It happened today – this day in history – March 31

Mick Ferris
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1521: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan takes possession of Homohon, Archipelago of St Lazarus, The Philippines.

1596: Birth of French philosopher Rene Descartes.

1657: Parliament makes the Humble Petition to Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, offering him the crown, which he declines.

1685: Birth of composer Johann Sebastian Bach in Eisenach, Germany.

1727: Death of Isaac Newton aged 84.

1732: Birth of Franz Joseph Haydn in Vienna.

1770: Immanuel Kant is appointed Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Königsberg.

1796: Goethe’s “Egmont” premieres in Weimar.

1814: Forces allied against Napoleon capture Paris.

1822: Massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt.

1837: Death of landscape painter John Constable aged 60.

1841: First performance of Robert Schumann’s 1st Symphony in B.

1855: Novelist Charlotte Bronte dies aged 38.

1866: The Spanish navy bombards Valparaíso harbour, Chile.

1889: The Eiffel Tower officially opens in Paris.

1907: The Romanian Army puts down a Moldavian farmers’ revolt.

1921: British coal miners goes on strike.

1924: London public transport strike ends.

1939: Britain and France agree to support Poland if it is invaded by Germany.

1943: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” premieres in New York. On the same day, US forces bomb Rotterdam by mistake, killing 326.

1945: Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” premieres in New York.

1949: RCA Victor introduced the 45rpm 7” single.

1966: Harold Wilson’s Labour wins the general election.

1967: Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar live on stage for the first time while appearing at The Astoria in London.

1968: US President Lyndon B Johnson announces in an address to the nation that he will not seek re-election.

1970: Following an Orange Order parade, intense riots erupt on the Springfield Road in Belfast which last for three days.

1971: Lt William Calley sentenced to life imprisonment for the Mi Lai Massacre.

1973: Muhammad Ali suffers a broken jaw in a shock split-points decision loss to Ken Norton. On the same day, Brian Fletcher and Red Rum win their first of three Grand Nationals at Aintree and Billie Jean King ends Australian Margaret Court’s 57-match winning streak in the semi finals of the WTA event in Indianapolis.

1980: Legendary athlete Jesse Owens dies from lung cancer aged 66.

1981: Robert De Niro wins the Oscar for best actor in the film Raging Bull.

1986: O’Kelly Isley of The Isley Brothers died of a heart attack, aged 48. On the same day, Hampton Court palace is badly damaged by fire, One person dies.

1990: Riots break out in British towns in protest against the new poll tax..

1993: Actor Brandon Lee dies in an on-set firearms accident whist filming The Crow aged 28.

1995: Jimmy Page escaped being stabbed when a fan rushed the stage at a Page and Plant gig at Auburn Hills, Michigan. The fan was stopped by two security guards, who he knifed instead.

1996: Jeffrey Lee Pierce, singer with The Gun Club, dies aged 37.

2001: Arsenal star David Rocastle died of non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma aged 33.

2002: Death of comedy writer Barry Took.

2004: In Fallujah, Iraq, four American private military contractors are killed and their bodies mutilated.

2011: Singer Michael Buble marries model Luisana Lopilato in Buenos Aires.

2015: Joni Mitchell was rushed to hospital after being found unconscious at her Los Angeles home. She had suffered a brain anuerysm.

2016: Death of comedian Ronnie Corbett aged 85.

2019: George Clooney and Elton John call to boycott hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei after he plans new anti-gay laws to make homosexual sex punishable by death.

BIRTHDAYS: Herb Alpert, trumpeter/record company boss, 83; Christopher Walken, actor, 77; Mick Ralphs, guitarist (Bad Company/Mott The Hoople) 72; Al Gore, evironmentalist, 72; Rhea Perlman, actress, 72; Thijs van Leer, musician (Focus) 72; Angus Young, guitarist (AC/DC), 65; Paul Ferguson, drummer (Killing Joke) 62; Roger Black, former athlete, 54; Ewan McGregor, actor, 49; Stefan Olsdal, bassist (Placebo) 46.


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