July’s most famous historic event is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or Independence Day on July 4th. Of course that’s not the only event in history to have occurred during this summer month.
From famous birthdays to the moon landing, there are many important July dates that have greatly impacted the country. For those who are history buffs or are just curious about how long ago certain events took place, take some time to learn about historic July moments.
July 1: The Battle of Gettysburg Becomes a Turning Point
July 1, 1863 marked the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. It was fought between the Union and Confederate forces and ended up creating the largest amount of casualties during the American Civil War after lasting only a few days.
The Union forces defeated the Confederates, which halted General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North in the United States. Soon after Lee took who was left from his troops and headed back to Virginia. This served as a major turning point for the Civil War.
July 2: Amelia Earhart’s Legacy After Her Disappearance
Amelia Earhart made history by becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, on July 2, 1937 she and her co-pilot crashed into the Pacific Ocean and their bodies and the plane still haven’t been found.
Her impact on aviation and equal rights for women were incredibly influential. There are many theories about what actually happened after her disappearance was reported, but none have been proven true. She even inspired thousands of female pilots a couple decades later who formed the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II.
July 3: Jackie Robinson Inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame
Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in the major leagues when the Brooklyn Dodgers chose him as their first baseman. His talent as an athlete was so influential that he was inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 3, 1962.
Before his time with the MLB he was a one of the best athletes at UCLA, where he lettered in football, basketball, track, and baseball. He also won the junior boys singles championship in a tennis tournament.
July 4: The Signing of the Declaration of Independence Becomes A Historic Moment
Independence Day or Fourth of July is celebrated every year because the United States Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. At the Second Continental Congress meeting, it was decided that the original 13 colonies were free of British rule.
There were 56 men who signed it into existence, including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. The new One World Trade Center building in New York City was made to be 1776 feet high to represent the year that the Declaration of Independence was signed.
July 5: P.T. Barnum is Born to Reinvent the Circus
P.T. Barnum made a lasting impact on the circus industry. Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum was born on July 5, 1810 in Bethel, Connecticut and later opened “The Greatest Show on Earth” in Brooklyn, New York. He along with his rival J.A. Bailey went on to create the now famous Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Many of the people showcased at his museum and circus were recreated for the 2017 movie The Greatest Showman. Some that made their way into the film include Tom Thumb (pictured above), Jenny Lind, and the bearded lady.
July 7: Sandra Day O’Connor Broke Gender Barriers in the Supreme Court
On July 7, 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. She first dipped her toes into law when she worked as the county deputy attorney in San Mateo, California in the early 1950s after graduating third in her class at Stanford Law School.
O’Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006 and a few years later was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. In October of 2018 she announced that she was in the “beginning stages of dementia.”
July 8: The Wall Street Journal is First Published
The Wall Street Journal is one of the most read daily newspapers in the world and has sold almost three million copies; with about half being digital subscribers. This popular paper was started by Charles Dow, Edward Jones, and Charles Bergstresser and has been printed everyday since July 8, 1889.
Dow Jones & Company would create brief news bulletins called “flimsies” and hand-deliver them to traders at the stock exchange during the 1880s. Recently, the Wall Street Journal won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their coverage on Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.
July 10: The Rolling Stones Get Their First Chart-Topper
It’s difficult to remain relevant as musicians, but the Rolling Stones are still going strong after an almost six decade career. The band experienced different lineups over the years, but Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), and Charlie Watts (drums) have remained since the beginning.
Only a few years into their journey they were met with great acclaim on July 10, 1965 when their song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” became their first No. 1 single in the United States. Ever since then they’ve become the one of the most famous classic rock groups, even having scientists name fossils after them.
July 11: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Have a Duel
Before Alexander Hamilton’s life was immortalized into a Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, he used his intellect and strong writing skills to make an impact as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Those who are familiar with his story might remember that the date of his famous duel with rival Aaron Burr occurred on July 11, 1804.
During the duel Hamilton “threw away his shot” when he aimed his pistol in the air as Burr shot him in the abdomen, ultimately ending his life. Burr spent the rest of his life practicing law and remaining relatively obscure in society.
July 13: Queen and Other Artists Give Groundbreaking Performances at Live Aid
There were numerous iconic performances from the July 13, 1985 benefit concert, Live Aid. It was created to raise money for Ethiopian famine with the world’s top musicians, such as U2, Queen, David Bowie, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. It broke TV records with 1.9 billion views, which was equivalent to almost 40 percent of the world’s population.
Their set list included “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Radio Ga Ga,” Hammer to Fall,” Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions.”
July 16: John F. Kennedy Jr.’s Heartbreaking Plane Crash
On July 16, 1999 John F. Kennedy Jr., the son of President John F. Kennedy, decided to fly a Piper Saratoga plane from New Jersey’s Essex County Airport to Martha’s Vineyard for his cousin’s wedding. His wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette were also on board with him.
