26th July In History

James Fenimore Cooper, the renowned American writer, drew an interesting analogy between history and love in his historical novel 'Last of the Mohicans'. He said, ‘History, like love, is so apt to surround her heroes with an atmosphere of imaginary brightness.’ Many, like James, are of the belief that history is a compilation of events and stories that have been dictated by winners. The losers are rarely glorified and it is only the victors that have the final say in what gets written in the records. But nonetheless, it is the deeds of the champions that have shaped up our present. Had Alexander not won so many battles probably the lands of Syria, Persia, and India would have remained aloof from the West. If it was not for Christopher Columbus, America would have remained hidden in obscurity. Had Newton not thought why the apple fell down, gravity would still be a confounding mystery to mankind. The pages of history are filled with numerous stories like these and July 26 is a date that we shall explore here. Nothing about this day is ordinary, be it the stellar technological advancements or bloody battles. From landmark political and legal decisions being made to heinous criminals being convicted, twenty-sixth of July, is a day one cannot give a miss while traversing the annals of history. So without further ado, tune in to Today in History!


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 26th July



1309

Politics

Clement V Proclaims Henry VII As The Holy Roman Emperor

Henry VII began his efforts to be crowned as the Holy Roman Emperor following the death of King Albert I in 1308. He finally succeeded in his mission and ascended the throne in January 1309. On July 26, 1309, Pope Clement V bestowed his blessings to Henry VII and proclaimed him as the Holy Roman Emperor in exchange for protection against foes.


1775

Politics

Postal System Established In US

The Second Continental Congress, that witnessed the congregation of delegates from thirteen colonies in Philadelphia in 1775, announced the establishment of first United States Post Office. The convention also named Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general, this formally marking the beginning of United States Postal System


1847

Politics

Liberia Becomes An Independent Nation

On this day in 1847, Liberia became the West African nation to become a democratic republic. The American colony was granted sovereignty and the process of preparing a constitution for the Republic of Liberia began.


1936

Politics

Hitler Extends Support To Nationalists In The Spanish Civil War

As the Second Spanish Republic and Nationalists declared war against each other in Spain, Germany agreed to extend their support to the latter in the war on this day in 1936. Upon Hitler's orders, forces were deployed and transportation facilities were provided to the troops of General Francisco Franco.


1941

Politics

President Franklin Roosevelt Issued Orders To Seize Japanese Assets

In response to Japan's advancement towards the Cam Ranh naval base in French Indo-China territory, United States made their displeasure clear by freezing Japanese assets in the country. The British and Dutch East Indies followed in the footsteps of their North American ally. The move caused Japan to lose a major chunk of overseas trade and was faced with limited oil reserves.


1945

Politics

Winston Churchill Defeated By Clement Attlee In General Election

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was defeated in the general election of 1945, on this day. He was replaced by Clement Attlee, the Labor party candidate after securing a landslide victory.


1947

Politics

US President Signs The National Security Act

On this day in 1947 US President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act, which became one of the most effective piece of legislation to protect the nation's interest during the Cold War. The Act was instrumental in establishing United States national Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency.


1948

Politics

Executive Order 9981 Ends Discrimination In The United States Military

The Executive Order 9981, which was instrumental in ending colour based discrimination of soldiers of the United States Army, was issued on this day in 1948. Prime Minister signed the order which banished racial discrimination of any form in the Armed Forces.


1953

Politics

The ‘Un-American’ Short Creek Raid Executed

On this day in 1953, Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle ordered what is remembered as ‘the largest mass arrest of men and women in modern American history’. The Short Creek raid was a police crackdown led by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and Arizona National Guard against people practicing polygamy.


1965

Politics

The Maldives Claim Complete Independence

Maldives, which was a British protectorate for almost eight decades secured complete independence on July 26, 1965. The former, however, hosted two British Air Force stations on its soil.


1968

Politics

South Vietnamese Opposition Leader Sentenced To Five Years Of Hard Labor

On this day in 1968, South Vietnamese political figure Truong Dinh Dzu became the first citizen to be tried under the 1965 decree that demanded prosecution of individuals ‘who interfere with the government’s struggle against communism.’ Truong, who contested in the 1967 Presidential elections, advocated a coalition government to end the Vietnam Conflict.


1974

Politics

Konstantinos Karamanlis Forms First Civil Government In Greece

The Seven Years in Greece refers to the dictatorial rule of the right wing military junta, which ended in July 1974. On 26th July, Konstantinos Karamanlis headed a civil government, which was formed after discarding the previous military establishment, as the Prime Minister.


1990

Politics

The ‘Americans With Disabilities Act Of 1990’ Is Signed By President George Bush

Based on the lines of Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990’, also aimed at preventing the discrimination of American citizens based on disabilities was passed. On this day in 1990, President George Bush signed the act, thus formally converting it into legislation to promote the upliftment of people with special needs.


