- It happened today – this day in history – October 31 - 31/10/2020
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987: Louis IV is crowned king of France.
1306: The Earl of Pembroke’s army defeats Robert Bruce’s Scottish army at the Battle of Methven.
1566: Birth of James I (James VI of Scotland) in Edinburgh.
1623: Birth of French mathematician, physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal.
1790: The National Assembly issues a decree abolishing the titles, orders and other privileges of the French nobility.
1829: Sir Robert Peel introduces the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 into Parliament to establish a unified police force for London.
1867: Maximillian I, Emperor of Mexico, is executed by firing squad.
1875: The Herzegovinian rebellion against the Ottoman Empire begins.
1896: Birth of Wallis Simpson (Duchess of Windsor).
1900: The US Republican Party nominates President William McKinley for re-election, but chooses a new candidate for Vice-President, Theodore Roosevelt.
1913: The Natives Land Act, Act No 27 is passed in South Africa which confines Africans to hopelessly overcrowded reserves and deprives them of rights to purchase land outside the native reserves.
1914: Harry Vardon wins a record sixth British Open golf title at Prestwick.
1917: On the authority of George V, the Royal Family renounces its German names and titles and adopts the name Windsor.
1922: “Flying Finn” Paavo Nurmi runs a world record 5000m (14:28.2).
1924: Paavo Nurmi runs world record 1500m (3:52.6).
1933: The Austrian government bans nazi organizations.
1936: Max Schmeling KOs up-and-coming American heavyweight Joe Louis at Yankee Stadium, New York.
1937: Franco’s troops conquer the Bilbao Basques.
1938: Italy beats Hungary, 4-1 to win the World Cup in Paris.
1942: Marilyn Monroe, aged 16, marries first husband, policeman James Dougherty.
1944: Japanese troops conquer Changsha China.
1953: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are the first US citizens to be executed for espionage at Sing Sing Prison in New York.
1956: Jerry Lewis ends his partnership with Dean Martin after 16 films.
1961: Kuwait declares independence from UK.
1965: The Who, Solomon Burke, Zoot Money, Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Spencer Davis Group, Marianne Faithful and Long John Baldry appeared at Uxbridge Blues Festival. On the same day a coup in Algeria under colonel Houari Boumedienne ousts President Ben Bella.
1967: Paul McCartney admits on TV that he has taken LSD.
1971: The mayor of Columbus, Georgia declares a state of emergency due to racial disturbances.
1972: Secretary of State for Northern Ireland William Whitelaw concedes ‘special category’ status, or ‘political status’ for paramilitary prisoners in Northern Ireland.
1975: Mobster Sam Giancana dies in a gangland hit.
1976: Viking 1 goes into Martian orbit after a 10-month flight from Earth.
1978: Garfield, created by Jim Davis first appears as a comic strip. On the same day, Ian Botham takes 8-34 for England against Pakistan, his best test cricket bowling.
1980: Battle between police and demonstrators in Capetown, South Africa results in 34 deaths.
1982: The body of Vatican banker Roberto Calvi is found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London.
1987: An ETA bomb attack in Barcelona kills 15.
1991: Two of Mia Farrow’s daughters arrested for shoplifting lingerie. On the same day, Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar surrenders to police.
1992: Evander Holyfield defeats Larry Holmes for the world heavyweight boxing title.
1993: Author William Golding dies aged 81.
1999: Horror writer Stephen King is hit by a car in Lovell, Maine. He suffers numerous injuries including a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip. On the same day, Prince Edward marries Sophie Rhys-Jones at Windsor Castle.
2005: Michael Schumacher wins a controversial US Grand Prix where only six of 20 cars complete the race amid ridicule of F1 safety and tyre rules.
2011: Amy Winehouse was booed by crowds in Serbia’s capital Belgrade after appearing to be too drunk to perform. On the same day, golfer Rory McIlroy wins the US Open.
2012: A man is beheaded for witchcraft and sorcery in Saudi Arabia.
2013: Country and western star Slim Whitman died aged 90. On the same day, actor James Gandolfini dies from a heart attack aged 51.
2014: Gerry Goffin, lyricist who penned chart-topping songs with his then-wife Carole King, died at the age of 75 in Los Angeles.
2016: Actor Anton Yelchin dies aged 27 when his vehicle rolls back and crushes him on his driveway.
2017: Russia warns the US it will target US and allied aircraft over Syria after a US fighter shoots down a Syrian warplane. On the same day, Brexit negotiations begin between the UK and the European Union in Brussels.
2018: England smash the highest score (481/6) in one day international cricket history in a 242 run defeat of Australia (239) at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. On the same day, Canada’s Senate votes to legalise recreational marijuana use, the first major economy to do so.
2019: Senators receive a classified briefing on possible UFO sightings by the US Navy.
BIRTHDAYS: Tommy DeVito, singer (The Four Seasons) 92; Thelma Barlow, actress, 91; Gena Rowlands, actress, 90; Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myammar, 75; Salman Rushdie, writer, 73; Ann Wilson, singer (Heart) 70; Kathleen Turner, actress, 66; Maxi Jazz (Maxwell Fraser), rapper (Faithless) 63; Luke Morley, guitarist (Thunder) 60; Rory Underwood, former rugby internationsl, 57; Paula Abdul, singer, 57; Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, 56; Sadie Frost, actress, 55; Brian Welch, guitarist (Korn) 50; Poppy Montgomery, actress, 48; Jean Dujardin, actor, 48; Zoe Saldana, actress, 42; Macklemore (Ben Haggerty) rapper, 37; Mark Selby, snooker star, 37; Paul Dano, actor, 36.