January 31st in History

This day in historyJanuary 31 is the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 334 days remaining until the end of the year (335 in leap years).



In 314Silvester I begins his reign as Pope of the Catholic Church, succeeding Pope Miltiades.

In 1504,  France cedes Naples to Aragon.

In 1578,  The Battle of Gembloux takes place. The battle was between the Spanish forces led by Don John of Austria (Spanish: Don Juan de Austria), Governor-General of the Spanish Netherlands, and a rebel army composed of Dutch, Flemish, English, Scottish, German, French and Walloon soldiers under Antoine de Goignies, during the Eighty Years’ War and the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604). On 31 January 1578 the Spanish cavalry commanded by John’s nephew, Don Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma (Italian: Alessandro FarneseSpanish: Alejandro Farnesio), after pushing back the Netherlandish cavalry, attacked the Netherlandish army, causing an enormous panic amongst the rebel troops.The result was a crushing victory for the Spanish forces. The battle hastened the disintegration of the unity of the rebel provinces, and meant the end of the Union of Brussels.

In 1606,  Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for plotting against Parliament and King James.

In 1747,  The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital.

In 1790,  Thomas Lewis, Irish-American lawyer and surveyor (b. 1718) dies. He was an IrishAmerican surveyor, lawyer, and a pioneer of early Virginia. He was a signatory to the Fairfax Resolves preceding the American War for Independence, and after the conflict, contributed to the settlement of western Virginia in an area that would one day become part of West Virginia. Lewis was born to John (1678–1762) and Margaret Lynn Lewis (1693–1773) in County Donegal, Ireland on April 27, 1718. His father immigrated to Philadelphia in 1728; then brought his family, including Thomas and his brothers Andrew and William, over in 1730. In the summer of 1732 the Lewis family moved to western frontier, following the Shenandoah River south into Virginia and finally settled near the headwaters of the south fork in what was then Spotsylvania County. The family established a farm and built a stone house for defense against the Indians.

In 1801,  John Marshall is appointed the Chief Justice of the United States.

In 1814,  Gervasio Antonio de Posadas becomes Supreme Director of Argentina.

In 1846,  After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unify as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In 1848,  John C. Frémont is Court-martialed for mutiny and disobeying orders.

In 1849,  Corn Laws are abolished in the United Kingdom pursuant to legislation in 1846.

In 1862,  Alvan Graham Clark discovers the white dwarf star Sirius B, a companion of Sirius, through an 18.5-inch (47 cm) telescope now located at Northwestern University.

In 1865,  American Civil War: The United States Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, abolishing slavery and submits it to the states for ratification.

In 1865,  American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.

In 1867,  Maronite nationalist leader Youssef Karam leaves Lebanon on board a French ship bound for Algeria.

In 1891,  History of Portugal: The first attempt at a Portuguese republican revolution breaks out in the northern city of Porto.

In 1900,  Datu Muhammad Salleh is assassinated in Kampung Teboh, Tambunan, ending the Mat Salleh Rebellion.

In 1915,  World War I: Germany is the first to make large-scale use of poison gas in warfare in the Battle of Bolimów against Russia.

In 1917,  World War I: Germany announces that its U-boats will resume unrestricted submarine warfare after a two-year hiatus.

In 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.

In 1919,  The Battle of George Square takes place in Glasgow, Scotland.

In 1929,  The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky.

In 1930,  3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.

In 1942,  World War II: Allied forces are defeated by the Japanese at the Battle of Malaya and retreat to the island of Singapore.

In 1943,  World War II: German Field Marshal Friedrich Paulus surrenders to the Soviets at Stalingrad, followed 2 days later by the remainder of his Sixth Army, ending one of the war’s fiercest battles.

In 1944,  World War II: American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.

In 1944,  World War II: During the Anzio campaign the 1st Ranger Battalion (Darby’s Rangers) is destroyed behind enemy lines in a heavily outnumbered encounter at Battle of Cisterna, Italy.

In 1945,  US Army private Eddie Slovik is executed for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War.

In 1945,  World War II: About 3,000 inmates from the Stutthof concentration camp are forcibly marched into the Baltic Sea at Palmnicken (now Yantarny, Russia) and executed.

In 1946,  Yugoslavia‘s new constitution, modeling that of the Soviet Union, establishes six constituent republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).

In 1949,  These Are My Children, the first television daytime soap opera is broadcast by the NBC station in Chicago.

In 1950,  President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.

