[On this Day] 31st July

1498 – On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus became the firs...

11.24 31 Jul 2012

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[On this Day] 31st July

[On this Day] 31st July


11.24 31 Jul 2012

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1498 – On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus became the first European to discover the island of Trinidad.

1588 – The Spanish Armada was spotted off the coast of England.

1703 – Author Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but was pelted with flowers.


1856 – Christchurch, New Zealand was chartered as a city.

1861 – The first storm warnings were published by British Meteorological department.

1865 – The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opened at Grandchester, Australia.

1910 – American-born Dr Hawley Crippen and his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, disguised as a boy, were arrested for the murder of his wife in England. Crippen was spotted mid-Atlantic as they sailed from Antwerp to Canada on the SS Montrose, the first ship to be equipped with radio-telegraph, and police in London were alerted by its skipper, Captain Kendall

1922 – 18-year-old Ralph Samuelson rode the world’s first water skis

1929 – Lynne Reid Banks, British author of the best-selling children’s novel ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’ which sounds wrong in this day and age (83) born today

1931 – Nick Bollettieri, American tennis coach, credited with developing many world-class champions, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Mary Pierce. (81) born today

1932 – In the German General Election, the Nazis under Adolf Hitler made huge gains, winning the largest number of seats in Parliament and taking nearly 38 percent of the vote

1935 – Geoffrey Lewis, American actor, appeared in several of Clint Eastwood’s films, including ‘High Plains Drifter’, the ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ series, ‘Bronco Billy’, and ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ (77) born today

1942 – The charity Oxfam was founded in Oxford – It was originally known as The Oxford Committee for Famine Relief 1943 – Driving for pleasure was banned in Britain

1944 – Geraldine Chaplin, American actress and the daughter of Charlie Chaplin (68) born today

1944 – Jonathan Dimbleby, British journalist and television presenter, easily confused with his brother David who hosts the BBC’s ‘Question Time’, whereas Jonathan doesn’t (68) born today

1947 – Karl Green, English bass guitarist with ‘Herman’s Hermits’, had a 1964 UK No.1 with “I’m Into Something Good” (65) born today

1948 – At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) was dedicated.

1951 – Evonne Cawley (nee Goolagong), Australian tennis player, won Wimbledon in 1971 and 1980 (61) born today

1951 – Barry Van Dyke, American actor, son of Dick Van Dyke, plays Dick Van Dyke’s fictional son, Lieutenant Detective Steve Sloan, on ‘Diagnosis: Murder’ (61) born today

1953 – Hugh McDowell, English cello player with ‘Electric Light Orchestra’ who had a 1979 UK No.3 with “Don’t Bring Me Down” (59) born today

1954 – The first ascent of the mountain K2 took place, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio.

1956 – England cricketer Jim Laker set an extraordinary record at Old Trafford in the fourth Ashes Test, taking nineteen Aussie wickets

1956 – Michael Biehn, American actor, played Kyle Reese, the bloke sent back in time by John Connor to save Sarah Connor in the 1984 movie ‘The Terminator’. (56) born today

1957 – Daniel Ash, British guitarist with ‘Bauhaus’ who had a 1982 UK No.15 with “Ziggy Stardust” (55) born today

1958 – Bill Berry, American former drummer with R.E.M., is now a farmer (54) born today

1959 – Cliff Richard was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Living Doll’

1962 – Wesley Snipes, American actor, star of the ‘Blade’ films, also starred in ‘Passenger 57′, ‘Demolition Man’, ‘Money Train’, and ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ (50) born today

1964 – Jim Corr, Irish singer and musician with ‘The Corrs’, the only bloke in the band, had a 1998 UK No.3 with “What Can I Do” (48) born today

1965 – J. K. Rowling, little-known Scottish writer who’s only sold a handful of books about a young Wizard or something. She’s probably destitute. (47) born today

1965 – Britain banned cigarette advertising on TV.

1966 – Dean Cain, American actor, famous for playing Clark Kent/Superman in the TV series ‘The New Adventures of Superman’ (46) born today

1967 – Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, took the first close-up images of the Moon, 4,308 in total, before it crashed into the moon’s surface northwest of the Sea of the Clouds.

1967 – Mick Jagger was given a conditional discharge and Keith Richard’s conviction for permitting his house to be used for the purpose of smoking cannabis resin was quashed by the appeal court. 1968 – Tommy James and The Shondells were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Mony Mony’. Also a hit for Billy Idol in 1987

1969 – Elvis Presley played the first of a four week, 57 show engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas – The gigs broke all Las Vegas attendance records

1970 – ‘Black Tot Day’ took place – It was the last ever day that sailors in the Royal Navy received their official daily ration of rum, ending a centuries-old tradition.

1971 – Dave Scott became the first person to drive a vehicle on the Moon – the battery-powered Lunar Rover as part of the Apollo 15 mission to the mountainous Hadley-Apennine region.

1974 – Emilia Fox, English actress, best known for her role as Dr. Nikki Alexander on BBC crime drama ‘Silent Witness’ (38) born today

1975 – Jimmy Hoffa, one of the most influential American union leaders of the 20th century, disappeared in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard from again. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, conclusive evidence was never found, and Hoffa’s death remains shrouded in mystery to this day.

1976 – Viking program: Viking 1 – NASA released the famous Face on Mars photo.

1978 – Will Champion, English drummer with ‘Coldplay’ (34) born today

1979 – Carlos Marchena, Spanish footballer, played for Valencia and Spain, part of the Euro 2008 winning team. Now a “free agent” (33) born today

1986 – Harry Potter, fictional book character invented by J.K. Rowling (26) born today

1989 – Victoria Azarenka, Belarusian tennis player, she makes a lot of noise when hitting the ball (23) born today

1991 – The United States and the Soviet Union signed an historic agreement reducing their stockpiles of nuclear warheads by about a third as part of The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as Start.

1997 – Home Secretary Jack Straw ordered a judicial inquiry into the police handling of racist attacks such as the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence

1998 – The British government announced a total ban of the use of landmines.

2000 – Eighties pop maestro Mike Stock was declared bankrupt. Mike, who was one third of 80′s hit factory Stock, Aitken and Waterman, had been involved in several court battles over copyright issues

2002 – It was announced that French-Canadian singer, Celine Dion, was developing her own scent

2002 – Army major, Charles Ingram was officially charged with deception and conspiracy in connection with the famous “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” coughing swindle

2003 – Austrian Felix Baumgartner became the first man to cross the English Channel by unpowered flight. He jumped from a plane about 30,000 feet above Dover and glided 22 miles across the Channel in a 10 minute flight wearing a special suit with carbon-fibre wings across his back.

2004 – A survey claimed that 27% of women treat their pet better than their partner.

2004 – Mark Morrison was arrested after a fracas at Leicester’s After Dark night-club in which his platinum and diamond medallion was stolen. Morrison said he was the victim and complained of wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and police assault. A £20,000 reward for the return of the pendant was offered by the singer’s record label.

2006 – Fidel Castro handed over power temporarily to brother Raol Castro.

2006 – Julia Roberts confessed that she doesn’t wash her hair for two weeks after having it styled.

2007 – Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and longest-running British Army operation ever, came to an end.

2008 – A Canadian woman gave birth to her 18th child.

2011 – Brit Jenson Button won the Hungarian grand prix, his 200th Formula 1 race

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