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This Day in History: July 7


1520 – Spanish conquistadores defeat a larger Aztec army at the Battle of Otumba.

1534 – European colonization of the Americas: First known exchange between Europeans and natives of the Gulf of St. Lawrence in New Brunswick.

1777 – American Revolutionary War: American forces retreating from Fort Ticonderoga are defeated in the Battle of Hubbardton.

1798 – As a result of the XYZ Affair, the U.S. Congress rescinds the Treaty of Alliance with France sparking the "Quasi-War".

1834 – In New York City, four nights of rioting against abolitionists began.

1846 – Mexican–American War: American troops occupy Monterey and Yerba Buena, thus beginning the U.S. acquisition of California.

1863 – United States begins its first military draft; exemptions cost $300.

1865 – American Civil War: Four conspirators in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln are hanged.

1898 – U.S. President William McKinley signs the Newlands Resolution annexing Hawaii as a territory of the United States.

1907 – Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. staged his first Follies on the roof of the New York Theater in New York City.

1911 – The United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia sign the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 banning open-water seal hunting, the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.

1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor's 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.

1930 – Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser begins construction of Boulder Dam (now known as Hoover Dam).

1941 – World War II: U.S. forces land in Iceland, taking over from an earlier British occupation.

1941 – World War II: Beirut is occupied by Free France and British troops.

1944 – World War II: Largest Banzai charge of the Pacific War at the Battle of Saipan.

1946 – Mother Francesca S. Cabrini becomes the first American to be canonized.

1946 – Howard Hughes nearly dies when his XF-11 reconnaissance aircraft prototype crashes in a Beverly Hills neighborhood.

1947 – The Roswell incident, the (supposed) crash of an alien spaceship near Roswell in New Mexico.

1952 – The ocean liner SS United States passes Bishop Rock on her maiden voyage, breaking the transatlantic speed record to become the fastest passenger ship in the world.

1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, "That's All Right."

1958 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Act into law.

1959 – Venus occults the star Regulus. This rare event is used to determine the diameter of Venus and the structure of the Venusian atmosphere.

1963 – Buddhist crisis: The police of Ngô Đình Nhu, brother and chief political adviser of President Ngô Đình Diệm, attacked a group of American journalists who were covering a protest.

1981 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1983 – Cold War: Samantha Smith, a U.S. schoolgirl, flies to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Secretary General Yuri Andropov.

2003 – NASA Opportunity rover, MER-B or Mars Exploration Rover–B, was launched into space aboard a Delta II rocket.

2007 – The first Live Earth benefit concert was held in 11 locations around the world.

2013 – A De Havilland Otter air taxi crashes in Soldotna, Alaska, killing ten people.


1880 – Otto Frederick Rohwedder, American engineer, invented sliced bread (d. 1960)

1906 – Satchel Paige, American baseball player and coach (d. 1982)

1927 – Doc Severinsen, American trumpet player and conductor (The Tonight Show Band)

1940 – Ringo Starr, born Richard Starkey, English singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor (The Beatles, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, and Plastic Ono Band)

1980 – Michelle Kwan, American figure skater


1865 – conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

          – George Atzerodt (b. 1833)

          – David Herold (b. 1842)

          – Lewis Payne (b. 1844)

          – Mary Surratt (b. 1823)

1925 – Clarence Hudson White American photographer and educator (b. 1871)

1975 – Ruffian, American race horse (b. 1972)

1990 – Bill Cullen, American television panelist and game show host (b. 1920)