On This Day in History for May 31

Events in History

Events 1 - 100 of 144

  • 1279 BC Rameses II (The Great) (19th dynasty) becomes Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
  • 70 Rome captures 1st wall of the city of Jerusalem

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1223 Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River - Mongol armies of Genghis Khan lead by Subutai defeat Kievan Rus and Cumans.

Great Khan of the Mongol Empire Genghis Khan
Great Khan of the Mongol Empire
Genghis Khan
  • 1417 Jacoba of Bavaria becomes countess of Holland/Zealand/Henegouwen
  • 1495 Emperor Maximilian, Pope Alexander VI, Milan, King Ferdinand, Isabella & Venice sign anti-French Saint League
  • 1531 "Women's Revolt" in Amsterdam: wool house in churchyard aborted
  • 1564 Battle on Gotland: Lübeck & Denmark beat Sweden
  • 1578 Martin Frobisher sails from Harwich, England, to Frobisher Bay, Canada, eventually to mine fools gold, used to pave streets in London.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1621 Sir Francis Bacon thrown into Tower of London for 1 night

Statesman/Philosopher Francis Bacon
Statesman/Philosopher
Francis Bacon
  • 1634 The colony of Massachusetts Bay annexes Maine colony
  • 1659 Netherlands, England & France sign Treaty of The Hague
  • 1665 Jerusalem's rabbi Sjabtai Tswi proclaims himself Messiah
  • 1669 Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.
  • 1696 John Salomonsz elected chief of Saint-Eustatius
  • 1727 France, Britain & Netherlands sign accord of Paris
  • 1744 French troops conquer Kortrijk
  • 1759 The Province of Pennsylvania bans all theater productions.
  • 1790 US copyright law enacted
  • 1790 Alferez Manuel Quimper explores the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
  • 1813 In Australia, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth reached Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains.
  • 1821 Cathedral of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, 1st US Catholic cathedral, is dedicated in Baltimore
  • 1836 HMS Beagle anchors in Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope
  • 1837 Astor Hotel opens in NYC, it later becomes the Waldorf-Astoria
  • 1847 Rotterdam-Hague Railway opens
  • 1849 Last edition of Orange sheet "Journal de La Haye"
  • 1853 Elisha Kane's Arctic expedition leaves NY aboard Advance
  • 1861 Gen Beauregard is given command of Confederate Alexandria Line
  • 1861 Mint at New Orleans closes
  • 1862 Battle of Seven Pines VA (Fair Oaks)
  • 1864 Raid at Morgan's Kentucky
  • 1868 1st Memorial Day parade held in Ironton, Ohio
  • 1870 Congress passes 1st Enforcement Act (rights of blacks)
  • 1870 E J DeSemdt patents asphalt pavement
  • 1875 Reciprocity Treaty between US & Hawaii ratified
  • 1878 German battleship SMS Grosser Kurfürst sinks, 284 killed
  • 1878 US Congress accepts decrease in dollar circulation
  • 1879 1st electric railway opens at Berlin Trades Exposition

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1879 Madison Square Garden opens in New York, named after 4th President James Madison

4th US President James Madison
4th US President
James Madison
  • 1883 French fleet under Pierre begins siege of Tamatave, Madagascar
  • 1884 Dr John Harvey Kellogg patents "flaked cereal"
  • 1889 Johnstown Flood; 2,209 die in Penn
  • 1891 Work on trans-Siberian railway begins
  • 1893 Whitcomb Judson, Chicago, patents a hookless fastening (zipper)
  • 1899 -June 5] Conference of Bloemfontein fails
  • 1899 Bronx acquires Keltch Memorial Park
  • 1900 British troops under Lord Roberts occupy Johannesburg
  • 1900 Piet de Law captures Lt Col BE Spragges, 13th Battalion Irish Imperial Yeomanry
  • 1900 US troops arrive in Beijing, help put down Boxer Rebellion
  • 1901 At the opening of the Greek National Assembly, Prince George, High Commissioner of Crete, asks it to endorse the union of Crete with Greece; the proposal is later rejected
  • 1902 Boer War Ends; Treaty of Unity signed, Britain annexes Transvaal
  • 1902 Labor trouble and riots lead Spanish King Alfonso XII to impose martial law

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1905 Emperor Wilhelm II lands in Tanger