In 1953,  A North Sea flood causes over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands and over 300 in the United Kingdom

EdwinHowardArmstrong.jpgIn 1954,  Edwin Howard Armstrong, American engineer, invented FM radio (b. 1890) dies. He was an American electrical engineer and inventor. He has been called “the most prolific and influential inventor in radio history”. He invented the regenerative circuit while he was an undergraduate and patented it in 1914, followed by the super-regenerative circuit in 1922, and the superheterodyne receiver in 1918.  Armstrong was also the inventor of modern frequency modulation (FM) radio transmission.

In 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.

In 1958,  Explorer program: Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.

In 1958,  James Van Allen discovers the Van Allen radiation belt.

In 1961,  Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.

In 1966,  The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program.

In 1968,  Viet Cong attack the United States embassy in Saigon, and other attacks, in the early morning hours, later grouped together as the Tet Offensive.

In 1968,  Nauru gains independence from Australia.

In 1971,  Apollo program: Apollo 14 – Astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell, aboard a Saturn V, lift off for a mission to the Fra Mauro Highlands on the Moon.

In 1971,  The Winter Soldier Investigation, organized by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicize war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, begins in Detroit, Michigan.

Samuel Goldwyn 001.jpgIn 1974,  Samuel Goldwyn, Polish-American film producer (b. 1882) dies. (Born Szmuel Gelbfisz (Yiddish: שמואל גלבפֿיש); c. July 1879 – January 31, 1974), He was also known as Samuel Goldfish, was an American film producer. He was most well known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood

In 1990,  The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow.

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

In 1996,  An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400.

In 1996,  Comet Hyakutake is discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.

In 2000,  Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash: An MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabilizer problems, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 aboard.

In 2001,  In the Netherlands, a Scottish court convicts Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi and acquits another Libyan citizen for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988.

In 2003,  The Waterfall rail accident occurs near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia.

In 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.

In 2008, The Associated Press learned that Democrat John Edwards will be leaving the presidential race. Two advisers said Edwards notified a close circle of senior advisers that he plans to make the announcement Wednesday in New Orleans.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama moved to scrub Tony Rezko’s taint off his political fund-raising machine, saying he’s identified all remaining donations to his U.S. Senate campaign tied to the indicted Chicago businessman and is donating a total of $157,835 to charity.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, weighing in on the presidential race without offering an endorsement, says that both Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are on the right track in “talking about bringing people together” across partisan lines.

In 2008, The Tennessee State House Commerce Committee Chairman, Charles Curtiss, and Senator Tim Burchett introduced SB 4021/HB 3959, which allows cable and video service providers to obtain a state cable and video franchise; creates a fifteen-member authority comprised of three state officials, 6 municipal officials and 6 county officials; and requires the authority to develop the terms, conditions and requirements of the state cable and video franchise.

In 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.

In 2010,  Avatar becomes the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide.

In 2011,  A winter storm hits North America for the second time in the same month, causing $1.8 billion in damage across the United States and Canada and killing 24 people.

In 2011,  Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocated the last two /8 IPv4 address blocks to the Regional Internet Registries(RIRs).

In 2013,  An explosion at the Pemex Executive Tower in Mexico City kills at least 33 people and injures more than 100.

Christopher Jones The Legend of Jesse James 1965.JPG

Photo of Christopher Jones as Jesse James from the television program The Legend of Jesse James.

In 2014, Christopher Jones, American actor (b. 1941) dies at the age of 72, due to complications arising from gallbladder cancer. He is survived by seven children, Jennifer Strasberg, Christopher Jones Jr., Jeromy McKenna, Delon Jones, Tauer Jones, Calin Jones, and Seagen Jones. He was born in Jackson, Tennessee, where his father was a grocery clerk and his mother Robbie was an artist. Jones father admitted her to the State Hospital in Bolivar, Tennessee, in 1945 for holding a gun to his head after he was caught being unfaithful. Jones and his brother were then placed in Boys Town in Memphis, where he became a fan of James Dean after being told he bore a resemblance to him. He then joined the Army, but went AWOL and after serving a sentence in a military prison he moved to New York where he began his acting career. Jones (adopting the stage name Christopher) made his Broadway debut on December 17, 1961, in Tennessee Williams‘s The Night of the Iguana, directed by Frank Corsaro and starring Shelley Winters. Winters introduced Jones to actress Susan Strasberg, the daughter of Method acting progenitor Lee Strasberg. Jones later studied at Strasberg’s Actors Studio. Despite friction with Lee, Jones married Susan in 1965. The couple had a daughter, Jennifer Robin Jones, in 1966, named as a tribute to actress Jennifer Jones.

In 2016, SJR 0067 by *Bell Constitutional Amendments – As introduced, makes application for the calling of an Article V convention under the United States Constitution to consider amendments to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress. Not a Good Thing!

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