On This Day in History, August 21

In 1831, the three-day revolt of slaves known as Nat Turner’s Rebellion begins in Southampton County, Virginia. In the initial uprising, the rebelling slaves killed somewhere from 55 to 65 people, including at least 50 whites. Following the suppression of the rebellion, at least 120 black people were killed, either by militias or state executions. Anti-literacy laws were placed into effect shortly afterwards.

In 1911, artist and thief Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and kept it in his possession for two years. He supposedly entered with other workers, waited until the area where the Mona Lisa was stored to be empty, and walked out with it hidden. He would turn himself over following his return to Italy after the theft.

In 1982, a multinational force of troops arrived in Lebanon to ensure the evacuation of Syrian troops and PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) fighters from Beirut. The troops involved came from the United States, France, and Italy, and were one of a few peacekeeping forces involved with the decade and half long Lebanese Civil War.

A Notable Birth

1963 – Mohammed VI is the current King of Morocco, having ascended to his throne upon the death of his father in 1999. As king, he has sought to fight corruption and poverty in his country, along with promises to pursue reforms concerning human rights and their abuses during his father’s reign. He is turning 57.

A Notable Death

1940 – Leon Trotsky (b. 1879 as Lev Bronstein) was a Russian revolutionary who, despite his multiple exiles and emigrations out of Russia, would be a key figure in the October Revolution, which brought the Bolsheviks to power, and the ensuing civil war. The rise of Stalin following Lenin’s death forced him to flee the country, and he would later be assassinated.

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