Today in History – July 1

  • 1643 – First meeting of the Westminster Assembly, a council of theologians (“divines”) and members of the Parliament of England appointed to restructure the Church of England, at Westminster Abbey in London.
  • 1766 – François-Jean de la Barre, a young French nobleman, was tortured and beheaded before his body was burned on a pyre along with a copy of Voltaire’s Dictionnaire philosophique nailed to his torso for the crime of not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in Abbeville, France.
  • 1770 – Lexell’s Comet was seen closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history when it approached a distance of 0.0146 astronomical units (1,360,000 mi).
  • 1782 – Raid on Lunenburg: American privateers attacked the British settlement of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
  • 1837 – A system of civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths was established in England and Wales.
  • 1858 – Joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers on evolution to the Linnean Society of London.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: The Battle of Malvern Hill took place. It was the last of the Seven Days Battles, part of George B. McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg began.
  • 1867 – The British North America Act took effect as the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia joined into confederation to create the modern nation of Canada. John A. Macdonald was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of Canada. This date is commemorated annually in Canada as Canada Day, a national holiday.
  • 1870 – The United States Department of Justice formally came into existence.
  • 1874 – The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, went on sale.
  • 1881 – The world’s first international telephone call was made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, United States.
  • 1885 – The United States terminated its reciprocity and fishery agreement with Canada.
  • 1898 – Spanish–American War: The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
  • 1903 – Start of first Tour de France bicycle race.
  • 1908 – SOS was adopted as the international distress signal.
  • 1915 – Leutnant Kurt Wintgens of the then-named German Deutsches Heer’s Fliegertruppe army air service achieved the first known aerial victory with a synchronized machine-gun armed fighter plane, the Fokker M.5K/MG Eindecker.
  • 1916 – World War I: First day on the Somme: On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 19,000 soldiers of the British Army were killed and 40,000 wounded.
  • 1922 – The Great Railroad Strike of 1922 began in the United States.
  • 1931 – United Airlines began service (as Boeing Air Transport).
  • 1931 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty became the first people to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine monoplane aircraft.

  • 1935 – Benny Goodman and his band recorded the “King Porter Stomp.”
  • 1946 – Crossroads Able was the first postwar nuclear weapon test.

  • 1956 – Elvis Presley appeared on “The Steve Allen Show.” He was told not to dance and Allen had him sing “Hound Dog” to a real basset hound wearing tails.
  • 1959 – Specific values for the international yard, avoirdupois pound and derived units (e.g. inch, mile and ounce) were adopted after agreement between the US, the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.
  • 1963 – ZIP codes were introduced for United States mail.

  • 1963 – “She Loves You” and “I’ll Get You” were recorded by the Beatles.
  • 1968 – The United States Central Intelligence Agency’s Phoenix Program was officially established.
  • 1968 – The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed in Washington, D.C., London and Moscow by sixty-two countries.
  • 1968 – Formal separation of the United Auto Workers from the AFL–CIO in the United States.
  • 1976 – Paul McCartney purchased Buddy Holly’s entire publishing catalog from Norman Petty.
  • 1979 – Sony introduced the Walkman.
  • 1984 – The PG-13 rating was introduced by the MPAA.
  • 1987 – The American radio station WFAN in New York City was launched as the world’s first all-sports radio station.
  • 2020 – The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement replaced NAFTA.

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