This Day in History - September 21
1949: West Germany comes into existence as US, British and French occupation zones are transferred to German control; The People's Republic of China is proclaimed by its Communist leaders.
1792: The National Convention formally abolishes the monarchy in France and declares a republic the next day.
1931: Britain goes off the gold standard.
1938: Hurricane kills more than 700 people in New England and on Long Island in the northeastern US. 1960: UN deploys 4,000 troops to Katanga to prevent the massacre of Baluba tribesmen by provincial troops and police in Congo.
1964: Malta becomes independent state within British Commonwealth.
1972: Ferdinand Marcos proclaims martial law in the Philippines and jails thousands of opponents. He stays in power till 1986.
1988: Coup leader General San Maung is named Burma's prime minister. 1993: Russian President Boris Yeltsin dissolves Parliament. Hard-line lawmakers subsequently vote to impeach him and hole up in the parliament building.
1995: Pakistan expels 13 Afghan diplomats in retaliation for a deadly attack on its embassy in Islamabad.
1996: In Bogota, Colombia, an anonymous tip leads to the discovery of nearly four kilogrammes (nearly nine pounds) of heroin on the jet President Ernesto Samper was to fly to the US. His government calls it a set-up. 1998: The first trial against Croats accused of wartime atrocities against Serb rebels opens in Croatia. The three soldiers are later acquitted.
1999: Taiwan's strongest quake in decades with a 7.6 magnitude, kills more than 2,300 people, injures 10,000 and destroying hundreds of homes.
2001: Japanese Foreign Ministry says all banks and financial institutions operating in Japan are forbidden to make transactions with companies and individuals linked to bin Laden and the Taliban without first obtaining government permission. 2003: NASA directs the unmanned space probe Galileo to plunge into the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter, destroying the craft after a 14-year mission to observe the planet and its satellites. The decision was made on the basis that craft had run out of fuel.
2004: Floodwaters recede and rescue workers reach homes buried in mud, but Tropical Storm Jeanne has killed more than 700 Haitians and left a quarter million homeless.
2005: Indonesia scrambles to calm public fears of a possible bird flu epidemic after two children suspected of having the disease die, potentially raising the death toll to six.
2006: Hundreds of Hezbollah supporters from across southern Lebanon march toward Beirut for a rally to showcase the group's insistence it will not disarm.
2007: Floods hit nations across Africa including Ghana and Togo in the west, and Sudan, Uganda, Somalia and Kenya in the central and eastern regions, killing 200 people and displacing hundreds of thousands.
2008: South African President Thabo Mbeki resigns.
2009: Iran's President, Mahmound Ahmadinejad says he is proud to stoke international outrage with his latest remarks denying the Holocaust as he heads for the UN this week.
2010: Italian authorities seize euro23 million ($30 million) from a Vatican bank account and say they have begun investigating top officials of the Vatican bank in connection with a money-laundering probe.
Girolamo Savonarola, Italian preacher and reformer (1452-1498); H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells, English author (1866-1946); Gustav Holst, British composer (1874-1934); Chuck Jones, US animator (1912-2002); Leonard Cohen, Canadian poet-singer (1934-); Stephen King, US writer (1947-); Bill Murray, actor (1950-); Luke Wilson, actor (1971-).