31st July In History

July 31, the 212th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (213th in case of leap years) marks as an important date in world history. Over time, many significant incidents and events occurred on this date which included start and end of battles, uprisings, signing of treaties, natural disasters, religious developments, expeditions, and accomplishments and discoveries in scientific fields among others. Some important events that makes this day special includes Christopher Columbus discovering Trinidad, Aurangzeb becoming the sixth Mughal Emperor of India, Ranger 7 successfully transmitting close images of the Moon, the United States and USSR signing START I and Michael Phelps setting new record of winning most medals at the Olympics. Let’s have a quick look at the events that took place on July 31.


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 31st July



1492

Politics

Jews Are Expelled From Spain According To The Alhambra Decree

Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain, issued the Alhambra Decree on March 31, 1492. In the edict, the monarchs ordered expulsion of Jews from Spain by July 31 of that year.


1658

Politics

Aurangzeb Becomes The Sixth Mughal Emperor Of India

Aurangzeb usurped his father Shah Jahan from the Mughal throne to become the sixth Mughal Emperor of India. Aurangzeb reigned for a period of 49 years since July 31, 1658 and is considered widely as the last effective ruler of the Mughal Empire.


1932

Politics

Nazi Party Makes Significant Gains During July 1932 German Federal Election

Although the NSDAP (Nazi Party) failed to win a majority during the July 1932 German Federal election held on July 31 that year, it won 37.27% of the vote and for the first time emerged as the largest party in the Reichstag.


1945

Politics

Pierre Laval Surrenders To Allied Soldiers

French politician and former leader of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, who fled to Spain following liberation of France in 1944, surrendered to Allied soldiers on July 31, 1945, in Austria.


1991

Politics

The United States And USSR Signs START I (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty)

START I or the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed by the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on July 31, 1991 and became effective on December 5, 1994. It was a treaty on reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms and marked as the first one to reduce (with verification) the stockpiles of both the nations.


2006

Politics

Fidel Castro Delegates His Presidential Duties To Brother Raúl Castro

After undergoing surgery for intestinal bleeding, long-time Cuban leader Fidel Castro delegated his presidential duties to his brother Raúl Castro on July 31, 2006. Fidel Castro however retained the title of President of Cuba while his brother exercised the presidential duties.


30 BC

Wars

Mark Antony Garners A Minor Victory During The Battle Of Alexandria

The Battle of Alexandria, the last battle of the Roman Republic, took place in Alexandria, Egypt, from July 1 to August 1, in 30 BC between forces of Mark Antony and the Octavians during the Final War of the Roman Republic. The first attack of the battle witnessed minor Antonian victory, however Antony's side was subsequently deserted by most of his army which led him to ultimately commit suicide by stabbing himself with his sword.


1423

Wars

The Battle Of Cravant

The Battle of Cravant was a conflict between the English and French forces that was fought at the village of Cravant in Burgundy on July 31, 1423, during the Hundred Years' War. The English and their Burgundian allies won the battle, marking their first joint victory.


1655

Wars

The Russians Capture Vilnius During Russo-Polish War

Russian army captured Vilnius, the capital of the Great Duchy of Lithuania, on July 31, 1655 and held it for six years during the Russo-Polish War, considered a major conflict between the Tsardom of Russia and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.


1712

Wars

Action Of 31 July 1712

The Action of 31 July 1712 took place in Neues Tief (Nydyp, Nya Djupet), Greifswalder Bodden, Baltic Sea on July 31, 1712, during the Great Northern War. The conflict saw Danish and Swedish ships clashing with each other in the Baltic Sea, however the result of such action remained inconclusive.


1763

Wars

The Battle Of Bloody Run

The Battle of Bloody Run was fought between the Pontiac's confederacy and the Kingdom of Great Britain on July 31, 1763, on the site of the present-day Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan, US. It was fought during Pontiac's War, named after an Odawa war chief called Pontiac or Obwandiyag. Nearly 250 British troops made an attempt for a surprise attack on the encampment of Pontiac to break his siege of Fort Detroit. The conflict ended with Pontiac's forces defeating the British troops and securing an American Indian victory.


1904

Wars

Battle Of Hsimucheng

The Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Russian Army fought the Battle of Hsimucheng on July 31, 1904, near Hsimucheng, between Liaoyang and Port Arthur, Manchuria. The conflict was a minor land engagement of the Russo-Japanese War and resulted in a Japanese victory.


1917

Wars

The Battle Of Passchendaele Starts

The Third Battle of Ypres also referred as the Battle of Passchendaele was fought between the Allies and the German Empire as a campaign of the First World War. The battle took place on the Western Front starting near Ypres in West Flanders, Belgium, on July 31, 1917.