1469

Wars

Wars Of The Roses: The Battle Of Edgecote Moor

On July 26, 1469, the forces of Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick and Edward IV of England clashed during the Battle of Edgecote Moor. The skirmish was a part of the Wars of Roses, which was a contest between the House of Lancaster and York for the throne of England.


1758

Wars

French And Indian War: The Siege Of Louisburg Ends

The Watershed Battle between the British American colonies and New France, known as the Siege of Louisburg, concluded with the a French defeat on July 26, 1758. The British acquired the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and eventually also captured Quebec.


1863

Wars

Confederate Hero John Hunt Morgan Held Captive

John Hunt Morgan was a Confederate hero who led the troops in four daring raids against the Union. However on this fateful day in 1863, the Southerner and 360 of his cavalrymen were captured during a raid at Salineville, Ohio.


1916

Wars

Australians And Germans Lock Horns - Battle Of Somme

The Battle of Somme fought during World War I was an Allied mission to capture the Poziers Ridge in France. The combined troops of Australia and New Zealand fought alongside the British troops in the decisive battle. On this day in 1916, the Australian army launched an offensive against the Germans.


1953

Wars

The Battle Of The Samichon River Ends

The Korean War witnessed the UN peace keeping forces coming to the aid of South Korea and the Chinese communist People's Volunteer Army fighting alongside North Korea. On this day in 1953, the troops of 2nd battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and the U.S 7th Marine regiment fended the Chinese assaults at the strategic location on the Jamestown line known as ‘The Hook’. The Chinese suffered heavy casualties and it was just a matter of hours before an armistice was signed declaring the end of the war.


1953

Wars

Cuban Revolution Begins

This day in 1953 marked the beginning of Cuban Revolution which saw the ouster of Dictator Fulgencio Batista. A small group of rebels launched an assault on the military barracks at Moncada and at the helm of the uprising was none other than the legendary Fidel Castro. The leader named the revolution after this date as the ‘Movimiento 26 Julio’ or ‘M 26-7’.


1972

Wars

South Vietnamese Troops Break Enemy Defenses To Enter The City Of Quang Tri

The South Vietnamese troops seized the City of Quang Tri on this day in 1972, which was captured by North Vietnam, following the Nguyen Hue Offensive, earlier in May. The paratroopers unfurled their flag over the City Citadel.


2009

Wars

Boko Haram Uprising

The Nigerian security forces engaged in a clash with the fundamentalist militant group Boko Haram on July 26, 2009. The members of Boko Haram in Maiduguri were on their way to the cemetery when they were stopped by officers as these motorcycle-borne militants weren’t wearing helmets. They refused to comply and thus a conflict ensued which quickly spread throughout the city. Rampant acts of violence claimed the lives of at least a 1000 Nigerian citizens.


1931

Disasters & Natural Calamities

A Grasshopper Swarm Destroys Crops In Drought Struck Midwest

Disaster struck in the American states of Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska on this day in 1931, when swarms of grasshoppers attacked crop fields. The dry arid conditions owing to the ongoing drought caused a population explosion of these insects. Destruction of crops caused by the grasshoppers was unimaginable and reports said the swarms were thick enough to even block sunlight.


1963

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Massive Earthquake In Yugoslavia Destroys Capital City

In July 1963, the Macedonian capital city of Skopje was rocked by a high intensity earthquake which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale. The tremors were so powerful that about four-fifth of the city's buildings were turned to ruins and hundreds were trapped beneath the rubbles.


1745

Sports

Guildford Hosts The Historic Women's Cricket Match

On July 26, 1745, 22 women from Barmley and Hambeldon charted history when they played in the first ever women's cricket match (recorded). The match which took place in Guildford, England was described a British newspaper as a contest “between eleven maids of Bramley and eleven maids of Hambledon, all dressed in white.”


1952

Sports

Bob Mathias Wins Second Olympic Decathlon At Helsinki Olympics

On this day in 1952, athlete Bob Mathias successfully defended his gold medal in Olympic decathlon. He created a new world record by breaking his own record from the London Olympics of 1948. Bob defeated Milton Campbell by a margin of 900 points and became the first ever athlete to secure the title of a decathlon winner, twice in succession.


1971

Sports

Nicolette Milnes-Walker Sails Across The Atlantic Alone

Nicolette Milnes-Walker created history on this day in 1971, when she docked her boat at the Port O'Call Marina. A British psychologist by profession, she holds the reputation of being the first lady to have dared to travel across the Atlantic. She sailed non-stop for 46 days to complete her quest.


