July 21 is the 202nd day (203rd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 163 days remaining.
- 1298 - Battle of Falkirk (1298): England's King, Edward Longshank, defeats William Wallace's Scottish rebels
- 1403 - Battle of Shrewsbury: England's King Henry IV defeats rebels to the north of the county town of Shropshire, England
- 1568 - Battle of Jemmingen: Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva defeats Louis of Nassau
- 1718 - Treaty of Passarowitz signed.
- 1774 - Russia and the Ottoman Empire sign the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji ending the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-74.
- 1831 - Inauguration of Leopold I of Belgium, first king of the Belgians.
- 1861 - American Civil War: First Battle of Bull Run - At Manassas Junction, Virginia , the first major battle of the war begins (Confederate victory).
- 1865 - In the market square of Springfield, Missouri, Wild Bill Hickok shoots Dave Tutt dead in what is regarded as the first true western showdown.
- 1873 - At Adair, Iowa, Jesse James and the James-Younger gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American West.
- 1877 - After rioting by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers and the deaths of 9 rail workers at the hands of the Maryland militia, workers in Pittsburgh stage a sympathy strike that is met with an assault by the state militia.
- 1903 - Roy Neuberger, American financier and art collector
- 1911 - Marshall McLuhan, Canadian author (d. 1980)
- 1920 - Isaac Stern, Ukrainian violinist (d. 2001)
- 1924 - Don Knotts, American actor
- 1925 - Anne Meacham, Broadway and television actress
- 1926 - Norman Jewison, film director
- 1932 - Ernie Warlick, American football player
- 1933 - John Gardner, American author (d. 1982)
- 1935 - Norbert Blüm, German politician
- 1938 - Janet Reno, former Attorney General of the United States
- 1941 - Martin Bandier , Chairman and CEO of EMI Music Publishing
- 1943 - Edward Herrmann, actor
- 1944 - Tony Scott, film director
- 1944 - Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator: Democrat from Minnesota (d. 2002)
- 1948 - Ed Hinton, sportswriter
- 1948 - Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam), English singer
- 1948 - Garry Trudeau, cartoonist
- 1952 - Robin Williams, American comedian
- 1957 - Jon Lovitz, comedian
- 1968 - Brandi Chastain, American soccer player
- 1968 - Lyle Odelein, ice hockey player
- 1978 - Josh Hartnett, actor
- 1979 - David Carr, American football quarterback
- 1983 - Kellen Winslow Jr., American football player
- 1985 - Jeremy P. A. Sexton , physicist
- 1938 - Owen Wister, American author (b. 1860)
- 1943 - Charlie Paddock, American athlete (b. 1900)
- 1948 - David Wark Griffith, American film director (b. 1875)
- 1967 - Jimmie Foxx, Baseball Hall of Famer (b. 1907)
- 1967 - Basil Rathbone, English actor (b. 1892)
- 1968 - Ruth St. Denis, dancer, choreographer (b. 1878)
- 1970 - Bob Kalsu, American football player (b. 1945)
- 1972 - Ralph Craig, American athlete (b. 1889)
- 1982 - Dave Garroway, American television host (b. 1913)
- 1998 - Alan Shepard, astronaut (b. 1923)
- 1998 - Robert Young, American actor (b. 1907)
Holidays and observances
July 20 - July 22 - June 21 - August 21 -- listing of all days
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