On This Day

On This Day in History for January 31 (Part 2)

Events in History

  • 1971 Apollo 14 launched, 1st landing in lunar highlands
  • 1971 US female Figure Skating championship won by Janet Lynn
  • 1971 US male Figure Skating championship won by John Misha Petkevich
  • 1972 Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev becomes 11th King of Nepal
  • 1972 Military coup ousts civilian government of Ghana
  • 1972 US launches HEOS A-2 for interplanetary observations (396/244,998)
  • 1972 British Home Secretary Reginald Maudling to House of Commons on 'Bloody Sunday', "The Army returned the fire directed at them with aimed shots and inflicted a number of casualties on those who were attacking them with firearms and with bombs"
  • 1976 Lance Gibbs becomes highest Test wicket-taker at 308
  • 1977 Frenchman Francois Claustre freed, after 33 months as hostage in Chad
  • 1978 Israel turns 3 milt outposts in West Bank into civilian settlements
  • 1980 Police storm occupied Spanish embassy in Guatemala City, killing 41
  • 1981 Gaetan Boucher skates world record 1000m (1:13.39)
  • 1982 10 Arabian oryx (extinct except in zoos) released in Oman
  • 1982 Gustafson skates world record 10 km (14:26.59)
  • 1983 In an effort to reduce driving deaths, a new law in UK requires drivers and front-seat passengers to wear seatbelts
  • 1984 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1985 South African President P. W. Botha offers to free Nelson Mandela if he denounces violence

President of South Africa P. W. Botha
President of South Africa
P. W. Botha
Anti-apartheid activist and South African President Nelson Mandela
Anti-apartheid activist and South African President
Nelson Mandela
  • 1986 Mary Lund of Minneapolis, 1st female recipient of an artificial heart receives a donor heart
  • 1987 United Steel workers union ratified a concessionary with USX Corp
  • 1988 Barge sinks near Anacortes, WA, spills 70,000 gallons of oil
  • 1990 1st McDonalds in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow
  • 1990 Jushin "Thunder" Liger beats Naoki Sano to become New Japan IWGP champ
  • 1991 Robert Gibson flies record 27,040 feet altitude
  • 1992 MTA raised tolls on most NYC bridges from $2.50 to $3.00
  • 1994 Dow Jones hits a record 3,978.36

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1995 President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy.

42nd US President Bill Clinton
42nd US President
Bill Clinton
  • 1996 50 people die and many more injured in a suicide bombing in Sri Lanka by separatist Tamil Tigers
  • 1997 "Final Fantasy VII" is released by Square and Sony Computer Entertainment to PlayStation
  • 1998 STS 89 (Endeavour 12) lands
  • 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.
  • 2000 Family GP Dr Harold Shipman is jailed for life for murdering 15 of his patients, making him Britain's most prolific convicted serial killer
  • 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 rail accident occurs near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2006 Alan Greenspan retires as Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Economist and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan
Economist and Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Alan Greenspan

AppointmentAppointment of Interest

2006 US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retires and is replaced by Samuel Alito

1st Woman Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
1st Woman Supreme Court Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor
  • 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

  • 2009 In Kenya, at least 113 people are killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, days after a massive fire at a Nakumatt supermarket in Nairobi killed at least 25 people.
  • 2013 300 people are injured in a train collision in Pretoria, South Africa
  • 2013 36 people are killed and 126 are injured in an explosion at Torre Ejecutiva Pemex, Mexico
  • 2015 Sergio Mattarella is elected President of Italy
  • 2015 Australia defeats South Korea in football to win the 2015 AFC Asian Cup
  • 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees: Junior Seau, Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Will Shields, Tim Brown, Mick Tingelhoff
  • 2016 "World's best chef" French-Swiss Benoît Violier found dead after apparent suicide weeks after being named world's best by La Liste
  • 2017 Romanian government passes emergency decree to release prisoners and decriminalise corruption charges, triggering huge protests in Bucharest

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2017 US President Donald Trump fires Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructs Justice Department officials not to defend Trump's travel ban

45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality Donald Trump
45th US President, Businessman and TV Personality
Donald Trump
  • 2017 US President Donald Trump announces he is nominating 49 year old Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court
  • 2018 trump administration formally suspends the Clean Water Act
  • 2019 Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah crowned King of Malaysia to serve a five-year term
  • 2019 Leaked Indian government reports says unemployment rate at 6.1% highest since 1972-73, up from 2.2% in 2011-12
  • 2019 New government in Lebanon finally formed by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri nine months after elections
  • 2019 Colonization of the America's in the late 1500s killed so many people it cooled the planet and led to a "Little Ice Age", according to a scientific report published in "Quaternary Science Reviews"
  • 2019 US border agency seizes its biggest ever fentanyl bust, nearly 254 pounds hidden in Tractor-trailer in Nogales, Arizona
  • 2019 At least 20 newborns and children have died in last two months of the cold, trying to get to the Al-Ho Syrian refugee camp according to WHO
  • 2019 Catholic leaders in Texas name 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children, dating back to 1940
  • 2020 United Kingdom formally withdraws from the European Union (Brexit)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

2021 Widespread protests in Russia against detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the government with 5,000 people arrested

Political Activist Alexei Navalny
Political Activist
Alexei Navalny

Birthdays in History

  • 1945 Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, British judge, 1st woman to head UK Supreme Court, born in Leeds, England
  • 1948 Muneo Suzuki, Japanese politician, born in Hokkaido, Japan
  • 1949 Ken Wilber, American philosopher & writer, born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • 1951 Presiley Baxendale, British QC, born in London, England
  • 1952 Rosanne Musgrave, English headmistress (Blackheath HS)
  • 1952 Nadya Rusheva, Russian painter, born in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (d. 1969)
  • 1956 Trevor Manuel, South African politician, born in Cape Town, South Africa
  • 1960 Grant Morrison, British comic book author, born in Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 1961 Fatou Bensouda, Gambian lawyer & Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, born in Banjul, Gambia
  • 1975 Jackie O, Australian radio host, born in Tasmania, Australia
  • 1977 Jim Kleinsasser, American football tight end, born in Carrington, North Dakota
  • 1978 Brad Rutter, Jeopardy! champion, born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • 1978 Ray Shah, Irish Big Brother contestant, born in Dublin, Ireland
  • 1979 Daniel Tammet, British writer & autistic savant, born in Barking, London
  • 2001 Ahed Tamimi, Pakistani activist who slapped Israeli officer, born in Nabi Salih, West Bank

Weddings in History


Deaths in History