* 445 BC - Ezra reads the Book of the Law to the Israelites in Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 9:1, NLTse).
* 475 - Romulus Augustus was proclaimed Roman Emperor.
* 1517 - Protestant Reformation: Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
* 1587 - Leiden University Library opens its doors after its founding in 1575.
* 1822 - Emperor AgustÃn de Iturbide attempted to dissolve the Mexican Empire.
* 1861 - American Civil War: Citing failing health, Union General Winfield Scott resigns as Commander of the United States Army.
* 1863 - The Maori Wars resumed as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron began their Invasion of the Waikato.
* 1864 - Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state.
* 1876 - A monster cyclone ravages India, resulting in over 200,000 human deaths.
* 1892 - Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
* 1912 - The Musketeers of Pig Alley, directed by D.W. Griffith, debuts as the first gangster film.
* 1912 - Dominican Republic becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
* 1917 - World War I: Battle of Beersheba - "last successful cavalry charge in history"
* 1923 - 160 consecutive days of 100 degrees at Marble Bar, Australia begins.
* 1926 - Magician Harry Houdini dies of gangrene and peritonitis that developed after his appendix ruptured.
* 1936 - The Boy Scouts of the Philippines was formed.
* 1938 - Great Depression: In an effort to try restore investor confidence, the New York Stock Exchange unveils a fifteen-point program aimed to upgrade protection for the investing public.
* 1940 - World War II: Battle of Britain ends - The United Kingdom prevents Germany from invading Great Britain.
* 1941 - After 14 years of work, drilling is completed on Mount Rushmore.
* 1941 - World War II: The destroyer USS Reuben James is torpedoed by a German U-boat near Iceland, killing more than 100 United States Navy sailors.
* 1941 - American photographer Ansel Adams takes a picture of a moonrise over the town of Hernandez, New Mexico that would become one of the most famous images in the history of photography.
* 1950 - Pope Pius XII witnesses the "Miracle of the Sun" while at the Vatican"
* 1954 - Algerian War of Independence: The Algerian National Liberation Front begins a revolt against French rule.
* 1956 - Suez Crisis: The United Kingdom and France begin bombing Egypt to force the reopening of the Suez Canal.
* 1961 - In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin's body is removed from Lenin's Tomb.
* 1963 - Indiana State Fair Coliseum (now Pepsi Coliseum) explosion in Indianapolis kills 74 people during an ice skating show. The mammoth explosion injured 400. A faulty propane tank connection in a concession stand was blamed.
* 1968 - Vietnam War October surprise: Citing progress with the Paris peace talks, US President Lyndon B. Johnson announces to the nation that he has ordered a complete cessation of "all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam" effective November 1.
* 1984 - Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards (riots soon broke out in New Delhi and nearly 2,000 innocent Sikhs were killed).
* 1986 - The 5th congress of the Communist Party of Sweden is inaugurated. During the course of the congress the party name is changed to the Solidarity Party and the party ceases to be a communist party.
* 1994 - An American Eagle ATR-72 crashes in Roselawn, Indiana, after circling in icy weather, killing all 68 on board.
* 1996 - A Brazilian TAM Fokker F100 crashes into several houses in SÃ£o Paulo, Brazil killing 98 including 2 on the ground.
* 1996 - Jean ChrÃ©tien becomes UN special envoy to the African Great Lakes.
* 1997 - 19-year-old British au pair Louise Woodward, convicted by a Cambridge, Massachusetts, jury of second-degree murder the day before, is sentenced to life in prison.
* 1998 - Iraq disarmament crisis begins: Iraq announces it would no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
* 1999 - EgyptAir Flight 990 traveling from New York City to Cairo crashes off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, killing all 217 on-board.
* 1999 - Roman Catholic Church and Lutheran Church leaders sign the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, ending a centuries-old doctrinal dispute over the nature of faith and salvation.