German Emperor and King of Prussia Wilhelm II
German Emperor and King of Prussia
Wilhelm II
  • 1906 Attack on King Alfonso XIII & Victoria of Battenberg in Madrid
  • 1907 Taxis 1st began running in NYC
  • 1908 Miss Pottelsberghe de la Pottery is 1st airplane passenger (Belgium)
  • 1909 1st NAACP conference (United Charities Building, NYC)
  • 1910 Cape of Good Hope becomes part of Union of South Africa
  • 1910 Glenn Curtiss flies from Albany to NYC
  • 1910 Union of South Africa declares its independence from the United Kingdom
  • 1911 RMS Titanic launched in Belfast
  • 1912 US marines land on Cuba
  • 1913 17th amendment (direct election of senators) declared ratified
  • 1913 Alexis Ahlgren runs world record maraton (2:36:06.6)
  • 1915 An LZ-38 Zeppelin makes an air raid on London
  • 1916 Battle of Jutland (Skagerrak): naval battle between British Grand Fleet and German High Seas Fleet: over 8,500 die in this inconclusive slaughter - although the German fleet never put to sea again.
  • 1916 British battle cruiser HMS Invincible explodes, killing all but 6 (Battle of Jutland)
  • 1919 NC-4 aircraft commanded by AC Read completes 1st crossing of Atlantic
  • 1921 Suffy McInnis (1st base) begins an errorless string of 1,700
  • 1923 China & USSR exchange diplomats
  • 1923 The South African Indian Congress (SAIC) forms in Durban, South Africa, with Omar Hajee Amod Jhaveri as President.
  • 1924 China recognizes the USSR
  • 1926 Portuguese president Bernardino Machedo resigns after coup
  • 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition opens in Philadelphia
  • 1928 1st aerial crossing of Pacific takes off from Oakland
  • 1929 Atlantic City Convention Center opens
  • 1930 Building begins on Albert Canal in Belgium
  • 1930 Comet 73P/1930 (Schwassmann-Wachmann 3) approaches 0.0617 AUs of Earth
  • 1931 7.1 magnitude Earthquake destroys Quetta in modern-day Pakistan: 40,000 dead.
  • 1935 7.7 magnitude earthquake hits Quetta in Balochistan, British Raj (Pakistan) killing approx 50,000
  • 1937 1st quadruplets to finish college (Baylor University)
  • 1937 German battleships bombard Almeria, Spain

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1940 Major General Bernard Montgomery leaves Dunkirk

British WWII Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
British WWII Field Marshal
Bernard Montgomery

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1940 Winston Churchill flies to Paris to meet with French Marshal Philippe Pétain who announces he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany

Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Soldier, Author and British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill
  • 1941 -June 1) 32.0 cm rain falls on Burlington Kansas (state record)
  • 1941 1st issue of "Parade" goes on sale
  • 1941 41 U boats sunk this month (325,000 ton)
  • 1941 British troops evacuate Crete
  • 1941 A Luftwaffe air raid in Dublin, in neutral Ireland, claims 38 lives.
  • 1942 Luftwaffe bombs Canterbury
  • 1943 "Archie" comic strip 1st broadcast on radio
  • 1943 Cards Mort Cooper pitches 1st of back-to-back one-hitters
  • 1944 Allied breakthrough in Italy
  • 1947 Communists seize power in Hungary
  • 1947 Eastern DC-4 crashes between Ft Deposit & Perryville Md, kills 53
  • 1947 Italian government of Gasperi forms
  • 1948 Tommy Lasorda strikes out 25 Amsterdam Rugmakers (in 15 innings)
  • 1949 Charley Lupica begins stay on 4 foot square platform atop a 60' pole, vowing to stay until Indians clinch pennant. (They don't, & stays 117 days)
  • 1951 Netherlands & South Africa sign cultural accord
  • 1953 Lebanese president Camille Shamun disbands government
  • 1955 Construction begins on Soviet cosmodrome launch facilities

Birthdays in History

  • 1443 Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII of England (d. 1509)
  • 1469 Manuel I, King of Portugal (1495-1521) during era of exploration
  • 1472 Erardus van der Mark, prince-bishop of Luik/cardinal
  • 1557 Feodor I (Fyodor/Theodore Ivanovich), Tsar of Russia (1584-98)
  • 1640 Michał Wiśniowiecki, King of Poland (d. 1673)
  • 1664 Giulio Alberoni, Spanish/Italian minister/cardinal
  • 1744 Richard Edgeworth, writer, Bath
  • 1753 Pierre V Vergniaud, French politician/police leader
  • 1773 Ludwig Tieck, German writer, born in Berlin (d. 1853)
  • 1801 Johann Georg Baiter, Swiss philologist (d. 1887)
  • 1810 Horatio Seymour, Gov (Union), (d. 1886)
  • 1817 Georg Herwegh, German poet, born in Stuttgart (d. 1875)
  • 1818 John Albion Andrew, Gov (Union), (d. 1867)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1819 Walt Whitman, American poet (Leaves of Grass), born in West Hills, New York (d. 1892)

