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1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (dominical letter D) of the Gregorian calendar, the 1931st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 931st year of the 2nd millennium, the 31st year of the 20th century, and the 2nd year of the 1930s decade.
- March 1 – The USS Arizona is placed back in full commission after a refit.
- March 1 – Sir Oswald Mosley founds the New Party as a breakaway from the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.
- March 3 – The Star-Spangled Banner is adopted as the United States' National anthem.
- March 5 – The British viceroy of India and Mohandas Gandhi sign the Gandhi–Irwin Pact.
- March 7 – The new House of Representatives opens in Helsinki, Finland.
- March 11 – The Ready for Labour and Defence of the USSR programme, abbreviated as GTO, is introduced in the Soviet Union.
- March 17 – Nevada legalizes gambling.
- March 19 – Westminster St George's by-election in the U.K. results in the victory of the Conservative candidate Duff Cooper. The by-election has been treated virtually as a referendum on the leadership of the Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin, and Duff Cooper's victory ends the campaign by the press barons Lord Beaverbrook and Viscount Rothermere to oust Baldwin.
- March 23 – Indian revolutionary leaders Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar are hanged for conspiracy to murder in the British Raj.
- March 25 – The Scottsboro Boys are arrested in Alabama and charged with rape.
- March 26 – American television actor Leonard Nimoy is born in the West End of Boston, Massachusetts.
- March 27 – English writer Arnold Bennett dies of typhoid in London shortly after returning from a visit to Paris, where he drank local water to prove it was safe.
- March 31 – An earthquake destroys Managua, Nicaragua, killing 2,000 people.
- April 1 – The Second Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet in China is launched by the Kuomintang government to destroy the Communist forces in Jiangxi province.
- April 6 – The Portuguese government declares martial law in Madeira and in the Azores because of an attempted military takeover in Funchal.
- April 9 – Argentinian anarchist Severino Digiovanni is executed.
- April 12 – Municipal elections in Spain, which are treated as a virtual referendum on the monarchy, result in the triumph for the republican parties.
- April 14 – The Second Spanish Republic is proclaimed in Madrid. Meanwhile, as a result of the victory of the Republican Left of Catalonia, Francesc Macià proclaimed in Barcelona the Catalan Republic.
- April 15 – The Castellammarese War ends with the assassination of Joe "The Boss" Masseria, briefly leaving Salvatore Maranzano as capo di tutti i capi ("boss of all bosses") and undisputed ruler of the American Mafia. Maranzano is himself assassinated less than 6 months later, leading to the establishment of the Five Families.
- April 17 – After the negotiations between the republican ministers of Spain and Catalonia, the Catalan Republic transforms itself into the Generalitat de Catalunya, an autonomous government inside the Spanish Republic.
- April 22 – Austria, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the USA recognize the Spanish Republic.
- April 25 – The automobile manufacturer Porsche is founded by Ferdinand Porsche in Stuttgart.
- June 3 – Salvador Dalí's The Persistence of Memory is put on display for the first time in Paris at the Galerie Pierre Colle.
- June 5 – German Chancellor Dr. Heinrich Brüning visits London, where he warns the British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald that the collapse of the Austrian banking system, caused by the bankruptcy of the Creditanstalt, has left the entire German banking system on the verge of collapse.
- June 12 – English cricketer Charlie Parker equals J. T. Hearne's record for the earliest date to reach 100 wickets.
- June 14 – Saint-Philibert disaster: the overloaded pleasure craft Saint-Philibert, carrying trippers home to Nantes from the Île de Noirmoutier, sinks at the mouth of the river Loire in France; over 450 drown.
- June 19
- June 23–July 1 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty accomplish the first round-the-world flight in a single-engine plane, flying eastabout from Roosevelt Field, New York, in 8 days, 15 hours, 51 minutes.
- October – The Caltech Department of Physics faculty and graduate students meet with Albert Einstein as a guest.
- October 4 – Dick Tracy, the comic strip detective character created by cartoonist Chester Gould, makes his debut appearance in the Detroit Mirror newspaper.
