Today Yesterday



31st May

1859 Big Ben began telling the time in London from this day.

1891 Construction began on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

1911 The hull of the Titanic was launched in Belfast. At the ceremony, a White Star Line employee claimed, “Not even God himself could sink this ship.”

1923 * Prince Rainier of Monaco (Rainier Grimaldi), who married US film star Grace Kelly.

1922 * Denholm Elliot, English actor who starred in the film A Room with a View (1987).

1930 * Clint Eastwood, US actor and director who made his name in spaghetti westerns.

1961 South Africa became an independent republic.

1962 Former Gestapo official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.

1966 Nguyen Thi Can becomes the fifth Buddhist in three days to set fire to herself in protest against South Vietnam's regime.

1965 Jim Clark became the first non-US driver to win the Indianapolis 500.

1965 * Brooke Shields, US actress who starred in the film The Blue Lagoon (1980).

1970 An earthquake in Peru left more than 50,000 dead.

1973 The US Senate voted by a huge majority 69 to 19 to cut off funds for the bombing of Cambodia despite pleas from Dr Henry Kissinger.

1985 The Football Association, supported by Margaret Thatcher, banned English clubs from playing in Europe following the Heysel stadium tragedy.

1991 The 17 year civil war in Angola ended.

1998 Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, left the phenomenally successful British 'Spice Girls' band.

xxxx * = Date of birth

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