Born on May 21

1173 Shinran a Japanese Buddhist monk, who was born in Hino at the turbulent close of the Heian Period and lived during the Kamakura Period. Shinran was a pupil of Hōnen, and the founder of what ultimately became the Jōdo Shinshū sect, in Japan
1471 Albrecht Dürer a German painter, engraver, printmaker, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His high-quality woodcuts established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since. His vast body of work includes altarpieces, religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. The woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series , retain a more Gothic flavour than the rest of his work. His well-known prints include the Knight, Death, and the Devil , Saint Jerome in his Study and Melencolia I , which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolours also mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium
1527 Philip II of Spain King of Spain from 1556 and of Portugal from 1581. From 1554 he was King of Naples and Sicily as well as Duke of Milan. During his marriage to Queen Mary I , he was also King Consort of England and Ireland. From 1555, he was lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands. Known in Spanish as "Philip the Prudent" , his empire included territories on every continent then known to Europeans, including his namesake the Philippine Islands. During his reign, Spain reached the height of its influence and power. This is sometimes called the Golden Age. The expression "The empire on which the sun never sets" was coined during Philip's time to reflect the extent of his possessions
1554 Juan de Saavedra a Spanish conquistador in Peru and Chile, and the discoverer of the site of Valparaíso, Chile.
1653 Eleanor of Austria Queen of Poland Josefa of Austria was, by her two marriages, Queen of Poland and Duchess of Lorraine.
1688 Alexander Pope an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer. Famous for his use of the heroic couplet, he is the third-most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, after Shakespeare and Tennyson
1721 Pieter Cramer a wealthy Dutch merchant in linen and Spanish wool, remembered as an entomologist. Cramer was the director of the Zealand Society, a scientific society located in Flushing, and a member of Concordia et Libertate, based in Amsterdam. This literary and patriotic society, where Cramer gave lectures on minerals, commissioned and/or financed the publishing of his book De uitlandsche Kapellen, on foreign butterflies, occurring in three parts of the world Asia, Africa and America
1736 Elżbieta Czartoryska (1736–1816) a Polish noblewoman.
1743 Manuel de Bernardo Álvarez del Casal an influential Criollo figure in New Granada at the time of the independence movement. He occupied several important positions in the rebel government. He was also the uncle of Antonio Nariño, forerunner of independence. He served as president of the rebel State of Cundinamarca in 1814
1744 Victor Amadeus of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym a German prince of the House of Ascania from the Anhalt-Bernburg branch through the sub-branch of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym and a Russian General under the service of Empress Catherine II the Great.
1755 Alfred Moore a North Carolina judge who became a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Moore Square, a park located in the Moore Square Historic District in Raleigh, North Carolina was named in his honor. Moore County, established in 1784, also in the state of North Carolina, is named in his honor. Moore was buried at the Philip's Church near Wilmington
1759 Joseph Fouché often translated as Duke of Otranto.
1767 Étienne-Denis Pasquier a French statesman. In 1842, he was elected a member of the Académie française, and in the same year was created a duke by Louis-Philippe
1775 Lucien Bonaparte the third surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino.
1780 Elizabeth Fry an English prison reformer, social reformer and, as a Quaker, a Christian philanthropist. She has sometimes been referred to as the "angel of prisons"
1784 Ernst Raupach a German dramatist.
1785 August Immanuel Bekker a German philologist and critic.
1786 Karl Friedrich von Klöden a German educator, historian, and geographer.
1790 William Cavendish 6th Duke of Devonshire a British peer, courtier and Whig politician. Known as the "Bachelor Duke", he was Lord Chamberlain of the Household between 1827 and 1828 and again between 1830 and 1834
1792 Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis a French mathematician, mechanical engineer and scientist. He is best known for his work on the supplementary forces that are detected in a rotating frame of reference. See the Coriolis Effect. Coriolis was the first to coin the term "work" for the transfer of energy by a force acting through a distance
1793 Charles Paul de Kock a French novelist.
1799 Mary Anning a British fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Her work contributed to fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth
