March 31 is the 90th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (91st in Leap years), with 275 days remaining, as the final day of March.
- 307 - After divorcing his wife Minerva, Constantine marries Fausta, the daughter of the retired Roman Emperor Maximian.
- 1717 - A sermon on "The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ" by Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, provoked the Bangorian Controversy.
- 1774 - American Revolutionary War: The Kingdom of Great Britain orders the port of Boston, Massachusetts closed in the Boston Port Act.
- 1854 - Commodore Matthew Perry signs the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade.
- 1866 - Spanish Navy bombs the harbour of Valparaíso, Chile
- 1885 - The United Kingdom establishes a protectorate over Bechuanaland.
- 1889 - The Eiffel Tower is inaugurated.
- 1903 - Richard Pearse reportedly flies a heavier-than-air machine in powered flight near Pleasant Point , South Canterbury, New Zealand; some claim 1902
- 1906 - The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (later National Collegiate Athletic Association) is established to set rules for amateur sports in the United States.
- 1909 - Serbia accepts Austrian control over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- 1917 - The United States takes possession of the U.S. Virgin Islands after paying $25 million to Denmark.
- 1918 - Daylight Savings Time goes into effect in the United States for the first time.
- 1930 - The Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion and violence in motion pictures for the next forty years.
- 1931 - An earthquake destroys Managua Nicaragua, killing 2,000.
- 1933 - The Civilian Conservation Corps is established with the mission to relieve rampant unemployment.
- 1949 - Newfoundland and Labrador joins Confederation and becomes the 10th Province of Canada.
- 1959 - The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, crosses the border into India and is granted political asylum.
- 1964 - The Dictatorship in Brazil , under the aegis of general Castello Branco, begins.
- 1966 - The Soviet Union launches Luna 10 which later becomes the first spaceprobe to enter orbit around the Moon.
- 1967 - Jimi Hendrix burns his guitar for the first time at London's Astoria Theatre. He is sent to the hospital afterwards for burns on his hands.
- 1968 - President Lyndon Johnson announces he will not run for re-election.
- 1970 - Explorer 1 re-enters the Earth's atmosphere (after 12 years in orbit).
- 1970 - Eight terrorists from the Japanese Red Army hijacked a Japan Airlines Boeing 727 at Tokyo International Airport, wielding samurai swords and carrying a bomb.
- 1979 - In Jerusalem, Israel, Gali Atari & Milk and Honey win the twenth-fourth Eurovision Song Contest for Israel singing "Hallelujah".
- 1979 - The last Bristish soldier leaves the Maltese Islands. Malta is no longer a military base.
- 1985 - The first ever WrestleMania is held in New York City's Madison Square Garden.
- 1986 - A Mexicana Boeing 727 enroute to Puerto Vallarta erupts in flames and crashes in the mountains northwest of Mexico City, killing 166
- 1986 - Six metropolitan county councils are abolished in England
- 1990 - Boxer Julio César Chávez defeats Meldrick Taylor to unify the boxing's world junior welterweight title in a very controversial fight known as "Thunder Meets Lightning".
- 1991 - The Warsaw Pact comes to an end.
- 1992 - The television news program Dateline NBC premieres.
- 1993 - Actor Brandon Lee is accidentally killed during the filming of The Crow.
- 1994 - The journal Nature reports the finding in Ethiopia of the first complete Australopithecus afarensis skull (see Human evolution).
- 1995 - Popular Tex-Mex singer Selena Quintanilla is murdered by her assistant Yolanda Saldivar in a Corpus Christi, Texas motel after a heated discussion where the latter was accused of ripping off the artist's fan club.
- 1998 - Netscape gives the code base of its browser under an open-source license agreement, thus creating Mozilla Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation to oversee the development of Mozilla.
- 2004 - Google announces Gmail, the first web-based mail service to offer 1 gigabyte of storage.
- 2004 - In Fallujah, Iraq, 4 American private military contractors working for Blackwater USA, are killed and their bodies mutilated after being ambushed.
- 2004 - Sandton Square in Johannesburg, South Africa, is renamed Nelson Mandela Square.
