Today in History, 21 August: What Happened on this Day

The Gregorian calendar designates August 21 as the 233rd day of the year, with a slight alteration in leap years, making it the 234th day.

A canvas of significance, this day has witnessed the unfolding of remarkable events and the birth of notable personalities across the globe. Join us as we delve into a collection of momentous occurrences and the birthdays of celebrated individuals on this notable date.

On This Day In Day

1911 – The Theft of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

On this very day in 1911, a daring heist unfolded at the Louvre as Leonardo da Vinci’s renowned masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, was stolen by a trio of Italian handymen. The theft plunged the art world into a frenzy, and the painting remained missing until 1913. This audacious act of art theft propelled the Mona Lisa into the realm of global fame, solidifying its status as one of the most celebrated paintings in the world.


1931 – The Passing of Vishnu Digambar Paluskar

In the annals of Hindustani classical music, this day marked the departure of the legendary Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. A luminary in his field, Paluskar’s profound contributions enriched Indian music. Revered for his role in elevating the stature of musicians and music within Indian society, he also stood as an accomplished music guru and a vocalist with unparalleled mastery, his voice resonating with unmatched devotion.


1959 – Hawaii Joins the Union as the 50th U.S. State

A significant page was added to American history on August 21, 1959, when Hawaii officially became the 50th state of the United States. This unique state, comprised entirely of islands, boasts a geological tapestry formed by ancient volcanoes, some of which still rumble with activity. Hawaii’s narrative extends far beyond its statehood, dating back to its volcanic origins.

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1972 – Enactment of the Wildlife Protection Act

A pivotal moment in the realm of conservation occurred in 1972 with the passing of the Wildlife Protection Act. Championed by former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, this legislative milestone marked a resounding prohibition on the hunting and trading of wild animals. This act emerged as a formidable safeguard for endangered species and ecosystems, underscoring its enduring impact.


1986 – The Birth of Sprinting Legend Usain Bolt

On this day in 1986, Usain Bolt was born. Dominating the track with unmatched speed, Bolt’s legacy is defined by his triumphant feats in consecutive Olympic Games, clinching gold in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. The world unanimously regards him as the ultimate sprinting icon.


1987 – The Arrival of Sana Khan

August 21, 1987, marked the birth of Sana Khan, hailing from a Muslim Pashtun heritage in Mumbai, India. Her birth carried with it the promise of a life that would later make waves in the entertainment realm.


1988 – Indo-Nepal Border Earthquake Claims a Thousand Lives

A seismic catastrophe struck the Indo-Nepal border in 1988, claiming a tragic toll of one thousand lives. This powerful earthquake left a stark reminder of the Earth’s relentless forces and the vulnerabilities of communities in its wake.


1991 – Latvia’s Triumph of Independence

Breaking free from the clutches of the Soviet Union, Latvia celebrated its complete independence in 1991. After enduring the tumultuous aftermath of World War II, the nation embarked on a peaceful revolution known as the Singing Revolution, a path that eventually led to their cherished freedom.

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1995 – The Passing of Astrophysicist Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar

In 1995 on this day, the world bid farewell to Subrahmanyam Chandrasekhar, an illustrious astrophysicist, and recipient of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics. Hailing from Chennai’s Presidency College, Chandrasekhar’s scholarly pursuits echoed the brilliance of his uncle, Nobel laureate Sir CV Raman, as he ventured to the United States to contribute to the scientific frontier.


2006 – The Legacy of Ustad Bismillah Khan Lives On

Today in history on 21 August 2006 Indians witnessed the departure of Ustad Bismillah Khan, a shehnai virtuoso who earned the esteemed ‘Bharat Ratna.’ His melodies graced the global stage, highlighted by accolades like the ‘Rostom Prize’ at the 1969 Asian Music Conference, fostering an international recognition of the shehnai.


2008 – Reconnecting Srinagar and Muzaffarabad

In 2008, on this day, the Karwan-e-Aman bus service resumed, connecting Srinagar with Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. This step toward fostering communication held the promise of greater regional understanding.


2008 – India’s Lunar Ambitions Take Flight with NASA

The year 2008 saw India embarking on a lunar journey alongside NASA. Through a mission encompassing a lunar orbiter and impactor, India showcased its space capabilities with the launch of the spacecraft from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh.


2009 – Tragedy Strikes the Indian Navy

In 2009, a somber incident unfolded as an Indian Navy fighter aircraft, the ‘Sea Harrier,’ crashed into the Arabian Sea after taking off from Goa. The loss of Commander Saurabh Saxena underscored the risks undertaken by those who serve their nation from the skies.

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