It happened today – this day in history – May 31

1279BC: Ramesses II becomes Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

1495: Cecily Neville, mother of Edward IV and Richard III, dies aged 80.

1621: Sir Francis Bacon is imprisoned in the Tower of London for one night.

1659: The Netherlands, England and France sign Treaty of The Hague.

1669: The last entry in Samuel Pepys’s diary.

1727: France, Britain & Netherlands sign accord of Paris.

1809: Death of composer Franz Joseph Haydn aged 77.

1836: HMS Beagle anchors in Simons Bay, Cape of Good Hope.

1860: Birth of painter Walter Sickert in Munich.

1879: Madison Square Garden opens in New York.

1884: Dr John Harvey Kellogg patents “flaked cereal”.

1891: Work begins on the Trans-Siberian railway

1893: Liverpool and Arsenal are admitted to the Second Division by the Football League.

1900: British troops occupy Johannesburg. On the same day, US troops arrive in Beijing, to help put down Boxer Rebellion.

1902: Treaty of Unity signed, Britain annexes Transvaal and the Boer War ends.

1907: The first taxis begin running in New York city.

1910: The Union of South Africa declares its independence from the UK.

1911: The RMS Titanic is launched at Belfast.

1915: A Zeppelin makes an air raid on London.

1916: The Battle of Jutland: Largest naval battle of the First World War between the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet which killed 8,645 seamen.

1921: Hundreds of black residents are killed by a white mob in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

1937: German warships bombard Almeria, Spain during the Spanish Civil War.

1940: Winston Churchill flies to Paris where French Marshal Philippe Petain says he is willing to make a separate peace with Germany.

1941: The Luftwaffe bombs Dublin in neutral Ireland.

1942: The Luftwaffe bombs Canterbury.

1947: Communists seize power in Hungary.

1949: Sam Snead beats fellow American Johnny Palmer to win the PGA golf championship.

1955: Britain proclaims an emergency crisis due to a rail strike.

1957: US playwright Arthur Miller is convicted of contempt of Congress after refusing to reveal the names of alleged Communist writers to the House Un-American Activities Committee.


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1961: South Africa becomes a republic and leaves the Commonwealth. On the same day, Arthur Michael Ramsey is appointed the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury. Also, President John F Kennedy visits French President Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Benfica beats Barcelona 3-2 in Bern to win the European Cup.

1962: Singles chart:

  1. Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley
  2. Do You Want To Dance – Cliff Richard
  3. Nut Rocker – B Bumble and the Stingers
  4. Last Night Was Made For Love – Billy Fury
  5. As You Like It – Adam Faith
  6. Come Outside – Mike Sarne with Wendy Richard
  7. Love Letters – Ketty Lester
  8. I Don’t Know Why – Eden Kane
  9. Wonderful Land – The Shadows
  10. Ginny Come Lately – Brian Hyland

1965: British racing driver Jim Clark becomes the first foreigner in 49 years to win the Indianapolis 500.

1966: Nguyen Thi Can becomes the fifth Buddhist in three days to set fire to herself in protest against South Vietnam’s regime. On the same day, filming begins on the TV series The Monkees.

1967: Bayern Munich beat Glasgow Rangers 1-0 in Nuremberg to win the European Cup Winner’s Cup.

1968: At EMI Studios in Abbey Road, working on the White Album, The Beatles add overdubs onto the John Lennon song Revolution #1. This is the first session that Yoko Ono attends. On the same day, film star James Stewart retires from the US Air Force after 27 years of service.

1969: John Lennon and Yoko Ono record Give Peace A Chance in their hotel room in Montreal while staging a bed-in.

1970: An earthquake off the coast of Peru sets off the world’s deadliest avalanche, killing up to 70,000 people.

1973: The US Senate votes to cut off funds for the bombing of Cambodia despite pleas from the president’s special advisor Dr Henry Kissinger.

1974: Israel and Syria sign an agreement concerning the Golan Heights.

1976: The Who’s gig at Charlton Athletic Football ground is the loudest performance by a rock band at 120 decibels.

1977: The BBC announces a ban on the new Sex Pistols single God Save The Queen saying it is, “in gross bad taste”. The IBA issues a warning to all radio stations saying that playing the single would be in breach of Section 4:1:A of the Broadcasting Act.

1983: Boxing legend Jack Dempsey dies aged 86.

1984: Viv Richards hits 189 not out in 170 balls for the West Indies against England.

1993: Creation Records boss Alan McGee sees Oasis play at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow while killing time after missing a train and immediately signs them.

1998: Geri Halliwell leaves the Spice Girls.

2000: Soul singer Johnnie Taylor dies of a heart attack in Texas shortly after his 62nd birthday.

2004: Cartoon “Peppa Pig” premieres on Channel 5.

2005: Former East 17 singer Brian Harvey is critically injured when he falls under the wheels of his Mercedes convertible outside his home in Walthamstow. On the same day, former FBI high ranking official Mark Felt is revealed as the “Deep Throat” source during the Watergate investigations of 1973/74.

2008: Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m with 9.72 seconds.

2009: Death of female impersonator Danny La Rue aged 81.

2009: Pink – Funhouse

Album chart:

  1. Relapse – Eminem
  2. Escala – Escala
  3. 21st Century Breakdown – Green Day
  4. It’s Not Me It’s You – Lily Allen
  5. The Fame – Lady Gaga
  6. Invaders Must Die – The Prodigy
  7. Cant Take Me Home/Missundaztood/Try This/I’m Not Dead – Pink
  8. I Am Sasha Fierce – Beyonce
  9. Funhouse– Pink
  10. Graffiti Soul – Simple Minds

2014: Gangnam Style by South Korean artist Psy, becomes the first video to reach 2 billion views on YouTube.

2018: The Danish government bans garments that cover the face, including the niqab and burqa. On the same day, Zinédine Zidane announces his resignation as manager of Real Madrid.

2019: Singer-songwriter Roky Erickson dies age 71. On the same day, Twilight star Robert Pattinson is announced as cinema’s new Batman.

2021: China’s Communist Party announces it will allow married couples to have three children instead of two. On the same day, tennis star Naomi Osaka pulls out of the French Open for mental health reasons, after refusing to appear at compulsory post match press conferences.

2022: A lost 3,400 year-old Bronze Age city is unearthed on the Tigris river, Iraq, due to drought.

Steph McGovern

BIRTHDAYS: Clint Eastwood, actor/director, 93; Peter Yarrow, singer-songwriter (Peter Paul and Mary) 85; John Prescott, former politician, 85; Terry Waite, writer/former church envoy, 84; Sharon Gless, actress, 80; Paulinho da Costa, percussionist, 75; Tom Berenger (Moore) actor, 74; Karl Bartos, musician (Kraftwerk) 71; Tommy Emmanuel, guitarist, 68; Lea Thompson, actress, 62; Wendy Smith, singer (Prefab Sprout) 60; Steve White, drummer (Paul Weller) 58; Brooke Shields, actress, 58; Archie (Archana) Panjabi, actress, 51; Colin Farrell, actor, 47; June Sarpong, TV personality, 46; Steph McGovern, journalist/TV presenter, 41; Reggie Yates, TV presenter, 40; Aezalia Banks, singer, 32.

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