1941

Wars

Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring Writes To Reinhard Heydrich Instructing To Take Necessary Measures To Execute The Final Solution To The Jewish Question

The Final Solution, also referred as the Final Solution to the Jewish Question was a plan of the Nazis for genocide of Jews during Second World War. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring taking instruction from Adolf Hitler issued a memo to SS General Reinhard Heydrich on July 31, 1941. In the memo, he ordered Heydrich to make "necessary preparations" for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question and submit him concrete proposals for implementation of the same.


1941

Wars

The Battle Of Smolensk Ends

The Battle of Smolensk fought in the Smolensk (Russian SFSR) vicinity in the Soviet Union was a conflict between Germany and the Soviet Union that took place during the second phase of Operation Barbarossa. According to German historiography the battle began on July 8, 1941 and ended on July 31 that year. It resulted in a German victory with Germany capturing about 300,000 Soviet Red Army prisoners.


1972

Wars

Operation Motorman

The British Army (HQ Northern Ireland) carried out Operation Motorman in the early hours of July 31, 1972 in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Considered the largest British military operation after the Suez Crisis of 1956, the operation witnessed the British Army retaking the urban "no-go areas" including Belfast and Derry that were under the control of residents, including Irish republican paramilitaries. The bombing of Claudy that took place later that day and caused death of 9 civilians and injury of 30 others was possibly a response to Operation Motorman.


781

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Mount Fuji Erupts

Mount Fuji in Honshū, Japan is the highest mountain of the country and the second-highest volcano on an Asian island. Historical Records of eruptions and other activities of this active stratovolcano maintained since AD 781 mentions oldest recorded eruption of the mountain on July 31, 781.


2012

Sports

Michael Phelps Sets New Record Of Winning Most Medals At The Olympics

American former competitive swimmer Michael Phelps who is noted as the most thriving and decorated Olympian of all time broke the 1964 record set by Larisa Latynina for the most career Olympic medals.


1009

Literature & Entertainment

Sergius IV Becomes The Bishop Of Rome And Nominal Ruler Of The Papal States

Pope Sergius IV succeeded Pope John XVIII as the 142nd pope on July 31, 1009 and remained the bishop of Rome and nominal ruler of the Papal States since then till his death on May 12, 1012.


1874

Literature & Entertainment

Dr. Patrick Francis Healy Becomes The First African-American President Of Georgetown University

Jesuit priest and educator Dr. Patrick Francis Healy became the 29th President of Georgetown University on July 31, 1874. This made him the first person of African-American ancestry to become president of a predominantly white college in the US.


1201

Trivia

John Komnenos The Fat Attempts To Usurp The Byzantine Throne From Emperor Alexios III Angelos

On July 31 in either 1200 or 1201, Byzantine noble John Komnenos the Fat made an attempt to usurp the royal throne from Alexios III Angelos through a short-lived coup in Constantinople. The coup was suppressed and John Komnenos and several of his followers were captured and executed on the same day.


1451

Trivia

King Charles VII Of France Orders Arrest Of Jacques Cœur

French merchant Jacques Cœur was arrested and his goods were seized by the order of King Charles VII of France on July 31, 1451. Cœur was charged with several alleged crimes including poisoning the King’s mistress, Agnès Sorel, leading to her death.


1618

Trivia

Maurice, Prince Of Orange Disbands The Waardgelders

Maurice, Prince of Orange disbanded the waardgelders that is the municipal mercenary army on July 31, 1618 on the Neude (town square) in the Utrecht city. It is considered an event of crucial importance in the Remonstrant/Counter-Remonstrant tensions.


1703

Trivia

Daniel Defoe Is Subjected To Pillory Punishment For The Crime Of Seditious Libel

English trader, writer, pamphleteer, journalist, and spy Daniel Defoe, noted for his famous novel Robinson Crusoe, was on July 31, 1703, arrested and placed in a pillory for his pamphleteering and political activities, particularly for publishing a politically satirical pamphlet ‘The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church’. According to legend, his public humiliation in a pillory however failed as his poem ‘Hymn to the Pillory’ led the public to throw flowers at him and drink to his health instead of throwing harmful and noxious objects, as was the usual practice.


1715

Trivia

Eleven Ships Of The Spanish Treasure Fleet Are Lost In A Hurricane

Twelve ships of the Spanish treasure fleet left Havana, Cuba for Spain. Seven days later, on July 31, 1715, eleven ships of the fleet sank in a storm off the coast of Florida near present-day Vero Beach. According to Cuban records, around 1,500 sailors died while only a few survived on lifeboats. Treasures have been salvaged from these shipwrecks from time to time.


