1951 - U.S.A. UNIVAC
1951: The first commercially built U.S. computer The UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer I) is sold to the United States Census Bureau costing about US$159,000. This computer was built by Remington Rand and had been designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC (1947 - the first general-purpose electronic computer) known as the "Giant Brain." These computers did not use transistors or microchips but vacuum tubes (similar to what you find in old TVs from the fifties) and were the size of a small house (680 sq ft.)
1959 - India Dalai Lama1959: The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, has crossed the border into India after a 15-day journey on foot from the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, over the Himalayan mountains seeking asylum. This follows the Chinese repression of the rebellion by Tibetans in Lhasa. The Dalai Lama is granted political asylum in India.
1990 - England Poll Tax Demonstrations1990: The worst violence seen so far in the series of Anti Poll Tax demonstrations erupted in London during the largest rally when nearly 100,000 people take to the streets in protest at the new government levy. More than 400 were arrested and the property was damaged with repairs estimated at £400,000 after the demonstration.
The Poll Tax (Community Charge) was introduced by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government in 1989 (Scotland) and 1990 (England and Wales) and was a single flat rate per person tax on every working adult, at a rate set by the local authority. It was designed to replace the rating system of taxes, which was based on valuation and rent value, to fund local government. The tax was believed by many to move the tax burden from the rich to the poor, under earlier local taxes (Rateable Value "Rates") those who owned the largest and most expensive property paid the most but under "Poll Tax" the tax was moved to the number of people living in the house. The Poll Tax was formally abolished in 1993/1994 with the new Council Tax which resembled the old rating system that the Poll Tax had replaced.
1889 - France The Eiffel Tower1889: The Eiffel Tower, or the Tour Eiffel, was opened on March 31st, 1889, and was the work of Gustave Eiffel, who was a bridge engineer. It was made for the centenary of the French Revolution and was chosen instead of over one hundred other plans that were given.
1940 - Winston Churchill Warns Against German Invasion1940: The first sea lord of the admiralty Winston Churchill has warned that a million German troops are massed on the borders of Luxembourg, Belgium, and Holland ready to strike and that England and its allies must be prepared to protect other countries in the forthcoming conflict.
1949 - Canada Newfoundland Joins Confederation1949: Newfoundland and Labrador entered the Canadian confederation as the 10th province. The years each province joined the Canadian Confederation:
- 1867 Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick
- 1870 Manitoba, Northwest Territories
- 1871 British Columbia
- 1873 Prince Edward Island
- 1898 Yukon
- 1905 Saskatchewan, Alberta
- 1949 Newfoundland
- 1999 Nunavut
1943 - U.S.A. Oklahoma!1943: The musical "Oklahoma!" debuts on Broadway. This play, written by the famed duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, was originally titled "Away We Go" and continues to be produced by theaters across the country.
1964 - Brazilian Coup D'état1964 : A military coup d'état in Brazil led by Gen. Humberto Castello Branco ousted Pres. Joao Goulart.
1966 - England Harold Wilson1966: Harold Wilson wins sweeping victory as the Labour party wins the general election with a majority of about 100 seats in the House of Commons.
1968 - US Johnson Announces He Will Not Run1968: President Johnson announces on nationwide television he would not run for another term of office saying "I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party as your President."
1972 - England CND March1972: The CND ( Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament ) organizes a four-day demonstration against nuclear arms including a march to Aldermaston.
1973 - U.S.A. Mississippi Floods1973: The Mississippi River reaches its peak level in St. Louis during a record 77-day flood. During the flooding, 33 died and millions of acres of farmland were unusable for a full year following the flood, also because the areas affected were in a known flood plain many residents had no insurance and lost everything they had worked for, this is also why the 33 died as they refused to evacuate the area.
1986 - Greater London Council Abolished1986: The GLC or Greater London Council is abolished after 97 years of local rule in London, England.
1991 - Soviet Union Warsaw Pact Ends1991: The Warsaw Pact a military alliance between the Soviet Union and its eastern European neighbors ends.
1992 - Sanctions Imposed on Libya1992: The U.N. Security Council voted to ban flights and arms sales to Libya, for shielding six men accused of blowing up Pan Am Flight 103 and a French airliner.
