Today in History: October 31 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: October 31

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
October 31

1864 Nevada becomes the 36th state.

1517   Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in Germany. Luther’s theories and writings inaugurate Protestantism, shattering the external structure of the medieval church and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe.
1803   Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, adding territory to the U.S. which will eventually become 13 more states.
1941   After 14 years of work, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is completed.
1952   The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Enewetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1968   The bombing of North Vietnam is halted by the United States.
1971   Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POWs.
1984   Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.
1998   Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
1999   EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean killing all 217 people on board.
2000   Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station.
2002   Former Enron Corp. CEO Andrew Fastow is convicted on 78 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and wire fraud; the Enron collapse cost investors millions and led to new oversight legislation.
Born on October 31
1795   John Keats, poet.
1802   Benoit Fourneyron, inventor of the water turbine.
1860   Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.
1887   Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese Nationalist.
1896   Ethel Waters, actress and blues singer.
1902   Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Brazilian poet, journalist and short story writer.
1917   William H. McNeil, historian (The Rise of the West).
1925   Charles Moore, influential post-modern architect.
1930   Michael Collins, U.S. astronaut.
1931   Dan Rather, journalist; anchor of CBS Evening News (1981–2005).
1936   Michael Landon, actor (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie TV series).
1937   Tom Paxton, folk singer, songwriter, musician; received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2009).
1942   David Ogden Stiers, actor; best known for his role as stuffy Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III on the M*A*S*H TV series (1977–1983).
1950   Jane Pauley, journalist; co-host of The Today Show (1976–1989) and Dateline NBC (1992–2003).
1950   Antonio Taguba, retired US Army major general best known for authoring the Taguba Report on the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; Taguba is the second American citizen of Philippine birth to reach the rank of general in the US Army.
1961   Sir Peter Jackson, New Zealand film director, producer, screenwriter (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit)
1961   Larry Mullen Jr., musician; drummer for the band U2.
2005   Infanta Leonor of Spain, second in the line of succession to the Spanish throne.