This day in history

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From the archives of History.com…

  • by History.com Editors
    In a ceremony held in Paris on July 4, 1884, the completed Statue of Liberty is formally presented to the U.S. ambassador as a commemoration of the friendship between France and the United States. The idea for the statue was born in 1865, when the French historian and abolitionist Édouard de …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    After traveling 120 million miles in seven months, NASA’s Mars Pathfinder becomes the first U.S. spacecraft to land on Mars in more than two decades. In an ingenious, cost-saving landing procedure, Pathfinder used parachutes to slow its approach to the Martian surface and then deployed airbags to …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On July 4, 1826, former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were once fellow Patriots and then adversaries, die on the same day within five hours of each other. READ MORE: Two Presidents Died on the Same July 4: Coincidence or Something More? Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were the …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    Walt Whitman’s first edition of the self-published Leaves of Grass is printed, containing a dozen poems. Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, and raised in Brooklyn. He left school at the age of 14 to become a journeyman printer and later worked as a teacher, journalist, editor, and …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On July 4, 1911, record temperatures are set in the northeastern United States as a deadly heat wave hits the area that would go on to kill 380 people. In Nashua, New Hampshire, the mercury peaked at 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Other high-temperature records were set all over New England during an …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    Marilyn Sheppard is beaten to death inside her suburban home in Cleveland, Ohio. Her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, claimed to have fallen asleep in the family’s living room and awakened to find a man with bushy hair fleeing the scene. The authorities, who uncovered the …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    The Confederacy is torn in two when General John C. Pemberton surrenders to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Vicksburg campaign was one of the Union’s most successful of the war. Although Grant’s first attempt to take the city failed in the winter of 1862-63, he renewed …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington …Continue reading

Continue reading and come back for more, tomorrow!

Topics in the news around this time of year…

  • by History.com Editors
    On the morning of July 2, 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, took off from Lae, New Guinea, on one of the last legs in their historic attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Their next destination was Howland Island in the central Pacific Ocean, some 2,500 miles away. A U.S. Coast …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    June 26, 2015 marks a major milestone for civil rights in the United States, as the Supreme Court announces its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. By one vote, the court rules that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in the United States and that all same-sex marriages must be recognized nationwide, …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On the morning of June 27, 2015, activists posing as joggers signal to one of their comrades that the police have momentarily turned their attention away from the flagpole outside the South Carolina State House. Having received the signal, Brittany "Bree" Newsome scales the pole, takes down the …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    A dramatic battle in the Tennessee House of Representatives ends with the state ratifying the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution on August 18, 1920. After decades of struggle and protest by suffragettes across the country, the decisive vote is cast by a 24-year-old representative who …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On July 20, 1865, a Frenchman named Pierre Lallement arrives in the United States, carrying the plans and components for the first modern bicycle. Lallement constructed and patented the first bicycle in the United States, but received no significant reward or recognition for introducing the nation …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    Hearing arguments in the case of the Zong, a slave ship, the Chief Justice of the King’s Bench in London states that a massacre of African slaves “was the same as if Horses had been thrown over board” on June 22, 1783. The crew of the Zong had thrown at least 142 captive Africans into the sea, but …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On June 15, 2006, on the remote island of Spitsbergen halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the prime ministers of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland lay the ceremonial first stone of the Global Seed Vault. The vault, which now has the capacity to hold 2.25 billion seeds, is …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    Robert Falcon Scott’s ship, the Terra Nova, sets sail from Cardiff, Wales on June 15, 1910, bound for Antarctica. Though it will succeed in reaching its objective, the expedition will end in tragedy as Scott and his companions give up their lives in order to become the second party to reach the …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On the afternoon of March 15, 2019, a gunman attacked two different mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand during Friday Prayer, killing 51, wounding 40, and deeply scarring a nation that had, until this point, believed itself to be safe from the scourges of gun violence and far-right terrorism. It …Continue reading
  • by History.com Editors
    On the evening of June 17, 2015, a mass shooter took the lives of nine African American people at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The massacre at a historic black church deeply shook a nation already jaded by frequent gun violence and …Continue reading

Stories in the news…

  • by Patrick J. Kiger
    After Vice President Aaron Burr killed Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804, Hamilton’s widow, Elizabeth Schuyler “Eliza” Hamilton, had to find a way to go on without her beloved husband. One of the ways she found solace—and honored his memory—was to found two institutions in New …Continue reading
  • by Becky Little
    Slavery was a dominant feature of the antebellum South, but it was also pervasive in the pre-Civil War North—the New England states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island all have a history of slavery. In the early colonial period, Europeans invaded these …Continue reading
  • by Yohuru Williams
    With its soaring rhetoric about all men being “created equal,” the Declaration of Independence gave powerful voice to the values behind the American Revolution. Critics, however, saw a glaring contradiction: Many of the colonists who sought freedom from British tyranny themselves bought and sold …Continue reading
  • by Christopher Klein
    By February 1945, it was increasingly clear that not only would Adolf Hitler's Third Reich fail to last a millennium as he had hoped; it wouldn’t even survive the spring. With the end of World War II finally in sight, the “Big Three” Allied leaders—U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British …Continue reading
  • by Sarah Pruitt
    As the presidential election of 1800 approached, Americans were more divided than ever before. The incumbent President John Adams faced off against Vice President Thomas Jefferson, the former secretary of state and author of the Declaration of Independence. To Jefferson and his supporters in the …Continue reading
  • by Thad Morgan
    For centuries, Black Americans have used music as a powerful tool. In the antebellum South, enslaved people sang spirituals to covertly plan their escape to freedom. Poems were put to music and performed to celebrate the eradication of slavery, and ballads and hip hop have been leveraged to protest …Continue reading
  • by Greg Daugherty
    For four days in November-December 1943, as World War II raged, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met in secret in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Code named Eureka, the Tehran Conference was the first time all three Allied leaders had ever been face to face. Churchill may …Continue reading
  • by Dave Roos
    The invention of the modern mumps vaccine is the stuff of medical textbook legend. In 1963, a star researcher at the pharmaceutical company Merck took a swab of his own daughter’s throat to begin cultivating a weakened form of the mumps virus. And just four years later, in record time, Merck …Continue reading
  • by Becky Little
    Leading up to the American Revolution, one of the colonists’ chief complaints about the British Empire was that it imposed “taxation without representation”—a slogan that Washington, D.C. has since adopted as its unofficial motto. In 2000, D.C. started printing “Taxation Without Representation” on …Continue reading
  • by Colette Coleman
    On August 21, 1831, enslaved Virginian Nat Turner led a bloody revolt, which changed the course of American history. The uprising in Southampton County led to the killing of an estimated 55 white people, resulting in execution of some 55 black people and the beating of hundreds of others by white …Continue reading
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