Today Yesterday



31st January

1606 Guy Fawkes, a co-conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot, was executed.

1797 * Franz Schubert was born in Vienna.

1885 * Anna Pavlova, Russian prima ballerina of the Imperial Ballet from 1906.

1865 The House of Representatives approved the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States.

1865 Robert E. Lee was appointed commander-in-chief of the Confederate forces.

1867 The four bronze lions at the base of Nelsons Column were completed.

1903 * The reverend Lord Donald Soper, British Methodist minister and brilliant orator.

1921 * Mario Lanza (Alfredo Cocozza) US tenor and film actor.

1928 3M began marketing their clear Scotch tape.

1929 Leon Trotsky was exiled by Stalin and found asylum in Mexico.

1951 * Phil Collins, English musician and actor and member of the rock group Genesis.

1953 A car ferry "Princess Victoria" sank in the Irish Sea in one of the worst gales of the winter, claiming the lives of up to 130 passengers and crew.

1958 Explorer I launched at Cape Canaveral, the first US Earth satellite.

1961 A chimpanzee named Ham, sent into space in a rocket by the United States has been recovered alive and well.

1968 The Island of Mauritius became independent of Britain.

1968 The American command in Vietnam reported over 5,000 people dead after two days' intensive fighting.

1983 The wearing of seat belts in cars became compulsory in Britain.

1990 The first McDonald's opened in Russia.

1994 German based BMW bought Rover cars from British Aerospace for 800 million.

1996 In Sri Lanka, a lorry carrying heavy explosives crashed into a bank in Colombo bank killing more than 50 people.

2000 Britain's most prolific convicted serial killer family GP Dr Harold Shipman was jailed for life.

2000: Libyan intelligence officer Abdel Baset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi was given a 20 year prison sentence for his role in the bombing of the Pan Am 103 Flight which crashed in the Scottish town of Lockerbie on December 21st 1988.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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