Today in History – August 31 in History

Today in History – August 31 in History

What happened on this day in history – August 31 in History around the world

1303 The War of Vespers in Sicily ends with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.
1756 The British at Fort William Henry, New York, surrender to Louis Montcalm of France.
1802 Captain Merriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh to meet up with Captain William Clark and begin their trek to the Pacific Ocean.
1864 At the Democratic convention in Chicago, General George B. McClellan is nominated for president.
1919 The Communist Labor Party is founded in Chicago, with the motto, “Workers of the world unite!”
1928 Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera opens in Berlin.
1940 Joseph Avenol steps down as Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
1942 The British army under General Bernard Law Montgomery defeats Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt.
1944 The British Eighth Army penetrates the German Gothic Line in Italy.
1949 Six of the 16 surviving Union veterans of the Civil War attend the last-ever encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1951 The 1st Marine Division begins its attack on Bloody Ridge in Korea. The four-day battle results in 2,700 Marine casualties.
1961 A concrete wall replaces the barbed wire fence that separates East and West Germany, it will be called the Berlin wall.
1965 US Congress creates Department of Housing & Urban Development.
1968 The Dasht-e Bayaz 7.3 earthquake in NE Iran completely destroys five villages and severely damages six others.
1970 Lonnie McLucas convicted of torturing and murdering fellow Black Panther Party member Alex Rackley in the first of the New Haven Black Panther Trials.
1980 Polish government forced to sign Gdansk Agreement allowing creation of the trade union Solidarity.
1985 Police capture Richard Ramirez, dubbed the “Night Stalker” for a string of gruesome murders that stretched from Mission Viejo to San Francisco, Cal.
1986 A Russian cargo ship collides with cruise ship Admiral Nakhimov, killing 398.
1987 Longest mine strike in South Africa’s history ends, after 11 people were killed, 500 injured and 400 arrested.
1990 East and West Germany sign the Treaty of Unification (Einigungsvertrag) to join their legal and political systems.
1990 Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. become first father and son to play on same team simultaneously in professional baseball (Seattle Mariners).
1994 Last Russian troops leave Estonia and Latvia.
1994 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a “complete cessation of military operations,” opening the way to a political settlement in Ireland for the first time in a quarter of a century.
1997 Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a Paris car crash along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul while fleeing paparazzi.
1997 New York Yankees retire Don Mattingly’s #23 (first baseman, coach, manager).
2006 Edvard Munch’s famed painting The Scream recovered by Norwegian police. The artwork had been stolen on Aug. 22, 2004.
Born on August 31
1811 Théophile Gautier, French poet, novelist and author of Art for Art’s Sake.
1870 Maria Montessori, educator and founder of the Montessori schools.
1885 Duboise Heyward, novelist, poet and dramatist best know for Porgy which was the basis for the opera Porgy and Bess.
1899 Lynn Riggs, writer, her book Green Grow the Lilacs was adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein to become Oklahoma.
1903 Arthur Godfrey, radio and television personality.
1905 Sanford Meisner, influential acting teacher.
1907 Wiliam Shawn, longtime editor of The New Yorker.
1908 Wiliam Saroyan, author and playwright (The Human Comedy).
1918 Alan Jay Lerner, playwright and lyricist (Brigadoon, Camelot).
1918 Daniel Schorr, journalist.
1935 Eldridge Cleaver, political activist and author of Soul on Fire.
1936 Marva Collins, innovative educator who started Chicago’s one-room school, Westside Preparatory.
1945 Van Morrison, Irish singer, songwriter.
1945 Itzhak Perlman, violinist.
1948 Lowell Ganz, screenwriter, (A League of Their Own) director, producer, actor.
1949 Richard Gere, actor (Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman).
1970 Deborah Ann “Debbie” Gibson, singer, songwriter, record producer, actress; youngest artist ever to write, produce and perform a Billboard #1 single (“Foolish Beat”).
1970 Queen Rania of Jordan (nee Rania al Yassin), wife of King Abdullah II.

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