31 October: On this day in history

What events happened on 31 October in history? Dominic Sandbrook rounds up the events, births and deaths…

On this day_Numbers_orange31

31 October AD 802

In Constantinople, the Empress Irene is deposed as ruler of the Byzantine empire. She dies the following year in exile on the island of Lesbos.

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31 October 1659

John Bradshaw died at Westminster. In 1649 he had presided over the High Court of Justice that condemned King Charles I to death. At the Restoration his remains were dug up and hanged at Tyburn and his head displayed at Westminster Hall. | Read more about the men who executed the king


31 October 1760

The Lord Mayor of London, Sir Thomas Chitty, laid the foundation stone of Blackfriars Bridge. Designed by Robert Mylne and originally called William Pitt Bridge, it was completed in 1769. Exactly 100 years later it was replaced by the current structure.

31 October 1887

Birth of Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek


31 October 1918

Death in Vienna of 28-year-old Egon Schiele, Expressionist painter and protégé of Gustave Klimt. Like his wife he is a victim of the Spanish Influenza pandemic which will kill at least 20 million people worldwide.


31 October 1922

After taking the oath of allegiance to King Victor Emmanuel III in Rome’s Quirinal Palace, Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini took up office as the 27th prime minister of Italy.

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31 October 1961

Welsh painter, engraver and flamboyant bohemian Augustus John died, aged 83. By the 1920s John had become Britain’s leading society portrait artist; his sitters included Thomas Hardy, TE Lawrence, James Joyce and Winston Churchill.

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