Historically, July has been a very active month. Below please find a list of significant historical events that have occurred during the month. Read on, and be edified.
July 1 – Canada Day is celebrated commemorating the union of Upper and Lower Canada and certain of the Maritime Provinces to form the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.
July 1, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill authorizing the first income tax levy (3%).
July 1, 1863 – The decisive Civil War Battle of Gettysburg commenced.
July 1, 1963 – The US Postal Service commenced using zip codes.
July 2, 1776 – The Continental Congress adopted a resolution declaring that “these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.”
July 2, 1788 – Congress announced that the US Constitution had been ratified by the requisite nine states.
July 2, 1881- President James Garfield was shot and mortally wounded. He died on September 19.
July 2, 1937 – Pilot Amelia Earhart went missing.
July 2, 1964 – President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
July 3, 1775 – George Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, MA.
July 3, 1976 – Israeli commandos rescued 103 hostages being held by pro-Palestinian guerrillas on a hijacked airliner at Entebbe airport in Uganda.
July 4, 1776 – The Continental Congress formally approved the Declaration of Independence, making this date the US’s official Independence Day, even though many of the 56 signatories signed the document later. (The exact dates are in dispute to this day.)
July 4, 1863 – The city of Vicksburg, MS surrendered to General Grant giving the Union control of the vital Mississippi River.
July 4, 1959 – A 49th star, representing Alaska, was added to the flag.
July 4, 1960 – A 50th star, representing Hawaii, was added to the flag.
July 5, 1946 – The bikini, named by creator Louis Reard for the Bikini Atoll where the atomic bomb was tested, was introduced in Paris.
July 6, 1885 – Louis Pasteur administered the first successful rabies shot (to a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog).
July 6, 1942 – Holocaust victim, Anne Frank, and her family began hiding in a sealed-off room in Amsterdam in an ultimately futile attempt to avoid being captured by the Nazis.
July 7, 1898 – President McKinley signed a resolution annexing Hawaii.
July 8, 1889 – The Wall Street Journal began publication.
July 10, 1940 – The German Luftwaffe commenced bombing raids against Great Britain.
July 10, 1943 – The Allies commenced their invasion of Europe by landing in Sicily.
July 10, 1973 – The Bahamas gained their independence after 250 years of British rule.
July 13, 1977 – Two lightening strikes caused a 25-hour blackout in the NYC area. (Did the local birth rate spike in April, 1978?)
July 14, 1789 – A mob of protesters successfully stormed the Bastille Saint-Antoine in Paris, a fortress, a prison and a hated symbol of aristocratic repression. The Bastille’s fall shocked the aristocratic world and signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.
July 16, 1769 – Father Junipero Serra founded the mission of San Diego de Alcala (present-day San Diego), one of many he founded throughout current-day California.
July 16, 1969 – The Apollo 11 mission took off for the moon.
July 17, 1918 – Bolshevik rebels murdered Czar Nicholas II and his family in Ekaterinburg, Siberia.
July 17, 1955 – Disneyland, in Anaheim, CA, opened to the public.
July 17, 1996 – TWA Flight 800 blew up shortly after takeoff off the coast of Long Island.
July 18, 1936 – The Spanish civil war began as a revolt by right wing army officers stationed in Morocco.
July 18, 1947 – President Truman, who had succeeded to the presidency following FDR’s death, signed an Executive Order that laid out the order of succession in the event a president were to die or become incapacitated (vp, speaker of the house, etc.). This order became the basis for the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified on February 10, 1967.
July 18, 1969 – Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a wooden bridge on Chappaquiddick Island killing aide Mary Jo Kopechne and ending his chances for the presidency.
July 20, 1969 – Billions of people watched live on tv as Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. (Famous quote – “One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”)
July 27, 1953 – The US and Korea signed an armistice ending the Korean Conflict, which had raged on for three years.
July 27, 1974 – The House of Representatives charged President Nixon with the first of three articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice, eventually culminating in his resignation.
July 29, 1976 – David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam,” began his murderous reign of terror in NYC, which lasted until August 10, 1977.
July 29, 1981 – England’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
July 30, 1965 – President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965, which established the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
July 31, 1798 – The US Patent Office opened and issued its first patent (for a new method of making potash and pearl ash).
Birthdays – Thurgood Marshall – 7/2/1908; Stephen Foster (wrote some 200 songs, including Oh Susanna, Camptown Races and Swanee River) – 7/4/1826; Calvin Coolidge (30th President) – 7/4/1872; David Farragut (Civil War admiral, famous quote: “Damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead”) – 7/5/1801; PT Barnum (promoter, showman and co-founder of the circus) – 7/5/1810; Cecil Rhodes (his will established Rhodes Scholarship) – 7/5/1863; John Paul Jones (father of US Navy, famous quote: “I have not yet begun to fight!”) – 7/6/1747; Leroy “Satchel” Page (AA Hall of Fame pitcher) – 7/7/1906; Nelson Rockefeller – 7/8/1908; John Calvin (founded Presbyterianism) – 7/10/1509; Arthur Ashe (tennis champion) – 7/10/1943; John Quincy Adams (6th president and son of #2, John Adams) – 7/11/1767; Gerald Ford ( 38th president) – 7/14/1913; Rembrandt van Rijn (famous Dutch painter) – 7/15/1606; Nelson Mandela – 7/18/1918; Edmund Hillary (first to ascend Mt. Everest) – 7/20/1919; Ernest Hemingway (Nobel Prize-winning author) – 7/21/1899; Simon Bolivar (aka “The Liberator” or “The George Washington of South America” for his successful efforts to liberate the nations of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela from Spain) – 7/24/1783; Amelia Earhart (pioneer female pilot) – 7/24/1898; George Bernard Shaw (playwright) – 7/26/1856; Jacqueline Bouvier (JFK widow) – 7/28/1929; Benito Mussolini – 7/29/1883; Henry Ford – 7/30/1863;
Sources: (1) “The History Place, This Month in History – July” and (2) “The People History.”