July 4th in History

This day in historyJuly 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 180 days remaining until the end of the year. The Aphelion, the point in the year when the Earth is farthest from the Sun, occurs around this date.



In 362 B,C. , Battle of Mantinea: The Thebans, led by Epaminondas, defeated the Spartans.

In 414,  Emperor Theodosius II, age 13, yields power to his older sister Aelia Pulcheria, who reigned as regent and proclaimed herself empress (Augusta) of the Eastern Roman Empire.

In 836,  Pactum Sicardi, a peace treaty between the Principality of Benevento and the Duchy of Naples, is signed.

In 993,  Ulrich of Augsburg is canonized as a saint.

In 1054,  A supernova is seen by Chinese, Arab and possibly Amerindian observers near the star Zeta Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day. Its remnants form the Crab Nebula.

In 1120,  Jordan II of Capua is anointed as prince after his infant nephew’s death.

In 1187,  The Crusades: Battle of Hattin: Saladin defeats Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem.

In 1253,  Battle of West-Capelle: John I of Avesnes defeats Guy of Dampierre.

In 1359,  Francesco II Ordelaffi of Forlì surrenders to the Papal commander Gil de Albornoz.

In 1456,  Ottoman wars in Europe: The Siege of Nándorfeqhérvár (Belgrade) begins.

In 1534,  Christian III is elected King of Denmark and Norway in the town of Rye.

In 1610,  The Battle of Klushino is fought between forces of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia during the Polish-Muscovite War.

In 1634,  The city of Trois-Rivières is founded in New France (now Quebec, Canada)

In 1744,  The Treaty of Lancaster, in which the Iroquois cedes lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies, was signed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In 1754,  French and Indian War: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.

In 1774,  Orangetown Resolutions are adopted in the Province of New York, one of many protests against the British Parliament’s Coercive Acts

The United States declared its independence in 1776.

In 1776,  American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

In 1778,  American Revolutionary War: American forces under George Clark capture Kaskaskia during the Illinois campaign.

In 1802,  At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.

In 1803,  The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.

In 1817,  In Rome, New York, construction on the Erie Canal begins.

In 1826,  Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.

A painted portrait of a man with greying hair, looking left.John Adams was the second president of the United States (1797–1801), having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States (1789–1797). An American Founding Father, Adams was a statesman, diplomat, and a leading advocate of American independence from Great Britain. Well educated, he was an Enlightenment political theorist who promoted republicanism, as well as a strong central government, and wrote prolifically about his often seminal ideas—both in published works and in letters to his wife and key adviser Abigail Adams. Throughout his life, Adams was opposed to slavery, never owned a slave, and was quite proud of the fact. After the Boston Massacre, with anti-British feelings in Boston at a boiling point, he provided a principled, controversial, and successful legal defense of the accused British soldiers, because he believed in the right to counsel and the “protect[ion] of innocence”.

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt PealeThomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). He was an ardent proponent of democracy and embraced the principles of republicanism and the rights of the individual with worldwide influence. At the beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia, and then served as a wartime Governor of Virginia (1779–1781). In May 1785, he became the United States Minister to France and later the first United States Secretary of State (1790–1793) serving under President George Washington. In opposition to Alexander Hamilton‘s Federalism, Jefferson and his close friend, James Madison, organized the Democratic-Republican Party, and later resigned from Washington’s cabinet. Elected Vice President in 1796 in the administration of John Adams, Jefferson opposed Adams, and with Madison secretly wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which attempted to nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts.

In 1827,  Slavery is abolished in New York State.

In 1831,  Samuel Francis Smith writes My Country, ‘Tis of Thee for the Boston, Massachusetts July 4 festivities.

Samuel F. B. Morse - James Monroe - Google Art Project.jpgIn 1831,  James Monroe, American politician, 5th President of the United States (b. 1758) dies. He was the fifth President of the United States (1817–1825). Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Monroe was of the planter class and fought in the American Revolutionary War. He was wounded in the Battle of Trenton with a musket ball to his shoulder. After studying law under Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783, he served as a delegate in the Continental Congress. As an anti-federalist delegate to the Virginia convention that considered ratification of the United States Constitution, Monroe opposed ratification, claiming it gave too much power to the central government. He took an active part in the new government, and in 1790 he was elected to the Senate of the first United States Congress, where he joined the Jeffersonians. He gained experience as an executive as the Governor of Virginia and rose to national prominence as a diplomat in France, when he helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. During the War of 1812, Monroe held the critical roles of Secretary of State and the Secretary of War under President James Madison.

