November 21 is the 325th day of the year (326th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 40 days remaining.
- 235 - Anterus is elected Pope.
- 1783 - In Paris, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, the marquis d'Arlandes, make the first untethered hot air balloon flight (flight time: 25 minutes, Maximum height: 5½ miles).
- 1789 - North Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution and is admitted as the 12th U.S. state.
- 1861 - American Civil War: Confederate President Jefferson Davis appoints Judah Benjamin secretary of war.
- 1877 - Thomas Edison announces his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record sound (this is considered to be Edison's first great invention).
- 1922 - Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia takes the oath of office, becoming the first woman United States Senator.
- 1927 - Columbine Mine Massacre: 500 striking coal miners, some with their families, were attacked with machine guns by a detachment of state police dressed in civilian clothes
- 1941 - The radio program King Biscuit Time is broadcast for the first time (it would later become the longest running daily radio broadcast in history and the most famous live blues radio program).
- 1942 - The completion of the Alaska Highway (also known as the Alcan Highway) is celebrated (the "highway" was not usable by general vehicles until 1943, however).
- 1953 - Authorities at the British Natural History Museum announce that the skull of the "Piltdown Man", held to be one of the most famous fossil skulls in the world, was a hoax.
- 1962 - The Chinese People's Liberation Army declared a unilateral cease-fire in the Sino-Indian War.
- 1964 - The Verrazano Narrows Bridge opens to traffic (at the time it was the world's longest suspension bridge).
- 1964 - Second Vatican Council: The third period of the Catholic Church's ecumenical council closes.
- 1967 - Vietnam War: American General William Westmoreland tells news reporters: "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing."
- 1969 - The first ARPANET link is established.
- 1969 - US President Richard Nixon and Japanese Premier Eisaku Sato agree in Washington, DC on the return of Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972. Under terms of the agreement, the US is to retain its rights to bases on the island, but these are to be nuclear-free.
- 1970 - Vietnam War: Operation Ivory Coast - A joint Air Force and Army team raids the Son Tay prison camp in an attempt to free American POWs thought to be held there (there were zero Americans killed, but the prisoners had already moved to another camp; All US POWs were moved to a handful of central prison complexes as a result of this raid).
- 1974 - The Birmingham Pub Bombings by the IRA killed 21 people. The Birmingham Six were sentenced to life in prison for this and subsequently acquitted.
- 1974 - George W. Bush is discharged from the US Air Force Reserve.
- 1979 - The United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is attacked by a mob and set afire, killing four. (see: Foreign relations of Pakistan)
- 1980 - A fire at the MGM Grand Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada kills 87 people.
- 1985 - United States Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard is arrested for spying (he was caught giving Israel classified information on Arab nations and was eventually sentenced to life in prison).
- 1986 - Iran-Contra Affair: National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary start to shred documents implicating them in the sale of weapons to Iran and channeling the proceeds to help fund the Contras rebels in Nicaragua.
- 1995 - Toy Story is released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.
- 1995 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 5,000 (5,023.55) for the first time.
- 2002 - NATO invites Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.
- 2004 - The Nintendo DS is released in North America.
- 1694 - François-Marie Arouet (later know as Voltaire), French philosopher (d. 1778)
- 1761 - Dorothy Jordan, British actress and royal mistress (d. 1816)
- 1768 - Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, theologian, philosopher (d. 1834)
- 1787 - Samuel Cunard, shipping magnate (d. 1865)
- 1835 - Hetty Green, American businesswoman (d. 1916)
- 1854 - Pope Benedict XV (d. 1922)
- 1860 - Tom Horn, murderer-for-hire, Tom Horn (http://www.tom-horn.com)
- 1870 - Sigfrid Edström, Swedish sports official
- 1878 - Gustav Radbruch, German law professor (d. 1949)
- 1882 - Paul Niehans, physicist (d.1971)
- 1898 - René Magritte, Belgian painter (d. 1967)
- 1902 - Foster Hewitt, Canadian radio pioneer (d. 1985)
- 1904 - Coleman Hawkins, jazz musician (d. 1969)
- 1912 - Eleanor Powell, actress, dancer (d. 1983)
- 1916 - Sid Luckman, American football player (d. 1998)
- 1920 - Ralph Meeker, actor (d. 1988)
- 1920 - Stan Musial, Baseball Hall of Famer
- 1921 - Vivian Blaine, actress (d. 1995)
- 1922 - María Casarès, actress (d. 1996)
- 1931 - Malcolm Williamson, composer (d. 2003)
- 1933 - Joseph Campanella, actor
- 1936 - Dr. Victor Chang, Australian doctor, heart transplantation pioneer
- 1938 - Marlo Thomas, actress
- 1939 - Mulayam Singh Yadav, politician, India
- 1940 - Dr. John, musician
- 1941 - Juliet Mills, actress
- 1944 - Harold Ramis, actor, comedian, screenwriter, director, producer
- 1944 - Earl Monroe, basketball player
- 1945 - Goldie Hawn, actress
- 1950 - Alberto Juantorena, Cuban athlete
- 1952 - Deborah Shelton, actress
- 1962 - Steven Curtis Chapman, contemporary Christian music star
- 1965 - Björk, singer, songwriter, actress
- 1965 - Alexander Siddig, actor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- 1966 - Troy Aikman, American football star
- 1969 - Ken Griffey, Jr., baseball player
- 1973 - Brooke Kerr, actress
- 1980 - Hank Blalock, baseball player
- 1984 - Jena Malone, actress
- 496 - Pope Gelasius I
- 1361 - Philip of Rouvres, Duke of Burgundy, from the plague
- 1555 - Georg Agricola, German scientist
- 1695 - Henry Purcell, composer
- 1811 - Heinrich von Kleist, writer
- 1899 - Garret Hobart, Vice President of the United States
- 1916 - Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria
- 1937 - Howard Coffin, co-founder of the Hudson Motor Company
- 1945 - Robert Benchley, writer, actor
- 1953 - Larry Shields, jazz musician (b. 1893)
- 1959 - Max Baer, boxer
- 1974 - John B. Gambling, radio talk-show host
- 1988 - Carl Hubbell, baseball star
- 1993 - Bill Bixby, American actor, director
- 1995 - Noel Jones, British diplomat
- 1999 - Quentin Crisp, writer, satirist, actor
- 2002 - Günter Müggenburg, journalist
Holidays and observances
November 20 - November 22 - October 21 - December 21 -- listing of all days
ca:21 de novembre
es:21 de noviembre
eo:21-a de novembro
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