On this day: Mussolini became the premier of Italy

EVENTS, birthdays and anniversaries 31 October.
On this day in 1922 Benito Mussolini, centre, became the premier of Italy. Picture: BIPs/GettyOn this day in 1922 Benito Mussolini, centre, became the premier of Italy. Picture: BIPs/Getty
On this day in 1922 Benito Mussolini, centre, became the premier of Italy. Picture: BIPs/Getty

Halloween. All Saints’ Eve.

The first night of winter when the Celtic year began.

1485: Coronation of King Henry VII started Tudor dynasty in England.

1517: Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenberg Church, Germany, at the start of the Reformation.

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1541: Michelangelo completed his painting of The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.

1815: Sir Humphrey Davy patented his miner’s safety lamp.

1828: A beggar named Docherty was invited back to a house in Edinburgh by William Burke. William Hare turned up soon after and strangled her. She was the last victim of the body snatchers; her death was discovered and police were called.

1864: Nevada was admitted as the 36th state of the Union.

1888: Pneumatic bicycle tyres were patented by Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop.

1892: Edinburgh-born author Arthur Conan Doyle published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

1903: Hampden Park, Queen’s Park Football Club’s stadium, opened in Glasgow.

1914: Great Britain and France declared war on Turkey.

1922: Benito Mussolini became the premier of Italy.

1940: The end of the Battle of Britain. The RAF lost 915 aircraft, the Luftwaffe 1,733.

1951: Zebra crossings came into effect in Britain.

1952: First US hydrogen bomb detonated at Enewetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, in mid-Pacific.

1955: Princess Margaret announced: “I’d like it to be known that I have decided not to marry Group Captain Townsend. Mindful of the Church’s teaching that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth, I have resolved to put these considerations before any others.”

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1956: British and French bombed Egyptian airfields in Suez War.

1958: In Stockholm, Doctor Ake Senning implanted the first internal heart pacemaker.

1959: USSR and Egypt signed contracts for building the Aswan Dam.

1961: British Honduras was struck by Hurrican Hattie, which claimed 400 lives.

1971: Three floors of London’s Post Office Tower destroyed by IRA bomb.

1975: Bob Geldof made his first appearance with the Boomtown Rats.

1984: India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in her garden by Sikh bodyguards.

1998: Iraq announced it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.

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2002: A federal grand jury in Houston, Texas indicted former Enron Corporation chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.

2005: David McLetchie resigned as leader of Scottish Conservatives after allegations about his Scottish Parliament expenses.

2008: Business secretary Lord Mandelson cleared the planned merger between Lloyds TSB and HBOS after ruling the deal was in the public interest.

2011: According to the United Nations, the world’s population reached 7 billion.

Major General Michael Collins, astronaut, 85; Lollie Alexi Devereaux, actress and writer, 34; Sir Peter Jackson, film director, writer and actor, 54; Barrie Keeffe, dramatist, 70; Michael Kitchen, actor, 67; Larry Mullen jnr, drummer (U2), 54; Vanilla Ice, rapper, 48; Stephen Rea, actor, 69; Sebastien Buemi, racing driver, 27; Gabriela and Monica Irimia, singers (The Cheeky Girls), 33; Ricardo Fuller, footballer, 36; Matt Dawson MBE, England rugby World Cup winner and TV personality, 43.

Births: 1451 Christopher Columbus, explorer; 1632 Jan Vermeer, painter; 1795 John Keats, poet; 1919 Alastair Hetherington, editor of the Guardian, emeritus professor media studies, Stirling University; 1920 Dick Francis CBE, jockey and thriller writer; 1926 Jimmy Savile OBE, presenter; 1936 Michael Landon, actor; 1950 John Candy, actor and comedian.

Deaths: 1765 Prince William, Duke of Cumberland (the “Butcher of Cumberland”); 1926 Harry Houdini, escapologist; 1993 Federico Fellini, film director; 1993 River Phoenix, actor; 1995 Henry Percy, 11th Duke of Northumberland; 1996 Peter Muir Doig, MP for Dundee West 1963 to 1979; 2008 Louis “Studs” Terkel, author.