On this day: June 21

Published On: Jun 20 2013 02:10:40 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 21 2016 01:00:00 AM CDT

The first Ferris Wheel opens in Chicago, Lou Gehrig retires, Johnny Cash releases his first single, the WNBA begins play, and a TV icon and a blues legend both die, all on this day.

OTD June 21 - John Smith
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1631: English soldier and explorer John Smith, who played an important part in the establishment of the first permanent English settlement in North America, dies at the age of 51 in London, England. Smith is most famously linked to Pocahontas, the daughter of the chief of the Powhatans, who he said shielded him from execution by her father. However, many historians have questioned Smith's story, seeing it as either an exaggeration or a misunderstanding on the explorer's part. Smith, who was the leader of the Virginia Colony between September 1608 and August 1609, led explorations along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay and was key in supporting the English colonization of the New World.

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