  • 1835 Hijikata Toshizō, Japanese military leader (d. 1869)
  • 1837 Ernest Daudet, French writer (White Terror)
  • 1837 Stephen Dodson Ramseur, Mjr General (Confederate Army), (d. 1864)
  • 1837 William Henry Fitzhugh "Rooney" Lee, Major General (Confederate Army)
  • 1838 Henry Sidgwick, English philosopher (Wife at University)
  • 1852 Francisco Moreno, Argentine explorer (d. 1919)
  • 1857 Pius XI, [Ambrogio DA Ratti], Italy, 259th Pope (1922-39)
  • 1860 Walter Richard Sickert Munich, Danish/English painter (The Miner)
  • 1861 Emily Perkins Bissell, welfare worker (1st christmas seal drive, 1907)
  • 1863 Francis E Younghusband, British journalist/explorer
  • 1872 Charles G Abbot, US, astronomer (Constant Sun)
  • 1872 William Heath Robinson, England, illustrator/cartoonist (Don Quixote)
  • 1882 Sándor Graf Festetics, Hungarian politician (d. 1956)
  • 1883 Lauri Kristian Relander, 2nd President of Finland (d. 1942)
  • 1885 Alois Hudal, bishop, helped Nazis escape trial (d. 1963)
  • 1887 Saint-John Perse, France, poet/diplomat (Nobel 1960) [or Mar 31]
  • 1892 Gregor Strasser, German pharmacist/NSDAP-Reich organization leader
  • 1892 Konstatin G Paustovski, Russian author (Bespokojnaja Joenostj) [NS]
  • 1892 Michel Kikoine, Belarus painter (d. 1968)
  • 1892 Konstantin Georgiyevich Paustovsky, Russian writer (d. 1968)
  • 1898 Norman Vincent Peale, Ohio, clergyman (Power of Positive Thinking)
  • 1899 Ilse Lagner, German antiwar writer, born in Breslau (d. 1987)
  • 1899 Leonid Leonov, Russian writer, born in Moscow (d. 1994)
  • 1900 Helma Wolf-Catz, Dutch author (Undercurrent, Coral Reef)
  • 1907 Valston Hancock, British air marshal
  • 1909 Jan Lewando, British director (Marks & Spencer)
  • 1910 Francis Avery Jones, British gastro-enterologist
  • 1911 Edward Adamson, art therapist/collector
  • 1912 Henry M "Scoop" Jackson, (Sen-D-Wash)
  • 1912 Martin Schwarzschild, US astronomer (evolution)
  • 1913 Peter Gibson, British Rear-Admiral
  • 1916 Bert Haanstra, Holten Netherlands, director (Fanfare)
  • 1921 Andrew Grima, British jeweller
  • 1921 Robert Arthur Ley, UK, sci-fi author (Telepath, Power of X)
  • 1922 Elisabeth, arch duchess of Austria/princess of Liechtenstein
  • 1923 Rainier III, Monaco, Prince of Monaco (1949-2005)
  • 1926 Derek Birley, founding Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster
  • 1926 Martin Peake, 2nd Viscount Ingleby, British peer and business man (d. 2008)
  • 1927 Isabel Stoate, British diplomat
  • 1927 James Eberle, British admiral, director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs)
  • 1927 Michael Sandberg, British CEO (Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp)
  • 1929 Neil Shaw, British CEO (Tate & Lyle)
  • 1930 William Taylor, British Chairman of Convocation (London University)
  • 1931 John Schrieffer, US physicist (Nobel 1972)
  • 1931 Steve Horn, (Rep-R-California)
  • 1932 Elizabeth Southey, British CEO (National Fed of Women's Institutes)
  • 1932 George Vallings, British Vice Admiral
  • 1932 Ronald Hampel, British CEO (ICI)
  • 1932 Jay Miner, American microchip designer (d. 1994)
  • 1935 Jim Bolger, 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • 1937 Vladislav Ivanovich Gulyayev, Russia, cosmonaut
  • 1938 John Prescott, British Labour MP
  • 1938 Peter Yarrow, American (Peter, Paul & Mary-Puff the Magic Dragon), born in NYC, New York
  • 1939 Terry Waite, English Anglican Church envoy/Lebanese hostage, born in Bollington, Cheshire
  • 1940 Elfi Mikesch, cinematographer (Erotique, Out of America, Malina)
  • 1940 Gilbert Shelton, American underground comics illustrator
  • 1941 June Clark, British Professor of Nursing (Middlesex U)
  • 1941 Louis J. Ignarro, American pharmacologist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1942 John Daniel, British Vice-Chancellor (Open U)
  • 1943 Richard Timothy George Mansfield Parker, 9th Earl of Macclesfield
  • 1945 Linda Davies, British Judge
  • 1945 Bernard Goldberg‎, American journalist
  • 1946 Rainer Werner Fassbinder, German director (Marriage of Maria Braum)
  • 1946 Ted Baehr, American media critic
  • 1948 Duncan L Hunter, (Rep-R-CA, 1981- 2009), born in Riverside, California
  • 1948 Svetlana Alexievich, journalist and author (Noble Prize for Literature 2015), born in Stanislav, Ukraine
  • 1950 Edward Barker, cartoonist
  • 1955 Ben de Lisi, British fashion designer
  • 1957 Stephen Jones, British milliner
  • 1958 Mkhuseli Jack, South African UDF-leader (consumer boycots)
  • 1963 Viktor Orbán, Hungarian politician
  • 1964 Leonard Asper, Canadian businessman
  • 1974 Adrian Tomine, American cartoonist
  • 1977 Joel Ross, British disc jockey
  • 1990 Liberty Irene Kasem, daughter of Casey & Jean Kasam

