On January 31:
1606 Guy Fawkes was executed for his plotting against Parliament.
1673 Louis de Montfort, French catholic priest and saint, was born (d. 1716).
1747 The first venereal diseases clinic opened at London Lock Hospital.
1797 Franz Schubert, Austrian composer, was born (d. 1828).
1814 Gervasio Antonio de Posadas becomes Supreme Director of Argentina.
1849 Corn Laws were abolished in the United Kingdom (following legislation in 1846).
1865 Henri Desgrange, Founder of the Tour-de-France, was born (d. 1940).
1872 Zane Grey, American Western writer, was born.(1939)
1876 The United States ordered all Native Americans to move into reservations.
1881 Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina was born (d. 1931).
1884 Theodor Heuss, 1st President of Germany (Bundespräsident), was born (d. 1963).
1918 A series of accidental collisions on a misty Scottish night led to the loss of two Royal Navy submarines with over a hundred lives, and damage to another five British warships.
1919 The Battle of George Square took place in Glasgow.
1919 Jackie Robinson, American baseball player, first black player in Major League Baseball, was born (d. 1972).
1921 New Zealand’s first regular air mail service began with a flight by the Canterbury Aviation Company from Christchurch to Ashburton and Timaru.
1921 Carol Channing, American actress and singer, was born.
1921 Mario Lanza, American singer was born (d. 1959).
1923 Norman Mailer, American writer and journalist, was born (d. 2007).
1929 The Soviet Union exiled Leon Trotsky.
1938 – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, was born.
1943 German Field Marshall Friedrich Paulus surrendered to the Soviets at Stalingrad, followed 2 days later by the remainder of his Sixth Army, ending one of World War II’s fiercest battles.
1945 US Army private Eddie Slovik was executed for desertion, the first such execution of a US soldier since the Civil War.
1946 Terry Kath, American musician (Chicago), was born (d. 1978).
1946 Yugoslavia‘s new constitution, modelling the Soviet Union, established six constituent republics (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).
1951 Harry Wayne Casey, American singer and musician (KC and the Sunshine Band), was born.
1953 A North Sea flood causes over 1,800 deaths in the Netherlands.
1956 John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, English singer (Sex Pistols, Public Image Ltd.), was born.
1958 Explorer 1 – The first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.
1966 The Soviet Union launched the unmanned Luna 9 spacecraft as part of the Luna programme.
1968 – Nauru became independent from Australia.
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1971 – The Winter Soldier Investigation, organised by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to publicise war crimes and atrocities by Americans and allies in Vietnam, began in Detroit.
1990 The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opened in Moscow.
1995 President Bill Clinton authorised a $20 billion loan to Mexico to stabilize its economy.
1996 An explosives-filled truck rams into the gates of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in Colombo killing at least 86 and injuring 1,400.
2000 Alaska Airlines flight 261 MD-83, experiencing horizontal stabilizer problems, crashes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 persons aboard.
2001 In the Netherlands a Scottish court convicted a Libyan and acquitted another for their part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which crashed into Lockerbie in 1988.
2003 The Waterfall rail accident near Waterfall, New South Wales.
2009 At least 113 people are killed and over 200 injured following an oil spillage ignition in Molo, Kenya.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.