July 31

1498 - Christopher Columbus, on his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, arrived at the island of Trinidad. 

1790 - The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins for his process for making potash and pearl ashes. The substance was used in fertilizer. 

1792 - The cornerstone of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, was laid. It was the first building to be used only as a U.S. government building. 

1919 - Germany's Weimar Constitution was adopted. 

1928 - MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time. He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, "White Shadows on the South Seas." 

1932 - Enzo Ferrari retired from racing. In 1950 he launched a series of cars under his name. 

1945 - Pierre Laval of France surrendered to Americans in Austria. 

1948 - U.S. President Truman helped dedicate New York International Airport (later John F. Kennedy International Airport) at Idlewild Field. 

1955 - Marilyn Bell of Toronto, Canada, at age 17, became the youngest person to swim the English Channel. 

1959 - The Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) was founded. The group is known for being an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization. 

1961 - The first tie in All-Star Game major league baseball history was recorded when it was stopped in the 9th inning due to rain at Boston's Fenway Park. 

1964 - The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon's surface. 

1971 - Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV). 

1981 - The seven-week baseball players’ strike came to an end when the players and owners agreed on the issue of free agent compensation. 

1982 - Yugoslavia imposed a six-month freeze on prices. 

1989 - A pro-Iranian group in Lebanon released a videotape reportedly showing the hanged body of American hostage William R. Higgins. 

1991 - U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. 

1995 - The Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire Capital Cities/ABC in a $19 billion deal. 
Disney movies, music and books 

1999 - The spacecraft Lunar Prospect crashed into the moon. It was a mission to detect frozen water on the moon's surface. The craft had been launched on January 6, 1998. 

2007 - The iTunes Music Store reached 2 million feature length films sold.