On This Day

Historical Events on March 31

  • 1084 Anti-pope Clemens crowns German King Hendrik IV as Holy Roman Emperor

Historic Event

1146 Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine are present and join the Crusade

Historic Event

1492 Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon issue the Alhambra Decree which expels Jews from their kingdoms

  • 1504 France & Spain sign truce

Historic Event

1521 Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan takes possession of Homohon, Archipelago of St Lazarus, Philippines

  • 1521 The first Mass in the Philippines is generally believed to have been held on the Island of Limasawa, but may also have taken place on Masao in Butuan

Historic Event

1547 Henry II succeeds Francois I as King of France

  • 1644 Pope Urbanus VIII and Duke of Parma sign Peace of Ferrara
  • 1651 Great earthquake at Cuzco, Peru

Historic Event

1657 English Parliament makes the Humble Petition to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell offering him the crown: he declines

  • 1667 France & England sign anti-Dutch military accord
  • 1683 Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I and King John III Sobieski of Poland sign a covenant against Turkey, beginning of the Holy League
  • 1717 A sermon on "The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ" by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy
  • 1736 Bellevue Hospital founded in a New York City almshouse - 1st public hospital in the US
  • 1745 Jews are expelled from Prague

Appointment of Interest

1770 Immanuel Kant is appointed Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg

  • 1808 French created Kingdom of Westphalia orders Jews to adopt family names

Historic Event

1814 Forces allied against Napoleon capture Paris

  • 1822 Massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, (later depicted by artist Eugène Delacroix)
  • 1831 Mainzer Rijnvaart Convention ends
  • 1831 Quebec & Montreal incorporated

Music Premiere

1841 1st performance of Robert Schumann's 1st Symphony in B

  • 1849 Colonel John W Geary arrives as 1st postmaster of San Francisco
  • 1850 US population hits 23,191,876 (Black population: 3,638,808 (15.7%))
  • 1854 Treaty of Kanagawa: Commodore Perry forces Japan to opens ports to US
  • 1861 Confederacy takes over mint at New Orleans (US Civil War)
  • 1862 Civil War action at Island #10 on Mississippi River
  • 1863 Battle of Grand Gulf, Mississippi and Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia
  • 1865 Battle of Boydton, Virginia (White Oaks Roads, Dinwiddie C H)
  • 1865 General Pickett moves to 5 Forks, abandoning the defense of Petersburg
  • 1866 The Spanish navy bombards the harbor of Valparaíso, Chile
  • 1868 Chinese Embassy arrives aboard steamship China
  • 1870 Thomas Mundy Peterson of Perth Amboy, New Jersey is the first African American to vote in the US under provisions of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, in a local election on town's charter [1]
  • 1877 British High Commissioner Sir Bartle Frere arrives in Capetown

Sports History

1877 Test Cricket debut of feared Australian fast bowler Fred "The Demon" Spofforth; Australia loses 2nd Test by 4 wickets vs England at Melbourne Cricket Ground

  • 1877 The family with samurai antecedents who responded to the Saigo army in Ōita Nakatsu rebels.
  • 1880 1st town to claim to be completely illuminated by electric lighting (Wabash, Indiana)
  • 1883 1st performance of Caesar Franck's "Le Chasseur Maudit"
  • 1883 Utrecht begins water pipe system
  • 1885 Great Britain declares Bechuanaland a protectorate

Eiffel Tower Opens

1889 Eiffel Tower officially opens in Paris. Built for the Exposition Universelle, at 300m high it retains the record for the tallest man made structure for 41 years.

