Today In History - Saturday, July 4th


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

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

Space Shuttle program: STS-121 Mission - Space Shuttle ''Discovery'' launches at 18:37:55 UTC.
North Korea tests four short-range missiles, one medium-range missile, and a long-range Taepodong-2. The long-range Taepodong-2 reportedly fails in mid-air over the Sea of Japan/East Sea.

The Deep Impact collider hits the comet Tempel 1.

The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City. (This was largely a symbolic event; actual construction would not start for several weeks)

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

NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.

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

Sumitomo Chemical's resin plant in Nihama explodes killing one worker and injuring three others.

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

Four Iranian diplomats are abducted by Lebanese militia in Lebanon.

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

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.
American people celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence .

Two teens (one male, one female) are attacked at Blue Rock Springs in California. They were the second (known) victims of the Zodiac Killer. The male survives.
The Ohio Fireworks Derecho kills 18 Ohioans and destroys over 100 boats on Lake Erie.

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

Walt Disney is one of the two main speakers on the Independence Day in The Rebuild Hills at Skørping in Denmark

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, almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Act).

With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A court in Czechoslovakia sentences American journalist William N. Oatis to ten years in prison on charges of espionage.
William Shockley announced the invention of the junction transistor.

The first broadcast by Radio Free Europe.

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.

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

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.
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.

World War II: the 250 day Siege of Sevastopol in the Crimea ends when the city falls to Axis forces.

Nazi troops massacre Polish scientists and writers in the captured Ukrainian city of Lviv.
World War II, the Burning of the Riga synagogues: the Great Choral Synagogue in German occupied Riga was burned with 300 Jews locked in the basement.

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.
Huỳnh Phú Sổ founds Hòa Hảo Buddhism.

Leo Szilard patents the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.

First flight of the Lockheed Vega.

Knoebels Amusement Resort is opened in Elysburg, Pennsylvania.

Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI ascends to the throne.
Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).
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.

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

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

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

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

Philippine-American War officially is concluded.
Dorothy Levitt is reported as the first English woman to compete in a 'motor race'.

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

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

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

The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.
The first scheduled Canadian transcontinental train arrives in Port Moody, British Columbia.

In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.

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.

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

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is published.

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.
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.

Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

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

Near Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau embarks on a two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond (see ''Walden'').

The Cunard Line's 700 ton wooden paddle steamer RMS ''Britannia'' departs from Liverpool bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first transatlantic crossing with a scheduled end.

The Iowa Territory is organized.

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

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

Slavery is abolished in New York State.

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.

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

The French occupy Amsterdam.

The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.

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

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

The Declaration of Independence is the usual name of a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. Instead they formed a new nation—the United States of America. John Adams was a leader in pushing for independence, which was unanimously approved on July 2. A committee of five had already drafted the formal declaration, to be ready when Congress voted on independence. The term "Declaration of Independence" is not used in the document itself.

Adams persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress would edit to produce the final version. The Declaration was ultimately a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The national birthday, Independence Day, is celebrated on July 4, although Adams wanted July 2.

After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms. It was initially published as the printed Dunlap broadside that was widely distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost, and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, and Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress, are preserved at the Library of Congress. The most famous version of the Declaration, a signed copy that is popularly regarded as the official document, is displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19, and signed primarily on August 2.

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

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

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.

City of Providence, Rhode Island forms.

The city of Trois-Rivières is founded in New France, later to become the Canadian province of Quebec.

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

Samuel de Champlain discovers Lake Champlain, in present day Vermont.

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

The Siege of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade) begins. (Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe)
Ottoman wars in Europe: The Siege of Nándorfeqhérvár (Belgrade) begins.

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

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

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

Jordan II of Capua is anointed as prince after his infant nephew's death.

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.

Saint Ulrich of Augsburg is canonized.

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

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.
362 BC

Battle of Mantinea: The Thebans, led by Epaminondas, defeated the Spartans.