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This Day in History: July 4


1634 – The city of Trois-Rivières is founded in New France (now Quebec, Canada).

1744 – The Treaty of Lancaster, in which the Iroquois cedes lands between the Allegheny Mountains and the Ohio River to the British colonies, was signed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

1754 – French and Indian War: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.

1774 – Orangetown Resolutions are adopted in the Province of New York, one of many protests against theBritish Parliament's Coercive Acts

1776 – American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

1778 – American Revolutionary War: American forces under George Clark capture Kaskaskia during the Illinois campaign.

1802 – At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.

1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.

1817 – In Rome, New York, construction on the Erie Canal begins.

1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.

1827 – Slavery is abolished in New York State.

1831 – Samuel Francis Smith writes "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" for the Boston, Massachusetts July 4 festivities.

1838 – The Iowa Territory is organized.

1855 – In Brooklyn, New York City, the first edition of Walt Whitman's book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published.

1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Vicksburg: Vicksburg, Mississippi surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant after 47 days of siege. One hundred fifty miles up the Mississippi River, a Confederate Army is repulsed at theBattle of Helena, Arkansas.

1863 – American Civil War: The Army of Northern Virginia withdraws from the battlefield after losing the Battle of Gettysburg, signalling an end to the Southern invasion of the North.

1865 – Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is published.

1881 – In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.

1886 – The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.

1894 – The short-lived Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed by Sanford B. Dole.

1903 – Philippine–American War officially is concluded.

1910 – African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match, sparking race riots across the United States.

1911 – A massive heat wave strikes the northeastern United States, killing 380 people in eleven days and breaking temperature records in several cities.

1913 – President Woodrow Wilson addresses American Civil War veterans at the Great Reunion of 1913.

1914 – The funeral of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie takes place in Vienna, six days after their assassinations in Sarajevo.

1934 – Leo Szilard patents the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.

1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself "The luckiest man on the face of the earth", then announces his retirement from major league baseball.

1946 – After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attains full independence from the United States.

1950 – Radio Free Europe first broadcasts.

1951 – A court in Czechoslovakia sentences American journalist William N. Oatis to ten years in prison on charges of espionage.

1960 – Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Act).

1966 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into United States law. The act went into effect the next year.

1977 – The George Jackson Brigade plants a bomb at the main power substation for the Washington state capitol in Olympia, in solidarity with a prison strike at the Walla Walla State Penitentiary Intensive Security Unit

1984 -- Richard Petty wins his 200th and final NASCAR Winston cup race.

1997 – NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.

2004 – The cornerstone of the Freedom Tower is laid on the World Trade Center site in New York City.

2009 – The Statue of Liberty's crown reopens to the public after eight years of closure due to security concerns following the September 11 attacks.

2016 – NASA's Juno spacecraft enters orbit around Jupiter and begins a 20-month survey of the planet.


1804 – Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author and diplomat (d. 1864)

1816 – Hiram Walker, American businessman, founded Canadian club whiskey (d. 1899)

1826 – Stephen Foster, American songwriter and composer (d. 1864)

1847 – James Anthony Bailey, American circus ringmaster, co-founded Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (d. 1906)

1872 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (d. 1933)

1881 – Ulysses S. Grant III, American general (d. 1968)

1882 – Louis B. Mayer, Belarusian-American film producer, founded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (d. 1957)

1898 – Gertrude Weaver, American super-centenarian (d. 2015)

1911 – Mitch Miller, American singer and producer (d. 2010)

1918 – Eppie Lederer, American journalist and radio host (d. 2002)

1918 – Pauline Phillips, American journalist and radio host, created Dear Abby (d. 2013)

1920 – Leona Helmsley, American businesswoman (d. 2007)

1927 – Neil Simon, American playwright and screenwriter

1929 – Al Davis, American football player, coach, and manager (d. 2011)

1930 – George Steinbrenner, American businessman (d. 2010)

1943 – Geraldo Rivera, American lawyer, journalist, and author

1961 – Richard Garriott, English-American video game designer, created the Ultima series

1962 – Pam Shriver, American tennis player and sportscaster

1971 – Koko, American gorilla

1981 – Will Smith, American football player (d. 2016)


1826 – John Adams, American lawyer and politician, 2nd President of the United States (b. 1735)

1826 – Thomas Jefferson, American architect, lawyer, and politician, 3rd President of the United States (b. 1743)

1831 – James Monroe, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 5th President of the United States (b. 1758)

1891 – Hannibal Hamlin, American lawyer and politician, 15th Vice President of the United States (b. 1809)

1910 – Melville Fuller, American lawyer and jurist, 8th Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1833)

1970 – Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, American sailor and businessman (b. 1884)

1971 – August Derleth, American anthologist and author (b. 1909)

1971 – Thomas C. Hart, American admiral and politician (b. 1877)

1995 – Eva Gabor, Hungarian-American actress and singer (b. 1919)

1997 – Charles Kuralt, American journalist (b. 1934)

2002 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American general (b. 1912)

2003 – Barry White, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer (b. 1944)

2005 – Hank Stram, American football player and coach (b. 1923)

2007 – Bill Pinkney, American singer (The Drifters) (b. 1925)

2008 – Jesse Helms, American journalist and politician (b. 1921)

2010 – Robert Neil Butler, American physician and author (b. 1927)

2012 – Scamper, American horse (b. 1977)

2013 – James Fulton, American dermatologist and academic (b. 1940)

2013 – Charles A. Hines, American general (b. 1935)

2015 – William Conrad Gibbons, American historian, author, and academic (b. 1926)