  • 1900 At " Surprise of Sanna’s Post" in the Second Boer War 150 troops under Brigadier General Robert Broadwood are killed
  • 1903 Richard Pearse flies a monoplane several hundred yards in New Zealand

Historic Event

1905 Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany visits Tangier, Morocco and proclaims Germany's support of Moroccan independence and equal opportunity for all powers to trade there

  • 1905 German Emperor Wilhelm II lands in Tangier
  • 1905 67th Grand National: Frank Mason victorious aboard Kirkland; first Welsh-trained horse to win the event
  • 1906 GB Shaw's German version of "Caesar & Cleopatra" premieres in Berlin
  • 1906 Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States is founded to set rules in amateur sports; becomes the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910
  • 1907 Romanian Army puts down Moldavian farmers' revolt
  • 1909 National Baseball Commission rules players who jump contracts to be suspended for 5 years; players joining outlaw organizations suspended for 3 years
  • 1909 Gustav Mahler conducts New York Philharmonic for his 1st time
  • 1909 In a diplomatic note to Austria, Serbia recognizes the Bosnian annexation and promises to maintain friendly relations with Austria
  • 1916 Dutch government ends all military engagements
  • 1917 The Danish West Indies are officially ceded to the US for $25 million and renamed the Virgin Islands
  • 1918 1st daylight savings time in US goes into effect
  • 1919 Strike against Ruhrgebied government of Scheidemann
  • 1920 British parliament accepts Irish Home Rule law
  • 1921 British coal miners goes on strike
  • 1922 KFI-AM in Los Angeles CA begins radio transmissions
  • 1922 Prince Hendrik opens trade fair building in Amsterdam
  • 1923 First dance marathon in New York City; Alma Cummings sets record of 27 hours with 6 different partners
  • 1923 French soldiers fire on workers at Krupp factory in Essen; 13 die
  • 1923 Stanley Cup Final, Denman Arena, Vancouver, BC: Ottawa Senators (NHL) edge Edmonton Eskimos (WCHL), 1-0 for a 2-0 series sweep
  • 1924 Croydon Airport, London: Imperial Airways established
  • 1924 London public transport strike ends
  • 1925 WOWO-AM, Ft Wayne Indiana begins radio transmission (500 watts)
  • 1926 German Special Court of Justice for state security disbands
  • 1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next 38 years
  • 1931 Brilliant Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne (43) is killed with 7 others when light plane crashes on trip from Kansas City to Los Angeles; record 105-12-5 @ .881 remains best ever
  • 1932 150 wild swans die in Niagara waterfall
  • 1932 Ford publicly unveils its V-8 engine
  • 1933 1st newspaper published on pine pulp paper, "Soperton News" (Ga)
  • 1933 Congress authorizes Civilian Conservation Corps
  • 1934 Netherlands Indies BC Ltd begins radio transmission (Indonesia)
  • 1939 Britain & France agree to support Poland if invaded by Germany

Film Release

1939 "The Hound of Baskervilles" first of 14 films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson is released

  • 1940 Karelo-Finnish SSR becomes 12th Soviet republic (until 1956)
  • 1941 Ground broken for Union Square Garage, San Francisco
  • 1943 Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical "Oklahoma!" opens at the St. James Theatre, NYC; runs for 2,212 performances
  • 1943 US errantly bombs Rotterdam, kills 326
  • 1944 Hungary orders all Jews to wear yellow stars
  • 1945 3rd Algerian division crosses the Rhine
  • 1945 Sicherheitsdienst murders 10 political prisoners in Zutphen

Historic Event

1945 Tennessee Williams' "Glass Menagerie" premieres in NYC

  • 1945 US artillery lands on Keise Shima/begins firing on Okinawa
  • 1946 Belgian government of Spaak resigns - shortest ever Belgian government
  • 1946 Belgian government of Acker forms
  • 1946 First election is held in Greece after World War II
  • 1948 US Congress passes Marshall Aid Act to rehabilitate war-torn Europe
  • 1949 Newfoundland becomes Canada's 10th province
  • 1951 US tanks exceed 38° of latitude in Korea
  • 1953 US Department of Health, Education & Welfare established

