What Happened On This Day – August 31
1998 North Korea Announces the Launch of its First Satellite
According to government sources of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the satellite called Kwangmyongsong-1 was successfully launched into lower Earth orbit. Most space agencies around the world, have not been able to confirm whether the launch was successful.
1997 Princess of Wales, Diana, Dies in a Car Crash
Diana, the former wife of Charles, the heir apparent to the British Crown, was fatally injured when the driver of her car lost control while speeding away from paparazzi, and crashed in a road tunnel in Paris, France. Diana’s companion Dodi al Fayed and the car’s driver also died as a result of the accident. Her funeral was one of the most watched televised events of the century.
1994 Russian Troops Leave Estonia 3 years after Estonia declared independence from the Soviet Union
USSR had occupied the Baltic country in 1944, during the Second World War. Many Western countries never recognized the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was first established in 1940. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi Germany occupied the country.
1991 Uzbekistan declares its independence from the Soviet Union
The Central Asian country had become a part of the Russian Empire in the 19th century, and was made part of the Soviet Union as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in 1924. The country celebrates September 1 as its Independence Day.
1957 Federation of Malaya Gains Independence
The Federation, now known as Malaysia gained its independence from the British. The Southeast Asian country, which was one of the world's largest producer of rubber, came under British rule in the late 18th century.
Births On This Day – August 31
1979 Mickie James
American wrestler, singer
1979 Yuvan Shankar Raja
1977 Jeff Hardy
American wrestler, singer, painter, writer
1945 Van Morrison
1870 Maria Montessori
Italian physician, educator
Deaths On This Day – August 31
1997 Diana, Princess of Wales
1985 Frank Macfarlane Burnet
Australian biologist, Nobel Prize laureate
1973 John Ford
1927 Andranik Ozanian
Armenian military commander
1688 John Bunyan
English preacher, author