Weddings in History

  • 1919 1st wedding held in an aircraft (over Houston, Texas)
  • 1991 Oldest bride - Minnie Munro, 102, weds Dudley Reid, 83, in Australia

Deaths in History

  • 455 Petronius Maximus, senator/Emperor of Rome, lynched
  • 1091 Hendrik van Verdun, bishop of Luik (1075-91), dies
  • 1198 Moses ben Solomon Ha-Cohen, rabbi of Mainz, dies
  • 1246 Isabella of Angouleme, queen of John of England
  • 1349 Thomas Wake, English politician (b. 1297)
  • 1408 Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Japanese shogun (b. 1358)
  • 1410 King Martin I of Aragon (b. 1356)
  • 1495 Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV of England and Richard III of England, (b. 1415)
  • 1504 Engelbert II, earl of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz, dies
  • 1551 Aristotele "Basiano" da Sangallo, Italian set designer, dies
  • 1558 Philip Hoby, English politician (b. 1505)
  • 1567 Pereguin de la Grange, French minister/martyr of Reform, dies
  • 1567 Guido de Bres, Belgian theologian (b. 1522)
  • 1594 Tintoretto, Italian Mannerist painter, dies at 75
  • 1620 Willem Louis, earl of Nassau-Dillenburg, dies at 59
  • 1665 Pieter J Saenredam, Dutch architectural painter, dies at 67
  • 1680 Joachim Neander, German clergyman (b. 1650)
  • 1740 Frederick-William I, King of Prussia (1713-1740), dies at 51
  • 1747 Andrei Osterman, Russian statesman (b. 1686)
  • 1799 Pierre Lemonnier, French astronomer (b. 1715)
  • 1809 Ferdinand von Schill, Prussian officer/rebel, dies in battle at 33
  • 1809 Jean Lannes, French marshal (b. 1769)
  • 1831 Samuel Bentham, British mechanical engineer (b. 1757)
  • 1832 Évariste Galois, French mathematician (b. 1811)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1837 Joseph Grimaldi, English pantomimist and the "greatest clown in history", dies at 57

