Today in History: August 31

Today in History: August 31

Pick a day:

August 30 September 1

1303

The War of Vespers in Sicily ends with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.

1756

The British at Fort William Henry, New York, surrender to Louis Montcalm of France.

1802

Captain Meriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh to meet up with Captain William Clark and begin their trek to the Pacific Ocean.

1864

At the Democratic convention in Chicago, General George B. McClellan is nominated for president.

1919

The Communist Labor Party is founded in Chicago, with the motto, "Workers of the world unite!"

1928

Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera opens in Berlin.

1940

Joseph Avenol steps down as Secretary-General of the League of Nations.

1942

The British army under General Bernard Law Montgomery defeats Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt.

1944

The British Eighth Army penetrates the German Gothic Line in Italy.

1949

Six of the 16 surviving Union veterans of the Civil War attend the last-ever encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1951

The 1st Marine Division begins its attack on Bloody Ridge in Korea. The four-day battle results in 2,700 Marine casualties.

1961

A concrete wall replaces the barbed wire fence that separates East and West Germany, it will be called the Berlin wall.

1965

US Congress creates Department of Housing & Urban Development.

1968

The Dasht-e Bayaz 7.3 earthquake in NE Iran completely destroys five villages and severely damages six others.

1970

Lonnie McLucas convicted of torturing and murdering fellow Black Panther Party member Alex Rackley in the first of the New Haven Black Panther Trials.

1980

Polish government forced to sign Gdansk Agreement allowing creation of the trade union Solidarity.

1985

Police capture Richard Ramirez, dubbed the "Night Stalker" for a string of gruesome murders that stretched from Mission Viejo to San Francisco, Cal.

1986

A Russian cargo ship collides with cruise ship Admiral Nakhimov, killing 398.

1987

Longest mine strike in South Africa's history ends, after 11 people were killed, 500 injured and 400 arrested.

1990

Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. become first father and son to play on same team simultaneously in professional baseball (Seattle Mariners).

1990

East and West Germany sign the Treaty of Unification (Einigungsvertrag) to join their legal and political systems.

1994

Last Russian troops leave Estonia and Latvia.

1994

The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a "complete cessation of military operations," opening the way to a political settlement in Ireland for the first time in a quarter of a century.

1997

New York Yankees retire Don Mattingly's #23 (first baseman, coach, manager).

1997

Diana, Princess of Wales, dies in a Paris car crash along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul while fleeing paparazzi.

2006

Edvard Munch's famed painting The Scream recovered by Norwegian police. The artwork had been stolen on Aug. 22, 2004.