On This Day in History August 31

August 31 – Events:

  • 1056 – Byzantine Empress Theodora becomes ill, dying suddenly a few days later, without children to succeed the throne, ending the Macedonian dynasty.
  • 1142 – With the aid of Hiawatha and Deganawidah, The Great Peacemaker, the Iroquois tribes establish the Confederation of the Haudenosaunee.
  • 1422 – Henry VI, becomes King of England at the age of 9 months.
  • 1803 – Lewis and Clark start their expedition from Pittsburgh at 11 o clock in the morning.
  • 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta, Georgia.
  • 1876 – Ottoman sultan Murat V is deposed and succeeded by his brother Abd-ul-Hamid II.
  • 1886 – Earthquake kills 100 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 1888 – Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is the first of Jack the Ripper’s known victims.
  • 1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.
  • 1907 – Count Alexander Izvolsky and Sir Arthur Nicolson sign the St. Petersburg Convention, which results in the Triple Entente alliance.
  • 1914 – Ecuador becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  • 1915 – Brazil becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  • 1920 – Polish-Bolshevik War: A decisive Polish victory in the Battle of Komarów.
  • 1920 – First radio news program broadcast by station 8MK in Detroit, Michigan.
  • 1939 – Nazi Germany mounts a staged attack on Gleiwitz radio station, giving them an excuse to attack Poland the following day, starting World War II in Europe.
  • 1942 – In Ternopil, western Ukraine, at 4.30 am, German SS organize the first deportation of Jews from Ternopil ghetto to death camp in Belzec, about 5,000 Jews were deported to face death in Belzec. When the Germans captured Ternopil, about 18,000 Jews lived in the city.
  • 1943 – The USS Harmon, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for a black person, is commissioned.
  • 1945 – The Liberal Party of Australia is founded by Robert Menzies.
  • 1948 – Actor Robert Mitchum was arrested in a Hollywood drug raid. He would later be found guilty of criminal conspiracy to possess marijuana and was sentenced to 60 days in prison.
  • 1957 – The Federation of Malaya gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 1962 – Trinidad and Tobago become independent.
  • 1963 – Walter Cronkite began his stint as anchor of the CBS Evening News.
  • 1965 – The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy Aircraft makes its first flight.
  • 1968 – Garfield Sobers becomes the first cricketer to hit 6 sixes in one over.
  • 1978 – William and Emily Harris, founders of the Symbionese Liberation Army, plead guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst.
  • 1980 – The Gdansk Agreement is signed.
  • 1986 – Aeroméxico Flight 498 collides with a Piper PA-28 over Cerritos, California, killing 67 in the air and 15 on the ground.
  • 1986 – The Soviet passenger liner Admiral Nakhimov sinks in the Black Sea after colliding with the bulk carrier Pyotr Vasev, killing 423.
  • 1991 – Kyrgyzstan declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
  • 1992 – Pascal Lissouba is inaugurated as the President of the Republic of the Congo.
  • 1994 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army declares a ceasefire.
  • 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales dies as a result of a car crash in Paris.
  • 1998 – North Korea reportedly launches Kwangmyongsong, its first satellite.
  • 1999 – The first of a series of Russian Apartment Bombings in Moscow, killing one person and wounding 40 others.
  • 1999 – A LAPA Boeing 737-200 crashes during takeoff from Jorge Newbury Airport in Buenos Aires, killing 65, including 2 on the ground.
  • 2005 – A stampede on Al-Aaimmah bridge in Baghdad kills 1,199 people.
  • 2006 – Stolen on August 22, 2004, Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream was recovered from a raid by Norwegian police. The paintings were said to be in a better-than-expected condition.

