On This Day

Events in History on January 31

  • 314 St Silvester I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
  • 876 Charles becomes king of Italy
  • 1504 By treaty of Lyons, French cede Naples to Ferdinand of Aragon
  • 1531 King Ferdinand of Austria and King John Zapolya of Hungary offically recognise each other
  • 1578 Battle of Gembloux (Gembloers); Spanish forces win decisive victor over coalition rebel forces
  • 1596 Catholic League disbanded
  • 1609 Wisselbank of Amsterdam established
  • 1627 Spanish government goes bankrupt
  • 1675 Cornelia/Dina Olfaarts found not guilty of witchcraft
  • 1696 Revolt by undertakers after funeral reforms (Amsterdam)
  • 1747 The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital, London
  • 1779 Charles Messier adds M57 (Ring Nebula in Lyra) to his catalog

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1804 British vice-admiral William Blighs fleet reaches Curacao

Naval Commander William Bligh
Naval Commander
William Bligh
  • 1814 Gervasio Antonio de Posadas becomes Supreme Director of Argentina.
  • 1817 Franz Grillparzer's "Die Ahnfrau" premieres in Vienna
  • 1846 After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unified as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  • 1849 Corn Laws abolished in Britain
  • 1851 San Francisco Orphan's Asylum founded, 1st in California
  • 1854 Dutch KNMI established (Royal Meteorological Institute)
  • 1855 Western railroads blocked by snow
  • 1855 The government of Lord Aberdeen in the United Kingdom falls following heavy scrutiny of the Crimean War
  • 1861 Friedrich Hebbel's "Siegfrieds Tod" premieres in Weimar
  • 1861 State of Louisiana takes over US Mint at New Orleans (U.S Civil War)
  • 1862 Astronomer Alvan Graham Clark makes first observation of Sirius B (first known white dwarf star) in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts while testing his new telescope
  • 1863 1st black Civil War regiment, South Carolina Volunteers, mustered into US army
  • 1865 Congress passes the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in America (passes 121-24)
  • 1865 General Robert E. Lee named Commander-in-Chief of Confederate Armies during US Civil War
  • 1867 Maronite nationalist leader Youssef Karam leaves Lebanon on board of a French ship for Algeria
  • 1871 Millions of birds fly over western San Francisco, darkening the sky

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1874 Jesse James gang robs a train at Gads Hill, Missouri

Outlaw Jesse James
Jesse James
  • 1876 The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.
  • 1891 The first attempt of a Portuguese republican revolution breakes out in the northern city of Porto
  • 1893 "Westminster Gazette" begins publishing
  • 1895 Jose Martí & others leave NYC for invasion of Spanish Cuba
  • 1900 The final report of the USA's Philippine Commission is released, favouring territorial government for the islands with home rule in local affairs, but with US assumptions of ultimate responsibility for the government.
  • 1901 Boer generals Jan Smuts & De la Rey conqueror Mud river, Transvaal

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1901 Chekhov's "Three Sisters" opens at Moscow Art Theater

Author and Playwright Anton Chekhov
Author and Playwright
Anton Chekhov
  • 1901 Austro-Hungarian Empire: The Reichsrath, disolved on 7 September 1900 by Emperor Franz Joseph, reopens after the recent elections have defeated extremists
  • 1905 1st automobile to exceed 100 mph (161 kph), A G MacDonald, Daytona Beach
  • 1905 Carroll Wright appointed 1st Commissioner of Labor, USA
  • 1906 Strongest instrumentally recorded earthquake, Colombia, 8.6 Richter

  • 1911 Congress names San Francisco as Panama Canal opening celebration site
  • 1915 1st (German) poison gas attack, against Russians
  • 1916 Dutch Girl Guides form
  • 1917 Germany notifies US that U-boats will attack neutral merchant ship
  • 1917 Mexican President Carranza announces a new constitution with many liberal elements; most of which his regime will not implement
  • 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: troops deployed against protesters for fear of a Bolshevik uprising
  • 1920 1st Ukrainian daily newspaper in US (NYC) begins publication
  • 1920 Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity incorporates at Howard University
  • 1925 Premier Ahmed Zogu becomes president of Angola
  • 1927 Internationall allied military command in Germany disbands
  • 1927 NL President John Heydler rules Rogers Hornsby can't hold stock in the Cardinals & play for the Giants
  • 1928 Scotch tape 1st marketed by 3-M Company
  • 1929 Erich Maria Remarque publishes "Im Westen nichts Neues" in Berlin

