican troops, taking Santa Anna prisoner. It was a huge victory for the Texans, which had previously been defeated by Santa Anna almost continually.

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