Today in History – August 31

1056 – After a sudden illness a few days previously, Byzantine Empress Theodora died childless, thus ending the Macedonian dynasty.

1422 – King Henry V of England died of dysentery while in France. His son, Henry VI became King of England at the age of nine months.

1535 – Pope Paul III excommunicated English King Henry VIII from the church. He drew up a papal bull of excommunication which began Eius qui immobilis (He who is immovable).

1776 – William Livingston, the first Governor of New Jersey, began serving his first term.

1864 – During the American Civil War, Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launched an assault on Atlanta.

1886 – The 7.0 Mw  Charleston earthquake affected southeastern South Carolina with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme). Sixty people were killed with damages estimated at $5–6 million.

1888 – Mary Ann Nichols was murdered. She was the first of Jack the Ripper’s confirmed victims.

1895 – German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patented his navigable balloon.

1935 – In an attempt to stay out of the growing tensions concerning Germany and Japan, the United States passed the first of its Neutrality Acts.

1939 – Nazi Germany mounted a false flag attack on the Gleiwitz radio station.  This event created an excuse for Germany to attack Poland the following day, thus starting World War II in Europe.

1939 – Frank Sinatra recorded “All or Nothing at All” with the Harry James Band.

1940 – Pennsylvania Central Airlines Trip 19 crashed near Lovettsville, Virginia. The CAB investigation of the accident was the first investigation to be conducted under the Bureau of Air Commerce act of 1938.

1943 – USS Harmon, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after a black person, was commissioned.

1967 – The Beatles announced that they would handle their own affairs following the death of manager Brian Epstein.

1969 – Bob Dylan made his first paid appearance at England’s Isle of Wight Pop Festival since his motorcycle accident three years earlier.

1974 – The Rolling Stones released Goat’s Head Soup.

1974 – The Partridge Family television show ended.

1974 – In federal court, John Lennon testified the Nixon administration tried to have him deported because of his involvement with the anti-war demonstrations at the 1972 Republican convention in Miami, FL.

1976 – A judge ruled that George Harrison was guilty of copying from the song “He’s So Fine” (by the Chiffons).

1986 – Aeroméxico Flight 498 collided with a Piper PA-28 Cherokee over Cerritos, California, and killed 67 in the air and 15 on the ground.

1987 – Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video was televised for the first time on CBS-TV.

1988 – Delta Air Lines Flight 1141 crashed during takeoff from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, killing 14.

1989 – The Rolling Stones began their first concert tour in eight years at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, PA. There was a pre-tour ‘surprise show’ in New Haven, CT, on August 12.

1991 – Metallica’s self-titled album hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. It was released on August 12.

1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Fayed, and driver Henri Paul died in a car crash in Paris.

1997 – James Brown became the first U.S. artist to appear in Lebanon following the recent lift of the ban on U.S. travel to the country.

2006 – Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, was recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.

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