Historical Events on July 31
- 1777: The services of Gilbert du Motier are accepted by the Second Continental Congress and he is given a commission of major-general of the U.S.
- 1790: Samuel Hopkins receives the first ever U.S patent. It’s for a potash process.
- 1856: The city of Christchurch in New Zealand receives its charter.
- 1874: Patrick Francis Healy becomes president of Georgetown University. He’s the first African-American to be inaugurated as the president for a predominantly white university.
- 1917: In West Flanders, Belgium, the Battle of Passchendaele starts during World War I.
- 1919: The Weimar Constitution is adopted by the German National Assembly. It will officially go into effect on the 14th of August.
- 1932: The Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party (the Nazi Party) wins thirty-eight percent of the vote in the German elections.
- 1941: Hermann Göring – under instructions from Adolf Hitler – orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to submit plans for carrying out a “Final Solution for the Jewish Question.”
- 1948: After surviving two hits from atomic bombs during post-war tests, the USS Nevada is finally sunk by an aerial torpedo.
- 1964: The first close-up pictures of the Moon are sent back by Ranger 7.
- 1973: Delta Airlines flight DL 723 crashes at Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. 89 people are killed as a result.
- 1987: In Edmonton, Canada, a tornado touches down.
- 1992: Thai Airways Flight 311 crashes into a mountain just north of Kathmandu in Nepal. All 113 people who were on board are killed.
- 1999: NASA intentionally crashes the Lunar Prospector into the Moon.
- 2012: Michael Phelps breaks the record for the most medals won at the Olympics.
Famous Birthdays on July 31
- Swedish-American engineer, John Ericsson is born in 1803.
- American General George Henry Thomas is born in 1816.
- French painter Jacques Villon is born in 1875.
- American actor and screenwriter, Ted Cassidy is born in 1932.
- American actress Susan Flannery is born in 1939.
- American economist and Nobel Prize laureate, Robert C. Merton is born in 1944.
- American actor, screenwriter, director and producer, Michael Biehn is born in 1956.
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