This Day In History : October 21

2019 United Arab Emirates

World's Oldest Natural Pearl, 8,000 Years Old, Discovered at Marawah Island, UAE

Archaeologists announced the discovery of the world's oldest natural pearl, estimated to be around 8,000 years old, during excavations at Marawah Island, near Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The pearl was found in layers dating back to the Neolithic period, showcasing the ancient trade and cultural connections of the region.

Also on This Day in History October 21

Discover what happened on October 21 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, October 21
  • 1950 Ronald E. McNair

    Ronald E(rwin) McNair was an American physicist and astronaut who was the second African American to fly in space.

  • 1833 Alfred Bernhard Nobel

    Swedish chemist and inventor who invented dynamite and other, more powerful explosives.

  • 1914 Samuel W. Alderson

    American physicist and engineer who invented the crash-test dummy used to test the safety of cars, parachutes and other devices.

  • 1823 Enrico Betti

    Italian mathematician who is noted for his contributions to algebra and topology.

  • 1785 Henry Miller Shreve

    American steamboat designer and builder who helped develop the commercial potential of the inland waterways of the Mississippi River system.

Deaths on This Day, October 21
  • 1862 Benjamin Collins Brodie

    (1st Baronet) British physiologist and surgeon whose name is applied to certain diseases of the bones and joints.

  • 1872 Jacques Babinet

    French physicist who was the first to proposed the definition of the unit of length in terms of the wavelength of a spectral line.

  • 2002 Jesse L. Greenstein

    Jesse Leonard Greenstein was an American astronomer who co-discovered quasars.

  • 1967 Ejnar Hertzsprung

    Danish astronomer who classified types of stars by relating their surface temperature (or colour) to their absolute brightness.

  • 1896 James Henry Greathead

    English civil engineer, who improved tunneling shield methods which he applied during construction of the London Underground.



In 1915, the first experimental transatlantic radiotelephone speech communication was made.

Lightbulb demonstration

In 1879, Thomas A. Edison successfully demonstrated the first durable and commercially practical electric light bulb at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Provisional Government of Free India Declared by Subhas Chandra Bose

On October 21, 1943, Subhas Chandra Bose, leader of the Indian National Army (INA), declared the establishment of the Provisional Government of Free India in Singapore. This government aimed to rally Indians in Southeast Asia against British colonial rule and played a significant role in India's struggle for independence.

The USS Constitution is launched in Boston

On October 21, 1797, the USS Constitution, a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy, was launched at Edmund Hartt's shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts. It became one of the most famous ships in American naval history, known for its victories during the War of 1812 and its continued service as a symbol of the U.S. Navy's heritage.
Special day
Discover invention