1741

Trivia

Charles VII Invades Upper Austria And Bohemia

Charles VII, the Prince-elector of Bavaria, invaded Upper Austria and Bohemia during the War of the Austrian Succession. He eventually became the King of Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor.


1777

Trivia

U.S. Second Continental Congress Commissions Gilbert Du Motier, Marquis De Lafayette A Major General

U.S. Second Continental Congress commissioned French aristocrat and military officer Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette as a Major General of the United States on July 31, 1777.


1790

Trivia

Samuel Hopkins Receives The First U.S. Patent

American inventor Samuel Hopkins from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was granted the first U.S. patent for a potash process on July 31, 1790.


1856

Trivia

Christchurch Becomes A City By Royal Charter

Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand was chartered as a city on July 31, 1856. Officially it marks as the oldest established city in New Zealand.


1865

Trivia

Grandchester In Australia Becomes Initial Terminus Of The World’s First Narrow Gauge Mainline Railway

The world’s first narrow gauge mainline railway opened on July 31, 1865 in the rural town of Grandchester in Queensland, Australia.


1919

Trivia

German National Assembly Adopts The Constitution Of The German Reich

German National Assembly adopted the Constitution of the German Reich, generally known as the Weimar Constitution, on July 31, 1919. The constitution came into force on August 14 that year. It governed Germany during the Weimar Republic era.


1938

Trivia

Discovery Of Engraved Gold And Silver Plates From The Time Of King Darius The Great

Engraved gold and silver plates were discovered by archaeologists on July 31, 1938, from Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. These items date back from the time of the third Persian King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, King Darius the Great who reigned from 522 BCE till his death in 486 BCE.


1948

Trivia

The New York International Airport At Idlewild Field Is Dedicated

The New York International Airport, commonly called Idlewild Airport, at Idlewild Field in New York was dedicated on this day. It was later renamed as the John F. Kennedy International Airport in the honour of the 35th President of the US John F. Kennedy following his assassination in 1963.


1948

Trivia

USS Nevada Is Sunk For Naval Gunfire Practice

The United States Navy ship USS Nevada remained the lead ship of the two Nevada-class battleships and served in both World Wars. The Navy assigned it as a target ship in the atomic experiments at Bikini Atoll after the end of the Second Wold War. The ship was decommissioned on August 29, 1946 after it got heavily damaged and radioactive being hit by the blast from the atomic bomb Able as part of post-war tests. It was finally sunk by an aerial torpedo as part of naval gunfire practice on July 31, 1948.


1970

Trivia

Black Tot Day

July 31, 1970, marks as the Black Tot Day, the last day when the Royal Navy issued daily rum ration (the daily tot) to sailors.


1973

Trivia

Delta Air Lines Flight 723 Crashes

Delta Air Lines Flight 723 crashed while landing in fog at the Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. The accident destroyed the aircraft causing immediate death of 87 of the 89 occupants of the flight while 2 others succumbed to their injuries later.


1975

Trivia

The Miami Showband Killings

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, carried out the Miami Showband killings, also referred as the Miami Showband Massacre, on the A1 road at Buskhill in County Down, Northern Ireland on July 31, 1975. The attack caused death of two gunmen apart from three members of a popular cabaret band of Ireland called ‘The Miami Showband’.


1988

Trivia

Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal Bridge In Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia Collapses

The bridge at the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia collapsed on July 31, 1988 causing death of 32 people and injury of 1,634 others. It is generally considered that this disaster of the Penang Ferry Service was caused due to extreme crowding of about 10,000 people at the terminal and the jetty being made out of steel bars.


1992

Trivia

Georgia Joins The United Nations

Georgia became a member of the United Nations on July 31, 1992.


1992

Trivia

Thai Airways International Flight 311 Crashes

Thai Airways International Flight 311 that was flying from Bangkok, Thailand's Don Mueang International Airport to the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal crashed into a mountain north of Kathmandu at 12:45:26 NST (07:00:26 UTC). The crash resulted in death of all the 113 occupants on board.


2007

Trivia

Operation Banner Comes To An End

The operation of the British Armed Forces called Operation Banner that formed part of the Troubles, started in Northern Ireland on August 14, 1969. With time it evolved as the longest-running British Army operation ever, continuing for almost 38 years before coming to an end on July 31, 2007.


1498

Inventions & Discoveries

Christopher Columbus Discovers Trinidad

Italian explorer and colonizer Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Trinidad on July 31, 1498 during his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere. This marked him as the first European to encounter the island.


1964

Inventions & Discoveries

Ranger 7 Successfully Transmits Close Images Of The Moon

The first space probe of the US, Ranger 7 of the Ranger program reached the Moon on July 31, 1964, and captured the first image of the lunar surface at 13:08:45 UT at an altitude of 2110 km. During the final 17 minutes of flight, it successfully took and transmitted back to Earth over 4,300 photographs of the moon that were of excellent quality.