1995 - U.S.A. Selena Quintanilla-Pérez1995: Grammy award-winning Mexican American singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was shot and murdered in a motel room by the woman who was the president of her fan club.
1995 - Major League Baseball Strike1995: Baseball players agreed to end a 232-day strike which had begun on August 12th, 1994, after a judge granted a preliminary injunction against club owners. The strike led to the cancellation of 938 games overall, including the entire 1994 postseason and 1994 World Series. Like nearly all strikes the Baseball player strike revolved around money with club owners demanding a salary cap in response to the worsening financial situation in baseball. Find Out More on our History of Baseball Page.
2004 - Iraq Four US Contractors Ambushed and Murdered2004: Four Blackwater Security Consulting (BSC) employees are ambushed and murdered in Fallujah, Iraq. The four-armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona, and Michael Teague, were dragged from their cars, beaten, and set ablaze. Photos of the horrendous crimes were released to news agencies worldwide, causing indignation and outrage in the United States and other countries.
2005 - U.S.A. Terri Schiavo2005: Terri Schiavo, the center of the most heavily litigated right-to-die dispute in U.S. history, died today, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed.
2005 - UK Children Conceived Using Donor Eggs or Sperm Can Trace Parents2005: New laws in the UK now give the right to those born using donor eggs or sperm will have the option to ask for the identity of their donor will be when they turn 18. The new law is not retrospective, so people who have already donated will not be affected, but those donating from now and the children born through those donations will have the right to trace their biological parent in through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority the same way as children who are adopted can ask adoption agencies. The new laws are causing some concern by infertility clinics about the future because the number of donors is expected to drop significantly.
2009 - The Supreme Court Dismisses the Smoking Appeal by Cigarette Manufacturer Philip Morris2009: The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal that's been made by the cigarette maker Philip Morris over the $79.5 million awards it gave to the widow of a long-term Oregon smoker. The court has upheld the 1999 ruling by the Oregon Supreme Court in favor of Mayola Williams. The judges have said that they were not passing judgment on the legal issues presented. Jesse Williams died of lung cancer in 1997, having smoked for forty years. It was Mrs. Williams that sued the cigarette manufacturer for fraud on behalf of her husband. She said that Philip Morris had committed a 'massive market-directed fraud' for misleading people on whether smoking cigarettes wasn't addictive or dangerous.
2011 - US Missing Cobra Found2011: A deadly Egyptian cobra that had escaped New York's Bronx Zoo was found alive in the zoo's reptile house almost a week after its escape. During its absence, the snake had become a minor celebrity after someone set up a Twitter account in its name and started making humorous comments.
2013 - Nigeria Troops Kill Militants2013: Nigerian troops claim to have killed fourteen suspected militants that were a part of the Boko Haram rebel group in the city of Kano. The Nigerian military stated that the group had been planning attacks on Easter.
2014 - Japan Accepts Whaling Ban2014: Japan accepted the United Nation's International Court of Justice's ruling that Japan must stop whaling in the Antarctic in accordance with a ban on the practice. Australia had brought up the suit against Japan in 2010. Japan had claimed that they were only whaling for scientific purposes and that Australia's pursuit of this case was just a way for the country to impose its cultural norms on Japan.
Born This Day In History 31st MarchCelebrating Birthdays Today
Known For: Former Vice president of The United States. Al Gore was the 45th Vice President of the United States serving under the Presidency of Bill Clinton. He graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government in 1969, although he was opposed to the war in Vietnam unlike many of his peers he did enlist and was sent to Vietnam in 1971. In 1976 he was elected to the United States Congress for Tennessee's 4th district and in 1985 became the United States Senator from Tennessee. In the 2000 Presidential election, he won the popular vote by approximately 500,000 votes but ultimately lost the electoral college to Republican candidate George W. Bush when the legal controversy over the Florida election recount was eventually settled in the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5–4 margin in favor of Bush. He is a confirmed American environmental activist and has won a number of awards for his stand on Environmental issues including jointly winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In 2006 he starred in the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth", which won an Academy Award in 2007. The video is images from "Earth Day - An Inconvenient Truth."