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This Day in History: July 24


1534 – French explorer Jacques Cartier plants a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula and takes possession of the territory in the name of Francis I of France.

1701 – Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founds the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later becomes the city of Detroit.

1814 – War of 1812: General Phineas Riall advances toward the Niagara River to halt Jacob Brown's American invaders.

1847 – After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City. Celebrations of this event include the Pioneer Day Utah state holiday and the Days of '47 Parade.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Kernstown: Confederate General Jubal Early defeats Union troops led by General George Crook in an effort to keep them out of the Shenandoah Valley.

1866 – Reconstruction: Tennessee becomes the first U.S. state to be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War.

1901 – O. Henry is released from prison in Columbus, Ohio after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank.

1911 – Hiram Bingham III re-discovers Machu Picchu, "the Lost City of the Incas".

1915 – The passenger ship S.S. Eastland capsizes while tied to a dock in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew are killed in the largest loss of life disaster from a single shipwreck on the Great Lakes.

1929 – The Kellogg–Briand Pact, renouncing war as an instrument of foreign policy, goes into effect (it is first signed in Paris on August 27, 1928 by most leading world powers).

1931 – A fire at a home for the elderly in Pittsburgh kills 48 people.

1935 – The Dust Bowl heat wave reaches its peak, sending temperatures to 109 °F (43 °C) in Chicago and 104 °F (40 °C) in Milwaukee.

1937 – Alabama drops rape charges against the so-called "Scottsboro Boys".

1943 – World War II: Operation Gomorrah begins: British and Canadian aeroplanes bomb Hamburg by night, and American planes by day. By the end of the operation in November, 9,000 tons of explosives will have killed more than 30,000 people and destroyed 280,000 buildings.

1950 – Cape Canaveral Air Force Station begins operations with the launch of a Bumper rocket.

1959 – At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a "Kitchen Debate".

1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

1974 – Watergate scandal: The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.

1980 – The Quietly Confident Quartet of Australia wins the Men's 4 x 100 metre medley relay at the Moscow Olympics, the only time the United States has not won the event at Olympic level.

1983 – George Brett batting for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Yankees, has a game-winning home run nullified in the "Pine Tar Incident".

1998 – Russell Eugene Weston, Jr. bursts into the United States Capitol and opens fire killing two police officers. He is later ruled to be incompetent to stand trial.

2002 – Democrat James Traficant is expelled from the United States House of Representatives on a vote of 420–1.


1821 – William Poole, American boxer and gangster (d. 1855)

1880 – Ernest Bloch, Swiss-American composer and educator (d. 1959)

1897 – Amelia Earhart, American pilot and author (d. 1937)

1900 – Zelda Fitzgerald, American author and poet (d. 1948)

1920 – Bella Abzug, American lawyer and politician (d. 1998)

1964 – Barry Bonds, American baseball player

1969 – Jennifer Lopez, American actress, singer, and dancer


1862 – Martin Van Buren, American lawyer and politician, 8th President of the United States (b. 1782)

1986 – Fritz Albert Lipmann, German-American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)

1994 – Helen Cordero, Cochiti Pueblo (Native American) Pueblo potter (b. 1915)

1997 – William J. Brennan, Jr., American colonel and jurist (b. 1906)

2012 – Sherman Hemsley, American actor and singer (b. 1938)

2012 – Robert Ledley, American physiologist and physicist, invented the CT scanner (b. 1926)