- 250 - Constantius Chlorus, Roman Emperor (d. 306)
- 1499 - Pope Pius IV (d. 1565)
- 1504 - Guru Angad Dev, Second Guru of the Sikhs (d. 1552)
- 1519 - Henry II of France (d. 1559)
- 1536 - Ashikaga Yoshiteru, Ashikaga shogun (d. 1565)
- 1596 - René Descartes, mathematician (d. 1650)
- 1621 - Andrew Marvell, English poet (d. 1678)
- 1675 - Pope Benedict XIV (d. 1758)
- 1732 - Franz Joseph Haydn, composer (d. 1809)
- 1809 - Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer (d. 1852)
- 1809 - Edward FitzGerald, poet (d. 1883)
- 1811 - Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, chemist, inventor: Bunsen burner (d. 1899)
- 1878 - Jack Johnson, African-American boxer (d. 1946)
- 1885 - Pascin, the "Prince of Montparnasse" (d. 1930)
- 1900 - Richard Alexander Walter Windsor , Duke of Gloucester
- 1911 - Elisabeth Grümmer, Alsatian soprano (d. 1986)
- 1912 - Hermann Höcherl , German politician (d. 1989)
- 1914 - Octavio Paz, Mexican writer, diplomat, and nobel laureate (d. 1998)
- 1915 - Albert Hourani, historian (d. 1993)
- 1922 - Richard Kiley, actor, singer (d. 1999)
- 1924 - Leo Buscaglia, American author (d. 1998)
- 1926 - John Fowles, author
- 1927 - César Chávez, labor activist (d. 1993)
- 1927 - William Daniels, actor
- 1928 - Gordie Howe, ice hockey player
- 1928 - Lefty Frizzell, country music performer
- 1929 - Lucille Bliss , voice actress
- 1929 - Liz Claiborne , Belgian fashion designer
- 1934 - Shirley Jones, singer, actress
- 1934 - Richard Chamberlain, actor
- 1935 - Herb Alpert, musician
- 1935 - Judith Rossner , American author
- 1939 - Zviad Gamsakhurdia, scientist and writer, first President of the Republic of Georgia (d. 1993)
- 1939 - Volker Schlöndorff, German film director
- 1940 - Patrick Leahy, United States Senator from Vermont
- 1943 - Christopher Walken, actor
- 1945 - Gabe Kaplan, American actor, comedian, poker player
- 1946 - Gonzalo Márquez, Major League Baseball player (d. 1984)
- 1948 - Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States
- 1948 - Rhea Perlman, actress
- 1949 - Bethel Enproe Adam, second Angam Baby
- 1050 - Ed Marinaro, American football player, actor
- 1955 - Angus Young, British-Australian musician (AC/DC)
- 1957 - Marc McClure , American actor
- 1965 - William McNamara , American actor
- 1966 - Roger Black, British athlete
- 1971 - Ewan McGregor, Scottish actor
- 1971 - Pavel Bure, ice hockey player
- 1973 - Bold Forbes, thoroughbred race horse (d. 2000)
- 1976 - Josh Saviano, actor (The Wonder Years)
- 1204 - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England (b. 1121)
- 1783 - Nikita Ivanovich Panin, Russian statesman (b. 1718)
- 1837 - John Constable, painter (b. 1776)
- 1855 - Charlotte Brontë, author (b. 1816)
- 1880 - Henryk Wieniawski, composer
- 1913 - John Pierpont Morgan, American financier and banker (b. 1837)
- 1917 - Emil Adolf von Behring, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1901 (b. 1854)
- 1915 - Wyndham Halswelle, British runner
- 1931 - Knute Rockne, American football coach (b. 1888)
- 1945 - Anne Frank, diarist (b. 1929)
- 1952 - Wallace H. White, Jr., U.S. Senator from Maine (b. 1877)
- 1954 - Edwin Armstrong, electrical engineer
- 1956 - Ralph DePalma, race car driver (b. 1884)
- 1975 - Spider Sabich , American skier
- 1978 - Charles Best, medical scientist (b. 1899)
- 1980 - Jesse Owens, athlete (b. 1913)
- 1981 - Enid Bagnold, British author, playwright
- 1985 - The Singing Nun, nun, singer
- 1986 - Jerry Paris , American actor
- 1988 - William McMahon, twentieth Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1908)
- 1993 - Brandon Lee, actor (b. 1965)
- 1995 - Selena, Tejano singer (b. 1971)
- 1998 - Bella Abzug, American politician (b. 1920)
- 2002 - Barry Took, British comedian and writer
- 2003 - H.S.M. Coxeter, geometer and author
- 2003 - Anne Gwynne , American actress
- 2005 - Terri Schiavo, right-to-die and right-to-live symbol
- 2005 - Frank Perdue, poultry farmer (b. 1920)
Holidays and observances
March 30 - April 1 - February 28 (February 29) - April 30 -- listing of all days
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