December 31 in history

December 31 events chronologically

406 Vandals, Alans and Suebians cross the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul
535 Byzantine general Belisarius completes the conquest of Sicily, defeating the Gothic garrison of Palermo (Panormos), and ending his consulship for the year
1225 The Lý Dynasty of Vietnam ends after 216 years by the enthronement of the boy emperor Trần Thái Tông, husband of the last Lý monarch, Lý Chiêu Hoàng, starting the Trần Dynasty
1229 James I of Aragon the Conqueror enters Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma, Spain) thus consummating the Christian reconquest of the island of Majorca
1501 The First Battle of Cannanore commences
1600 The British East India Company is chartered
1660 James II of England is named Duke of Normandy by Louis XIV of France

Top 7 most famous people born on December 31

1491 Jacques Cartier now Canada for France. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona and at Hochelaga
1869 Henri Matisse a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the three artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in the plastic arts in the opening decades of the twentieth century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve , by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art
1880 George Marshall an American soldier and statesman famous for his leadership roles during World War II and the Cold War. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Secretary of State, and the third Secretary of Defense. He was hailed as the "organizer of victory" by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II, Marshall served as the United States Army Chief of Staff during the war and as the chief military adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt
1908 Simon Wiesenthal an Austrian writer and Nazi hunter. He was a Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor who became famous after World War II for his work as a Nazi hunter
1941 Alex Ferguson a Scottish former football manager and player who managed Manchester United from 1986 to 2013. His time at the club has led to Ferguson being regarded as one of the most successful, admired and respected managers in the history of the game
1948 Donna Summer an American singer, songwriter, and painter. She gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s. A five-time Grammy Award winner, she was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach 1 on the United States Billboard album chart and charted four number-one singles in the United States within a 12-month period. Summer has reportedly sold over 130 million records, making her one of the world's best-selling artists of all time
1977 Psy a South Korean singer-songwriter, record producer and rapper. Psy is known domestically for his humorous videos and stage performances, and internationally for his hit single "Gangnam Style". The song's refrain "Oppan Gangnam Style" was entered into The Yale Book of Quotations as one of the most famous quotations of 2012

Top 7 most famous people died on December 31

192 Commodus Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180
335 Pope Sylvester I also spelled "Silvester", was Pope from 31 January 314 to his death in 335. He succeeded Pope Miltiades. He filled the See of Rome at an important era in the history of the Catholic Church, yet very little is known of him. The accounts of his papacy preserved in the Liber Pontificalis contain little more than a record of the gifts said to have been conferred on the Church by Constantine I, but it does say that he was the son of a Roman named Rufinus
1384 John Wycliffe an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher at Oxford in England. He was an influential dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. His followers were known as Lollards, a somewhat rebellious movement, which preached anticlerical and biblically-centred reforms. The Lollard movement was a precursor to the Protestant Reformation. He has been characterized as the evening star of scholasticism and the Morning Star of the Reformation. He was one of the earliest opponents of papal authority over secular power. In assessing Wycliffe’s historical role, Lacey Baldwin Smith argues that Wycliffe expounded three doctrines that the established church recognized as major threats. First was his emphasis upon an individual's interpretation of the Bible as the best guide to a moral life, as opposed to the Church’s emphasis on receiving its sacraments as the only way to salvation. Second he insisted that holiness of an individual was more important than official office; that is, a truly pious person was morally superior to a wicked ordained cleric. Wycliffe challenged the privileged status of the clergy, which was central to their powerful role in England. Finally he attacked the luxurious and exorbitant luxury and pomp of the churches and their ceremonies
1691 Robert Boyle an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor. Born in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland, he was also noted for his writings in theology. Although his research clearly has its roots in the alchemical tradition, Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle's law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas, if the temperature is kept constant within a closed system. Among his works, The Sceptical Chymist is seen as a cornerstone book in the field of chemistry
1877 Gustave Courbet a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. Committed to painting only what he could see, he rejected academic convention and the Romanticism of the previous generation of visual artists. His independence set an example that was important to later artists, such as the Impressionists and the Cubists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th-century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work
1889 Ion Creangă a Moldavian-born Romanian writer, raconteur and schoolteacher. A main figure in 19th century Romanian literature, he is best known for his Childhood Memories volume, his novellas and short stories, and his many anecdotes. Creangă's main contribution to fantasy and children's literature includes narratives structured around eponymous protagonists , as well as fairy tales indebted to conventional forms. Widely seen as masterpieces of the Romanian language and local humor, his writings occupy the middle ground between a collection of folkloric sources and an original contribution to a literary realism of rural inspiration. They are accompanied by a set of contributions to erotic literature, collectively known as his "corrosives"
1980 Marshall McLuhan a Canadian philosopher of communication theory and a public intellectual. His work is viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory, as well as having practical applications in the advertising and television industries