On this day: First Atlantic solo flight

On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic in his plane, Spirit of St Louis. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1927, Charles Lindbergh became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic in his plane, Spirit of St Louis. Picture: Getty
Share this article
Have your say

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 21 May

1840: New Zealand was declared a colony of Britain.

1884: The Statue of Liberty was finished, work having been begun by Auguste Bartholdi in about 1874 in Paris.

1894: The 35-mile Manchester Ship Canal was formally opened by Queen Victoria.

1904: The football federation Fifa was founded in Paris to improve international control of the game.

1916: Daylight saving, advocated by William Willett, was introduced in Britain.

1927: Charles “Lucky” Lindbergh, United States airmail pilot, became the first to fly the Atlantic solo from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York to Le Bourget airfield, Paris, in 33 hours in a single-engined monoplane Spirit of St Louis, to win a prize of $25,000. Because of the weight of fuel he had no parachute, wireless, or window panes.

1944: Allied forces broke through Hitler Line in Italy.

1965: Colombia’s government decreed nationwide state of siege following widespread student disorders.

1967: Department store fire in Brussels killed 332.

1966: Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) beat Henry Cooper to retain world heavyweight boxing title.

1974: Thailand government resigned seven months after being swept into power by student rebellion that overthrew military regime.

1982: British troops landed at Port San Carlos on Argentine-held Falkland Islands. .

1984: In Bombay, troops fought thousands of rioters in Hindu-Muslim violence that claimed 108 lives.

1990: Three gunmen killed top Islamic religious leader in Kashmir and police opened fire on mourners, killing 59.

1995: Iran indicated that the six-year “death sentence” on author Salman Rushdie could be lifted.

1998: In Miami, Florida, five abortion clinics were hit by a butyric acid attacker.

2003: An earthquake hit northern Algeria, killing more than 2,000 people.

2006: The Republic of Montenegro held a referendum proposing independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.


Mark Cavendish, MBE, Olympic cyclist, 29; Tom Daley, Olympic diver, 20; Mutya Buena, singer (Sugababes), 29; Nick Cassavetes, actor, 55; Noel Fielding, comedian and actor, 41; Will Hutton, writer and journalist, 64; Andrew Neil, editor, Sunday Times 1983-94, and broadcaster, 65; Rosalind Plowright OBE, mezzo-soprano, 65; Mary Robinson, president of Ireland 1990-7, United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights 1997-2002, 70; Leo Sayer, singer-songwriter, 66; Mr T, actor, 62;


Births: 1471 Albrecht Dürer, German artist and engraver; 1688: Alexander Pope, poet; 1780 Elizabeth Fry, philanthropist and prison reformer; 1844 Henri Rousseau, painter; 1878 Glenn Curtiss, aviation pioneer; 1904 Thomas “Fats” Waller, jazz pianist, singer, and composer; 1916 Harold Robbins, author; 1921 Andrei Sakharov, Russian physicist; 1931 Desmond Wilcox, television producer; 1935 Terry Lightfoot, jazz band leader.

Deaths: 1650: James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (hanged in Edinburgh); 1929 Lord Rosebery, Liberal prime minister; 1991 Rajiv Gandhi, Indian prime minister (assassinated); 1992 Elizabeth David, food writer; 2000 Barbara Cartland, romantic novelist; 2000 Sir John Gielgud, actor.