* 2000 - A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 operating as Flight 006 collides with construction equipment upon takeoff in Taipei, Taiwan killing 79 passengers and 4 crew members
* 2000 - A chartered Antonov An-26 explodes after takeoff in Northern Angola killing 50
* 2000 - The last Multics machine was shut down.
* 2002 - A federal grand jury in Houston formally indicted former Enron Corp. chief financial officer Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice related to the collapse of his ex-employer.
* 2003 - A bankruptcy court approves MCI's reorganization plans, essentially clearing the telecommunications company to exit bankruptcy.
* 2003 - Mahathir bin Mohamad resigns as Prime Minister of Malaysia after 22 years in power.
* 2004 - Passenger airline service ends at Mirabel International Airport in Montreal, Canada.
* 2005 - President George W. Bush nominates Appeals court judge Samuel Alito to join the Supreme Court of the United States.
* 2006 - NASA is expected to announce whether or not there will be a space shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. If the decision is made to fly the mission, designated STS-125, the crew will also be announced.
* 1291 - Philippe de Vitry, French composer (d. 1361)
* 1345 - King Fernando I of Portugal (d. 1383)
* 1391 - King Duarte of Portugal (d. 1438)
* 1424 - King Wladislaus III of Poland (d. 1444)
* 1538 - Caesar Baronius, Italian cardinal and historian (d. 1607)
* 1599 - Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer (d. 1680)
* 1620 - John Evelyn, English diarist (d. 1706)
* 1622 - Pierre Paul Puget, French artist (d. 1694)
* 1632 - (baptism) Johannes Vermeer, Flemish painter (d. 1675)
* 1636 - Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria (d. 1679)
* 1692 - Comte de Caylus, French archaeologist (d. 1765)
* 1705 - Pope Clement XIV (d. 1774)
* 1711 - Laura Bassi, Italian scholar (d. 1778)
* 1724 - Christopher Anstey, English writer (d. 1805)
* 1737 - James Lovell (delegate), American educator (d. 1789)
* 1795 - John Keats, British poet (d. 1821)
* 1815 - Karl WeierstraÃŸ, German mathematician (d. 1897)
* 1825 - Charles Lavigerie, French cardinal (d. 1892)
* 1831 - Paolo Mantegazza, Italian neurologist (d. 1910)
* 1835 - Adolf von Baeyer, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1917)
* 1860 - Juliette Low, American founder of the Girl Scouts (d. 1927)
* 1875 - Eugene Meyer, American businessman and newspaper publisher (d. 1954)
* 1875 - Vallabhbhai Patel, Indian freedom fighter and statesman (d. 1950)
* 1887 - Chiang Kai-shek, Nationalist Chinese leader (d. 1975)
* 1887 - Newsy Lalonde, National Hockey League player (d. 1970)
* 1892 - Alexander Alekhine, Russian chess player (d. 1946)
* 1895 - Basil Liddell Hart, British military historian (d. 1970)
* 1896 - Ethel Waters, American singer and actress (d. 1977)
* 1912 - Dale Evans, American singer and actress (d. 2001)
* 1914 - Joe Carcione, American consumer advocate (d. 1988)
* 1917 - Thomas Hill, Canadian actor
* 1918 - Ian Stevenson, American parapsychologist
* 1920 - Dick Francis, Welsh novelist
* 1920 - Helmut Newton, German photographer (d. 2004)
* 1920 - Fritz Walter, German footballer (d. 2002)
* 1922 - Barbara Bel Geddes, American actress (d. 2005)
* 1922 - Illinois Jacquet, American saxophonist (d. 2004)
* 1922 - King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia
* 1925 - John Anthony Pople, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
