July 31 (BP) — On this date in history:
In 1498, on his third voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered the island of Trinidad.
In 1556 Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of Roman Catholic missionaries and educators, died in Rome.
In 1792, director David Rittenhouse laid the cornerstone in Philadelphia for the U.S. Mint, the first building of the federal government.
In 1964, Ranger 7, an unmanned U.S. lunar probe, took the first close-up images of the moon.
In 1974, Watergate figure John Ehrlichman was sentenced to prison for his role in the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. He was in prison 18 months. Ellsberg was the Pentagon consultant who leaked the “Pentagon Papers,” documents about the war in Vietnam.
In 1991, the U.S. Senate overturned a 43-year-old law and voted to allow women to fly military warplanes in combat. The House had already approved similar legislation.
File Photo by Staff Sgt. Marleah Robertson/U.S. Air Force
In 1992, a Thai Airways International jetliner carrying 113 people crashed as it tried to fly out of bad weather that prevented it from landing in Kathmandu, Nepal. There were no survivors.
In 1999, NASA intentionally crashes the Lunar Prospector spacecraft into the moon with the hopes of discovering evidence of water. Researchers said it didn’t reveal any such signs.
In 2011, with default by the U.S. government just days away and after months of frustrating debate, U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced an agreement that would raise the debt ceiling by up to $2.4 trillion in two stages, enough to keep borrowing into 2013.
BP File Photo
In 2014, officials reported the number of people killed in a 3-week-old Israeli-Hamas Gaza conflict had risen to 1,360 Palestinians and 59 Israelis, including 56 soldiers.
In 2021, American Katie Ledecky became the first swimmer to win the Olympics gold medal three consecutive times in the 800-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Games.
File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/BP.