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Today in History: May 31

455 – Emperor Petronius Maximus is stoned to death by an angry mob while fleeing Rome. 1223 – Mongol invasion of the Cumans: Battle of the Kalka River: Mongol armies of Genghis Khan led by Subutai defeat Kievan Rus' and Cumans. 1578 – King Henry III lays the first stone of the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), the oldest bridge of Paris, France. 1669 – Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary. 1775 – American Revolution: The Mecklenburg Resolves are adopted in the Province of North Carolina. 1790 – Manuel Quimper explores the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 1790 – The United States enacts its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790. 1795 – French Revolution: The Revolutionary Tribunal is suppressed. 1805 – French and Spanish forces begin the assault against British forces occupying Diamond Rock. 1813 – In Australia, William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth reach Mount Blaxland, effectively marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains. 1859 – The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, starts keeping time. 1862 – American Civil War: Peninsula Campaign: Confederate forces under Joseph E. Johnston and G.W. Smith engage Union forces under George B. McClellan outside Richmond, Virginia. 1864 – American Civil War: Overland Campaign: Battle of Cold Harbor: The Army of Northern Virginia engages the Army of the Potomac. 1879 – Gilmore's Garden in New York City is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue. 1884 – The arrival at Plymouth of Tāwhiao, King of Maoris, to claim the protection of Queen Victoria 1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people die after a dam fails and sends a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. 1902 – Second Boer War: The Treaty of Vereeniging ends the war and ensures British control of South Africa. 1909 – The National Negro Committee, forerunner to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), convenes for the first time. 1910 – The South Africa Act comes into force, establishing the Union of South Africa. 1911 – The Titanic is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 1911 – The President of Mexico Porfirio Díaz flees the country during the Mexican Revolution.

1916 – World War I: Battle of Jutland: The British Grand Fleet engages the High Seas Fleet in the largest naval battle of the war, which proves indecisive. 1921 – The Tulsa race riot kills at least 39, but other estimates of black fatalities vary from 55 to about 300. 1927 – The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles. 1935 – A 7.7 Mw earthquake destroys Quetta in modern-day Pakistan killing 40,000. 1941 – Anglo-Iraqi War: The United Kingdom completes the re-occupation of Iraq and returns 'Abd al-Ilah to power as regent for Faisal II. 1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines begin a series of attacks on Sydney, Australia. 1958 – Feijenoord Rotterdam wins the first edition of the Benelux Cup 1961 – The South African Constitution of 1961 becomes effective. 1961 – In Moscow City Court, the Rokotov–Faibishenko show trial begins, despite the Khrushchev Thaw to reverse Stalinist elements in Soviet society. 1962 – The West Indies Federation dissolves. 1970 – The 7.9 Mw Ancash earthquake shakes Peru with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe) and a landslide buries the town of Yungay, Peru. Between 66,794–70,000 were killed and 50,000 were injured. 1971 – In accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1968, observation of Memorial Day occurs on the last Monday in May for the first time, rather than on the traditional Memorial Day of May 30. 1973 – The United States Senate votes to cut off funding for the bombing of Khmer Rouge targets within Cambodia, hastening the end of the Cambodian Civil War. 1977 – The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System is completed. 1985 – United States–Canada tornado outbreak: Forty-one tornadoes hit Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, leaving 76 dead. 1989 – A group of six members of the Peruvian guerrilla group Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement murder eight transsexuals in Tarapoto. 1991 – Bicesse Accords in Angola lay out a transition to multi-party democracy under the supervision of the United Nations' UNAVEM II mission. 2005 – Vanity Fair reveals that Mark Felt was "Deep Throat". 2010 – Israeli Shayetet 13 commandos boarded the Gaza Freedom Flotilla while still in international waters trying to break the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip; nine Turkish civilians on the flotilla were killed in the ensuing violent affray. 2013 – The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon make their closest approach to Earth for the next two centuries. 2017 – A car bomb exploded in a crowded intersection in Kabul near the German embassy during rush hour, killing over 90 and injuring 463.


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