1517: Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg in Germany. Luther’s theories and writings inaugurate Protestantism, shattering the external structure of the medieval church and at the same time reviving the religious consciousness of Europe.
1803: Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, adding territory to the U.S. which will eventually become 13 more states.
1838: A mob of about 200 attacks a Mormon camp in Missouri, killing 20 men, women and children.
1864: Nevada becomes the 36th state.
1941: After 14 years of work, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is completed.
1952: The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1968: The bombing of North Vietnam is halted by the United States.
1971: Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POWs.
1984: Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two Sikh members of her bodyguard.
1998: Iraq announces it will no longer cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
1999: EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into Atlantic Ocean, killing all 217 people on board.
2000: Soyuz TM-31 is launched, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station.
2002: Former Enron Corp. CEO Andrew Fastow is convicted on 78 counts of conspiracy, money laundering, obstruction of justice and wire fraud; the Enron collapse cost investors millions and led to new oversight legislation.
Born on October 31
1795: John Keats, poet.
1802: Benoit Fourneyron, inventor of the water turbine.
1860: Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts.
1887: Chiang Kai-Shek, Chinese Nationalist.
1896: Ethel Waters, actress and blues singer.
1902: Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Brazilian poet, journalist and short-story writer.
1917: William H. McNeil, historian (“The Rise of the West”).
1925: Charles Moore, influential post-modern architect.
1930: Michael Collins, U.S. astronaut.
1931: Dan Rather, journalist; anchor of “CBS Evening News” (1981–2005).
1936: Michael Landon, actor (“Bonanza,” “Little House on the Prairie” TV series).
1937: Tom Paxton, folk singer, songwriter, musician; received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2009).
1942: David Ogden Stiers, actor; best known for his role as stuffy Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III on “M*A*S*H*” TV series (1977–1983).
1950: Jane Pauley, journalist; co-host of “The Today Show” (1976–1989) and “Dateline NBC” (1992–2003).
1950: Antonio Taguba, retired U.S. Army major general best known for authoring the Taguba Report on abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; Taguba is the second American citizen of Philippine birth to reach the rank of general in the U.S. Army.
1961: Sir Peter Jackson, New Zealand film director, producer, screenwriter (“The Lord of the Rings,” “The Hobbit”)
1961: Larry Mullen Jr., musician; drummer for U2 band.
2005: Infanta Leonor of Spain, second in line of succession to the Spanish throne.