What Happened on October 31?

  • Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was assassinated. (1984) Gandhi was assassinated by two of her body guards, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh. The two were Sikh extremists. Her assassination is suspected to have been a retaliation for the Harmandir Sahib holy shrine military attacks, called Operation Blue Star, conducted by the Indian army in June that same year. Her assassination prompted widespread riots in which more than 1,000 Sikhs were killed in New Delhi.

  • Martin Luther posted the "95 Theses." (1517) Luther, a scholar and priest, posted a sheet of paper containing the theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The theses purported revolutionary opinions and protested abuses by church clerics. The action is widely regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation.

  • Nevada was admitted as the 36th US state. (1864) The statehood helped get US President Abraham Lincoln re-elected, as the new state's inhabitants were supporters. It is the seventh-largest US state in terms of area, and is widely known for its legalized gambling policies.

  • US President Lyndon B. Johnson halted bombing attacks in North Vietnam. (1968) President Johnson halted the US Air Force attacks, called Operation Rolling Thunder, in hopes of achieving a peace agreement. The war, however, continued until 1975, but the three-year Operation Rolling Thunder campaign was officially finished.

  • The first road that connected the US coast-to-coast was dedicated. (1913) The Lincoln Highway connects San Francisco, California, to New York City, spanning about 3,389 miles (5,454 kilometers).

  • The Iraq Disarmament Crisis began. (1998) Iraqi officials refused to cooperate with the weapons inspectors from the United Nations, partially in response to the US signing of the Iraq Liberation Act, which supported the groups working to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

  • Joseph Stalin's body was removed from Vladimir Lenin's tomb. (1961) When Vladimir Lenin died, his body was encased in a glass tomb in the Red Square in Moscow so people could continue to view and honor him. After Stalin died, his body was encased in the same honorary tomb, next to Lenin. After Stalin was condemned by Soviet leaders for his brutality, his body was removed from its place of honor and entombed elsewhere.

  • The Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade conducted the final successful calvary charge in world military history. (1917) Fighting in the World War I Battle of Beersheba, the famous brigade charged across 3.7 miles (about 6 kilometers) of battle field to overpower the final remaining Turkish trenches and capture the Birussebi wells.

  • The Japanese car company Toyota established a headquarters in the US. (1957) The headquarters were established in Hollywood, California, at an old Rambler dealership to sell the "Toyopet" model sedans. By 1975, the Toyota import brand had become the top-selling import automobile in the US.

  • The first Americans visited the South Pole, and they were the first in history to land a plane there. (1956) US Naval officer Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek, along with a six-man crew, also planted the US flag at the South Pole.

Frequently Asked Questions

What historical events took place on October 31?

October 31 has been marked by several significant events throughout history. For instance, in 1517, Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. In 1864, Nevada was admitted as the 36th state of the United States. Additionally, the world-renowned magician Harry Houdini died on this day in 1926. These events have had lasting impacts on religion, American statehood, and popular culture.

Why is October 31 significant in religious history?

October 31 is significant in religious history primarily because of Martin Luther's actions in 1517, which sparked the Protestant Reformation. This movement led to the creation of Protestant churches that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, fundamentally altering the religious landscape of Europe and influencing religious practice and freedom worldwide. Luther's 95 Theses criticized the Catholic Church's practices, such as the sale of indulgences, and called for a return to what he believed were more authentic Christian teachings.

How did Nevada's statehood on October 31 influence American history?

Nevada's admission to the Union on October 31, 1864, as the 36th state was strategically timed just days before the presidential election. According to the National Archives, its statehood provided support for President Abraham Lincoln's re-election and ensured the passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. Nevada's rich silver mines also bolstered the national economy during the Civil War, earning it the nickname "The Silver State."

What is the cultural significance of October 31?

October 31 is widely recognized as Halloween, a cultural phenomenon that has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. It marks the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day and is a time for remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed. Halloween customs include trick-or-treating, costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, and enjoying various spooky-themed activities, making it a significant date in many cultures around the world.

Are there any famous personalities born on October 31?

Yes, October 31 is the birthday of several notable individuals. For example, John Keats, the renowned English Romantic poet, was born on this day in 1795. Other famous personalities include director Peter Jackson, known for "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, born in 1961, and actor Rob Schneider, born in 1963. These individuals have made significant contributions to literature, film, and entertainment, respectively.

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