Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 31 July
30 BC: Mark Antony achieved a minor victory over Octavian’s forces in the Battle of Alexandria, but most of his army subsequently deserted, leading to his suicide.
781: The oldest recorded eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.
1703: Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but he was pelted with flowers.
1786: The first edition of Burns’s poems was published by John Wilson, Kilmarnock, under the title Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect.
1893: The Gaelic League was founded by Douglas Hyde and Eoin MacNeill to encourage Irish people to speak the language and take a greater interest in their culture.
1910: Dr Hawley Crippen and Ethel Le Neve were arrested aboard the SS Montrose for the murder of his wife. He was the first criminal to be captured by the use of wireless telegraphy.
1917: Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) began.
1919: Germany adopted Weimar Constitution.
1925: the British parliament passed ther Unemployment Insurance Act.
1926: Afghanistan signed non-aggression pact with Soviet Union.
1928: Discus thrower Halina Konopacka of Poland became the first woman to win a track and field Olympic gold medal.
1929: The World Boy Scouts’ Jamboree at Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, was opened.
1942: Oxfam charity was founded at a meeting in the Oxford University Church of St Mary’s.
1942: Driving in Britain for anything other than essential business was outlawed by wartime government.
1953: The Department of Health, Education and Welfare was created.
1954: K2 in the Himalayas was first climbed by an Italian expedition of six climbers.
1956: Britain and West Germany signed ten-year agreement on nuclear co-operation.
1958: An anti-Chinese uprising began in Tibet.
1961: Israel welcomed its one millionth immigrant.
1964: US Ranger 7 spacecraft transmitted to Earth first close-up pictures of the Moon.
1964: A Rolling Stones concert in Ireland was halted after 12 minutes due to a riot.
1965: Cigarette advertising on television in Britain was banned.
1971: US Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin took six-hour ride on Moon in Lunar Roving Vehicle.
1972: Nine civilians were killed when three car bombs exploded in county Londonderry.
1987: More than 400 people, including 275 Iranian pilgrims, died in clashes with security police in holy city of Mecca during climax of annual Haj.
1990: Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence.
1991: Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev signed a long-range nuclear weapons reduction pact in Moscow.
1992: A Thai Airbus crashed into a mountain at Katmandu, with the loss of 113 lives.
1999: Nasa intentionally crashed the Lunar Prospector spacecraft into the Moon, thus ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface.
2006: Fidel Castro handed over power temporarily to brother Raúl Castro.
2007: Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, came to an end.
2014: Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire.
JK Rowling OBE, creator of Harry Potter books, 50; Andrew Marr, broadcaster, 56; Jonathan Dimbleby, broadcaster, 71; Lynne Reid Banks, author, 86; Evonne Goolagong Cawley MBE, Wimbledon tennis champion, 64; Lord James Douglas-Hamilton (Baron Selkirk of Douglas), MP 1974-97, 73; Wesley Snipes, actor, 53; Mark Thompson, director-general, BBC 2007-2012, 58; Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), DJ, 52; Emilia Fox, actress, 41; Alan Solomons, head coach, Edinburgh Rugby, 65.
Births: 1527 Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor; 1816 Thomas Jackson Rodman, military inventor – invented the Rodman gun and “shaped” gunpowder; 1914 José Ignacio Domecq, sherry maker; 1916 Brian Inglis, broadcaster and author; 1932 Ted Cassidy, actor (Lurch in The Addams Family); 1947 Richard Griffiths OBE, actor.
Deaths: 1867 Benoit Fourneyron, inventor of the water turbine; 1886 Franz Liszt, composer; 1875 Andrew Johnson, US president 1865-1869; 1964 Jim Reeves, singer-songwriter; 1984 Bill Raisch, actor; 1992 Lord Cheshire, VC, founder of Cheshire Homes; 1993 Baudouin, King of the Belgians 1951-1993; 2009 Sir Bobby Robson CBE, football manager; 2012 Gore Vidal, author and screenplay writer; 2012 Mollie Hunter, Longniddry-born writer.