Sunday 21 December 2014, 10:38:28
21 December 1521
: Spanish navigator Juan Sebastián Elcano, having reached South East Asia via the Pacific Ocean under Ferdinand Magellan and taken over command after his death in the Philippines, sets sail to return home from the Spice Islands with two ships laden with spices, deciding to continue west via the Indian Ocean and to make the first circumnavigation of the globe.
21 December 1776
: The English Royal Colony of North Carolina, established in 1729 from the Province of North Carolina founded in 1660, is reorganized into the State of North Carolina.
21 December 1908
: Cairo University is founded as a center of secular learning.
21 December 1913
: The first crossword puzzle appears in the New York World
21 December 1918
: Kurt Waldheim, Austrian politician, fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, is born in Vienna.
21 December 1937
: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, the first animated film by Walt Disney, premieres at the Hollywood Carthay Circle Theatre, going on to be named the greatest animated film of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008.
21 December 1941
: Thailand signs an alliance with warring Japan.
21 December 1968
: At 12:51 UTC Apollo 8 takes off to escape Earth's gravity and bring three American astronauts to the far side of the moon and back ahead of a possible landing mission.
21 December 1988
: In a terror attack later claimed by Libia, Pan Am Flight 103 explodes in mid-air, killing all 259 on board as well as 11 people on the ground when the debris comes down in the populated area of Lockerbie, Scotland.
21 December 2012
: The 13th baktun cycle of the Maya Long Count calendar ends, with the 14th beginning on the 23rd.