1999

Inventions & Discoveries

NASA Ends The Lunar Prospector Mission

The mission of NASA called Lunar Prospector that formed part of the Discovery Program was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon. It was launched on January 7, 1998. After presence of water ice was successfully detected on the Moon's surface, the spacecraft was intentionally crashed by NASA into a crater close to the lunar south pole, thus ending the mission on July 31, 1999.


People Born This Day

Munshi Premchand
(1880-1936)
Novelist and Author [ Indian ]
Milton Friedman
(1912-2006)
Economist, Statistician [ American ]
Primo Levi
(1919-1987)
Writer, Chemist [ Italian ]
J. K. Rowling
(1965-)
Author [ British ]
Wesley Snipes
(1962-)
[ American ]
Fatima Jinnah
(1893-1967)
Sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah [ Pakistani ]
Ignacy Domeyko
(1802-1889)
Geologist [ Polish ]
Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor
(1527-1576)
Holy Roman Emperor [ Hungarian ]
Mark Cuban
(1958-)
Businessman [ American ]
Stephanie Kwolek
(1923-2014)
Chemist [ American ]
Robert C. Merton
(1944-)
Economist [ American ]
Paul D. Boyer
(1918-)
Biochemist [ American ]
M. Shadows
(1981-)
Singer [ American ]
Beau Brooks
(1993-)
YouTube Personality [ Australian ]
Bretman Rock
(1998-)
Instagram Star, YouTuber, Viner [ Filipino ]
Paige Hathaway
(1987-)
Fitness Cover Model, Entrepreneur, and Social Media Star [ American ]
Lita Lewis
(1983-)
Fitness Instructor [ American ]
Lil Uzi Vert
(1994-)
Rapper [ American ]
Geraldine Chaplin
(1944-)
Actress [ American ]
Kim Sae-ron
(2000-)
Actress [ South Korean ]
Lee Jong-hyuk
(1974-)
Actor [ South Korean ]
Salvatore Maranzano
(1886-1931)
Mafia Boss [ American ]
Dean Cain
(1966-)
Actor [ American ]
Chris Weinke
(1972-)
American Football Player [ American ]
Wally Kurth
(1958-)
Actor [ American ]
Barry Van Dyke
(1951-)
Actor [ American ]
Ted Cassidy
(1932-1979)
Actor [ American ]
Kap G
(1994-)
Rapper [ American ]
José Fernández
(1992-2016)
Baseball Pitcher [ Cuban ]
Rico Rodriguez
(1998-)
Actor [ American ]
Zelda Williams
(1989-)
Actress [ American ]
Louise Tracy
(1897-1983)
Founder of The John Tracy Clinic [ American ]
Blake Michael
(1996-)
Actor [ American ]
Chyna Unique
(1998-)
YouTuber [ American ]
Ruston Kelly
(1988-)
Singer-songwriter [ American ]
Susan Flannery
(1939-)
Actress [ American ]
Annie Parisse
(1975-)
Actress [ American ]
Dirk Blocker
(1957-)
Actor [ American ]
Richard Griffiths
(1947-2013)
Actor [ British ]
Tarayummy
(2000-)
Instagram Star [ American ]
Alexis Knapp
(1989-)
Actress [ American ]
Michael Eklund
(1962-)
Actor [ Canadian ]
Sam Hammington
(1977-)
Comedian [ Australian ]
Amrita Acharia
(1987-)
Actress [ British ]
Hayden Haas
(2007-)
Actor [ American ]


People Died This Day

Franz Liszt
(1811-1886)
Composer, pianist, conductor and teacher [ German ]
Andrew Johnson
(1808-1875)
17th U.S. President [ American ]
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
(1900-1944)
French writer [ French ]
Saint Ignatius of Loyola
(1491-1556)
Priest [ Spanish ]
Gore Vidal
(1925-2012)
[ American ]
Denis Diderot
(1713-1784)
Philosopher [ French ]
Mohammed Rafi
(1924-1980)
[ Indian ]
Omar Torrijos
(1929-1981)
Elected official [ Panamanian ]
Bobby Robson
(1933-2009)
Footballer [ British ]
Roddy Piper
(1954-2015)
Wrestler [ Canadian ]
Chiune Sugihara
(1900-1986)
Diplomat [ Japanese ]
Allan Octavian Hume
(1829-1912)
Founder of Indian National Congress [ British ]
Michael Ansara
(1922-2013)
Actor [ Syrian ]
Bobby Van
(1928-1980)
Actor [ American ]
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