On This Day in History January 31

January 31 – Events:

  • 1504 – France cedes Naples to Aragon.
  • 1606 – Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against Parliament and James I of England.
  • 1747 – The first venereal diseases clinic opens at LondonLockHospital.
  • 1814 – Gervasio Antonio de Posadas becomes Supreme Director of Argentina.
  • 1846 – After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unified as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • 1849 – Corn Laws are abolished in the United Kingdom (following legislation in 1846).
  • 1865 – American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.
  •  1867 – Maronite nationalist leader Youssef Karam leaves Lebanon on board of a French ship for Algeria.
  • 1876 – The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.
  • 1891 – The first attempt of a Portuguese republican revolution brakes out in the northern city of Porto.
  • 1895 – José Martí & others leave New York CityNY for invasion of Spanish Cuba.
  • 1900 – Datu Muhammad Salleh is assassinated in Kampung Teboh, Tambuan, ending the Mat Salleh Rebellion.
  • 1901 – Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” opens at the MoscowArtTheater.
  • 1905 – First auto to exceed 100 mph (161 kph), A G MacDonald, Daytona Beach.
  • 1905 – Carroll Wright appointed first US Commissioner of Labor.
  • 1906 – Strongest instrumentally recorded earthquake, Colombia, 8.6 Richter scale.
  • 1911 – Congress names San Francisco as Panama Canal opening celebration site
  • 1915 – World War I: Germany uses poison gas against Russia
  • 1917 – World War I: Germany announces its U-boats will engage in unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • 1918 – A series of accidental collisions on a misty Scottish night leads to the loss of two Royal Navy submarines with over a hundred lives, and damage to another five British warships.
  • 1919 – The Battle of George Square takes place in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • 1929 – The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky to Turkey.
  • 1930 – 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.
  • 1936 – The Green Hornet radio show debuts.
  • 1941 – Layforce set sail.
  • 1944 – World War II: American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
  • 1944 – World War II: During Anzio campaign 1st Ranger Battalion (Darby’s Rangers) was destroyed behind enemy lines in a heavily outnumbered encounter at Battle of Cisterna, Italy.
  • 1945 – US Army private Eddie Slovik is executed, the first American soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.
  • 1946 – Yugoslavia’s new constitution, modeling the Soviet Union, establishes six constituent republics (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).
  • 1948 – J. D. Salinger’s “A Perfect Day for Banana Fish” appears in NY.
  • 1948 – Magnetic tape recorder developed by Wireway.
  • 1949 – First daytime soap on TV “These Are My Children” (NBC in Chicago).
  • 1950 – President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
  • 1953 – A North Sea flood causes over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands.
  • 1956 – Juscelino Kubitschek becomes President of Brazil.
  • 1956 – Guy Mollet becomes Prime Minister of France.
  • 1957 – Eight people on the ground in Pacoima, California are killed following the mid-air collision between a Douglas DC-7 airliner and a Northrop F-89 Scorpion fighter jet.
  • 1958 – Explorer program: Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.
  • 1958 – James Van Allen discovers the Van Allen radiation belt.
  • 1961 – Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2 – Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.
  • 1968 – Viet Cong attack the United States embassy in Saigon.
  • 1968 – Nauru declares independence from Australia.
  • 1970 – A Saskatchewan Court convicts 17-year-old hippie David Milgaard of murder; he is sentenced to life in prison. He spent 23 years in jail until April 14, 1992 when DNA evidence proves him innocent of all charges.
  • 1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 14 Mission – Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lift off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.
  • 1971 – The Winter Soldier Investigation, organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicize war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, begin in Detroit, Michigan.
  • 1974 – MacDonald’s founder Ray Kroc buys San Diego Padres.
  • 1975 – Barry Manilow’s “Mandy” goes gold.
  • 1975 – UCLA wins NCAA basketball championship.
  • 1976 – “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players hits #1.
  • 1980 – Thirty-nine people burn to death in the occupation of the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala.
  • 1981 – “The Tide Is High” by Blondie hits #1.
  • 1984 – Edwin Newman retires from NBC News after 35 years with the network.
  • 1986 – Mary Lund, of Minnesota, is first female recipient of an artificial heart.
  • 1988 – Barge sinks near AnacortesWA, spills 70,000 gallons of oil.
  • 1990 – First McDonalds in Russia opens in Moscow, world’s biggest McDonalds.
  • 1992 – Sportscaster Howard Cosell retires.
  • 1994 – Dow Jones hits a record 3,978.36
  • 1995 – President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy.
  • 1996 – An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400.
  • 2000 – Alaska Airlines flight 261 MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabilizer problems, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 persons aboard.
  • 2001 – In the Netherlands a Scottish court convicts a Libyan and acquits another for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed into Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.
  • 2003 – The Waterfall train disaster occurs near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia.
  • 2007 – Suspects are arrested in Birmingham in the UK, accused of plotting the kidnap, holding and eventual beheading of a serving Muslim British soldier in Iraq.
  • 2008 – The MS Riverdance is beached at Blackpool after its cargo shifts. The ship had been hit broadside by a wave in the Irish Sea.