August 31 – Birthdays:

  • 12 – Gaius Caligula, Roman Emperor (d. 41)
  • 161 – Commodus, Roman Emperor (d. 192)
  • 1569 – Jahangir, Mughal Emperor of India (d. 1627)
  • 1602 – Amalia von Solms, countess of Solms-Braunfels (d. 1675)
  • 1663 – Guillaume Amontons, French physicist and instrument maker (d. 1705)
  • 1721 – George Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol, British statesman (d. 1775)
  • 1741 – Jean Paul Egide Martini, French composer (d. 1816)
  • 1811 – Theophile Gautier, French poet and novelist (d. 1872)
  • 1821 – Hermann von Helmholtz, German physician (d. 1894)
  • 1822 – Galusha A. Grow, American politician (d. 1907)
  • 1834 – Amilcare Ponchielli, Italian composer (d. 1886)
  • 1843 – Georg von Hertling, Chancellor of Germany (d. 1919)
  • 1870 – Maria Montessori, Italian educator (d. 1952)
  • 1871 – James E. Ferguson, Texan governor (d. 1944)
  • 1878 – Frank Jarvis, American athlete (d. 1933)
  • 1879 – Alma Mahler, wife of Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius and Franz Werfel (d. 1964)
  • 1880 – Wilhelmina I of the Netherlands (d. 1962)
  • 1885 – DuBose Heyward, American playwright (d. 1940)
  • 1893 – Lily Laskine, French harpist (d. 1988)
  • 1896 – Félix-Antoine Savard, French-Canadian priest and novelist (d. 1982)
  • 1897 – Fredric March, American actor (d. 1975)
  • 1900 – Gino Lucetti, Italian anarchist (d. 1943)
  • 1903 – Arthur Godfrey, American television host (d. 1983)
  • 1903 – Vladimir Jankélévitch, French philosopher (d. 1985)
  • 1905 – Sanford Meisner, American actor and teacher (d. 1997)
  • 1907 – Augustus F. Hawkins, American politician and civil rights lawmaker (d. 2007)
  • 1907 – Ramon Magsaysay, Filipino politician (d. 1957)
  • 1907 – William Shawn, American editor (d. 1992)
  • 1907 – Altiero Spinelli, Italian citizen and advocate of European federalism (d. 1986)
  • 1908 – William Saroyan, American novelist (d. 1981)
  • 1913 – Sir Bernard Lovell, English radio astronomer
  • 1914 – Richard Basehart, American actor (d. 1984)
  • 1916 – Daniel Schorr, American journalist
  • 1918 – Alan Jay Lerner, American lyricist (d. 1986)
  • 1919 – Amrita Preetam, Indian poetess and author (d. 2005)
  • 1924 – Buddy Hackett, American actor and comedian (d. 2003)
  • 1927 – Bill Daily, American actor and comedian
  • 1928 – James Coburn, American actor (d. 2002)
  • 1931 – Noble Willingham, American actor (d. 2004)
  • 1931 – Jean Béliveau, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1934 – Nikos Xanthopoulos, Greek actor
  • 1935 – Frank Robinson, American baseball player and manager
  • 1935 – Eldridge Cleaver, American political activist (d. 1998)
  • 1937 – Warren Berlinger, American actor
  • 1937 – Bobby Parker, American blues musician/guitarist
  • 1938 – Martin Bell, British journalist
  • 1938 – Murray Gleeson, Australian Jurist, Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia (b. 1938)
  • 1939 – Jerry Allison, American drummer (The Crickets)
  • 1941 – William DeWitt, Jr., American businessman
  • 1944 – Roger Dean, British artist
  • 1945 – Van Morrison, Northern Irish musician
  • 1945 – Itzhak Perlman, Israeli violinist
  • 1946 – Jerome Corsi, American writer
  • 1947 – Mona Marshall, American voice actress
  • 1947 – Yumiko Oshima, Japanese manga artist
  • 1947 – Luca di Montezemolo, Italian businessman
  • 1948 – Lowell Ganz, American screenwriter
  • 1948 – Rudolf Schenker, German guitarist (Scorpions)
  • 1948 – Harald Ertl, Austrian racing driver (d. 1982)