Greatest Clown in History Joseph Grimaldi
Greatest Clown in History
Joseph Grimaldi
  • 1846 Philip Marheineke, German clergyman (b. 1780)
  • 1847 Thomas Chalmers, Scottish pastor (b. 1780)
  • 1848 Eugénie de Guérin, French writer (b. 1805)
  • 1849 Leonard PJ du Bus de Gisignies, gov-gen of Neth-Indies, dies at 69
  • 1862 Robert Hatton, Confederate brig-general, dies in battle at about 34
  • 1880 Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés, French chemist and inventor of margarine, dies at 62
  • 1900 James Loudon, gov-gen of Neth-Indies (1871-75), dies at 75
  • 1900 John Power, Irish baronet/whiskey manufacturer, dies in battle
  • 1906 Hermann Schell, German theologist (Gott und Geist), dies at 56
  • 1906 King Alfonso XIII, assassinated in Madrid
  • 1906 Victoria von Battenberg, assassinated in Madrid
  • 1908 Louis-Honoré Fréchette, French Canadian poet (b. 1839)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1910 Elizabeth Blackwell, English-American physician who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, dies at 89

  • 1916 Rear Admiral Sir Horace Lambert Alexander Hood, dies in Battle of Jutland
  • 1928 Ludwig Enneccerus, German leader, dies at 85
  • 1928 Manuel de Oliveira Lima, Brazilian historian, dies at 60
  • 1931 Felix-Raymond-Marie Rouleau, French Canadian cardinal, archbishop of Quebec (b. 1866)
  • 1942 Reinhard Heydrich, German protector of Bohemia & Moravia, assassinated
  • 1952 Walter Schellenberg, German lawyer/headed spy (Venlo), dies
  • 1957 Leopold Staff, Polish poet (b. 1878)
  • 1960 Willem Elsschot, [Alfons de Ridder], Flemish writer (Kas), dies at 78
  • 1960 Walther Funk, Nazi leader (b. 1890)
  • 1961 Walter Little, Canadian politician (b. 1877)
  • 1962 Adolf Eichmann, Nazi war criminal, hanged at Ramie Prison in Israel at 56
  • 1962 Henry Fountain Ashurst, American politician (b. 1874)
  • 1963 Carel C van Essen, archaeologist (Art of Ancient Rome), dies at 63
  • 1971 Massimo Campigli, Italian painter/illustrator, dies at 75
  • 1972 Walter Freeman, American physician (developer and practitioner of psychiatric surgery transorbital lobotomy), dies
  • 1973 Albert Egges van Giffen, Dutch archaeologist, dies at 89
  • 1974 Adelle Davis, US nutrionalist (Let's stay healthy), dies at 70
  • 1976 Jacques Monod, French biochemist, dies
  • 1976 Martha Mitchell wife of former Att Gen John Mitchell, dies in NY at 57
  • 1986 James Rainwater, American physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1917)
  • 1989 Charles A Hufnagel, doc (artificial heart valve pioneer), dies at 72
  • 1991 Angus Wilson, [Johnstone-W], British writer (Wrong Set), dies
  • 1991 H N "Swanie" Swanson, literary agent, dies at 91 of a stroke
  • 1992 Lutz Stavenhagen, top aid to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, dies at 52
  • 1993 Spuds Mackenzie, American advertisement dog
  • 1996 Neela Sanjiva Reddy, president of India (1977-82), dies
  • 1996 Paul Peter Piech, artist, dies at 76
  • 1996 Peter Gordon Dorrell, archaeologist/photographer, dies at 68
  • 1996 Timothy Francis Leary, Harvard prof/LSD guru, dues of cancer at 75
  • 1997 Rosie Will Monroe, WW II icon (Rosie the riveter), dies at 76
  • 1997 James Bennett Griffin, American archaeologist (b. 1905)
  • 2002 Eric Boyland, English biochemist (cancer research), dies at 97
  • 2006 Ryan Bennett, broadcast commentator (b. 1970)
  • 2006 Miguel Berrocal, sculptor (b. 1933)
  • 2006 Raymond Davis Jr., American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
  • 2009 Millvina Dean, last living survivor of the RMS Titanic disaster died. (b. 1912)
  • 2009 George Tiller, American abortion doctor (b. 1941)
  • 2009 Danny La Rue, British entertainer (b. 1927)
  • 2010 Louise Bourgeois, French-born American sculpter (b. 1911)
  • 2010 William A. Fraker, American cinematographer (b. 1923)
  • 2010 Rubén Juárez, Argentine bandoneonist (b. 1947)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2010 Chris Haney, Canadian journalist who created the board game "Trivial Pursuit", dies at 59

Co-creator of Trivial Pursuit Chris Haney
Co-creator of Trivial Pursuit
Chris Haney
  • 2013 Tim Samaras, American tornado chaser, dies from tornado injuries at 55
  • 2014 Martha Hyer, American actress, dies at 89