January 31 – Birthdays:

  • 877 – Taejo of Goryeo, ruler of Korea (d. 943)
  • 1512 – King Henry of Portugal (d. 1580)
  • 1543 – Tokugawa Ieyasu, Shogun of Japan (d. 1616)
  • 1550 – Henry I, Duke of Guise, French Catholic leader (d. 1588)
  • 1597 – John Francis Regis, French saint (d. 1640)
  • 1624 – Arnold Geulincx, Flemish philosopher (d. 1669)
  • 1673 – Louis de Montfort, French catholic priest and saint (d. 1716)
  • 1686 – Hans Egede, Norwegian Lutheran missionary (d. 1758)
  • 1752 – Gouverneur Morris, American lawmaker and diplomat (d. 1816)
  • 1759 – François Devienne, French composer (d. 1803)
  • 1797 – Franz Schubert, Austrian composer (d. 1828)
  • 1820 – William B. Washburn, 28th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1887)
  • 1857 – George Jackson Churchward, Great Western Railway Chief mechanical engineer. (d. 1933)
  • 1865 – Henri Desgrange, Founder of the Tour-de-France (d. 1940)
  • 1865 – Shastriji Maharaj, Indian spiritual leader (d. 1951)
  • 1866 – Lev Shestov, Russian philosopher (d. 1938)
  • 1868 – Theodore William Richards, American chemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1928)
  • 1872 – Zane Grey, American Western writer (d. 1939)
  • 1881 – Irving Langmuir, American chemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1957)
  • 1881 – Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina (d. 1931)
  • 1884 – Theodor Heuss, 1st President of Germany (Bundespräsident) (d. 1963)
  • 1889 – Frank Foster, English cricketer (d. 1958)
  • 1892 – Eddie Cantor, American actor and singer (d. 1964)
  • 1894 – Isham Jones, American musician (d. 1956)
  • 1896 – Sofya Yanovskaya, Russian mathematician (d. 1966)
  • 1902 – Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (d. 1968)
  • 1902 – Alva Myrdal, Swedish politician, Nobel laureate (d. 1986)
  • 1905 – John O’Hara, American writer (d. 1970)
  • 1911 – Eddie Byrne, British actor (d. 1981)
  • 1913 – Don Hutson, American football player (d. 1997)
  • 1914 – Carey Loftin, American actor and stuntman (d. 1997)
  • 1914 – Sri Daya Mata, Hindu religious figure
  • 1914 – Jersey Joe Walcott, American boxer (d. 1994)
  • 1915 – Alan Lomax, American musicologist (d. 2002)
  • 1915 – Thomas Merton, American author and monk (d. 1968)
  • 1915 – Garry Moore, American comedian (d. 1993)
  • 1919 – Jackie Robinson, American baseball player, and the first black player in Major League Baseball (d. 1972)
  • 1921 – John Agar, American actor (d. 2002)
  • 1921 – Carol Channing, American actress and singer
  • 1921 – E. Fay Jones, American architect (d. 2004)
  • 1921 – Mario Lanza, American singer (d. 1959)
  • 1922 – Joanne Dru, American actress (d. 1996)
  • 1923 – Norman Mailer, American writer and journalist (d. 2007)
  • 1925 – Benjamin Hooks, American civil rights leader
  • 1926 – Tom Alston, American baseball player (d. 1993)
  • 1928 – Chuck Willis, American singer and songwriter (d. 1958)
  • 1929 – Rudolf Mössbauer, German physicist, Nobel laureate
  • 1929 – Jean Simmons, English actress
  • 1930 – Lynn Carlin, American actress
  • 1930 – Joakim Bonnier, Swedish racecar driver (d. 1972)
  • 1931 – Ernie Banks, American baseball player
  • 1931 – Christopher Chataway, English athlete, newscaster and politician
  • 1933 – Camille Henry, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1997)
  • 1933 – Bernardo Provenzano , Mafia Boss
  • 1934 – James Franciscus, American actor (d. 1991)
  • 1934 – Bob Turner, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2005)
  • 1935 – Kenzaburo Oe, Japanese writer, Nobel laureate
  • 1937 – Regimantas Adomaitis, Lithuanian actor
  • 1937 – Andrée Boucher, Canadian politician (d. 2007)