* 1926 - Jimmy Saville, English entertainer
* 1927 - Lee Grant, American actress
* 1928 - Cleo Moore, American actress (d. 1973)
* 1929 - Eddie Charlton, Australian snooker player (d. 2004)
* 1929 - Bud Spencer, Italian actor
* 1930 - Michael Collins, astronaut
* 1931 - Dan Rather, American television journalist
* 1933 - Phil Goyette, National Hockey League player
* 1936 - Michael Landon, American actor (d. 1991)
* 1937 - Tom Paxton, American singer
* 1939 - Ron Rifkin, American actor
* 1939 - Tom O'Connor, British comedian
* 1942 - Dave McNally, Major League Baseball pitcher (d. 2002)
* 1943 - Paul Frampton, English physicist
* 1944 - Kinky Friedman, American musician and novelist
* 1945 - Brian Doyle-Murray, American comedian and actor
* 1946 - Stephen Rea, Irish actor
* 1946 - Norman Lovett, British actor
* 1947 - Deidre Hall, American actress
* 1947 - Frank Shorter, American runner
* 1950 - John Candy, Canadian comedian and actor (d. 1994)
* 1950 - Jane Pauley, American news anchor
* 1952 - Bernard Edwards, American bass player (CHIC) (d. 1996)
* 1953 - Michael J. Anderson, American actor
* 1954 - Ken Wahl, American actor
* 1955 - Mark Roesler, American businessman and lawyer
* 1958 - Jeannie Longo, French cyclist
* 1959 - Neal Stephenson, American author
* 1959 - Mats NÃ¤slund, National Hockey League player
* 1960 - Luis FortuÃ±o, Puerto Rican delegate to Congress
* 1960 - Mike Gallego, baseball player
* 1961 - Peter Jackson, New Zealand film director
* 1961 - Larry Mullen, Irish drummer (U2)
* 1961 - Alonzo Babers, American runner
* 1961 - Kate Campbell, American musician
* 1963 - Dunga, Brazilian footballer
* 1963 - Fred McGriff, baseball player
* 1963 - Rob Schneider, American actor
* 1963 - Johnny Marr, English guitarist and songwriter (The Smiths)
* 1963 - Dermot Mulroney, American actor
* 1964 - Marco van Basten, Dutch football player
* 1964 - Marty Wright, American professional wrestler
* 1965 - Annabella Lwin, British singer (Bow Wow Wow)
* 1966 - Adam Horovitz, American singer (Beastie Boys)
* 1966 - Koji Kanemoto, Japanese professional wrestler
* 1968 - Antonio Davis, American basketball player
* 1968 - Vanilla Ice, American rapper
* 1969 - Mike O'Malley,American Actor
* 1970 - Linn Berggren, Swedish singer (Ace of Base)
* 1970 - Rogers Stevens, American guitarist (Blind Melon)
* 1971 - Alphonso Ford, American basketball player (d. 2004)
* 1971 - Ian Walker, English footballer
* 1972 - Shaun Bartlett, South African footballer
* 1974 - Muzzy Izzet, Turkish footballer
* 1976 - Piper Perabo, American actress
* 1977 - SÃ©verine Ferrer, French singer
* 1980 - Eddie Kaye Thomas, American actor
* 1980 - Samaire Armstrong, American actress
* 1981 - Irina Denezhkina, Russian writer
* 1981 - Frank Iero, American guitarist (My Chemical Romance)
* 1982 - Tomas Plekanec, National Hockey League player
* 1986 - Christie Hayes, Australian actress
* 1990 - Lil' JJ, American comedian
* 2005 - Infanta Leonor of Spain, daughter of Crown Prince Felipe and Letizia, Princess of Asturias
* 1147 - Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, English politician (bc. 1090)
* 1214 - Leonora of England, queen of Alfonso VIII of Castile (b. 1162)
* 1448 - John VIII Palaeologus, Byzantine Emperor (b. 1390)
* 1517 - Fra Bartolommeo, Italian artist (b. 1472)
* 1641 - Cornelis Jol, Dutch admiral and privateer (b. 1597)
* 1659 - John Bradshaw, English judge (b. 1602)
