This Week in History

July 8


1777: Vermont became the first state to abolish slavery.

1878: The corncob pipe was patented by Henry Tibbe.

1951: Paris celebrated its 2,000th birthday.

2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched in the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.

2015: The New York Stock Exchange stops trading for nearly four hours due to a technical error.


July 9


1776: George Washington ordered the Declaration of Independence to be read aloud for the first time, to members of the Continental Army in New York.

1811: Explorer David Thompson posted a sign at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers, in now-Washington state, claiming the land for the United Kingdom.

1868: The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship, and all persons in the United States due process of law.

1877: The first Wimbledon Championships began.

1896: William Jennings Bryan delivered his famous “Cross of Gold” speech advocating gold and silver as the nations’ money standard, at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1900: Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to an act creating Australia, thus uniting separate colonies on the continent under one federal government.
1927: Born this day, singer and actor  Ed Ames (When the Snow is on the Roses), and actress Susan Cabot (Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, died 1986).
1929: Born this day, singer-songwriter Lee Hazlewood (These Boots Were Made For Walkin’, Summer Wine, Houston, died 2007), and bluegrass musician Jesse McReynolds (Jim and Jesse).
1947: Born this day, drummer Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience, died 2008), and football player/murderer O. J. Simpson.
1958: Lituya Bay in Alaska was hit by a mega-tsunami. The wave was 1,720 feet high, the largest in recorded history.
1962: Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans exhibition opened at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.
1981: Donkey Kong, a video game created by Nintendo, was released. The game marked the debut of Nintendo’s future mascot, Mario.
2011: South Sudan seceded from Sudan and began the world’s newest nation.
2018: Bright pink is the world’s oldest biological colour according to scientists, produced by tiny cyanobacteria in 1.1bn-year-old marine shale rock from Taoudeni basin, Mauritania.
2018: US coffee company Starbucks announces it will stop using plastic straws by 2020, reducing use of more than 1 billion straws a year.


July 10

988: The city of Dublin, Ireland, was founded by Viking invaders.

1821: The United States took possession of its newly bought territory of Florida from Spain.

1890: Wyoming was admitted as the 44th U.S. state.
1913: Death Valley, California, hit 134 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest officially recorded air temperature in the world.

1921: Born this day: illustrator Harvey Ball (created the “smiley face,” died 2001); actress Jean “Jeff” Donnell (Sweet Smell of Success, died 1988); boxer Jake LaMotta (“The Raging Bull”); and Special Olympics co-founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver (died 2009).

1931: Born this day: composer Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles); actor Nick Adams (Mister Roberts, No Time For Sergeants, Sweet Smell of Success, Rebel Without a Cause, died 1968); and authors Julian May and Alice Munro.

1938: Howard Hughes completed a 91-hour airplane flight around the world and set a new record.

1946: Hungarian hyperinflation set a record with inflation of 348.46 percent per day, or prices doubling every 11 hours.

1958: Born this day, musician Béla Fleck, and Irish actress Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter movies, Three Men and a Little Lady).

1962: Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, was launched into orbit.

1973: John Paul Getty III, a grandson of the oil magnate J. Paul Getty, was kidnapped in Rome, Italy. (He was released on Dec. 15, 1973, after his grandfather paid $2.9 million ransom.)

1978: World News Tonight premiered on ABC.

1980: Born this day: first-ever fourth-generation NASCAR driver Adam Petty (died 2000); actor James Rolfe (Angry Video Game Nerd); and singer/actress Jessica Simpson.

1997: Scientists in London reported the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton that supported the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution, placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

2002: At a Sotheby’s auction, Peter Paul Rubens’ painting The Massacre of the Innocents was sold for £49.5 million ($76.2 million) to Lord Thomson.
2017: NASA’s Juno spacecraft makes closest ever pass over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot at 9,000 kilometers overhead.
2019: Taylor Swift named the world’s highest paid entertainer by Forbes earning $185 million in 2018.


July 11

1735: Dwarf planet Pluto moved inside the orbit of Neptune for the last time until 1979.

1767: John Quincy Adams, sixth president, was born in Braintree (now Quincy), Mass.

1798: The U.S. Marine Corps was re-established. (It had been disbanded after the American Revolutionary War.)

1804: Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton during a pistol duel in Weehauken, N.J.

1889: Tijuana, Mexico, was founded.

1893: The first cultured pearl was obtained by Kokichi Mikimoto in Tokyo.

1895: Brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, creators of motion-picture films, demonstrated their new technology to scientists in Paris.

1914: Babe Ruth made his debut in Major League Baseball, with the Boston Red Sox.

1920: Born this day: actor Yul Brynner (died 1985), and James von Brunn, American murderer who committed the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting on June 10, 2009 (died 2010).

1921: Former President William Howard Taft was sworn in as 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the only person to hold both offices.

1922: The Hollywood Bowl opened.

1931: Born this day: singer Thurston Harris (“Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow,” died 1990), and actor Tab Hunter (Damn Yankees, et al.)

1950: Born this day: actor Bruce McGill (National Lampoon’s Animal House, MacGyver), and singer Bonnie Pointer (The Pointer Sisters).

1953: Born this day: Mexican actress Angélica Aragón (Dune); singer, songwriter, producer Peter Brown; Texas politician Lon Burnam; Denver Broncos football player Larry Evans; U.S. Olympics sailor Jay Glaser; Milwaukee Brewers baseball player Samuel Hinds; boxer Leon Spinks; actress Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers series).

1960: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published.

2012: Astronomers discovered Styx, the fifth moon of Pluto.

2018: Oldest stone tools outside Africa discovered in Lantian country, western China, estimated 2.12 million years old made by hominins.

2019: Last models of Volkswagen’s Beetle car are produced in Pueblo, Mexico, ending production worldwide after 80 years.


July 12


1934: Born this day: American pianist Van Cliburn (died 2013), and American cellist and fiddler Lee Tonner.

1973: A fire destroyed the entire sixth floor of the National Personnel Records Center of the United States.

2017: World’s largest iceberg (later christened A68) breaks away from Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, about 6,000 sq km in length.

2018: World’s longest fingernails cut off; Shridhar Chillal’s nails measured 909.6cm after growing for 66 years.


July 13

1923: A sign made of 50-foot-tall wooden letters spelling out “HOLLYWOODLAND” was dedicated in the Hollywood Hills to promote a subdivision. The final four letters were taken down in 1949.

1942: Born this day: Actor Harrison Ford, and singer/guitarist Roger McGuinn (The Byrds).

1977: A 24-hour electrical blackout in New York City caused $1 billion in damage or lost revenue.

2012: China’s economic growth drops to 7.6%, its lowest level for three years.

2018: Outline of 5,000 year-old henge discovered at New Grange, Ireland through drought and drone footage.


July 14

1798: The Sedition Act became law in the United States, making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government. (It was later repealed.)
1853: The first major U.S. world’s fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, opened in New York City.
1865: The Matterhorn was ascended for the first time by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom died on the descent.
1881: Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
1982: Born this day: Major League Baseball players Wilner Alvarez, Edward Campuzano, Dexter Cooper, Enrique Gonzalez, Brad Groth, Chris Kelly, Pedro Salas and Luke Sargent.
2009: Singapore experiences a seasonally adjusted and annualised growth of 20.4% in the second quarter as a result of increased pharmaceuticals production and construction, bringing the country out of the recession.
2014: The Church of England votes in favor of allowing women to become bishops.