1801 Princess Sophie of Sweden a Swedish princess and a consort Grand Duchess of Baden.
1808 Lavrenty Zagoskin a Russian naval officer and explorer of Alaska.
1810 Gustaw Gizewiusz a Polish political figure, folklorist, and translator. He was married to a Mazur Polish woman, who encouraged him to become a political figure. From 1835 he was also an Evangelical-Lutheran pastor in Ostróda
1810 Baron Ignaz von Plener an Austrian statesman. He served as the 3rd Minister-President of Cisleithania
1816 Stephen Allen Benson served as the 2nd President of Liberia from 1856 to 1864. Prior to that, he served as the 3rd Vice President of Liberia from 1854 to 1856 under President Joseph Jenkins Roberts
1817 Hermann Lotze a German philosopher and logician. He also had a medical degree and was unusually well versed in biology. He argued that if the physical world is governed by mechanical laws, relations and developments in the universe could be explained as the functioning of a world mind. His medical studies were pioneering works in scientific psychology
1820 Michel Lentz a Luxembourgish poet. He is best known for having written Ons Hémécht, the national anthem of Luxembourg
1820 Nikolay Girs a Russian Foreign Minister during the reign of Alexander III. He was one of the architects of the Franco-Russian Alliance, which was later transformed into the Triple Entente
1821 Franz Leydig a German zoologist and comparative anatomist.
1827 William P. Sprague a businessman, banker, politician, and a two-term U.S. Representative from Ohio
1827 Konstantin Pobedonostsev a Russian jurist, statesman, and adviser to three Tsars. He is usually regarded as a prime representative of reactionary views and was the "éminence grise" of imperial politics during the reign of Alexander III of Russia, holding the position of the Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod, the highest position of the supervision of the Russian Orthodox Church by the state
1828 Rudolf Koller a Swiss painter. He is associated with a realist and classicist style, and also with the essentially romantic Düsseldorf school of painting. Koller's style is similar to that of the realist painters Gustave Courbet and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Considered Switzerland's finest animal painter, Koller is rated alongside George Stubbs, Rosa Bonheur and Théodore Géricault. While his reputation was based on his paintings of animals, he was a sensitive and innovative artist whose well-composed works in the "plein air" tradition, including Swiss mountain landscapes, are just as finely executed
1832 Hudson Taylor a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission. Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces
1832 Elizabeth Storrs Mead an American educator who was the 10th President of Mount Holyoke College from 1890 - 1900. She taught at Oberlin College before becoming President
1835 František Chvostek an Czech-Austrian military physician. He is most notable for having described Chvostek's sign which he described in 1876
1837 Itagaki Taisuke a Japanese politician and leader of the Freedom and People's Rights Movement , which evolved into Japan's first political party. His image is on Japan's 1953 100 Yen banknote
1839 Mary of the Passion a French Religious Sister and missionary, who founded the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in British India in 1877, currently one of the largest religious institutes in the Catholic Church.
1843 Charles Albert Gobat a Swiss lawyer, educational administrator, and politician who jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with Élie Ducommun in 1902 for their leadership of the Permanent International Peace Bureau.
1843 Louis Renault (jurist) a French jurist and educator, the cowinner in 1907 of the Nobel Prize for Peace.
1844 Henri Rousseau a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier , a humorous description of his occupation as a toll collector. Ridiculed during his lifetime, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality
1846 Luc-Olivier Merson a French academic painter and illustrator also known for his postage stamp and currency designs.
1849 Édouard-Henri Avril a French painter and commercial artist. Under the pseudonym Paul Avril, he was an illustrator of erotic literature
1851 Léon Bourgeois a French statesman. His ideas influenced the Radical Party regarding a wide range of issues. He promoted progressive taxation such as progressive income taxes and social insurance schemes, along with economic equality, expanded educational opportunities, and cooperatives. In foreign policy, he called for a strong League of Nations, and the maintenance of peace through compulsory arbitration, controlled disarmament, economic sanctions, and perhaps an international military force
1853 Jacques Marie Eugène Godefroy Cavaignac born in Paris. He was the son of Louis Eugène Cavaignac. He made public profession of his republican principles as a schoolboy at the Lycée Charlemagne by refusing in 1867 to receive a prize at the Sorbonne from the hand of the prince imperial
1853 Heinrich Lammasch an Austrian jurist. He was a professor of criminal and international law, a member of the Hague Arbitration Tribunal, and served as the last Minister-President of Austria for a few weeks in October and November 1918. He was the first and only non-noble to serve as Minister-President in the Austrian half of the Habsburg monarchy
1855 Emile Verhaeren a Belgian poet who wrote in the French language, and one of the chief founders of the school of Symbolism.
1856 José Batlle y Ordóñez the president of Uruguay in 1899 and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics. He was also the uncle of another Uruguayan president, Luis Batlle Berres and the great-uncle of the ex-president, Jorge Batlle
1857 Frederick of Hohenau a German nobleman.