* 1723 - Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (b. 1642)
* 1732 - Victor Amadeus II of Savoy (b. 1666)
* 1733 - Eberhard IV Ludwig, Duke of WÃ¼rttemberg (b. 1676)
* 1744 - Leonardo Leo, Italian composer (b. 1694)
* 1765 - Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, English military leader (b. 1721)
* 1768 - Francesco Maria Veracini, Italian composer (b. 1690)
* 1860 - Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, British admiral (b. 1775)
* 1879 - Jacob Abbott, American author (b. 1803)
* 1884 - Marie Bashkirtseff, Russian painter (b. 1858)
* 1913 - William Evans-Gordon, British politician (b. 1857)
* 1916 - Charles Taze Russell, American founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses (b. 1852)
* 1918 - Egon Schiele, Austrian painter (b. 1890)
* 1920 - Alphonse Desjardins, founder of the Caisses populaires Desjardins (b. 1854)
* 1925 - Max Linder, French actor, director and screenwriter (b. 1883)
* 1926 - Harry Houdini, Hungarian-born magician (b. 1874)
* 1939 - Otto Rank, Austrian psychologist (b. 1884)
* 1943 - Max Reinhardt, German film director (b. 1873)
* 1952 - U Chit Hlaing, Burmese politician (b. 1879)
* 1959 - Jean Cabannes, French physicist (b. 1885)
* 1972 - Bill Durnan, National Hockey League goaltender (b. 1916)
* 1983 - George Halas, American football player, coach, and team owner (b. 1895)
* 1984 - Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (b. 1917)
* 1984 - Eduardo de Filippo, Italian actor and screenwriter (b. 1900)
* 1985 - Poul Reichhardt, Danish actor (b. 1913)
* 1986 - Robert S. Mulliken, American physicist and chemist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (b. 1896)
* 1987 - Joseph Campbell, American author and expert on mythology (b. 1904)
* 1988 - John Houseman, Romanian-born actor and director (b. 1902)
* 1988 - Alfred Pellan, QuÃ©bÃ©cois painter (b. 1906)
* 1991 - Joseph Papp, American theatrical producer (b. 1921)
* 1991 - Gene Anderson, American professional wrestler (b. 1933)
* 1993 - Federico Fellini, Italian director (b. 1920)
* 1993 - River Phoenix, American actor (drug overdose) (b. 1970)
* 1995 - Rosalind Cash, American actress (b. 1938)
* 1996 - Marcel CarnÃ©, French film director (b. 1906)
* 1998 - Elmer Vasko, National Hockey League defenceman (b. 1935)
* 1999 - Greg Moore, Canadian race car driver (b. 1975)
* 2000 - Watanabe Kazuki Japanese musician (Raphael) (b. 1981)
* 2000 - Ring Lardner, Jr., American screenwriter (b. 1915)
* 2001 - RÃ©gine Cavagnoud, French skier (b. 1970)
* 2002 - Lionel PoilÃ¢ne, French baker and entrepreneur (b. 1945)
* 2003 - Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Indian singer (b. 1908)
* 2003 - Dharmsamrat Paramhans Swami Madhavananda, Indian guru (b. 1923)
* 2003 - Richard Neustadt, American political historian (b. 1919)
* 2005 - Mary Wimbush, English actress (b. 1924)
* 2005 - John "Beatz" Holohan, American drummer (Bayside) (b. 1974))
 Holidays and observances
* R.C. Saints - October 31 is the feast day of the following Roman Catholic Saints:
o St. Antoninus
o St. Arnulf
o St. Bega
o St. Notburga
o St. Quentin
o St. Urban
o St. Wolfgang
* Also see October 31 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Protestant Church - Reformation Day: Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenberg church on this day in 1517
* October 31st is Halloween
; also see Samhain (an approximate date)
* Cornwall - Allantide
* Paganism and Celts - Samhain
* October 31st is Nevada Day