In 1837,  Grand Junction Railway, the world’s first long-distance railway, opens between Birmingham and Liverpool.

In 1838,  The Iowa Territory is organized.

In 1855,  In Brooklyn, New York City, the first edition of Walt Whitman‘s book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published.

William L. Marcy - Brady-Handy.jpgIn 1857,  William L. Marcy, American lawyer, judge, and politician, 21st United States Secretary of State (b. 1786) dies. He was an American statesman, who served as U.S. Senator, Governor of New York, U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Secretary of State. In the latter office (1853–1857) under President Franklin Pierce, he resolved a dispute about the status of U.S. immigrants abroad and negotiated the last major acquisition of land for the continental United States (Gadsden Purchase). He also directed U.S. diplomats to dress in the plain style of an ordinary American rather than the court-dress many had adopted from Europe.

In 1862,  Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

In 1863,  American Civil War: Siege of Vicksburg: Vicksburg, Mississippi surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant after 47 days of siege. One hundred fifty miles up the Mississippi River, a Confederate Army was repulsed at the Battle of Helena, Arkansas.

In 1863,  American Civil War: The Army of Northern Virginia withdrew from the battlefield after losing the Battle of Gettysburg, signalling an end to the Southern invasion of the North.

In 1865,  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is published.

In 1878,  Thoroughbred horses Ten Broeck and Mollie McCarty run a match race, recalled in the song Molly and Tenbrooks.

In 1879,  Anglo-Zulu War: The Zululand capital of Ulundi is captured by British troops and burned to the ground, ending the war and forcing King Cetshwayo to flee.

In 1881,  In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.

In 1886,  The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.

In 1886,  The first scheduled Canadian transcontinental train arrives in Port Moody, British Columbia.

In 1887,  The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, joins Sindh-Madrasa-tul-Islam, Karachi.

In 1892,  Western Samoa changes the International Date Line, so that year it had 367 days, with two occurrences of Monday, July 4.

In 1894,  The short-lived Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed by Sanford B. Dole.

In 1903,  Philippine–American War officially is concluded.

In 1903,  Dorothy Levitt is reported as the first woman in the world to compete in a ‘motor race’.

In 1910,  African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match, sparking race riots across the United States.

In 1911,  A massive heat wave strikes the northeastern United States, killing 380 people in eleven days and breaking temperature records in several cities.

In 1913,  President Woodrow Wilson addresses American Civil War veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913.

In 1914,  The funeral of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie takes place in Vienna, six days after their assassinations in Sarajevo.

In 1918,  Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI ascended to the throne.

In 1918,  World War I: The Battle of Hamel, a successful attack by the Australian Corps against German positions near the town of Le Hamel on the Western Front.

In 1918,  Bolsheviks killed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).

In 1926,  Knoebels Amusement Resort is opened in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.

In 1927,  The Lockheed Vega first flew.

In 1934,  Leo Szilard patented the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.

In 1934,  Marie Curie, French-Polish physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1867) dies.

In 1939,  Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”, then announces his retirement from major league baseball.

In 1939,  Huỳnh Phú Sổ founds Hòa Hảo Buddhism.

In 1941,  Nazi troops massacre Polish scientists and writers in the captured Ukrainian city of Lviv.

In 1943,  World War II: The Battle of Kursk, the largest full-scale battle in history and the world’s largest tank battle, begins in Prokhorovka village.

In 1943,  World War II: In Gibraltar, a Royal Air Force B-24 Liberator bomber crashes into the sea in an apparent accident moments after takeoff, killing sixteen passengers on board; only the pilot survives.

In 1946,  After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attains full independence from the United States.

In 1947,  The “Indian Independence Bill” is presented before the British House of Commons, proposing the independence of the Provinces of British India into two sovereign countries: India and Pakistan.

In 1950,  Radio Free Europe first broadcasts.