  • 1948 – Holger Osieck, German footballer and coach
  • 1949 – Richard Gere, American actor
  • 1949 – H. David Politzer, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1952 – Herbert Reul, German politician
  • 1953 – György Károly, Hungarian author
  • 1953 – Miguel Ángel Guerra, Argentine racing driver
  • 1953 – Pavel Vinogradov, Russian cosmonaut
  • 1954 – Julie Brown, American actress, singer-songwriter and screenwriter
  • 1954 – Caroline Cossey, English model
  • 1955 – Edwin Moses, American athlete
  • 1956 – Masashi Tashiro, Japanese television performer
  • 1957 – Gina Schock, American drummer (The Go-Go’s)
  • 1957 – Glenn Tilbrook, British musician (Squeeze)
  • 1958 – Serge Blanco, French rugby footballer
  • 1959 – Ralph Krueger, German-Canadian ice hockey coach
  • 1960 – Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hizballah
  • 1960 – Chris Whitley, American musician (d. 2005)
  • 1960 – Vali Ionescu, Rumanian long jumper
  • 1962 – Dee Bradley Baker, American voice actor
  • 1963 – Reb Beach, American guitarist (Winger, Whitesnake)
  • 1963 – Todd Carty, Irish actor
  • 1963 – Sonny Silooy, Dutch football player
  • 1964 – Raymond P. Hammond, American poet and editor
  • 1965 – Céline Bonnier, Quebec actress
  • 1965 – Daniel Bernhardt, Swiss actor
  • 1966 – Jan Einar Thorsen, Norwegian Alpine skier
  • 1967 – Anita Moen, Norwegian Cross-country skier
  • 1968 – Hideo Nomo, Japanese baseball player
  • 1969 – Jonathan LaPaglia, Australian actor
  • 1969 – Nathalie Bouvier, French alpine skier
  • 1970 – Deborah Gibson, American singer
  • 1970 – Queen Rania, Queen of Jordan
  • 1970 – Zack Ward, Canadian actor
  • 1970 – Arie van Lent, Dutch-German footballer
  • 1971 – Pádraig Harrington, Irish professional golfer
  • 1972 – Chris Tucker, American actor
  • 1973 – Scott Niedermayer, hockey player
  • 1974 – Andriy Medvedev, Ukrainian tennis player
  • 1975 – Daniel Harding, British conductor
  • 1975 – Gabe Kapler, American baseball player and manager
  • 1975 – Sara Ramirez, American actress
  • 1975 – John Grahame, American-born Canadian hockey player
  • 1976 – Radek Martinek, Czechoslovakian ice hockey player
  • 1976 – Roque Júnior, Brazilian footballer
  • 1976 – Vincent Delerm, French singer-songwriter, pianist and composer
  • 1977 – Jeff Hardy, American professional wrestler
  • 1977 – Ian Harte, Irish footballer
  • 1977 – Craig Nicholls, Australian musician (The Vines)
  • 1978 – Phina Oruche, British actress
  • 1978 – Philippe Christanval, French footballer
  • 1979 – Clay Hensley, professional baseball player
  • 1979 – Mickie James, American professional wrestler
  • 1979 – Mark Johnston, Canadian swimmer
  • 1979 – Simon Neil, Scottish musician (Biffy Clyro)
  • 1979 – Ramón Santiago, Dominican baseball player
  • 1980 – Joe Budden, American rapper
  • 1981 – Joe Swanberg, American filmmaker
  • 1981 – 40 Cal, American rapper
  • 1981 – Dwayne Peel, Welsh International rugby player
  • 1982 – Ian Crocker, American swimmer
  • 1982 – Chris Duhon, American basketball player
  • 1982 – Josh Kroeger, American baseball player
  • 1982 – Alexei Mikhnov, Ukrainian-born ice hockey player
  • 1982 – Jose Reina, Spanish footballer
  • 1982 – Michele Rugolo, Italian racing driver
  • 1982 – Patrick Nuo, Swiss singer
  • 1983 – Larry Fitzgerald, American football player
  • 1984 – Ted Ligety, American alpine skier
  • 1984 – Matti Breschel, Danish road bicycle racer
  • 1984 – Charl Schwartzel, South African golfer
  • 1987 – Petros Kravaritis, Greek footballer

