On March 31:
1146 Bernard of Clairvaux preached his sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade.
1492 Queen Isabella of Castille issued the Alhambra decree, ordering her 150,000 Jewish subjects to convert to Christianity or face expulsion.
1596 René Descartes, French mathematician, was born.
1621 Andrew Marvell, English poet (, was born.
1717 A sermon on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ” by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provokes the Bangorian Controversy.
1732 Joseph Haydn, Austrian composer, was born.
1774 American Revolutionary War: The Great Britain ordered the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed pursuant to the Boston Port Act.
1822 The massacre of the population of the Greek island of Chios by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire following a rebellion attempt, depicted by the French artist Eugène Delacroix.
1854 Commodore Matthew Perry signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.
1866 The Spanish Navy bombed the harbor of Valparaíso, Chile.
1885 The United Kingdom established a protectorate over Bechuanaland.
1889 The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated.
1903 Richard Pearse made a powered flight in an early aircraft.
1906 The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later National Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.
1909 Serbia accepted Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1909 Construction began on the RMS Titanic.
1912 Construction was completed on the RMS Titanic.
1917 The United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark, and renames the territory the United States Virgin Islands.
1921 The Royal Australian Air Force was formed.
1926 John Fowles, English author, was born.
1930 The Motion Pictures Production Code was instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in film for the next thirty eight years.
1931 An earthquake destroyed Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000.
1933 The Civilian Conservation Corps was established with the mission of relieving rampant unemployment.
1935 Herb Alpert, American trumpeter and band leader, was born.
1936 Marge Piercy, American writer, was born.
1940 The funeral of Labour Prime Minister Michael Josepgh Savage took place.
1942 World War II: Japanese forces invaded Christmas Island, then a British possession.
1942 Holocaust in Ivano-Frankivsk (then called Stanislawow), western Ukraine. German Gestapo organised the first deportation of 5,000 Jews from Stanislawow ghetto to Belzec death camp.
1946 – The first election was held in Greece after World War II.
1947 César Gaviria Trujillo, former President of Colombia, was born.
1948 Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was born.
1955 Robert Vance, New Zealand cricketer, was born.
1959 The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crossed the border into India and was granted political asylum.
1964 The Dictatorship in Brazil, under the aegis of general Castello Branco, began.
1965 Iberia Airlines Convair 440 crashed into the sea on approach to Tangier, killing 47 of 51 occupants.
1966 The Soviet Union launched Luna 10 which became the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.
1970 Explorer 1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere (after 12 years in orbit).
1972 Alejandro Amenábar, Spanish film director, was born.
1979 The last British soldier left Malta which declared its Freedom Day (Jum il-Helsien).
1986 – A Mexicana Boeing 727 en route to Puerto Vallarta erupted in flames and crashes in the mountains northwest of Mexico City, killing 166.
1986 – Six metropolitan county councils were abolished in England.
1990 200,000 protestors took to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.
1991 The Islamic Constitutional Movement, or Hadas, was established in Kuwait.
1991 Georgian independence referendum, 1991: nearly 99 percent of the voters supported the country’s independence from the Soviet Union.
199 The journal Nature reported the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull.
1995 In Corpus Christi, Texas, Latin superstar Selena Quintanilla Perez was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her own fan club.
1998 Netscape released the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement; with code name Mozilla and which was spun off into the non-profit Mozilla Foundation.
2004 In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, were killed and their bodies mutilated after being ambushed.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia