Today in History
1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in Germany. Luther's theories and writings inaugurate Protestantism, shattering the external structure of the medieval church and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe.
1803 Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, adding territory to the U.S. which will eventually become 13 more states.
1838 A mob of about 200 attacks a Mormon camp in Missouri, killing 20 men, women and children.
1864 Nevada becomes the 36th state.
1941 After 14 years of work, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is completed.
1952 The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1968 The bombing of North Vietnam is halted by the United States.
1971 Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POW's.
1984 Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.
Born on October 31
1795 John Keats, poet.
1802 Benoit Fourneyron, inventor of the water turbine.
1860 Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.
1887 Chiang Kai-Shek, Chinese Nationalist.
1896 Ethel Waters, actress and blues singer.
1902 Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Brazilian poet, journalist and short story writer.
1917 William H. McNeil, historian (The Rise of the West).
1925 Charles Moore, influential post-modern architect.
1930 Michael Collins, U.S. astronaut.