- October 5 – American aviators Clyde Edward Pangborn and Hugh Herndon, Jr., complete the first non-stop flight across the Pacific Ocean, from Misawa, Japan, to East Wenatchee, Washington, in 41½ hours.
- October 11 – Rally in Bad Harzburg, Germany leads to the Harzburg Front being founded, uniting the NSDAP, the DNVP, the Stahlhelm and various other right-wing fractions.
- October 17
- October 24 – The George Washington Bridge across the Hudson River in the United States is dedicated; it opens to traffic the following day. At 3,500 feet (1,100 m), it nearly doubles the previous record for the longest main span in the world.
- October 27 – United Kingdom general election results in the victory of the National Government and the defeat of Labour Party in the country's greatest ever electoral landslide.
- Ust-Abakanskoye becomes Abakan.
- January 5
- January 6
- January 8 – Bill Graham, German concert promoter (d. 1991)
- January 10 – Peter Barnes, English playwright and screenwriter (d. 2004)
- January 12 – Roland Alphonso, Jamaican musician (d. 1998)
- January 13 – Charles Nelson Reilly, American actor (d. 2007)
- January 14 – Caterina Valente, French singer and actress
- January 16
- January 17 – James Earl Jones, American actor
- January 18 – Chun Doo-hwan, President of South Korea
- January 19
- January 20 – David Lee, American physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics
- January 22 – Sam Cooke, American singer (d. 1964)
- January 24 – Lars Hörmander, Swedish mathematician (d. 2012)
- January 25 – Dean Jones, American actor (d. 2015)
- January 26 – Alfred Lynch, English actor (d. 2003)
- January 27 – Mordecai Richler, Canadian author (d. 2001)
- January 29 – Ferenc Mádl, President of Hungary (d. 2011)
- January 30 – Allan W. Eckert, American historian, naturalist, and author (d. 2011)
- January 31 – Ernie Banks, American baseball player (d. 2015)
- May 6 – Willie Mays, African-American baseball player
- May 7 – Teresa Brewer, American pop and jazz singer (d. 2007)
- May 10 – Ichirō Nagai, Japanese voice actor (d. 2014)
- May 13
- May 14 – Alvin Lucier, American composer
- May 15
- May 16
- May 17 – Marshall Applewhite, Heaven's Gate religious sect founder (d. 1997)
- May 18
- May 19 – Éric Tappy, Swiss tenor
- May 20 – Ken Boyer, American baseball player (d. 1982)
- May 23
- May 25 – Georgy Grechko, Russian cosmonaut
- May 27 – Faten Hamama, Egyptian actress (d. 2015)
- May 28 – Carroll Baker, American actress
- May 30 – Father John O'Brien, Irish priest and musician (d. 2008)
- May 31
- June 2 – Larry Jackson, American baseball player (d. 1990)
- June 3
- June 7 – Malcolm Morley, English-born painter
- June 8 – Dana Wynter, German-born American actress (d. 2011)
- June 9
- June 10 – João Gilberto, Brazilian musician
- June 13 – Moysés Baumstein, Brazilian holographer and artist (d. 1991)
- June 14
- June 18 – Fernando Henrique Cardoso, President of Brazil
- June 20
- June 21 – Margaret Heckler, American Secretary of Health and Human Services
- June 24 – Billy Casper, American golfer
- June 25 – Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Prime Minister of India (d. 2008)
- June 26 – Colin Wilson, British writer (d. 2013)
- June 27 – Martinus J. G. Veltman, Dutch physicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics
- June 29 – Brian Hutton, Baron Hutton, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland and British Lord of Appeal in Ordinary
- July 1
- July 2 – Robert Ito, Canadian actor
- July 4 – Stephen Boyd, Irish actor (d. 1977)
- July 5 – Ismail Mahomed, South African and Namibian Chief Justice (d. 2000)
- July 6
- July 7 – David Eddings, American novelist (d. 2009)
- July 10
- July 11 – Tab Hunter, American actor and singer (Damn Yankees)
- July 15 – Clive Cussler, American author
- July 19 – Mary Lou Studnicka, American female professional baseball player
- July 23 – Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, Māori queen (d. 2006)
- July 26 – Fred Foster, American songwriter and record producer
- July 27 – Jerry Van Dyke, American comedian and actor
- August 2 – Ruth Maria Kubitschek, German actress
- August 7 – Charles E. "Charlie" Rice, American legal scholar and author
