May 31 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred,  famous birthdays, death day, legend quotes, and historical news on May 31.


Events on May 31

1809 Death of Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn, who began his musical career at the age of eight as a cathedral chorister in Vienna and went on to become kapellmeister to the Esterhazy family.

1837 Joseph Grimaldi, English clown whose success was based on his skills as dancer, singer and acrobat as well as his gift for comedy, dies aged 57.

1939 Britain interns fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley and thousands of other fascist sympathizers and aliens as the government consolidates emergency war powers.

1958 The Kremlin agrees to talks with the US on an atmospheric test ban treaty.

1961 South Africa declares itself a republic independent of the British Commonwealth.

1962 Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann is hanged in Israel.

1965 British racing driver Jim Clark becomes the first non-American driver to win the Indianapolis 500.

1970 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi calls for international intervention as the civil war in East Pakistan turns 2 million people into refugees.

1983 Jack Dempsey, American boxer who was world heavyweight champion, dies aged 87.

1991 The 17-year civil war in Angola comes to an end.

Famous Birthdays on May 31

Walt Whitman 1819, American poet who expressed his democratic idealism in The Leaves of Grass.

William Heath Robinson 1872, English illustrator and cartoonist.

Clint Eastwood 1930, American actor and director who hit the big time with spaghetti westerns such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Brooke Shields 1965, American actress and child model who leapt to public attention playing a child prostitute in Louis Malle’s film Pretty Baby.

Quotes from Legend

Perhaps it is God’s will to lead the people of South Africa through defeat and humiliation to a better future and a brighter day.

- Jan Smuts, Boer general, at the Boer War peace conference, 1902.

Historical News on May 31

“Un-American” Miller Won’s Tell Tales

Arthur miller was convicted today on May 31
Arthur miller was convicted today

1957 The American playwright Arthur Miller was convicted today of contempt of Congress for refusing to finger other writers as communists.

Miller was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee last June and grilled on his alleged communist leanings.

Miller was candid about his own affairs but said his conscience prevented him from naming others.

Today a federal judge lauded his motives but found him guilty nonetheless.

Miller could face a year in jail.

He was released on bail and will appeal.

Miller won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 for his classic modern tragedy Death of a Salesman.

In 1953 his Tony award-winning play The Crucible, about the Salem witch-hunts, was a thinly-veiled attack on Senator Joe McCarthy’s crusade against subversion.

1989 The Speaker at the US House of Representatives resigned today following investigations by the House Ethics committed into financial impropriety.

Jim Wright is the first speaker in US history forced to resign.

Outgunned Boers Quit

Outgunned Boers quit on May 31
Outgunned Boers quit

1902 With grief, South Africa’s Boer generals formally surrendered to Britain tonight.

The Boer War started with humiliation for the British mere farmers overwhelmed the imperial focus in battle after battle.

In the end 4,50,000 of Britain’s elite troops were pitted against only 80,000 Boer fighters, who relied on mobility and expert guerrilla tactics.

Britain’s Lord Kitchener finally countered this by cordoning off the land and herding the Boer women and children into concentration camps, where more than 20,000 in three died of disease and malnutrition.

The camps have caused deep dissent in Britain and outrage in Europe, where Britain has been dubbed the “Dirty Dog”.

The peace treaty provides for eventual self-rule for the Boer republics, with the issue of votes for natives to be dealt with after that.

Venice’s Little Dyer Dies

1594 The great Venetian painter Tintoretto died today at the age of 76.

The “little dyer”, nicknamed after his father, a “tintero”, or dyer combined Titian’s brilliant use of colour with Michelangelo’s draughtsmanship in some of the world’s biggest paintings.

Among his masterworks is the cycle of paintings in the Scuola of the Confraternity of San Rocco in Venice which took him six years working at great speed with a phalanx of assistants, including his two sons and daughter.

Tintoretto’s paradise, the largest canvas in the world, measures 84 ft by 34 ft (25.5 m by 10.3 m).

He will be buried in the church containing the 50 ft (15.2 m) painting Last Judgement.

The Last Model T

1927 The last Model T Ford, No. 1,50,07,003, rolled off the assembly line today.

It is to be replaced by the Model A.

Retooling the Ford production lines will take six months and cost at least $200 million.

Henry Ford has held on to the Model T too long and has now lost first place to General Motors.

Ford introduced the moving assembly line technique of mass production in the US.

One result has been a drop in price, the first Model Ts cost $850 in 1908, but they now sell for under $300.

But the thriving second-hand market has hit sales.

Other companies are countering this by making their cars slightly different every year.

Nonetheless, the automobile has become an essential part of American life.

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