July 31

1498

Columbus arrived at the island of Trinidad.

1777

The Marquis de Lafayette became a major-general in the American Continental Army.

1790

The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins of Vermont for a process of making fertilizer.

1875

Andrew Johnson, the 17th president of the United States, died in Tennessee.

1954

Mount Godwin-Austen (K2), the world's second-highest peak, was climbed for the first time, by an Italian team led by Ardito Desio.

1964

The U.S. space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the Moon’s surface.

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