#March31 : Today In History

307 – After divorcing his wife Minervina, Constantine marries Fausta, the daughter of the retired Roman Emperor Maximian. 627 – Battle of the Trench: Muhammad undergoes a 14-day siege at Medina (Saudi Arabia) by Meccan forces under Abu Sufyan. 1146 – Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. Louis VII is present, and joins the Crusade. 1492 – Queen Isabella of Castille issues the Alhambra Decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish and Muslim subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. 1561 – The city of San Cristóbal, Táchira is founded. 1717 – A sermon on "The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ" by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy. 1774 – American Revolutionary War: The Kingdom of Great Britain orders the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act. 1822 – The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following an attempted rebellion, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix. 1854 – Commodore Matthew Perry signs the Convention of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade. 1866 – The Spanish Navy bombs the harbor of Valparaíso, Chile. 1877 – The family with samurai antecedents that responded to the Saigō army in Ōita Nakatsu, rebels. 1885 – The United Kingdom establishes the Bechuanaland Protectorate. 1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened. 1899 – Malolos, capital of the First Philippine Republic, was captured by American forces. 1903 – Richard Pearse allegedly makes a powered flight in an early aircraft. 1906 – The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later the National Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for college sports in the United States. 1909 – Serbia accepts Austrian control over Bosnia and Herzegovina. 1909 – Construction of the ill fated RMS Titanic begins. 1910 – Six North Staffordshire Pottery towns federate to form modern Stoke-on-Trent. 1913 – The Vienna Concert Society rioted during a performance of modernist music by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Alexander von Zemlinsky, and Anton von Webern, causing a premature end to the concert due to violence; this concert became known as the Skandalkonzert. 1917 – The United States takes possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands. 1918 – Massacre of ethnic Azerbaijanis is committed by allied armed groups of Armenian Revolutionary Federation and Bolsheviks. Nearly 12,000 Azerbaijani Muslims are killed. 1918 – Daylight saving time goes into effect in the United States for the first time. 1921 – The Royal Australian Air Force is formed. 1930 – The Motion Picture Production Code is instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film, in the U.S., for the next thirty-eight years. 1931 – An earthquake destroys Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000. 1931 – TWA Flight 599 crashes near Bazaar, Kansas, killing eight, including University of Notre Dame head football coach Knute Rockne. 1933 – The Civilian Conservation Corps is established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment in the United States. 1942 – World War II: Japanese forces invade Christmas Island, then a British possession. 1945 – World War II: A defecting German pilot delivers a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1, the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft, to the Americans, the first to fall into Allied hands. 1949 – The Dominion of Newfoundland joins the Canadian Confederation and becomes the 10th Province of Canada. 1951 – Remington Rand delivers the first UNIVAC I computer to the United States Census Bureau. 1957 – Elections to the Territorial Assembly of the French colony Upper Volta are held. After the elections PDU and MDV form a government. 1958 – In the Canadian federal election, the Progressive Conservatives, led by John Diefenbaker, win the largest percentage of seats in Canadian history, with 208 seats of 265. 1959 – The 14th Dalai Lama, crosses the border into India and is granted political asylum. 1964 – A coup d'état in Brazil establishes a military government, under the aegis of general Castelo Branco. 1966 – The Soviet Union launches Luna 10 which later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon. 1970 – Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth's atmosphere after 12 years in orbit. 1979 – The last British soldier leaves the Maltese Islands. Malta declares its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien). 1980 – The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad operates its final train after being ordered to liquidate its assets because of bankruptcy and debts owed to creditors. 1985 – The first WrestleMania, the biggest wrestling event from the WWE (then the WWF), takes place in Madison Square Garden in New York. 1986 – Six metropolitan county councils are abolished in England. 1990 – Approximately 200,000 protestors take to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax. 1991 – Georgian independence referendum, 1991: Nearly 99 percent of the voters support the country's independence from the Soviet Union. 1992 – The USS Missouri, the last active United States Navy battleship, is decommissioned in Long Beach, California. 1994 – The journal Nature reports the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull. 1998 – Netscape released Mozilla source code under an open source license. 2004 – Iraq War in Anbar Province: In Fallujah, Iraq, four American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, are killed after being ambushed

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