This Day in History - October 31

October 31


1517 – Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in Germany. Luther’s theories and writings inaugurate Protestantism, shattering the external structure of the medieval church and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe

1776 – In his first speech before British Parliament since the leaders of the American Revolution came together to signo the Declaration of Independence, King George III acknowledges that all was not going well for Britain in the war with the United States

1795 – Poet, John Keats, is born

1802 – Inventor of the water turbine, Benoit Fourneyron, is born

1803 – Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, adding what will eventually become 13 more states

1838 – A mob of nearly 200 attacks a Mormon camp in Missouri, killing 20 men, women, and children

1860 – Founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Low, is born

1861 – Citing failing health, General Winfield Scott, commander of the Union forces, retires from service on this day in 1861

1864 – Nevada becomes the 36th state

1875 – 1st Deputy Prime Minister of India, Vallabhbhai Patel, is born

1887 – Chinese Nationalist, Chiang Kai-Shek, is born

1892 – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle, is published

1892 – Russian chess player, Alexander Alekhine  is born

1896 – Actress and blues singer  Ethel Waters  is born

1902 – Brazilian poet, journalist, and writer,  Carlos Drummond de Andrade, is born

1916 – American minister, Charles Taze Russell, dies

1917 – Historian, William H. McNeil, is born

1917 – Allied forces under General Edmund Allenby launch an attack on Turkish positions at Beersheba, in Palestine, beginning the Third Battle of Gaza during World War I

1918 – American biochemist, Ian Stevenson, is born

1925 – Postmodern architect, Charles Moore, is born

1926 – Harry Houdini, the most famous magician and escape artist of the 20th century, dies of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital due to a ruptured appendix from being punched twice in the stomach by a student unexpectedly

1930 – US astronaut, Michael Collins, is born

1931 – Journalist and anchor of CBS Evening News from 1981 – 2005, Dan Rather is born

1936 – Actor Michael Landon is born

1937 – Folk singer, songwriter, and musician, Tom Paxton, is born

1941 – Mount Rushmore National Memorial is completed

1942 – Actor, David Ogden Stiers, is born

1950 – US Army major general known for authoring the Taguba Report on the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Antonio Taguba, is born

1950 – 21-year-old Earl Lloyd becomes the first African-American to play in an NBA game

1952 – The bombing of North Vietnam is halted by the US

1956 – Two days after Israeli sent forces into Egypt initiating the Suez Crisis, British and French military forces join them in the canal zone to try to retake the canal

1961 – New Zealand film director, producer, and screenwriter Sir Peter Jackson is born

1961 – Five years after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalinism and the “personality cult” of Soviet rulers at the 20th Party Congress, Joseph Stalin’s embalmed body is removed from Lenin’s tomb in Moscow’s Red Square

1961 – Musician and drummer for band U2, Larry Mullen Jr. is born

1961 – Hurricane Hattie strikes Belize on this day in 1961, killing more than 400 people and leaving thousands homeless

1963 – The pandemonium that Ed Sullivan witnessed today, as he attempted to catch his flight to New York, by young fans that swarmed the Beatles, would play a pivotal role in making the British Invasion of the British band into America possible

1970 – South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu delivers a speech on the state of the nation, asserting that 99.1 percent of the country had been “pacified”

1971 – Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POW’s

1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two Sikh members of her bodyguard

1993 – Italian director, Federico Fellini, dies

1993 – Actor, River Phoenix, dies of a drug overdose outside of a Hollywood nightclub

1998 – Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors

1999 – EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 217 people on board

2000 – Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station

2000 – Lame-duck President Bill Clinton campaigns in New York on behalf of his wife, Hillary, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate

2002 – Former Enron Corp. CEO Andrew Fastow is convicted on 78 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and wire fraud; the Enron collapse cost investors millions and led to new oversight legislation

2005 – Second in line of succession to the Spanish throne, Infanta Leonor of Spain, is born

2006 – 1st State President of South Africa, P.W. Botha, dies


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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