Naturally enough, you don’t have personal memories about what was happening in American history the year you were born. But there’s something strangely fascinating in finding out what was going on when you made your grand entrance. And honestly, there’s not a year when something truly significant didn't happen. Read on to find out the principal event that shocked or excited the world in the year of your birth.
1931 — Empire State Building Completed
Still standing proud in Manhattan’s Midtown after more than nine decades, the Empire State Building was the uber-skyscraper of its day. It was the tallest building in the world when it was built, a distinction it hung onto all the way up to 1971. The steel-framed structure’s 86 stories took just 13 months to build. The tower’s spire was originally intended as a docking station for airships — but that idea never really caught on.
1932 — Amelia Earhart crosses the Atlantic
Amelia Earhart, a pilot with an apparently insatiable appetite for aviation records, was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Overcoming poor weather and mechanical glitches, her flight from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, to the city of Derry on Ireland’s north coast took 14 hours and 56 minutes. Tragically, six years later Earhart took one risk too many when she disappeared during her attempt to circumnavigate the world.
1933 — FDR starts fireside chats
The only man to win four presidential elections in the history of the U.S., Franklin D. Roosevelt is remembered for his ability to relate to ordinary Americans. One of the ways he achieved this was through his fireside chats which started in 1933. Using the relatively new medium of radio, FDR was able to speak to families in their homes as they sat around their old-time receivers.
1934 — Dust Bowl
The drought that blighted parts of the southern USA in the early part of the 1930s was catastrophic. It made as much as 35 million acres of agricultural land so parched that it was unusable. The dust storms whipped up by sweltering winds were so intense that they killed people and their animals. It wasn’t until 1939 that rainfall recovered enough to alleviate the situation.