August 31 – Deaths:

  • 651 – Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, Irish bishop and missionary
  • 1056 – Theodora, Byzantine Empress (b. 981)
  • 1234 – Emperor Go-Horikawa of Japan (b. 1212)
  • 1372 – Ralph Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford, English soldier (b. 1301)
  • 1422 – King Henry V of England (b. 1387)
  • 1645 – Francesco Bracciolini, Italian poet (b. 1566)
  • 1654 – Ole Worm, Danish physician (b. 1588)
  • 1688 – John Bunyan, English writer (b. 1628)
  • 1730 – Gottfried Finger, Czech composer (b. 1660?)
  • 1741 – Johann Gottlieb Heineccius, German jurist (b. 1681)
  • 1772 – William Borlase, English naturalist (b. 1695)
  • 1795 – François-André Danican Philidor, French chess player (b. 1726)
  • 1799 – Nicolas-Henri Jardin, French architect (b. 1720)
  • 1814 – Arthur Phillip, British admiral, first Governor of New South Wales (b. 1738)
  • 1867 – Charles Baudelaire, French poet (b. 1821)
  • 1869 – Mary Ward, Irish scientist, first automobile accident victim (b. 1827)
  • 1888 – Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, widely believed to be the first victim of Jack the Ripper (b. 1845)
  • 1920 – Wilhelm Wundt, German psychologist (b. 1832)
  • 1940 – Georges Gauthier, French Canadian Roman Catholic archbishop of Montreal (b. 1871)
  • 1941 – Marina Tsvetaeva, Russian poet (b. 1892)
  • 1948 – Billy Laughlin, American actor (b. 1932)
  • 1952 – Henri Bourassa, French Canadian political leader (b. 1868)
  • 1963 – Georges Braque, French painter (b. 1882)
  • 1967 – Ilya Ehrenburg, Russian writer (b. 1891)
  • 1969 – Rocky Marciano, American boxer (b. 1923)
  • 1973 – John Ford, American film director (b. 1894)
  • 1974 – William Pershing Benedict, American pilot
  • 1974 – Norman Kirk, New Zealand prime minister (b. 1923)
  • 1978 – John Wrathall, President of Rhodesia (b. 1913)
  • 1979 – Sally Rand, American dancer and actress (b. 1904)
  • 1985 – Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Australian biologist, Nobel laureate (b. 1899)
  • 1986 – Henry Moore, English sculptor (b. 1898)
  • 1986 – Urho Kekkonen, President of Finland (b. 1900)
  • 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales (b. 1961)
  • 2002 – Lionel Hampton, American vibraphone player (b. 1908)
  • 2002 – George Porter, English chemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1920)
  • 2004 – Carl Wayne, English singer (b. 1943)
  • 2005 – Joseph Rotblat, Polish-British physicist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1908)
  • 2005 – Michael Sheard, British actor (b. 1940)
  • 2006 – Mohamed Abdelwahab, Egyptian footballer (b. 1983)
  • 2006 – Tom Delaney, British racing driver (b. 1911)
  • 2007 – Gay Brewer, American golfer (b. 1932)

August 31 – Holidays:

  • Poland, Europe – Day of Solidarity and Freedom, on the anniversary of August Agreement from 1980
  • Moldova: Day of Our Language (Limba Noastra).
  • Malaysia – Hari Merdeka, a National Day (independence within the Commonwealth, 1957).
  • Kyrgyzstan – Independence Day (from USSR, 1991).
  • Trinidad and Tobago – Independence Day (from United Kingdom, 1962).

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