Merriam-Webster dictionary defines history as a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events. It’s a chronological record of significant events often including an explanation of their causes. The earliest known use of the word history was in the 14th century.

Today In HistoryThis website utilizes entries from Wikipedia to extract historical events from 3761 BC up to the present. There are currently 105,062 records in our database. The present day Gregorian calendar was adopted to show dates of interest.

Let us begin with what happened today in history. You may also enter a specific day using the form on the right sidebar. It is optional to input the year. If you do give a complete date with month, day and year then only events that happened on that specific date will be shown.

About August 31

August 31, 2016 is the 244th day of the year 2016 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 122 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Wednesday.

You can browse the full year calendar in case you need it.

Virgo is the zodiac sign of a person born on this day. Peridot is the modern birthstone for this month. Diamond is the mystical birthstone from Tibetan origin that dates back over a thousand years.

According to the lunisolar Chinese calendar, there are 150 days remaining before the start of the next Chinese New Year.

What Happened On August 31

  • 1218
    Al-Kamil becomes Sultan of Egypt, Syria and northern Mesopotamia on the death of his father Al-Adil.
  • 1803
    Lewis and Clark start their expedition to the west by leaving Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 11 in the morning.
  • 1886
    An earthquake kills 100 in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 1895
    German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his Navigable Balloon.
  • 1939
    Nazi Germany mounts a staged attack on the Gleiwitz radio station, creating an excuse to attack Poland the following day thus starting World War II in Europe.
  • 1941
    World War II: Serbian paramilitary forces defeat Germans in the Battle of Loznica.
  • 1957
    The Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 1980
    After two weeks of nationwide strikes, the Polish government was forced to sign the Gdańsk Agreement, allowing for the creation of the trade union Solidarity.
  • 1997
    Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul die in a car crash in Paris.
  • 2006
    Stolen on August 22, 2004, Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.

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