May 31


The first U.S. Copyright Law was enacted, protecting books, maps, and other original materials.


Heavy rains caused the South Fork Dam to collapse, sending 20 million tons of water into Johnstown, Pa. Over 2,200 people were killed and the town was nearly destroyed.


The hull of the Titanic was launched in Belfast. At the ceremony, a White Star Line employee claimed, “Not even God himself could sink this ship.”


South Africa became an independent republic.


Former Gestapo official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel.


An earthquake in Peru left more than 50,000 dead.


Alberta Martin, 97, one of the last widows of a U.S. Civil War veteran, died. She had married Confederate veteran William Martin in 1927 when she was 21 and he was 81.


Nine people are dead after an Israeli navy commando attacks a flotilla of cargo ships and passenger boats on their way to Gaza to provide aid and supplies for the area.

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