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1929 Leon Trotsky expelled from Russia to Turkey

Russian Revolutionary Leon Trotsky
Russian Revolutionary
Leon Trotsky
  • 1930 1st US glider flight from a dirigible, Lakehurst, New Jersey
  • 1931 Philip Barry's "Tomorrow & Tomorrow" premieres in NYC
  • 1932 US railway unions accept 10% wage reduction

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1933 French government of Édouard Daladier takes power

Prime Minister of France Édouard Daladier
Prime Minister of France
Édouard Daladier

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1933 Adolf Hitler promises parliamentary democracy

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler

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1934 FDR devalues US dollar in relation to gold at $35 per ounce

32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt
32nd US President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • 1936 "Green Hornet" radio show is 1st heard on WXYZ Radio in Detroit
  • 1940 C Turney & J Horwin's "My Dear Children" premieres in NYC
  • 1941 Anti-German demonstration in Haarlem, Netherlands
  • 1941 British army Layforce commando units set sail
  • 1943 Chile breaks off relations with Germany & Japan
  • 1943 Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrenders to Soviet troops at Stalingrad

Battle of InterestD-Day

1944 Operation-Overlord (D-Day) postponed until June
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"Into the Jaws of Death" by Robert F. Sargent
  • 1944 U-592 sunk off Ireland
  • 1944 US forces invade Kwajalein Atoll
  • 1945 US 4th Infantry division occupies Elcherrath
  • 1945 Soviet troops reach the Oder River, less that 50 miles from Berlin
  • 1946 Yugoslavia adopts new constitution, becomes a federal republic

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1948 J. D. Salinger's short story "A Perfect Day for Banana Fish" appears in the New Yorker

Novelist J. D. Salinger
J. D. Salinger
  • 1948 Magnetic tape recorder developed by Wireway

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1950 US President Harry Truman publicly announces support for the development of a hydrogen bomb

33rd US President Harry Truman
33rd US President
Harry Truman
  • 1952 Dutch Lutheran Church reunites after 1½ centuries
  • 1953 "Princess Victoria" capsized off Stanraer Scotland; 133 die
  • 1953 Hurricane-like winds flood Netherlands drowning 1,835
  • 1953 New York, Cleveland, & Boston retaliate at Bill Veeck, forcing the Browns to play afternoon games to avoid sharing TV revenues
  • 1956 French government of Guy Mollet forms
  • 1956 Juscelino Kubitschek becomes president of Brazil
  • 1957 Trans-Iranian oil pipe line finished
  • 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 James van Allen discovers radiation belt
  • 1958 US launches their 1st artificial satellite, Explorer 1
  • 1959 Joe Cronin signs 7 year pact to become head of AL

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1961 David Ben-Gurion resigns as Prime Minister of Israel

First Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
First Israeli Prime Minister
David Ben-Gurion
  • 1961 Ham the chimpanzee is 1st primate in space (158 miles) aboard Mercury/Redstone 2
  • 1961 Houston voters approve bond to finance luxury domed stadium
  • 1961 Kanhai completes twin tons (117 & 115) v Aust at Adelaide
  • 1961 NATO secretary-general Paul-Henri Spaak says he'll resign
  • 1961 USAF launches Samos spy satellite to replace U-2 flights
  • 1962 General Charles P Cabell, USAF, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • 1962 Samuel Gravely assumes command of destroyer escort "USS Falgout", first African American to command a combat ship
  • 1966 Belgian state police kills 2 striking mine workers
  • 1966 USSR launches Luna 9 towards Moon
  • 1968 Bobby Simpson takes 5-59 v India in his last Test for ten years
  • 1968 Nauru (formerly Pleasant Island) declares independence from Australia
  • 1968 Record high barometric pressure (1083.8 mb, 32"), at Agata, USSR
  • 1968 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
  • 1969 Vice Admiral Rufus L Taylor, USN, ends term as deputy director of CIA
  • 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)
  • 1982 US male Figure Skating championship won by Scott Hamilton
  • 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

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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

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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.

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2006 Alan Greenspan retires as Chairman of the Federal Reserve

US Fed Chairman & Economist Alan Greenspan
US Fed Chairman & Economist
Alan Greenspan
  • 2006 US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor retires and is replaced by Samuel Alito
  • 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 Pr-Football Hall of Fame inductees: Junior Seau, Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Will Shields, Tim Brown, and 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

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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
  • 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 Colonisation of the America's in late 1500s killed so many people it cooled the planet, led to a "Little'' Ice Age" according to 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