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On this day in history - May 31

What Happened On This Day – May 31

  • 2013 The widest tornado ever recorded hits El Reno, Oklahoma

    The storm had a width of 4.2 km (2.6 mi). Nine people were killed as it swept over rural areas of Central Oklahoma.

  • 2005 Deep Throat reveals himself

    Former FBI agent Mark Felt admitted that he was the most important informant in the 1970's Watergate scandal which uncovered the dirty tricks of the Nixon administration, ultimately leading to Nixon's resignation.

  • 1961 South Africa becomes an independent republic

    Following international criticism of the country's Apartheid regime, it had to leave the Commonwealth of Nations. The system of racial segregation was gradually abolished in the early 1990s.

  • 1879 Werner von Siemens presents the world's first electric locomotive

    Von Siemens' landmark invention was soon used in trams. 1881 saw the introduction of the world's first electric tram in Berlin, Germany.

  • 1859 The Great Clock housing Big Ben starts keeping time

    The clock at the top of Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the British Houses of Parliament is one of the world's best-known timekeepers.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
May 31

  • 1976 Colin Farrell

    Irish actor

  • 1945 Rainer Werner Fassbinder

    German actor, director, screenwriter

  • 1930 Clint Eastwood

    American actor, director, producer, politician

  • 1894 Fred Allen

    American comedian, actor, radio host

  • 1819 Walt Whitman

    American poet, author

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
May 31

  • 2010 Louise Bourgeois

    French/American sculptor

  • 1996 Timothy Leary

    American psychologist, author

  • 1983 Jack Dempsey

    American boxer

  • 1837 Joseph Grimaldi

    English actor, dancer

  • 1809 Joseph Haydn

    Austrian composer