Today in History – October 31
475 – Romulus Augustulus is proclaimed Western Roman Emperor.
683 – During the Siege of Mecca, the Kaaba catches fire and is burned down.
802 – Empress Irene is deposed and banished to Lesbos. Conspirators place Nikephoros, the minister of finance, on the Byzantine throne.
1517 – Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
1587 – Leiden University Library opens its doors after its founding in 1575.
1614 – First performance of Ben Jonson’s comedy Bartholomew Fair by the Lady Elizabeth’s Men company at the Hope Theatre in London.
1822 – Emperor Agustín de Iturbide attempts to dissolve the Congress of the Mexican Empire.
1863 – The Maori Wars resume as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron begin their Invasion of the Waikato.
1864 – Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
1903 – The Purdue Wreck, a railroad train collision in Indianapolis, kills 17 people, including 14 players of the Purdue University football team.
1913 – Dedication of the Lincoln Highway, the first automobile highway across United States.
1913 – The Indianapolis Streetcar Strike and subsequent riot begins.
1917 – World War I: Battle of Beersheba: The “last successful cavalry charge in history”.
1918 – World War I: The Aster Revolution terminates the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, and Hungary achieves full sovereignty.
1922 – Benito Mussolini is made Prime Minister of Italy
1923 – The first of 160 consecutive days of 100° Fahrenheit at Marble Bar, Western Australia.
1924 – World Savings Day is announced in Milan, Italy by the Members of the Association at the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks).
1926 – Last issue of the independent Italian newspaper Il Mondo, thereafter suppressed by the Mussolini regime
1938 – Great Depression: In an effort to restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.
1940 – World War II: The Battle of Britain ends: The United Kingdom prevents a possible German invasion.
1941 – After 14 years of work, Mount Rushmore is completed.
1941 – World War II: The destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 U.S. Navy sailors. It is the first U.S. Navy vessel sunk by enemy action in WWII.
1943 – World War II: An F4U Corsair accomplishes the first successful radar-guided interception by a United States Navy or Marine Corps aircraft.
1956 – Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom and France begin bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.
1956 – Hungarian Revolution of 1956: A Revolutionary Headquarters is established in Hungary. Following Imre Nagy’s announcement of October 30, banned non-Communist political parties are reformed, and the MDP is replaced by the MSZMP. József Mindszenty is released from prison. The Soviet Politburo makes the decision to crush the Revolution.
1961 – In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin’s body is removed from the Lenin’s Mausoleum, also known as the Lenin Tomb.
1963 – A propane tank explosion at the Indiana State Fair Coliseum (now the Indiana Farmers Coliseum) in Indianapolis kills 74 people and injures another 400 during an ice skating show.
1968 – Vietnam War October surprise: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of “all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam” effective November 1.
1973 – Mountjoy Prison helicopter escape. Three Provisional Irish Republican Army members escape from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin aboard a hijacked helicopter that landed in the exercise yard.
1979 – Western Airlines Flight 2605 crashes on landing in Mexico City, killing 73 people.
1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards. Riots break out in New Delhi and other cities and around 3,000 Sikhs are killed.
1996 – TAM Transportes Aéreos Regionais Flight 402 crashes in São Paulo, Brazil, killing 99 people.
1998 – Iraq disarmament crisis begins: Iraq announces it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
1999 – Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.
1999 – EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantucket, killing all 217 people on board.
2000 – Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station. The ISS has been crewed continuously since then.
2000 – Singapore Airlines Flight 006 crashes on takeoff from Taipei, killing 83.
2002 – A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas indicts former Enron chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.
2003 – Mahathir bin Mohamad resigns as Prime Minister of Malaysia and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, marking an end to Mahathir’s 22 years in power.
2011 – The global population of humans reaches seven billion. This day is now recognized by the United Nations as the Day of Seven Billion.
2014 – During a test flight, the VSS Enterprise, a Virgin Galactic experimental spaceflight test vehicle, suffers a catastrophic in-flight breakup and crashes in the Mojave Desert, California,
2015 – Metrojet Flight 9268 is bombed over the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board.
2017 – A truck drives in a crowd of people in Lower Manhattan, killing eight people.