Historic Event

1953 UN Security Council nominates Dag Hammarskjöld for Secretary-General

  • 1954 USSR offers to join NATO
  • 1955 Merger of Chase National Bank (3rd largest bank) and Bank of the Manhattan Company (15th largest bank) forms Chase Manhattan
  • 1955 West Indies cricket all-rounder Collie Smith scores 104 in his Test debut in a 9 wicket 1st Test defeat to Australia in Kingston, Jamaica

Television Premiere

1957 Rodgers & Hammerstein's live television musical "Cinderella", starring Julie Andrews, with Kaye Ballard and Alice Ghostley, premieres on CBS-TV

  • 1958 US Navy forms atomic submarine division
  • 1958 USSR suspends nuclear weapons tests, & urges US & Britain to do same
  • 1960 Gore Vidal's "Best Man" premieres in NYC
  • 1961 Aklilou Habtewold becomes 1st premier of Ethiopia
  • 1961 8th National Film Awards (India): "Anuradha" wins the Golden Lotus
  • 1962 116th Grand National: Fred Winter aboard 28/1 shot Kilmore wins by 10 lengths from Wyndburgh
  • 1963 LA ends streetcar service after 90 years
  • 1964 President Jango Goulart of Brazil chased out of office by military
  • 1965 Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashes into the sea on approach to Tangier killing 47 of 51 occupants
  • 1966 25,000 anti war demonstrators march in NYC

Election of Interest

1966 Labour Party under Harold Wilson win British parliamentary election

  • 1966 USSR launches Luna 10, 1st lunar orbiter

Music History

1967 1st time Jimi Hendrix burns his guitar (The Astoria, London)

Historic Event

1968 US President Lyndon B. Johnson announces in an address to the nation that he will not seek re-election

  • 1968 Pirate Radio Station Pegaus (NZ) begins transmitting
  • 1968 Seattle's AL club is named Pilots
  • 1968 US President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes a troop surge in Vietnam, bringing the total number of US soldiers to a peak of 549,500

Music History

1969 George Harrison and Pattie Boyd are fined £250 each for illegal drugs

Historic Event

1969 "The New York Times" reviews "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut on its publication saying ""you'll either love it, or push it back in the science-fiction corner"

  • 1970 Federal bankruptcy court allows Seattle Pilots to be sold to Milwaukee
  • 1970 Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth's atmosphere after 12 years in orbit
  • 1970 Following an Orange Order parade, intense riots erupt on the Springfield Road in Belfast; violence lasts for three days, and the British Army use CS gas for the first time in large quantities
  • 1971 South Africa national debt hits 5.45 billion
  • 1971 William Calley sentenced to life for Mi Lai Massacre
  • 1972 Official Beatles Fan Club closes down

Black Tot Day

1972 Final day of the rum ration in the Royal Canadian Navy

  • 1973 Philadelphia Flyers score an NHL record tying 8 goals from an astounding 60 shots in the 2nd period of a 10-2 win over New York Islanders

Sports History

1973 Muhammad Ali suffers a broken jaw in a shock split-points decision loss to Ken Norton over 12 rounds in San Diego; Ali wins rematch in another controversial split decision

  • 1973 127th Grand National: Brian Fletcher wins aboard 9/1 co-favourite Red Rum; recovers from 15 lengths behind at final fence; first of Red Rum's record 3 GN victories

NHL Record

1973 Boston Bruins defenceman Bobby Orr scores his 3rd career hat trick in a 7-3 loss at Toronto to become the first player in NHL history to score 100 points for 4 straight seasons

Sports History

1973 American tennis star Billie Jean King ends Australian Margaret Court's 57-match winning streak 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 in semi finals of the WTA event in Indianapolis, IN

