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This Day in History: Jan. 31

This Day in History

1606: In England , Guy Fawkes and other conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot—an attempt to kill the king and members of Parliament—are executed.
1917: Suffering from a British blockade, Germany declares almost unrestricted submarine warfare in World War I.
1943: The Battle of Stalingrad in the USSR ends with a German surrender.
1950: Pres. Harry Truman authorizes production of the H-bomb.
1958: Explorer I, the first U.S. earth satellite to go into orbit, is launched by the Army at Cape Canaveral, FL.
1961: In a test of the Project Mercury space capsule, a chimpanzee named Ham is launched and successfully recovered.
1966: The USSR launches Luna 9, an unmanned spacecraft which makes the first soft landing on the moon.
1968: During the Vietnam War, the month-long Battle of Hue begins; units of U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese troops drive North Vietnamese forces from the city.
1971: The spacecraft Apollo 14 lifts off en route to the moon.
1995: U.S. President Clinton invokes presidential emergency authority to provide a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its falling currency, the peso, and to help Mexico avoid defaulting on its short-term debt.
2006: Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. is confirmed by the Senate, replacing the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Today's Birthdays

1752: Gouverneur Morris, American federalist leader (Morrisania—now part of the Bronx, NY; died 1816)
1797: Franz Schubert, composer (Vienna, Austria; died 1828)
1813: John Charles Frémont, American explorer, army officer, and politician (Savannah, GA; died 1890)
1830: James Gillespie Blaine, American legislator (West Brownsville, PA; died 1893)
1872: Zane Grey, Western novelist (Zanesville, OH; died 1939)
1902: Alva Reimer Myrdal, Swedish social scientist and Nobel laureate (Uppsala, Sweden; died 1986)
1919: Jackie Robinson, first African-American baseball player in the modern major leagues (Cairo, GA; died 1972)
1920: Paul Warnke, lawyer who held important posts in two Democratic administrations (Webster, MA; died 2001)
1923: Carol Channing, actress (Seattle, WA). Norman Mailer, author (Long Branch, NJ)
1929: Jean Simmons, actress (London, England)
1931: Ernie Banks, baseball player (Dallas, TX)
1937: Philip Glass, composer (Baltimore, MD). Suzanne Pleshette, actress (New York, NY)
1941: Richard Gephardt, MO congressman and House minority leader (St. Louis, MO)
1944: Jessica Walter, actress (New York, NY)
1947: Nolan Ryan, baseball pitcher (Refugio, TX)
1956: Johnny Rotten, singer (near London, England)
1971: Minnie Driver, actress (London, England)


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