On the way to Martha’s Vineyard the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean most likely due to Kennedy’s spatial disorientation with him not being able to navigate the plane over water at night. Unfortunately, there were no survivors as divers found each of their bodies about five days later.
July 17: Disneyland Opens to Become the Happiest Place on Earth
A few decades into Walt Disney’s successful animation career he decided that it was time to open a theme park. Disney came up with the idea after visiting a carousel at Griffith Park in Los Angeles with his daughters and wanted a place for both kids and adults to have fun.
It was officially opened on July 17, 1955 and is the most visited theme park in the world with about 18.7 million visitors just from the past year. Disneyland has since expanded into several locations across the globe in places such as Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
July 18: Nadia Comăneci Scores a Perfect 10
One of the world’s most well-known athletes in Olympics history is Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci. On July 18, 1976 the 14-year-old helped popularize the sport when she became the first gymnast at the Olympics to earn a perfect score on the women’s uneven parallel bars.
Aside from her perfect 10, she also holds the record for being the youngest Olympic gymnastics all-around champion after winning the most gold medals at 14. She later went on to marry Bart Conner, another gymnast who competed at the 1976 Olympics. They have one son named Dylan.
July 20: Apollo 11 Moon Landing Makes TV History
It’s hard to imagine the moon landing without hearing Neil Armstrong’s famous line, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969 followed by the other Apollo 11 members Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Apart from them being the first people to walk on the moon, it also was one of the most famous TV events of all time. About 500 million people all over the world tuned in to watch history in the making.
July 23: Ford Motor Company Sells First Automobile
Horse-drawn buggies were the dominant mode of transportation, but the Ford Motor Company decided to change that. On July 23, 1903 they sold their first car to Chicago dentist, Dr. Ernst Pfenning, for $850. The two-cylinder Model A was only in production for a year until being replaced by the Ford Model C.
Ford had to retire the model after making 1,750 of them because they would overheat and the transmission bands would slip. It’s hard to tell from the photo above, but all of them were painted bright red.
July 25: The Very First “Test Tube Baby” is Born
Every year there are new scientific advances in the medical field, and the birth of Louise Brown will remain a staple on that timeline. Her mother Lesley Brown was the first woman to undergo in vitro fertilisation (IVF) because of blocked fallopian tubes. Louise was referred to as a “test tube baby” because her conception was created in a Petri dish.
After trying for nine years, Lesley gave birth to Louise on July 25, 1978 and ended up repeating the process again with Louise’s sister Natalie four years later. Louise is now married with two sons born without IVF.
July 27: Orville Wright Sets Flight Record
The Wright Brothers are still referred to as the pioneers of aviation. They were ahead of the curve in the early 1900s when they invented, built, and flew the world’s first successful airplane. Orville Wright broke a new record on July 27, 1909 when he and passenger Lieutenant Frank P. Lahm flew for a total of one hour, 12 minutes, and 40 seconds covering about 50 miles.
After proving to the world that air travel was possible the Wright Brothers became household names and were hosted by royals and heads of state. They remained close for their rest of their lives.
July 28: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: An Icon is Born
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on July 28, 1929 in Southampton, New York to Wall Street stockbroker John Vernou Bouvier III and Janet Lee Bouvier. She met her soon-to-be husband John F. Kennedy at a dinner party in 1952 and they married a year later.
During her two-year term as First Lady of the United States she became known as an international style icon and was dedicated to the promotion of American arts and history. Later in life she suffered a drastic fall from her horse, which led to severe health problems and her passing.
July 29: Prince Charles Marries Princess Diana in Wedding of the Century
Today it seems as if there’s a royal wedding every year, but the one between Prince Charles and Princess Diana is still considered one of the most magical. The couple said their “I Do’s” on July 29, 1981 to a global audience of 750 million people. Their nuptials were regarded as a “fairytale wedding” and the “wedding of the century” because of the immense spectacle.
Charles and Diana announced their separation in 1992 and were officially divorced by 1996 mainly because of their age difference and extramarital affairs. He resumed a relationship with former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles, while Diana was reported to have had a few boyfriends up until the car crash.
July 31: Washington and Jefferson Contribute to United States Patent Office Opening
If someone wants to have intellectual ownership over their creations and ideas a patent is required. This gives the creator the option to exclude others from copying and making money off of their invention. The process of obtaining a patent happens through the United States Patent Office.
The U.S. patent office was first opened on July 31, 1790 when Samuel Hopkins of Vermont patented his new method for making pearlash and potash, which are different forms of potassium. George Washington, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, and Thomas Jefferson signed the patent into law.