100 Years Ago: Major 1921 Events Mapped

2020 was an eventful year. The novel coronavirus, unprecedented wildfires, and the largest protests in history peppered the news throughout the span of just 366 days. Take a break from the events of this century to instead look back at the major events 100 years in the past.

In 1921, the world experienced innovations in health, science, and education, including the first vaccination against tuberculosis. Major events in sports included Harvard University’s loss to Centre College in American football. For decades afterward, this was called “football’s upset of the century.” Yet the world also faced repercussions of the First World War (the Leipzig War Crimes Trials began in Germany) along with other wars like the Irish War of Independence, revolutions, uprisings, riots, and strikes. Take a look at these events on the map below.

View Major 1921 Events in a full screen map

Data from Wikipedia was used to make the map, which you can group by 1921 event categories, such as “Health, Science, & Education.” To learn more about each of the nine categories, read on.

Health, Science, & Education

One hundred years ago, an infectious disease was spreading. Nope, not the Spanish flu, which had raged in 1918-1920. During the same period, tuberculosis (TB) caused one in six French deaths by 1918. But in 1921, a Paris newborn received the first BCG vaccination against tuberculosis. However, the vaccine was only widely used in the U.S., Britain, and Germany after the Second World War. Additional events include:

  • Insulin was first discovered by researchers at the University of Toronto
  • The first birth control clinic opened in the British Empire
  • The U.S.’s Science Service (renamed Society for Science & the Public) was founded to keep the public informed of scientific developments
  • Teaching began at the University of Szeged in the Kingdom of Hungary
  • Visva-Bharati College was founded

But the creation of a TB vaccine, birth control clinics, and various colleges and universities weren’t the only noteworthy accomplishments of the year. There were also many firsts in sports.

Sports in 1921

Most of 1921’s major events in the sporting world were related to the U.S.’s incorporation of the radio. For example, the first radio baseball game was broadcast in Pittsburgh along with the first radio broadcast of a World Series game in Newark, New Jersey.

International athletic achievements from the year included the creation of the Association football club Cruzeiro Esporte Clube in Brazil and the Australia national cricket team’s whitewash (also known as a sweep, or when a team wins all games) in The Ashes, something that would not be repeated for 86 years. Additionally, the 1921 Women’s Olympiad (the first international women’s sports event) began in Monte Carlo.

Now let’s examine the political landscape of the year.

1921: A Post-War World

This year was part of the post-World War I era. While the war officially ended from 1914 until November 1918, the effects lasted for years afterward. The key Post-WWI events of 1921 included:

  • The Italian battleship Leonardo da Vinci, which sunk in 1916, was raised via pontoons and compressed air in Taranto Harbour
  • Allies take three German cities (Düsseldorf, Ruhrort, and Duisburg)
  • The Allied reparations commission declares Germany and other Central Powers will owe 2.5 billion gold marks per year in World War I reparations, totaling 32 billion ($33 trillion)
  • The Leipzig War Crimes Trials prosecuted 12 German war criminals
  • The U.S. officially ends its war with Germany, Austria, and Hungary after President Harding signs a resolution
  • The Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the Soviet Socialist Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia sign the Treaty of Kars, which establishes boundaries
  • Germany faces hyperinflation. Previously, in April 1919, 12 German marks bought $1 but now it takes more than 20x that amount (263 marks)

Note that most of these events were tied to Germany: Allied occupation of German cities, War Crimes Trials, hyperinflation, and the specifics of World War I reparations from London. As Britain laid down Germany’s repayment plan, they were in the midst of another war.

Other Wars, Revolutions, Riots, & Strikes

Britain’s other war was the Irish War of Independence, which had been ongoing since 1919. But in 1921, a ceasefire was called in July. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed in December of the same year, ending British rule in most of Ireland. View the rest of the revolutions, riots, and strikes of 1921 by grouping by the category on the map.

The burning of Cork by British forces

Get More From Your Map With Grouping

We’re always on the lookout for more: more sleep, dessert seconds, etc. How about more information about the data you already have? When you’re looking to map your data, you often find yourself with more than just location information. With our free mapping tool, you can map your spreadsheet with the option to group together any remaining data.

You and your map’s users will be able to select only the markers that meet certain requirements, filtering out the rest. Groups can be combined to zero in on very specific results, giving you insight into the story behind the map. Learn more about map grouping and be sure to check out our previous 100 years later posts: 100 years since 1917, 1918, 1919, and 1920.