Today In History, 21 December: What Happened On This Day

What happened today in history (21 December): the birth of Man Singh, Jane Fonda, and Govinda, Discovery of radium, Gangnam Style crossed 1 billion YouTube views, and more.
This day in history (21 Dec): Discovery of radium and the Birth of Govinda
This day in history (21 Dec): Discovery of radium and the Birth of Govinda

Today in History: Christmas is around the corner and the entire world is gearing up to celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm and welcome another fateful year.

Today is 21 December. While it doesn’t evoke any special memories and appears to be a mundane, winter day on the surface, December 21 holds a key place in world history. Many important events took place on this day (21 Dec).

From the birth of two veteran Hollywood stars and a renowned Mughal noble, the premiere of the first colour animated movie and the discovery of radium to the first manned mission to the Moon, December 21 is a pivotal day in history.

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

Historical Events on This day

  • In 1845, the Battle of Firoz Shah took place between the British and Sikh forces during the First Anglo-Sikh War. The British forces led by Governor-General Sir Henry Hardinge and Sir Hugh Gough emerged victorious.
  • In 1898, Polish-French scientists and couple Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive element radium.
  • In 1913, the New York World published the first modern crossword puzzle created by Arthur Wynne.
  • In 1968, Apollo 8, NASA’s and the world’s first attempt at taking humans to the moon was launched.
  • In 1988, the deadliest terrorist attack in British history happened in Lockerbie, Scotland. Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up mid-air by Libyan terrorists, killing 259 passengers on board.

Sports Events Today

  • In 1891, the first game of basketball, based on rules created by James Naismith, was played by 18 students in Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • In 1999, Barcelona and Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo won the Ballon d’Or and was named the best footballer in Europe ahead of Manchester United midfielder David Beckham.

Art and Culture Events Today

  • In 1937, the first colour animated film with sound, Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered.
  • In 2012, the music video of South Korean rapper Psy’s hit song Gangnam Style, became the first YouTube video to cross a billion views.
  • In 2016, the Indian sports biopic Dangal, starring megastar Aamir Khan, premiered. The film grossed over $300 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of all time.

Notable Deaths On This Day

Sr No

Death Year




F. Scott Fitzgerald, American short-story writer and novelist known for writing The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button



U.S. General George Patton, one of the most famous military commanders during World War II



Stella Adler, American actress and acting coach who wrote the best selling book The Art of Acting



Bruce McCandless II, US Astronaut who conducted the first untethered spacewalk in 1984

Famous Birthdays On This Day

Sr No

Birth Year




Man Singh, a Rajput ruler who was the most powerful and trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar



Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman and novelist who twice served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.



Jane Fonda, veteran American actress known for starring in the iconic films Klute and Comig Home



Frank Zappa, American musician, composer and satirist known for his versatility, improvised music and satirizingthe American culture



Samuel L. Jackson, veteran American actor renowned for his versatility and starring in iconic films like Pulp Fiction, The Avengers and Coach Carter



Ray Romano, American comedian and actor best known for his iconic roles in the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and the Ice Age series



Govinda, Indian actor known for his comedic timing and dance moves who delivered superhit Bollywood films in the 1990s like Coolie No. 1 and Raja Babu



Kiefer Sutherland, British-Canadian actor who rose to prominence playing bullies in ‘80s movies and later starring in the Fox drama series 24 as Jack Bauer

Also Read | Today in History (20 December)

Also Read | Today in History (19 December)

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