This Day in History - May 31

May 31

1433 – Sigismund is crowned emperor of Rome

1469 – Manuel I, King of Portugal, is born

1678 – The Godiva procession, commemorating Lady Godiva’s legendary ride while naked, becomes part of the Coventry Fair

1775 – The Mecklenburg County Committee in North Carolina, rejecting the power of the British in North Carolina

1809 – Austrian composer, Joseph Haydn, dies

1819 – Poet Walt Whitman is born

1837 – English actor and dancer, Joseph Grimaldi, dies

1859 – The famous clock tower Big Ben, located in St. Stephen’s Tower in London, rings for the first time

1862 – At the Battle of Fair Oaks, Union General George B. McClellan defeats Confederates outside of Richmond

1879 – New York’s Madison Square Garden opens its doors for the first time

1887 – Tombstone doctor, George Goodfellow, rushes south to investigate an earthquake in Mexico. Goodfellow is known as one of the most scientifically advanced doctors in the West and considered to be an expert on the treatment of gunshot wounds

1889 – Johnstown, Pennsylvania is destroyed by massive flood that killed over 2,200 people when the South Fork Dam collapsed

1894 – American comedian, Fred Allen, aka John Florence Sullivan, is born

1898 – American religious leader, Norman Vincent Peale, is born

1900 – US troops arrive in Peking to help put down the Boxer Rebellion

1902 – The Boer War ends with the Treaty of Vereeniging

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) holds its first conference

1913 – The 17th amendment to the US Constitution, providing for direct election of senators, is ratified

1915 – A German zeppelin makes an air raid on London

1916 – British and German fleet flight in the Battle of Jutland

1925 – Theater manager, Julian Beck, is born

1928 – The first flight over the Pacific takes off from Oakland

1929 – Ford Motor Company and the Soviet Union sign an agreement allowing Ford to produce cars there

1930 – Film actor and director, Clint Eastwood, is born

1941 – An armistice is arranged between the British and the Iraqis

1941 – The last of the Allies evacuate after 11 days of battling a successful German parachute invasion of Crete

1945 – German actor, director, and screenwriter, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, is born

1955 – The Supreme Court orders that states must end racial segregation “with all deliberate speed”

1962 – Adolf Eichmann, the former SS commander, is hanged near Tel Aviv, Israel

1964 – Charles Schmid kills 15-year-old Alleen Rowe by smashing her head against a rock, after raping her in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona. Schmid, overcompensating for his small stature, had announced to his friends that he wanted to kill a girl. He was also a well-known pathological liar. He went on to kill Gretchen Fritz, 17, and her younger sister Wendy, and then another two teenaged girls. With each murder, Schmid felt the need to tell someone or get help burying the bodies, and as a result was captured and sentenced to death. The Supreme Court invalidated most death sentences, saving his life

1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono record “Give Peace a Chance”

1970 – About 75 communist soldiers escape 2,500 South Vietnamese soldiers who had surrounded their positions in the city of Dalat

1974 – Israel and Syria sign an agreement on the Golan Heights

1976 – Irish actor, Colin Farrell, is born

1977 – The BBC bans the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen”

1979 – Zimbabwe proclaims independence

1983 – American boxer, Jack Dempsey, dies

1988 – President Ronald Regan arrives in Moscow, the first American president to do so in 14 years

1996 – Benjamin Netanyahu is elected prime minister of Israel when Prime Minister Shimon Peres is narrowly defeated

1996 – American author and psychologist, Timothy Leary, dies

1997 – Ila Borders becomes the first woman to pitch in a minor league baseball game for the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League

2005 – W. Mark Felt’s family conducts an interview in Vanity Fair, revealing that Felt had been the “Deep Throat” informant that helped unravel the Watergate scandal

2010 – French and American sculptor, Louise Bourgeois, dies

2013 – The widest tornado ever recorded, 2.6 miles wide, hits El Reno, Oklahoma, killing nine

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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