In 1951,  A court in Czechoslovakia sentences American journalist William N. Oatis to ten years in prison on charges of espionage.

In 1951,  William Shockley announced the invention of the junction transistor.

In 1960,  Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Act).

In 1963,  Clyde Kennard, Mississippi civil rights pioneer and martyr (b. 1927) dies of colon cancer. He was an American civil rights pioneer and martyr from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and a Korean War veteran. In the 1950s, he attempted several times to enroll at the all-white Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi) to complete his undergraduate degree started at the University of Chicago. Although the United States Supreme Court had ruled in 1954 that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional, USM rejected him. Kennard was among the thousands of local activists in the 1940s and 1950s who pressed for their rights.

After Kennard published a letter in the local paper about integrated education, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a state-supported agency, conspired to have him arrested on false charges. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years at Parchman Penitentiary, the state’s notorious high-security prison. He became terminally ill with cancer. The state governor refused to pardon him, but released him on parole in January 1963. Kennard died that year in July. After publication in 2005 of evidence that Kennard had been framed, supporters tried to secure a posthumous pardon for him, but Governor Haley Barbour refused. Supporters gained Barbour’s cooperation in petitioning the court to review Kennard’s case, and in 2006 his conviction was overturned completely.

In 1966,  U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into United States law. The act went into effect the next year.

In 1976,  Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.

In 1977,  The George Jackson Brigade plants a bomb at the main power substation for the Washington state capitol in Olympia, in solidarity with a prison strike at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary Intensive Security Unit

In 1982,  Four Iranian diplomats are abducted by Lebanese militia in Lebanon.

In 1987,  In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (aka the “Butcher of Lyon”) is convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In 1994,  Rwandan Genocide: Kigali, the Rwandan capital, is captured by the Rwandan Patriotic Front, ending the genocide in the city.

In 1997,  NASA‘s Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.

CBSSundayMorningLogo2.gifIn 1997,  Charles Kuralt, American journalist (b. 1934) dies of complications from lupus at age 62 . He was an American journalist. He was most widely known for his long career with CBS, first for his “On the Road” segments on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite, and later as the first anchor of CBS News Sunday Morning, a position he held for fifteen years. Kuralt’s “On the Road” segments were recognized twice with personal Peabody Awards. The first, awarded in 1968, cited those segments as heartwarming and “nostalgic vignettes”; in 1975, the award was for his work as a U.S. “bicentennial historian”; his work “capture[d] the individuality of the people, the dynamic growth inherent in the area, and …the rich heritage of this great nation.” He shared in a third Peabody awarded to CBS News Sunday Morning. While studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill he participated in a radio program called “American Adventure: A Study Of Man In The New World” in the episode titled “Hearth Fire”. It is a telling of the advent of TVA’s building lakes written by John Ealey and directed by John Clayton. The episode starred Josephine Sharkey, a local hosewife and Charles Kuralt, a university student played the TVA agent. Its origianal air date was 8-04-1955. The series was produced by the University of North Carolina Communication Center, The National Association of Educational Broadcasters and The Fund For Adult Education, an independent Agency established by the Ford Foundation.

In 1998,  Japan launches the Nozomi probe to Mars, joining the United States and Russia as a space exploring nation.

In 2004,  The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

In 2005,  The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1.

In 2007,  Sarah Woody Davis, mother, teacher, and two term member of the Madison County School Board dies of lung cancer.

In 2009,  The Statue of Liberty‘s crown reopens to the public after eight years of closure due to security concerns following the September 11 attacks.

In 2012,  The discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is announced at CERN.

In 2013,  The Death of Hung Chung-chiu: A Republic of China Army corporal dies under suspicious circumstances while serving a detention sentence during his enlisted service.

In 2015,  Chile claims its first title in international soccer by defeating Argentina in the 2015 Copa América Final.

In 2016,  The arrival of the Juno probe to Jupiter.

In 2016, FBI agents have been notifying certain people in the Nashville TN area, warning them that their names are on a kill list circulated by a pro-ISIS group. The list is being peddled by the United Cyber Caliphate. Investigators are still trying to understand why the information of seemingly random civilians ended up on a hit list.

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