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21 October: On this day in history

What events happened on 21 October in history? Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the events, births and deaths…

Published: October 21, 2021 at 6:06 am
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21 October 1422

Following the death of his grandfather, Charles VI, the 10-month-old Henry VI of England became King of France according to the terms of the Treaty of Troyes. He had succeeded to the English throne two months earlier.


21 October 1449

Birth in Dublin Castle of George, Duke of Clarence, the son of Richard of York and Cecily Neville. In 1478 he was put to death in the Tower for conspiring against his brother, King Edward IV.

21 October 1600

The largely eastern Japanese forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated their western rivals at the battle of Sekigahara. It was a major step in the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate, which ruled Japan for over 250 years.

21 October 1687

Death of English poet Edmund Waller.

21 October 1861

In the second major engagement of the American Civil War, Union forces were decisively defeated at the battle of Ball's Bluff. Colonel Edward Baker, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, was killed in the debacle.


21 October 1958

Baroness Swanborough (Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading) becomes the first woman to take her seat in the House of Lords. During the Second World War she had founded the Women's Voluntary Service.

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Dominic SandbrookHistorian and presenter

Dominic Sandbrook is historian and presenter, and a regular contributor to BBC History Magazine


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