Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 31 Events

* 314 – Silvester I begins his reign as Pope of the Catholic Church, succeeding Pope Miltiades.
* 1504 – France cedes Naples to Aragon.
* 1606 – Gunpowder Plot: Guy Fawkes is executed for his plotting against Parliament and James I of England.
* 1747 – The first venereal diseases clinic opens at London Lock Hospital.
* 1814 – Gervasio Antonio de Posadas becomes Supreme Director of Argentina.
* 1846 – After the Milwaukee Bridge War, Juneautown and Kilbourntown unify as the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
* 1848 – John C. Fremont is court-martialed for mutiny and disobeying orders.
* 1849 – Corn Laws are abolished in the United Kingdom (following legislation in 1846).
* 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.
* 1865 – American Civil War: The United States Congress passes the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, abolishing slavery, submitting it to the states for ratification.
* 1865 – American Civil War: Confederate General Robert E. Lee becomes general-in-chief.
* 1867 – Maronite nationalist leader Youssef Karam leaves Lebanon on board a French ship bound for Algeria
* 1876 – The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.
* 1891 – The first attempt at a Portuguese republican revolution breaks out in the northern city of Porto.
* 1900 – Datu Muhammad Salleh is assassinated in Kampung Teboh, Tambunan, ending the Mat Salleh Rebellion
* 1915 – World War I: Germany uses poison gas against Russia
* 1917 – World War I: Germany announces that its U-boats will resume unrestricted submarine warfare after a two-year hiatus.
* 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.
* 1919 – The Battle of George Square takes place in Glasgow, Scotland.
* 1929 – The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky.
* 1930 – 3M begins marketing Scotch Tape.
* 1942 – World War II: Allied forces are defeated by the Japanese at the Battle of Malaya and retreat to the island of Singapore.
* 1943 – 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 World War II's fiercest battles.
* 1944 – World War II: American forces land on Kwajalein Atoll and other islands in the Japanese-held Marshall Islands.
* 1944 – World War II: During Anzio campaign 1st Ranger Battalion (Darby's Rangers) is destroyed behind enemy lines in a heavily outnumbered encounter at Battle of Cisterna, Italy.
* 1945 – US Army private Eddie Slovik is executed for desertion, the first such execution of an American soldier since the Civil War.
* 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.
* 1946 – Yugoslavia's new constitution, modeling the Soviet Union, establishes six constituent republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).
* 1950 – President Harry S. Truman announces a program to develop the hydrogen bomb.
* 1953 – A North Sea flood causes over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands.
* 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.
* 1958 – Explorer program: Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.
* 1958 – James Van Allen discovers the Van Allen radiation belt.
* 1961 – Project Mercury: Mercury-Redstone 2 – Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.
* 1966 – The Soviet Union launches the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna program.
* 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.
* 1968 – Nauru gains independence from Australia.
* 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.
* 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, begin in Detroit, Michigan.
* 1990 – The first McDonald's in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow.
* 1995 – President Bill Clinton authorizes a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy.
* 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.
* 1996 – Comet Hyakutake is discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.
* 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.
* 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.
* 2003 – The Waterfall rail accident occurs near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia.
* 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.
* 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.

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