July 31 events in history

781 The oldest recorded eruption of Mount Fuji (Traditional Japanese date: July 6, 781)
1009 Pope Sergius IV becomes the 142nd pope, succeeding Pope John XVIII
1201 Attempted usurpation of John Komnenos the Fat
1423 Hundred Years' War: Battle of Cravant – the French army is defeated by the English at Cravant on the banks of the river Yonne
1451 Jacques Cœur is arrested by order of Charles VII of France
1492 The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect
1498 On his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to discover the island of Trinidad
1588 The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England
1655 Russo-Polish War (1654–67): the Russian army enters the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Vilnius, which it holds for six years
1658 Aurangzeb is proclaimed Moghul emperor of India
1667 Second Anglo-Dutch War: Treaty of Breda ends the conflict
1703 Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers
1712 Action of 31 July 1712 (Great Northern War): Danish and Swedish ships clash in the Baltic Sea; the result is inconclusive
1715 Seven days after a Spanish treasure fleet of 12 ships left Havana, Cuba for Spain, 11 of them sink in a storm off the coast of Florida. A few centuries later, treasure is salvaged from these wrecks
1741 Charles Albert of Bavaria invades Upper Austria and Bohemia
1763 Odawa Chief Pontiac's forces defeat British troops at the Battle of Bloody Run during Pontiac's War
1777 The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Gilbert du Motier "be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States."
1790 The first U.S. patent is issued, to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process
1856 Christchurch, New Zealand is chartered as a city
1865 The first narrow gauge mainline railway in the world opens at Grandchester, Queensland, Australia
1904 Russo-Japanese War: Battle of Hsimucheng: Units of the Imperial Japanese Army defeat units of the Imperial Russian Army in a strategic confrontation
1913 The Balkan States sign an armistice in Bucharest
1919 German national assembly adopts the Weimar Constitution, which comes into force on August 14
1930 The radio mystery program The Shadow airs for the first time
1931 New York, New York experimental television station W2XAB (now known as WCBS) begins broadcasts
1932 The NSDAP (Nazi Party) wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections
1938 Bulgaria signs a non-aggression pact with Greece and other states of Balkan Antanti (Turkey, Romania, Yugoslavia)
1938 Archaeologists discover engraved gold and silver plates from King Darius the Great in Persepolis
1941 The Holocaust: under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to "submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question."
1945 Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria
1948 At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated
1948 USS Nevada is sunk by an aerial torpedo after surviving hits from two atomic bombs (as part of post-war tests) and being used for target practice by three other ships
1954 First ascent of K2, by an Italian expedition led by Ardito Desio
1956 Jim Laker becomes the first man to take all 10 wickets in a Test match innings as he returns figures of 10/53 in the Australian 2nd innings. This combined with his 9/37 in the first innings gave him match figures of 19/90 in the 4th Test at Old Trafford
1961 At Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts, the first All-Star Game tie in Major League Baseball history occurs when the game is stopped in the 9th inning because of rain
1964 Ranger program: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes
1970 Black Tot Day: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy
1971 Apollo program: Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover
1972 The Troubles: In Operation Motorman, the British Army re-takes the urban no-go areas of Northern Ireland. It is the biggest British military operation since the Suez Crisis of 1956, and the biggest in Ireland since the Irish War of Independence. Later that day, nine civilians are killed by car bombs in the village of Claudy
1988 32 people are killed and 1,674 injured when a bridge at the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal collapses in Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia
1991 The United States and Soviet Union both sign the START I Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the first to reduce (with verification) both countries' stockpiles
1992 Georgia joins the United Nations
1999 Discovery Program: Lunar Prospector – NASA intentionally crashes the spacecraft into the Moon, thus ending its mission to detect frozen water on the moon's surface
2006 Fidel Castro hands over power to brother Raúl Castro
2007 Operation Banner, the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland, and the longest-running British Army operation ever, comes to an end
2009 Three members of the popular South Korean group TVXQ, (Kim Jaejoong, Kim Junsu, and Park Yoochun), filed lawsuit against their Korean management S.M. Entertainment
2012 Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympics