This Week In History

June 28


         1491: King Henry VIII was born in London, England.

1776: The Battle of Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina ended with the first decisive American victory in the American Revolutionary War leading to the commemoration of Carolina Day.

         1786: American Thomas Barclay gave $10,000 in gifts to the Sultan of Morocco in exchange for protection from the Barbary pirates.   1836: James Madison, fourth president, died at Montpelier, Va.

         1902: Congress passed the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

  1914: Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo by Bosnia Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip, setting off events that caused World War I.

1919: The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end between Germany and the Allies of World War I.

  1926: Mercedes-Benz was formed when Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merged their two companies.

1966: Born this day: singer-songwriter Bobby Bare Jr.; actor John Cusack (The Butler, Being John Malkovich), and actress Mary Stuart Masterson (The Stepford Wives, Fried Green Tomatoes, Benny & Joon).

  1969: The Stonewall Riots began at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in New York City, marking the start of the gay rights movement.

1982: A 30-minute hailstorm in Helena caused $35 million in damage. No deaths or serious injuries.

1983: The Mianus River Bridge on I-95 in Connecticut collapsed at 1:30 a.m., killing three people and injuring three in two cars and two semi-tractors that fell with the bridge into the river 70 feet below.

1997: In the ‘Holyfield vs. Tyson II’ fight in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson was disqualified in the third round for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear. Tyson was also fined $3 million and his boxing license was revoked.


June 29


1613: William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, England, burned to the ground.

1858: Born this day: Gen. George Washington Goethals, co-designer of the Panama Canal (died 1928), and Julia Lathrop, first woman to head  a federal bureau, The U.S. Children’s Bureau (died 1932).

1889: Hyde Park and several other Illinois townships voted to be annexed by Chicago, forming the largest U.S. city in area and second largest in population.

1944: Born this day: actor Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story), and Seán Patrick O’Malley, Cardinal of Boston.

1956: The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was signed, officially creating the U.S. Interstate Highway System, the brainchild and most enduring legacy of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1972: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case Furman v. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

1975: Steve Wozniak tested his first prototype of the Apple I computer.

1995: The Sampoong Department Store collapsed in the Seocho-gu district of Seoul, South Korea, killing 501 people and injuring 937.

2006: In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantánamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violated U.S. and international law.

2007: Apple Inc. released its first mobile phone, the iPhone.


June 30


1859: French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

1864: President Abraham Lincoln granted Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation.”

  1905: Albert Einstein published the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduced the theory of special relativity.

1906: Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act and Pure Food and Drug Act.

1921: President Warren G. Harding appointed former President William Howard Taft Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1937: The world’s first emergency telephone number, 999, was introduced in London

1953: The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Mich.

1956: A TWA Super Constellation and a United Airlines DC-7 collided above the Grand Canyon in Arizona and crashed, killing all 128 people on board both planes. It was the worst-ever aviation disaster at the time.

1966: The National Organization for Women, the United States’ largest feminist organization, was founded in New York.   1971: Soviet cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Patsayev died when their Soyuz-11 spacecraft depressurized during preparations for reentry. These are the only human deaths outside the Earth’s atmosphere.


July 1


  1770: Lexell’s Comet passed closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history, approaching to a distance of 1.4 million miles.

  1847: The first official   U.S. postage stamps were issued.

1863: The Battle of Gettysburg began.

1865: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published by the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodson under the pen name Lewis Carroll.

1870: The U.S. Department of Justice formally came into existence.

1874: The first U.S. zoo opened in Philadelphia. The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, went on sale.

1881: The world’s first international telephone call is made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine.

1899: Born this day: swing musician Tommy Dorsey (died 1993), and actor Charles Laughton (Mutiny on the Bounty, died 1962).

1903: The first Tour de France bicycle race began in Montgeron.

1908: The international distress signal SOS was adopted.

1934: Born this day: actor Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H), and director Sydney Pollack (Jeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor, Out of Africa, Tootsie, died 2008).

1961: Born this day: U.S. athlete Carl Lewis, and Diana, Princess of Wales (died 1997).

1963: ZIP codes were introduced for U.S. mail.

1979: Sony introduced the Walkman, revolutionizing the way people listen to music.

1980: “O Canada” officially became the national anthem of Canada.

1984: The PG-13 rating was introduced.

1997: China resumed sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.

2007: Smoking in England was banned in all public indoor spaces.


July 2


  1777: Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.

1839: Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinqué took over the slave ship Amistad.

  1843: During a thunderstorm in Charleston, South Carolina, a full-grown alligator fell from the sky.

1881: 20th U.S. President James Abram Garfield was shot and seriously wounded in Washington, D.C., by a mentally ill man named Charles Guiteau.

1897: Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi received a patent for radio in London.

1900: The first Zeppelin took flight on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.

  1925: Born this day: civil rights activist Medgar Evers (murdered 1963), and country singer Marvin Rainwater (died 2013).

1937: Pilot Amelia Earhart and her co-pilot and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in the Pacific Ocean while on the next-to-last leg of their flight around the world.   1961: American author Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in Ketchum, Idaho.

1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits segregation in public places.   1976: The Republic of Vietnam, a.k.a. South Vietnam, collapsed, and North Vietnam took control to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

2002: Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.


July 3


  1767: Norway’s oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, was founded and the first edition published.

1819: The Bank of Savings in New York City, the first savings bank in the United States, opened.

1852: Congress established the second U.S. mint in San Francisco.

1884: Dow Jones and Company published its first stock average.

1886: Karl Benz officially unveiled the Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first automobile. The New York Tribune became the first newspaper to use a linotype machine, eliminating typesetting by hand.

1890: Idaho was admitted as the 43rd U.S. state.



1913: Confederate veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913 reenacted Pickett’s Charge of the Battle of Gettysburg, in 1863. Upon reaching the farthest point north that the Confederate Army achieved during the Civil War, they were met by the outstretched hands of friendship from Union Army survivors.

  1929: Georges Landoy, 42, of Antwerp, Belgium, while visiting Yellowstone National park, was running to get a better view of Old Faithful geyser as it erupted and fell into a boiling hot spring, sustaining third-degree burns up to his waist. He died on July 5.

1930: Born this day, clarinetist Pete Fountain (The Lawrence Welk Show), and session guitarist Tommy Tedesco (played the themes for Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, Green Acres, M*A*S*H, died 1997).

  1938: President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and lit the eternal flame at Gettysburg Battlefield. The world speed record for a steam railway locomotive, 126 mph, was set in England.

1952: The SS United States sets sail on her maiden voyage from New York to Southampton. During the voyage, the ship took the speed record away from the RMS Queen Mary.

1956: Born this day: personalities Vincent Margera (Jackass), and Montel Williams (The Montel Williams Show).

1957: Born this day: singer Laura Brannigan (“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”, died 2004), and game-show host Ken Ober (Remote Control, Perfect Match, died 2009).

1962: Born this day: actors Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Rain Man), and Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds).

  1969: Rolling Stones founder and guitarist Brian Jones drowned at age 27, joining The 27 Club. The largest explosion in the history of rocketry occurred when the Soviet N-1 rocket exploded and subsequently destroyed its launch pad.

1971: Rock singer Jim Morrison of The Doors died of “heart failure” in Paris at age 27, joining The 27 Club.

1979: President Jimmy Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul, Afghanistan.

1988: Navy warship USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf after mistaking the passenger liner for a fighter jet. All 290 people aboard were killed.


July 4


  1054: A supernova was seen by Chinese, Arab and American Indian observers near the star Zeta Tauri; for several months it remained bright enough to be seen during the day; its remnants formed the Crab Nebula.

  1744: The Iroquois ceded lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies with the signing of the Treaty of Lancaster in Lancaster, Pa.

  1776: The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia.

1802: The U.S. Military Academy opened at West Point, New York.

1803: The Louisiana Purchase was announced.

  1817: Construction of the Erie Canal began in Rome,  N.Y.

1826: Presidents John Adams (1797-1801) and Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) died this day.

1831: “My Country, ’Tis of Thee,” also known as “America,” by Samuel Francis Smith, was first performed for July 4th festivities in Boston. James Monroe, fifth U.S. president, died.

1850: America’s 12th president, Zachary Taylor, contracted food poisoning in the White House. (His condition worsened and he died on July 9.)

1862: Lewis Carroll told 10-year-old Alice Liddell a story near Oxford, England, that would become Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

1863: The Army of Northern Virginia withdrew from the battlefield after losing the Battle of Gettysburg, signaling an end to the Southern invasion of the North.

1865: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published.

1872: Calvin Coolidge (30th U.S. president, 1923-1929) was born in Plymouth, Vt.

  1892: Western Samoa moved the International Date Line, so that 1892 had 367 days, with two occurrences of Monday, July 4.

1911: A severe heat wave struck the northeastern United States, killing 380 people in 11 days. It broke temperature records in several cities.

1918: Born this day: twins Eppie Lederer (Ann Landers, died 2002) and Pauline Phillips (Dear Abby, died 2013), and Indy race car driver Johnnie Parsons (died 1984).

1927: Born this day: actress Gina Lollobrigida, and playwright Neil Simon.

1929: Born this day, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos, and Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis (died 2011).

1934: Leó Szilárd patented the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.

1939: Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, told a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth,” and then announces he was retiring from Major League Baseball.