700s / 8th century history on the 31st of July
781 : Mount Fuji volcano in Japan erupted. This date was the oldest record of its eruption. Mount Fuji stands at 3,776.24 metres (12,389.2 feet).
1400s / 15th century history on the 31st of July
1498 : Christopher Columbus became the 1st European to discover the island of Trinidad, during his 3rd voyage to the Western Hemisphere.
1700s / 18th century history on the 31st of July
1790 : The 1st U.S. patent was issued, to Samuel Hopkins, the inventor, for the potash process.
1800s / 19th century history on the 31st of July
1856 : CHRiSTCHURCH in New Zealand was chartered as a city, which officially makes it the oldest established city in New Zealand. Christchurch’s population reached 394,700 people in 2020. Official websites : ChristchurchNZ.com | CCC.govt.nz (Christchurch City Council) | Tourism webpage : Things to see & do in Christchurch @ NewZealand.com
1865 : The 1st narrow-gauge mainline railway in the world was opened at Grandchester, Queensland, in Australia. Its tracks eventually extended to become about 9000 kilometres (5600 miles) approximately.
1900s / 20th century history on the 31st of July
1943 : LOBO, the American singer and songwriter was born Roland Kent LaVoie in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He is best known for 3 top 10 hits; Me and You and a Dog Named Boo (1971), I’d Love You to Want Me (1972), and Don’t Expect Me to Be Your Friend (1972).
1944 : Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the French pilot and writer, died on a Free French Air Force mission, aged 44 (born in 1900). He is best known as the author of The Little Prince (1943), Wind, Sand and Stars (1939) and Night Flight (1931).
1948 : Russell Morris, the Australian singer-songwriter and guitarist was born. He is best known for his debut single “The Real Thing” which was number 1 on the music charts in 1969. Official website : RussellMorris.com.au
1951 : Evonne Goolagong Cawley, the Australian tennis player, was born in Griffith, New South Wales, Australia. She is best known as a former world number 1 ranked tennis player in the 1970s.
1962 : Wesley Snipes, the American actor was born in Orlando, Florida, USA.
1963 : Fatboy Slim aka Norman Cook, the English DJ and musician, was born Quentin Leo Cook in Bromley, London, England. Official website : FatboySlim.net
1964 : NASA’s Apollo Ranger 7 sent back the 1st close-up photographs taken of the moon. The photographs were 1,000 times clearer than any taken from telescopes on Earth.
1964 : Jim Corr (MBE) the Irish musician, was born in Dundalk, Louth, Ireland. He best known as a member of The Corrs, an Irish folk rock band, with his 3 younger sisters Andrea, Sharon and Caroline.
1965 : J. K. ROWLiNG (CH, OBE, HonFRSE, FRCPE, FRSL) the English author, was born Joanne Rowling in Yate, Gloucestershire, in England. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy book series, which sold over 500 million copies, which made it the best-selling book series in history. The Harry Potter book series was made into a very popular series of 8 fantasy films, which became the 3rd highest-grossing film series in the world, with over $7.7 billion.
The creation of Harry Potter has seen J.K. Rowling go from “rags to riches“, from a single mother living on benefits in 1995 to being named the world’s first billionaire author by Forbes, in 2004. It was later reported by Forbes that she lost her billionaire status, after giving away much of her earnings to charity, through her philanthropic work. Official websites : JKRowling.com | WizardingWorld.com | HarryPotterShop.co.uk | HarryPotterThePlay.com
1964 : Jim Reeves, the American singer-songwriter died flying an aircraft, aged 40 (born in 1923).
1971 : NASA’s Apollo 15 astronauts became the first to drive a vehicle on the Moon, in the lunar rover, which they used to explore the Moon’s surface. During the 18.5 hour expedition on the surface of the Moon, they collected 77 kilograms (170 pounds) of surface material.
1973 : Delta Air Lines flight DL 723 Douglas DC-9 crashed while attempting to land in fog at Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The crash resulted in the deaths of 87 of the 89 people on board. One survivor died 2 hours later, and the other survivor died 4 months later due to burn injuries.
1992 : Thai Airways International Flight 311 crashed into a mountain at 560 km/h (350 mph) at an altitude of 3,505 metres (11,500 feet), 37 kilometres north of Kathmandu. The crash resulted in the deaths of all 113 people on board the Airbus A310 aircraft.
1999 : NASA’s Lunar Prospector orbiter was deliberately crashed into a crater on the Moon, near the lunar south pole, after the presence of water ice was successfully detected.
2000s / 21st century history on the 31st of July
2004 : Virginia Grey, the American actress died aged 87 (born in 1917). She appeared in more than 100 films, plus many television shows, radio shows, from the 1930s to the early 1980s.
2006 : Fidel Castro handed over his power to Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz, his brother.
2012 : MiCHAEL PHELPS, the American swimmer, broke the record for the most medals won at the Olympics, with 22 medals won from 2000 to 2012. The previous record was set by Larisa Latynina, the Russian gymnast, with a total of 14 medals won at the Olympics, from 1956 to 1964. Since 2012, Michael Phelps won 6 more medals, which brought the record total to 28 medals won at the Olympics, from 2000 to 2016, when he retired.
2015 : Roddy Piper, the Canadian wrestler and actor died from a heart attack in his sleep, aged 61 (born in 1954).
2018 : Tony Bullimore, the British yachtsman and entrepreneur died from a rare form of stomach cancer, aged 79 (born in 1939). He was best known for being rescued during a sailing race, after he was thought to be dead in 1997.
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