- August 9 – Mário Zagallo, Brazilian football player and manager
- August 12 – William Goldman, American author
- August 15
- August 18
- August 19 – Willie Shoemaker, American jockey (d. 2003)
- August 20 – Don King, American boxing promoter
- August 23
- August 25
- August 27
- Sri Chinmoy, Bengali spiritual teacher, poet, artist and athlete who immigrated to the U.S. in 1964 (d. 2007)
- August 28 – John Shirley-Quirk, English bass-baritone (d. 2014)
- August 30
- August 31
- November 2 - Phil Woods, American saxophonist (d. 2015)
- November 3
- November 4 – Marie Mansfield, American professional baseball player
- November 5 – Ike Turner, African-American singer and songwriter (d. 2007)
- November 6 – Mike Nichols, German-American television actor, writer and director (d. 2014)
- November 8
- November 9 – Whitey Herzog, American baseball player
- November 12 – Mary Louise Wilson, American actress and singer
- November 15 – Mwai Kibaki, third President of Kenya
- November 16 – Hubert Sumlin, American blues musician (d. 2011)
- November 21
- November 26 – Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Argentine activist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
- November 28
- November 29 – Shintaro Katsu, Japanese actor (d. 1997)
- December 1
- December 2
- Nigel Calder, British science writer (d. 2014)
- Edwin Meese, American attorney, law professor, and author; 75th Attorney General of the United States (1985–1988)
- December 3 – Jaye P. Morgan, American singer, chanteuse
- December 9 – Ladislav Smoljak, Czech film and theater director, actor and screenwriter (d. 2010)
- December 11 – Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican-American actress
- December 12 – Lionel Blair, British actor, choreographer, dancer, headmaster and TV presenter
- December 15 – Klaus Rifbjerg, Danish writer (d. 2015)
- December 17 – Dave Madden, Canadian American actor (d. 2014)
- December 23 – Ronnie Schell, American actor
- December 24 – Mauricio Kagel, Argentine composer (d. 2008)
- December 28 – Martin Milner, American actor (d. 2015)
- December 30 – Skeeter Davis, American singer (d. 2004)
- December 31 – Bob Shaw, Irish writer (d. 1996)
- April 8 – Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Swedish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1864)
- April 9 – Nicholas Longworth, American politician, Speaker of the House (b. 1869)
- April 10 – Khalil Gibran, Lebanese poet and painter (b. 1883)
- April 14 – Richard Armstedt, German historian (b. 1851)
- April 15 – Joe Masseria, Italian-born American gangster (b. 1886)
- April 20 – Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, British baronet and Titanic survivor (b. 1862)
- April 26 – George Herbert Mead, American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist (b. 1863)
- April 30 – Sammy Woods, English cricketer (b. 1867)
- December 2 – Vincent d'Indy, French composer (b. 1851)
- December 5 – Vachel Lindsay, American poet (b. 1879)
- December 9 – Antonio Salandra, Italian statesman, former Prime Minister (b. 1853)
- December 18 – Jack Diamond, American gangster (b. 1897)
- December 23 – Tyrone Power, Sr., American actor (b. 1869)
- December 26 – Melvil Dewey, American librarian, inventor of Dewey Decimal Classification (b. 1851)
- December 27 – José Figueroa Alcorta, 16th President of Argentina (b. 1860)
- ↑ "New Delhi: The Inaugural Ceremony". The Times (45744). London. 1931-02-11. p. 12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- ↑ "Wiley Post". centennialofflight.gov. Archived from the original on October 8, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- ↑ BBC History, July 2011, p12.
- ↑ "J&K observes Martyrs` day: CM Omar pays tributes". Zee News. 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- ↑ "Pangborn-Herndon Memorial Site". Aviation: From Sand Dunes To Sonic Booms. National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-05-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- ↑ "The Red and White Party". Cocktails With Elvira. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2014-01-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>