Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: JULY 31

TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: JULY 31

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1991 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The treaty, also known as START I, limited the number of nuclear weapons and missiles the signatories could deploy. It came into force in December 1994, and expired 15 years later in 2009.

30 BC – Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves minor victory over Octavian, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to Octavian’s invasion of Egypt

1291 – Egyptian Mamelukken occupies Akko, crusaders driven out of Palestine

1415 – The Southampton plot to assassinate English king Henry V and put Edmund Mortimer on the throne is uncovered

1498 – Christopher Columbus, on his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, arrived at the island of Trinidad.

1703 – Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers

1777 – The Marquis de Lafayette became a major-general in the American Continental Army.

1790 – The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins for his process for making potash and pearl ashes. The substance was used in fertilizer.

1792 – The cornerstone of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, was laid. It was the first building to be used only as a U.S. government building.

1853 – First night time surgery performed at Lychakiv Hospital in Lemberg (now Liviv, Poland), using new paraffin oil lamps invented by Ignacy Łukasiewicz

1864 – Ulysses S. Grant is named General of Volunteers

1893 – Gaelic League is founded by Douglas Hyde and Eoin MacNeill in order to encourage Irish people to speak the language and take a greater interest in their culture

1912 – US government prohibits movies and photos of prize fights (censorship)

1917 – Third Battle of Ypres begins – Also known as the Battle of Passchendaele, the battle was part of World War I and took place between July 31 and November 6 for control of the Belgian city of Ypres.

1919 – Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted.

1925 – Unemployment Insurance Act passed in Britain

1928 – MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time. He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, “White Shadows on the South Seas.”

1938 – MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis suspends New York Yankees outfielder Jake Powell after he said on Chicago radio he kept in shape by “cracking” African Americans over the head with his nightstick

1943 – Transport #58 departs with French Jews to Nazi Germany

1944 – Last deportation train out Mechelen departs to Auschwitz

1945 – Pierre Laval, fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria

1959 – The Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) was founded. The group is known for being an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization.

1960 – Elijah Muhammad, leader of Nation of Islam, calls for a black state

1961 – Israel welcomes its one millionth immigrant

1964 – The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon’s surface.

1969 – National Guard mobilizes in racial disturbances in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

1970 – Black Tot Day: the last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy (started 1740)

1971 – Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV).

1972 – Operation Motorman: the British Army use 12,000 soldiers supported by tanks and bulldozers to re-take the “no-go areas” controlled by the Provisional Irish Republican Army

1972 – Claudy bombing: nine civilians were killed when three car bombs exploded in County Londonderry, North Ireland; no group has since claimed responsibility

1980 – China’s population reached 1 billion.

1981 – The seven-week baseball players’ strike came to an end when the players and owners agreed on the issue of free agent compensation.

1982 – Yugoslavia imposed a six-month freeze on prices.

1988 – Last Playboy Club closes in Lansing, Michigan

1989 – A pro-Iranian group in Lebanon released a videotape reportedly showing the hanged body of American hostage William R. Higgins.

1989 – The Game Boy handheld video game device was released in the U.S.

1991 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The treaty, also known as START I, limited the number of nuclear weapons and missiles the signatories could deploy. It came into force in December 1994, and expired 15 years later in 2009.

1991 – Senate votes to allow women to fly combat aircraft

1991 – The Medininkai Massacre in Lithuania. Soviet OMON attacks Lithuanian customs post in Medininkai, killing 7 officers and severely wounding one other

1995 – The Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire Capital Cities/ABC in a $19 billion deal.

1998 – The British government bans landmines

1999 – The spacecraft Lunar Prospect crashed into the moon. It was a mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface. The craft had been launched on January 6, 1998.

2006 – Fidel Castro temporarily hands over power to brother Raúl Castro. This leads to a celebration in Little Havana (La Pequeña Habana in Spanish), Miami, Florida, where many Cuban Americans participated.

2012 – A second power grid failure in India in two days leaves 670 million people without power

2014 – The US agree to resupply arms to Israel – including rocket launchers, mortar rounds, grenades – despite condemnation of civilian casualties in Gaza

2017 – Anthony Scaramucci removed as White House Communications Director after less than 2 weeks

2018 – Facebook discloses and removes Russian-linked network of sites attempting to interfere in American politics

2019 – US Federal Reserve cuts interest rates for the first time since 2008 by 0.25%

2019 – American officials announce Osama bin Laden’s son, Hamza bin Laden and potential successor has been killed in US air strikes in Pakistan

REFERENCE: history.net, onthisday.com, thepeopleshistory.com, timeanddate.com, scopesys.com, on-this-day.com

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