January 31st

2011
Myanmar's first elected parliament in half a century convenes. The event underlined a general move towards democracy in the country.
History of Myanmar
2010
Alaska Airlines flight 261 crashes into the sea. The MD-83 experienced horizontal stabilizer problems before descending into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 on board.
Alaska Airlines Flight 261
2006
Samuel Alito was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as a Supreme Court justice.
Samuel Alito Supreme Court nomination
2001
A Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan and acquitted a second in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Abdelbaset al-Megrahi
2000
An Alaska Airlines jet plunged into the ocean off Southern California on a flight from Mexico to San Francisco, killing all 88 people on board.
Alaska Airlines Flight 261
1996
A suicide bombing in Sri Lanka kills 91 people. Separatist Tamil Tigers detonated a truck loaded with explosives in front of the central bank in Colombo.
Colombo Central Bank bombing
1990
McDonald's Corp. opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow.
History of McDonald's
1985
South African President PW Botha offers to free Nelson Mandela if he denounces violence.
P. W. Botha
1971
Astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell and Stuart A. Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on the third successful manned mission to the moon.
Apollo 14
1961
Ham the Chimp travels into outer space. The chimpanzee survived the US Mercury Program test flight with just a bruised nose.
Ham (chimpanzee)
1958
The first U.S. earth satellite, Explorer I, was launched.
Explorer 1
1950
US President Harry Truman publicly announces support for the development of a hydrogen bomb.
President Truman's relief of General Douglas MacArthur
1949
The first TV daytime soap opera, 'These Are My Children,' was broadcast by the NBC station in Chicago.
These Are My Children
1945
Private Eddie Slovik became the only U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion.
Eddie Slovik
1944
U.S. forces invaded the Japanese-held Marshall Islands during World War II.
Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign
1943
General Friedrich von Paul surrenders to Soviet troops at Stalingrad.
Friedrich Paulus
1940
The first social security check was issued to Ida Fuller for $22.54.
1919
Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who broke the sport's color barrier in 1947, was born in Cairo, Ga.
Jackie Robinson
1917
Germany announced a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
U-boat Campaign (World War I)
1865
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is passed. The Amendment, which officially abolished slavery, was adopted on December 6, 1865.
Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
1797
Composer Franz Schubert was born in Vienna, Austria.
Franz Schubert
1606
Guy Fawkes, convicted for his part in the Gunpowder Plot against the English Parliament and King James I, was executed.
Gunpowder Plot