On May 31…

1819 – Poet Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, Passage to India) was born in West Hills, NY.

 

1859 – The clock known as “Big Ben” went into operation in London.

 

1889 – After a month of heavy rains, the Conemaugh River Dam in Johnstown, PA, broke, flooding the city and killing more than 2,200 people.

 

1902 – In Pretoria, South Africa, Great Britain and the Boer states sign the Treaty of Vereeniging, officially ending the Boer War.

 

1961 – South Africa became an independent nation, as it withdrew from the British Commonwealth.

1962 – Former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel for his crimes during the Nazi Holocaust.

 

1977 – The Trans-Alaska oil pipeline was completed.

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