On This Day

31st July

1498 - On his third voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus "discovered" the island of Trinidad.

1703 - Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel. He had ruthlessly satirised the High Church Tories in a pamphlet, but allegedly, instead of throwing rotten veg and fruit at him, the crowd threw flowers.

1741 – Charles Albert of Bavaria invaded Upper Austria and Bohemia.

1790 – The first U.S. patent was issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

1792 - Director David Rittenhouse laid the cornerstone in Philadelphia for the U.S. Mint, the first building of the federal government.

1895 – The Basque Nationalist Party (Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea-Partido Nacionalista Vasco) was founded by Basque nationalist leader Sabino Arana.

1913 – The Balkan States signed an armistice at Bucharest.

1919 – The German national assembly adopted the Weimar constitution.

1938 – Bulgaria signed a non-aggression pact with Greece and other states of Balkan Antanti (Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia).

1941 – Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, ordered SS General Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired final solution of the Jewish question."

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

1962 - Former British fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley was assaulted at a rally in London's east end

1970 – The last officially sanctioned rum ration was handed out in the Royal Navy.

1972 – Three car bombs were detonated in Claudy, Northern Ireland, killing nine people in what was believed to be an IRA attack.

1998 - The British Government announced a total ban on landmines, a month before the first anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

2007 – The British Army in Northern Ireland withdrew, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, came to an end.

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