  • 1937 – Philip Glass, American composer
  • 1937 – Suzanne Pleshette, American actress (d. 2008)
  • 1938 – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
  • 1938 – James G. Watt, American politician
  • 1939 – Claude Gauthier, Canadian singer and songwriter
  • 1940 – Kitch Christie, South African rugby union coach (d. 1998)
  • 1941 – Richard A. Gephardt, American politician
  • 1941 – Jessica Walter, American actress
  • 1942 – Daniela Bianchi, Italian actress
  • 1942 – Derek Jarman, British director and writer (d. 1994)
  • 1944 – Charlie Musselwhite, American musician
  • 1945 – Joseph Kosuth, American conceptual artist
  • 1946 – Terry Kath, American musician (Chicago) (d. 1978)
  • 1947 – Jonathan Banks, American actor
  • 1947 – Nolan Ryan, American baseball player
  • 1948 – Muneo Suzuki, Japanese politician
  • 1949 – Johan Derksen, Dutch footballer and sports journalist
  • 1949 – Ken Wilber, American philosopher
  • 1950 – Alexander Korzhakov, Boris Yeltsin’s bodyguard
  • 1951 – Dave Benton, Aruban-born singer
  • 1951 – Harry Wayne Casey, American singer and musician (KC and the Sunshine Band)
  • 1951 – Phil Manzanera, English guitarist (Roxy Music, Quiet Sun, 801)
  • 1952 – Nadya Rusheva, Russian painter (d. 1969)
  • 1954 – Adrian Vandenberg, Dutch musician (Whitesnake)
  • 1956 – John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, English singer (Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd.)
  • 1959 – Anthony LaPaglia, Australian actor
  • 1959 – Kelly Lynch, American actress
  • 1959 – Kelly Moore, American stock car driver
  • 1960 – Grant Morrison, British comic book author
  • 1961 – Lloyd Cole, British singer
  • 1964 – Sylvie Bernier, Quebec diver
  • 1964 – Jeff Hanneman, American musician (Slayer)
  • 1964 – Billey Shamrock, Swedish singer
  • 1966 – Dr Umar Alisha, A Sufi Master was Born at Pithapuram.
  • 1967 – Fat Mike, American musician
  • 1967 – Irene Wan, Hong Kong actress
  • 1967 – Joey Wong, Taiwanese actress
  • 1970 – Minnie Driver, British actress
  • 1971 – Lee Young Ae, South Korean actress
  • 1971 – Patrick Kielty, Northern Irish comedian
  • 1971 – Dimitris Markos, Greek footballer
  • 1973 – Portia de Rossi, Australian actress
  • 1974 – Wil Anderson, Australian comedian
  • 1974 – Ariel Pestano, Cuban baseball player
  • 1975 – Fred Coleman, former National Football League wide receiver
  • 1975 – Jackie O, Australian radio host
  • 1975 – Preity Zinta, Indian actress
  • 1976 – Traianos Dellas, Greek footballer
  • 1976 – Buddy Rice, American race car driver
  • 1977 – Mark Dutiaume, National Hockey League player
  • 1977 – Shingo Katori, Japanese actor and singer (SMAP)
  • 1977 – Jim Kleinsasser, National Football League tight end
  • 1977 – Kate Shindle, American actress
  • 1977 – Kerry Washington, American actress
  • 1978 – Fabián Caballero, Argentine footballer
  • 1978 – Brad Rutter, Jeopardy! Champion
  • 1978 – Ray Shah, Irish DJ, TV, radio presenter
  • 1979 – Daniel Tammet, British autistic savant
  • 1980 – Ryan Kienle, American musician
  • 1980 – Tiffany Limos, American actress
  • 1981 – Julio Arca, Argentinian football player
  • 1981 – Justin Timberlake, American singer
  • 1982 – Yuniesky Betancourt, Major League Baseball shortstop
  • 1982 – Andreas Görlitz, German football player
  • 1982 – Bruno Nogueira, Portuguese actor, comedian and TV host
  • 1982 – Elena Paparizou, Greek singer
  • 1982 – Janis Sprukts, National Hockey League player
  • 1982 – Brad Thompson, Major League Baseball player
  • 1983 – James Sutton, British television actor
  • 1984 – Jeremy Wariner, American 400m runner
  • 1985 – Adam Federici, Australian footballer

January 31 – Deaths:

