Today in History July 31
30 BC – Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian’s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide.
781 – The oldest recorded eruption of Mount Fuji (Traditional Japanese date: 6th day of the 7th month of the 1st year of the Ten’o era).
1492 – The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect.
1588 – The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England.
1703 – Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers.
1715 – Seven days after a Spanish treasure fleet of 12 ships left Havana, Cuba for Spain, 11 of them sink in a storm off the coast of Florida. A few centuries later, treasure is salvaged from these wrecks.
1941 – The Holocaust: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Gцring, orders 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.”
1945 – Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria.
1948 – At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated.
1964 – Ranger program: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.
1973 – A Delta Air Lines jetliner, flight DL 723 crashes while landing in fog at Logan International Airport in Boston killing 89.
1991 – The United States and Soviet Union both sign the START I Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the first to reduce (with verification) both countries’ stockpiles.
2006 – Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother, Raul
1527 – Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1576)
1901 – Jean Dubuffet, French painter and sculptor (d. 1985)
1912 – Milton Friedman, economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2006)
1919 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist and author (d. 1987)
1944 – Geraldine Chaplin, American actress and screenwriter
1965 – J. K. Rowling, English author and film producer
975 – Fu Yanqing, Chinese general (b. 898)
1653 – Thomas Dudley, English soldier and politician, 3rd Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony (b. 1576)
1875 – Andrew Johnson, American general and politician, 17th President of the United States (b. 1808)
1886 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1811)
2012 – Gore Vidal, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1925)
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