1305: William Wallace, who led the Scottish resistance against England, was captured by the English near Glasgow and transported to London. (He was put on trial and executed.)
1861: In order to help pay for the Civil War, the United States government levied the first income tax, 3 percent of all incomes over US $800. (It was rescinded in 1872.) The U.S. Army abolished flogging.
1884: The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.
1914: The first electric traffic light was installed, in Cleveland, Ohio.
1926: Harry Houdini performed his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.
1962: Nelson Mandela was jailed in South Africa. (He would not be released until 1990.)
2019: July 2019 confirmed as world’s hottest-ever month recorded according to Europe’s Copernicus Programme.
1787: Sixty proof sheets of the U.S. Constitution were delivered to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pa.
1819: Norwich University was founded in Vermont as the first private military school in the United States.
1890: At Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler became the first person in the world executed by electric chair.
1926: Gertrude Ederle (1905-2003) became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. In New York, the Warner Bros. Vitaphone movie sound system premiered with the movie Don Juan starring John Barrymore.
1964: Prometheus, a bristlecone pine and the world’s oldest tree at 4,862 years, was cut down on Wheeler Peak in Nevada by researchers who did not know its record-setting age.
1991: The World Wide Web made its public debut on the internet, introduced by its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee.
2012: NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars.
2018: Boston appoints its first African American Police Commissioner William G. Gross.
2019: Barneys New York files for bankruptcy, amid figures 7,567 US retails stores have closed so far in 2019 compared to 5,864 in 2018.
1782: George Washington ordered the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle. It was later renamed the Purple Heart.
1789: The U.S. Department of War was established.
1794: President George Washington invoked the Militia Acts of 1792 to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania.
1944: IBM dedicated the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).
1959: The first photograph of the earth was taken by a camera aboard Explorer 6, launched by the United States. The Lincoln Memorial design on the U.S. penny went into circulation. It replaced the “wheat back” design, and was minted until 2008.
1974: French high-wire artist Philippe Petit gained worldwide fame after he performed an unauthorized high-wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, 1,368 feet in the air.
1978: President Jimmy Carter declared a federal emergency at Love Canal, a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, N.Y., due to toxic waste that had been negligently disposed of.
1987: U.S. long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox became first person to swim from the United States to the Soviet Union, crossing 2.4 miles from Little Diomede Island in Alaska to Big Diomede Island in the Soviet Union.
2007: San Francisco Giants left-fielder Barry Bonds broke baseball icon Hank Aaron’s record by hitting his 756th home run.
1844: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, headed by Brigham Young, was affirmed as the leading body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church, “Mormons”).
1863: After his defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee sent a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who refused to accept it.
1876: Thomas Edison received a patent for his mimeograph, a type of copying machine.
2017: The Walt Disney Company announces plans to create its own streaming service, cancelling ties with Netflix.
2018: Australia’s most populous state New South Wales declared 100% in drought.
1173: Construction began on what is now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa (it took two centuries to complete).
1892: Inventor Thomas Edison received a patent for a two-way telegraph.
1974: Facing impeachment as a result of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon resigned as 37th president of the United States, the only president ever to do so.
2016: Chinese weightlifter Deng Wei sets a world record of 147kg in the clean & jerk, and another for a total score of 262kg, to win the women’s 63kg gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
2017: Giant inflatable chicken resembling US President Donald Trump placed outside US White House as a political protest.
1776: News of the U.S. Declaration of Independence reached London.
1821: Missouri became the 24th state.
1932: An 11-pound meteorite broke into at least seven pieces and landed near the town of Archie, Missouri.
1981: The head of John Walsh’s son was found, inspiring Walsh to become an outspoken advocate for victims, and creator the television series America’s Most Wanted. and The Hunt.
1988: President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned or relocated by the United States during World War II.
2017: 100 year-old fruit cake by Huntley & Palmers deemed “almost eatable” after being discovered in hut used by Captain Scott’s expedition in Antarctica.
1858: The climbing team of Charles Barrington, Christian Almer and Peter Bohren ascended the Eiger in the Bernese Alps, the first successful attempt in recorded history.
1929: Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career, with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.
1934: The federal prison on Alcatraz Island began receiving prisoners.
1997: Jack Housel of Libby, Mont., caught the world’s largest wild rainbow trout (33 pounds, 1 ounce) using a pole and line on the Kootenai River near Libby. (The fish is on display at DeShazer-Ryan Realty in Libby.)
2015: Japan’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant restarts the first nuclear reactor since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
2016: A Greenland shark declared oldest vertebrate animal in the world at 392 years by international team of scientists.