  • 1974 American golfer Lee Trevino goes bogey-free for the full 4 rounds as he wins the Greater New Orleans Open by 8 strokes from Bobby Cole and Ben Crenshaw
  • 1975 37th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: UCLA beats Kentucky, 92-85; 10th title under coach John Wooden who had announced his retirement 2 days earlier
  • 1976 Cleveland Cavaliers beat Jazz, 110-101 in New Orleans to clinch club's first ever NBA playoff berth
  • 1976 NJ Court rules Karen Anne Quinlan may be disconnected from respirator
  • 1977 Michael Cristofer's "Shadow Box" premieres in NYC
  • 1978 USSR launches Kosmos 1000 navigational satellite
  • 1978 Wings release "London Town" album
  • 1979 Montreal Canadiens beat visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, 5-3 to become just the 2nd team in NHL history to win 50 (or more) games for 4 straight years
  • 1979 The last British soldier leaves the Maltese Islands. Malta declares its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).
  • 1979 133rd Grand National: Maurice Barnes victorious aboard Rubstic; first Scottish-trained horse to win the event
  • 1979 24th Eurovision Song Contest: Gali Atari and Milk and Honey for Israel wins singing "Hallelujah" in Jerusalem

Boxing Title Fight

1980 Almost concurrent heavyweight boxing championship fights: Larry Holmes TKOs Leroy Jones in 8 for WBC title in Las Vegas, NV whilst Mike Weaver KOs John Tate in 15 for WBA belt in Knoxville, TN

Historic Event

1980 President Jimmy Carter deregulates banking industry

  • 1980 The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad operates its final train after being ordered to liquidate its assets due to bankruptcy and debt owed to creditors.
  • 1981 1st Golden Raspberry Awards: "Can't Stop the Music" wins
  • 1982 Arkas tanker at Montz La, spills 1.47 million gallons of oil
  • 1982 American rock group The Doobie Brothers split up
  • 1982 NBA and Players Association reach a 4-year agreement that includes a 53% revenue-sharing plan in return for minimum & maximum payrolls; first of its kind in team sports
  • 1983 Popayán Earthquake (5.5 Mw Depth) in Colombia kills 267 people, injuring some 7,500
  • 1983 Marsha Norman's "'night, Mother" premieres in NYC

Film & TV History

1983 "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life," is released in the US

  • 1984 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1984 138th Grand National: Neale Doughty wins aboard 13/1 Hallo Dandy; 23 complete the course, breaking record for most finishers

Sports History

1984 Mike Bossy becomes first player in NHL history to record 7 straight 50 goal seasons; scores 50th and 51st of the year in a 3-1 New York Islanders' win at Washington

  • 1985 15th Easter Seal Telethon raises $27,400,000
  • 1985 4th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Old Dominion beats Georgia, 70-65; Monarchs' Tracy Claxton, MOP
  • 1985 El Salvador's President José Napoleón Duarte' Christian Democratic Party wins election


1985 WrestleMania I, Madison Square Garden, NYC: Hulk Hogan & Mr T beat Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorf

  • 1985 PGA Tournament Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Calvin Peete shoots final round 66 to win by 3 strokes from D. A. Weibring; Peete only player to break par in all 4 rounds
  • 1986 167 die when Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashes
  • 1986 48th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Louisville beats Duke, 72-69; first tournament to use a shot clock (initially set at 45 seconds)
  • 1986 English Hampton Court palace badly damaged by fire, 1 dead
  • 1986 Six metropolitan county councils are abolished in England.
  • 1987 49th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship: Indiana beats Syracuse, 74-73; Hoosiers' guard Keith Smart hits game-winner in final seconds, intercepts full court pass at the last second
  • 1988 Last East Limburg coal mine closes in Gent Belgium

Sports History

1988 New York Islanders celebrate defenseman Denis Potvin's 1,000 points and 1,000 NHL games at tribute night at Nassau Coliseum

Historic Event

1988 Pulitzer prize awarded to Toni Morrison for her novel "Beloved"

Historic Event

1989 Donald Trump purchases Eastern's Northeast Shuttle

Television Premiere

1990 "Carol & Company" starring Carol Burnett premieres on NBC-TV

  • 1990 Dionisio Castro cycles world record 20km (57:18.4)
  • 1990 Major riots occur in London and other British towns in protest against the new Community Charge poll tax laws