  • 743 – Muhammad al-Baqir, Shia Imam (b. 676)
  • 1398 – Emperor Suko (b. 1334)
  • 1435 – Xuande, Emperor of China (b. 1398)
  • 1561 – Bairam Khan, Great Mughal General, regent for Akbar
  • 1561 – Menno Simons, Dutch Mennonite leader (b. 1496)
  • 1580 – Henry of Portugal (b. 1512)
  • 1606 – Gunpowder Plot conspirators:
    • Guy Fawkes (b. 1570)
    • Ambrose Rokewood (b. c. 1578)
    • Thomas Wintour (b. 1571)
  • 1615 – Claudio Aquaviva, Italian Jesuit (b. 1543)
  • 1632 – Joost Bürgi, Swiss clockmaker and mathematician (b. 1552)
  • 1665 – Johannes Clauberg, German theologian and philosopher (b. 1622)
  • 1686 – Jean Mairet, French dramatist (b. 1604)
  • 1720 – Thomas Grey, 2nd Earl of Stamford, English privy councillor (c. 1654)
  • 1729 – Jakob Roggeveen, Dutch explorer (b. 1659)
  • 1736 – Filippo Juvara, Italian architect (b. 1678)
  • 1788 – Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne (b. 1720)
  • 1790 – Thomas Lewis, Irish-born Virginia settler (b. 1718)
  • 1794 – Marriott Arbuthnot, British admiral (b. 1711)
  • 1815 – José Félix Ribas, Venezuelan independentist leader (b. 1775)
  • 1828 – Alexander Ypsilantis, Phanariot Greek military commander and national hero of the Greek War of Independence (b.1792
  • 1844 – Henri Gratien, Comte Bertrand, French general (b. 1773)
  • 1888 – John Bosco, Italian priest, youth worker, educator, founder of the Salesian Society (b. 1815)
  • 1892 – Charles Spurgeon, English preacher and evangelist (b. 1834)
  • 1907 – Timothy Eaton, Canadian department store founder (b. 1834)
  • 1923 – Eligiusz Niewiadomski, assassin of Gabriel Narutowicz (b. 1869)
  • 1933 – John Galsworthy, English writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1867)
  • 1942 – Henry Larkin, Baseball player (b. 1860)
  • 1944 – Jean Giraudoux, French writer (b. 1882)
  • 1945 – Eddie Slovik, American soldier (b. 1920)
  • 1954 – Edwin Howard Armstrong, American electrical engineer and inventor of the FM radio (b. 1890)
  • 1955 – John Mott, American YMCA leader, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (b. 1865)
  • 1956 – A. A. Milne, English author (b. 1882)
  • 1966 – General Arthur Ernest Percival, British Army Officer (b. 1887)
  • 1967 – Eddie Tolan, American athlete (b. 1908)
  • 1969 – Meher Baba, Indian guru (b. 1894)
  • 1970 – Slim Harpo, American singer (b. 1924)
  • 1971 – Viktor Maksimovich Zhirmunsky, Russian literary historian, linguist (b. 1891)
  • 1973 – Ragnar Anton Kittil Frisch, Norwegian economist, Nobel laureate (b. 1895)
  • 1974 – Samuel Goldwyn, Polish-born film studio executive (b. 1882)
  • 1976 – Ernesto Miranda, American litigant (b. 1941)
  • 1981 – Cozy Cole, American jazz drummer (b. 1909)
  • 1987 – Yves Allégret, French film director (b. 1907)
  • 1990 – Rashad Khalifa, Egyptian-born imam (b. 1935)
  • 1995 – George Abbott, American stage director and producer (b. 1887)
  • 1997 – John Joseph Scanlan, Irish Catholic prelate (b. 1930)
  • 1999 – Norm Zauchin, American baseball player (b. 1929)
  • 2000 – Gil Kane, Latvian-born comic book writer (b. 1926)
  • 2001 – Gordon R. Dickson, Canadian writer (b. 1923)
  • 2002 – Francis Gabreski, American fighter pilot (b. 1919)
  • 2004 – Eleanor Holm, American swimmer (b. 1913)
  • 2006 – Moira Shearer, Scottish actress (The Red Shoes) and ballerina (b. 1926)
  • 2007 – Kirka Babitzin, Finnish singer (b. 1950)
  • 2007 – Molly Ivins, American political columnist and author (b. 1944)
  • 2007 – Lee Bergere, American actor (b. 1924)
  • 2007 – Adelaide Tambo, South African activist and wife of Oliver Tambo (b. 1929)

January 31 – Holidays:

  • Catholicism – Feast day of St. John Bosco, patron saint of Christian apprentices, editors, and publishers
  • Saint Pedro Nolasco
  • Saint Marcella
  • Saint Geminianus
  • Blessed Ludovica
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