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• On July 24, 1567, during her imprisonment at Lochleven Castle in Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots is forced to abdicate in favor of her 1-year-old son, later crowned King James VI of Scotland. In 1542, while just 6 days old, Mary had ascended to the Scottish throne upon the death of her father, King James V.
• On July 15, 1606, the great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn is born in Leiden. Rembrandt completed more than 600 paintings, many of them portraits or self-portraits. By the age of 22, he was accomplished enough to take on his own students.
• On July 9, 1777, New York elects Brigadier Gen. George Clinton as the first governor of the independent state of New York. Clinton would go on to become New York’s longest-serving governor, as well as the longest-serving governor in the U.S., holding the post until 1795.
• On July 14, 1789, Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress built in 1370 that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.
• On July 7, 1852, according to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories, Dr. John H. Watson is born. Coincidentally, the Sherlock Holmes author died on this day in England at the age of 71.
• On July 3, 1863, the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end. Exhausted, both armies held their positions until the night of July 4, when Lee withdrew.
• On July 21, 1899, Ernest Miller Hemingway, author of such novels as “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea,” is born in Oak Park, Illinois. The influential American literary icon became known for his straightforward prose and use of understatement.
• On July 4, 1911, record temperatures are set in the northeastern U.S. with the arrival of a deadly heat wave that would go on to kill 380 people. On July 13, New York alone reported 211 people dead from the excessive heat.
• On July 23, 1918, Della Sorenson kills the first of her seven victims in Nebraska. Over the next seven years, friends, relatives and acquaintances of Sorenson died under mysterious circumstances. In 1925, Sorenson was arrested when she made an unsuccessful attempt at killing two children with poisoned cookies.
• On July 11, 1922, the Hollywood Bowl, one of the world’s largest natural amphitheaters, opens. Its stage was a wooden platform with a canvas top, and audiences sat on moveable benches set on the hillsides of the surrounding canyon. In 1926, a group of Los Angeles architects built the Hollywood Bowl’s first shell.
• On July 10, 1925, in Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called Monkey Trial begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high-school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law. The law made it a misdemeanor to teach any theory that denied the story of man’s Divine Creation.
• On July 18, 1925, Volume One of Adolf Hitler’s philosophical autobiography “Mein Kampf” is published. It was a blueprint of his agenda for a Third Reich and a clear exposition of the nightmare that would envelope Europe from 1939 to 1945.
• On July 16, 1935, the world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, is installed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Indignant opponents of the meters considered paying for parking un-American, as it forced drivers to pay what amounted to a tax on their cars without due process of law.
• On July 2, 1938, Helen Wills Moody defeats Helen Jacobs to win her eighth Wimbledon singles title. Her record stood until Martina Navratilova won her ninth Wimbledon title in 1990.
• On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at a popular swimming pool in Paris. Reard dubbed the swimsuit a “bikini,” inspired by a U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll earlier that week.
• On July 8, 1950, the day after the U.N. Security Council recommended that all U.N. forces in Korea be placed under the command of the U.S. military, Gen. Douglas MacArthur is appointed head of the United Nations Command. When MacArthur later publicly threatened to escalate hostilities with China, President Harry Truman fired him.
• On July 19, 1956, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announces that the United States is withdrawing its offer of financial aid to Egypt to help with the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River. The Soviets rushed to Egypt’s aid, and the Aswan Dam was officially opened in 1964.
• On July 12, 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the first president to ride in the newest advance in aviation technology: the HMX-1 Nighthawk helicopter, administered jointly by the Army and the Marine Corps.
• On July 13, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is nominated for the presidency by the Democratic Party Convention. Four months later, on Nov. 8, Kennedy won 49.7% of the popular vote, edging the 49.6% received by Richard M. Nixon, a Republican.
• On July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
• On July 6, 1971, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, dies in New York City at the age of 69. Armstrong pioneered jazz improvisation and the style known as swing.
• On July 17, 1975, as part of a mission aimed at developing space rescue capability, the U.S. spacecraft Apollo 18 and the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 19 rendezvous and dock in space. During the 44-hour Apollo-Soyuz embrace, the astronauts and cosmonauts conducted experiments, shared meals and held a joint news conference.
• On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese, British and international dignitaries. A policy based on the concept of “one country, two systems” was designed to preserve Hong Kong’s role as a principal capitalist center in Asia.
• On July 22, 2005, “March of the Penguins,” a French-made documentary about emperor penguins in Antarctica, opens in theaters across the U.S. The film went on to win numerous awards, including an Oscar, and became one of the highest-grossing documentaries in movie history.
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