Sports History

1990 20-year old Quebec Nordiques' center Joe Sakic scores a goal in a 3-2 loss to Hartford to become the youngest player in NHL history to score 100 points in a season

  • 1991 10th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Tennessee beats Virginia, 70-67; first overtime win in the NCAA's 10-year history
  • 1991 Albania offers 1st multi-party election in 50 years
  • 1991 Danny Bonaduce attacks a transvestite prostitute in Phoenix, Arizona
  • 1991 Georgian SSR votes on whether to remain in the Soviet Union
  • 1991 Soviet Rep of Georgia endorsed independence; Warsaw Pact dissolves

Sports History

1991 St. Louis Blues' future Hockey Hall of Fame right wing Brett Hull scores his 86th goal of the season in a 2-1 win over Minnesota North Stars; 3rd best total in NHL history

  • 1991 The Establishment of Islamic Constitutional Movement - Hadas in Kuwait.

PGA Players Championship

1991 PGA Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Australian Steve Elkington birdies final hole to win by 1 stroke ahead of runner-up Fuzzy Zoeller

  • 1991 Nabisco Dinah Shore Women's Golf, Mission Hills CC: Amy Alcott breaks her own scoring record to win her 3rd DS by 8 strokes over Dottie Pepper; her 5th major title, and 29th & final LPGA Tour win
  • 1992 Ranji Trophy Cricket Final, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi: Delhi (Ajay Sharma 175 in 532) beats Tamil Nadu (449) on 1st innings
  • 1992 UN Security Council voted to ban flights & arms sales to Libya
  • 1992 Phoenix coach Cotton Fitzsimmons guides the Suns to a 128-111 home win over Portland to become the 6th coach in NBA history to record 800 career wins
  • 1994 Actor James Farentino pleads no contest to stalking ex-girlfriend Tina Sinatra
  • 1994 Walkway from Cleveland's Tower City to Jacobs Field officially opens
  • 1994 The Journal Nature reports the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull

Sports History

1994 Chicago White Sox assigns former NBA superstar Michael Jordan to the Birmingham Barons of Class AA Southern League; returns to NBA after one season

Davis Cup

1995 Second time in tennis history, world #1 and #2 ranked players play in the same Davis Cup team; Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi score victories in US quarter-final win against Italy in Palermo

  • 1995 Ranji Trophy Cricket Final, Wankhede Stadium, Bombay: Bombay (Sanjay Manjrekar 224 in 6/690) beats Punjab (Vikram Rathour 177 in 372) on 1st innings
  • 1995 Federal judge Sonia Sotomayor of US District Court in NYC issues an injunction against Major League Baseball owners in move that effectively ends 232-day strike
  • 1996 "Getting Away With Murder" closes at Broadhurst NYC after 17 performances
  • 1996 "A Midsummer Night's Dream" opens at Lunt-Fontanne NYC for 66 performances
  • 1996 15th NCAA Women's Basketball Championship: Tennessee beats Georgia, 83-65; 3 Volunteers in All-Tournament team: Michelle Marciniak, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tiffani Johnson
  • 1996 First time in MLB history, the regular season opens in March with Seattle Mariners beating Chicago White Sox, 3-2 in 12 innings at the Kingdome, Seattle
  • 1996 Ranji Trophy Cricket Final, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Madras: Karnataka (Vijay Bharadwaj 146 of 8/620) beats Tamil Nadu (370) on 1st innings
  • 1996 Radio Canada International's final shortwave broadcast
  • 1996 Space Shuttle STS 76 (Atlantis 16), lands


1996 WrestleMania XII, Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, CA - Shawn Michaels beats Bret Hart for WWF Heavyweight title

  • 1996 PGA Players Championship, TPC at Sawgrass: Fred Couples shoots a final round 64 to win his 2nd PC title, 4 strokes ahead of runners-up Colin Montgomerie and Tommy Tolles