This Day In History, August 31st

What happened on this day in history: Jack the Ripper murders his first victim, Princess Diana dies in Paris, and more.

1422: Henry V Of England Dies

After contracting dysentery during battle, King Henry V of England dies at the Ch√Ęteau de Vincennes near Paris, France. He was just 35 years old and had been king for only nine years. His heir, Henry VI, was a mere nine months old when he ascended to the English throne. And a few months later, when the infant monarch’s grandfather Charles VI died, he became the king of France as well.


1888: Jack The Ripper Claims His First Victim

Mary Ann Nichols

Wikimedia CommonsMary Ann Nichols’ body was found in London’s Whitechapel district.

Mary Ann Nichols, the woman believed to be Jack the Ripper’s first victim, is found dead in the Whitechapel district of London at 3:40 a.m. Her throat had been slashed, there were two stab wounds in her vagina, and her bowels were protruding from her abdomen. Nichols had last been seen an hour earlier, shortly after she was turned away from her lodgings because she didn’t have the money to pay for her bed.



Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 101: Jack The Ripper, Episode 1 – The First Murder, also available on Apple and Spotify.


1985: “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez Is Attacked By A Mob And Arrested

After murdering at least 13 people, Richard Ramirez is chased by a group of angry Los Angeles residents after he is spotted and recognized as the notorious “Night Stalker” serial killer. Ramirez was unaware that a photo of his face had been published in newspapers and on TV while he was going about his day as usual. When the citizens caught Ramirez, they held him down and viciously beat him until police arrived to arrest him.


1992: The Ruby Ridge Standoff Ends

The Ruby Ridge standoff ends in Idaho. U.S. marshals arrived at the home of self-proclaimed “white separatist” Randy Weaver in Boundary County, Idaho to arrest him for failing to appear in court for a weapons charge. The marshals surrounded the property to conduct a surveillance operation. Then, Randy’s 14-year-old son, Sammy, exchanged gunfire with the surveillance team after an officer shot and killed his dog. The situation escalated to an 11-day standoff that left two of the Weavers, including Sammy, dead.


1997: Princess Diana Dies

Today In History

Jacques Langevin/Sygma via Getty ImagesOne of the last photos of Princess Diana alive.

Diana, Princess of Wales, dies from injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, France. Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, were attempting to evade the paparazzi, but their driver was intoxicated and slammed into the concrete wall of the tunnel at high speed. Since then, a number of conspiracy theories have emerged about Princess Diana’s death, including that the British royal family had her killed.