1998

Sports

Flying Car Debris Kills Three Race Fans At Michigan Speedway

Thousands of fans who had gathered to witness the ‘U.S. 500’ racing event, were shell shocked by what happened on July 26, 1998. One of the contesting drivers Adrian Fernandez rammed into the retaining walls of the race circuit. The collision which occurred on the Michigan Speedway in Brooklyn caused car debris to fly in all directions killing three and injuring six others.


1942

Literature & Entertainment

William Faulkner Begins Working With ‘Warner Bros.’ As Screenwriter

As was the trend in the 1950s, many novelists worked as screenwriters owing to numerous reasons, but the lack of economic success for their published works being primary. Renowned American writer and Nobel laureate William Faulkner began his five month association with ‘Warner Bros’ on July 26, 1942.


1951

Literature & Entertainment

Walt Disney's ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Premieres In United Kingdom

When fame was yet to reach Walt Disney, the timeless director created a short-length animated version of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Since it did not get the required reaction, he shelved the idea. But the idea never left him and on July 26, 1951, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, a full-length animated movie hit the theatres in London. It was Disney’s thirteenth animated project.


1975

Literature & Entertainment

‘The Hustle’ Gains The #1 Spot

Van Allen Clinton McCoy, who is famously known by his stage name, Van McCoy, heralded the age of disco on this day. Popularity of his iconic dance number 'Hustle' shot through the roof, and it was named the No.1 song on 'Billboard Hot 100' and 'Hot Soul Singles' charts on July 26, 1975.


1788

Trivia

New York Became The 11th State Of The United States

On this day in 1788, New York became a state of the United States after ratifying the constitution. Following the ratification, New York became the eleventh state and it is said that the acceptance of constitution by New York, was crucial for its success. The newly-formed state suggested several modifications to the existing constitution in its ratification message.


1803

Trivia

The Surrey Iron Railway, United Kingdom Opens To Public

A fourteen-kilometer railway track which connected Wandsworth and Croydon regions of England, began operating on this day in 1803. Known as the ‘Surrey Iron Railway’, it was one of the world's first public railway systems and the first in United Kingdom.


1797

Trivia

John Quincy Adams Marries Louisa Johnson

On July 26, 1797, renowned politician John Quincy Adams entered the wedlock with Louisa Johnson in a ceremony in England. Adams later went on to become the President of USA and thus, Louisa became the first ever foreign national to become the First Lady, a distinction which remains unparalleled till date.


1878

Trivia

Cowboy Wounded By Cop In An Encounter

On this day, in a skirmish between law enforcement officer Wyatt Earp and a gang of cowboys, one of the outlaws was fatally wounded. It was early in the morning of July 26, 1878 when the cowboys, under the influence of alcohol, began firing in the air. Despite peaceful attempts by Wyatt and team, the outlaws refused to put down their guns and rather shot at an officer. Following this Wyatt retaliated and a cowboy named Hoy was seriously injured and died a month later.


1908

Trivia

The World Famous ‘FBI’ Comes Into Existence

On this day in 1908, the United States Department laid the foundation of what would become one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the country. Ten members of the Secret Service were hired to accommodate the newly expanded Office of the Chief Examiner for investigating federal crimes. The following year, it was renamed the Bureau of Investigation and later, the ‘Federal bureau of Investigation’.


1945

Trivia

‘USS Indianapolis’ Arrives At Tinian Island

After the discovery of atomic fission, the Allied and Axis powers were involved in a rat race to develop the atomic bomb. On July 26, 1945, the ‘USS Indianapolis’ reached the Tinian Island with the parts of the nuclear warhead, which would later be used in the Hiroshima bombing. The US Navy cruiser was hit by Japanese torpedoes while it was enroute to Philippines from Tinian.


1945

Trivia

‘HMS Vestal’ Sinks

The Royal Navy Algerine class minesweeper, ‘HMS Vestal’ witnessed action in the Pacific theatre of WWII. However on this day in 1945 the battleship sustained severe damages when a Japanese aircraft hit it during Operation Livery. The vessel could not sustain the damages and sunk. It was the last vessel to be lost by the Royal Navy in WWII.


1945

Trivia

The Potsdam Declaration Is Signed By Stalin, Churchill And Truman

The Potsdam Conference was a crucial meeting held between the supreme leaders of Soviet Union, USA and Great Britain in Berlin, during World War II. On this day in 1945, the Conference unanimously put forth the memorandum for complete surrender of the Imperial Empire of Japan.


1946

Trivia

‘Aloha Airlines’ Launched

‘Aloha Airlines’ of Hawaii was a charter carrier Trans-Pacific Airlines. On July 26, 1946, the airline launched its service from ‘Honolulu International Airport’. The Airlines declared bankruptcy in March 2008 and since has ceased all operations.


1956

Trivia

The Suez Canal Nationalized

After United States of America and the World Bank backed out of financing the construction of Aswan Dam in Egypt, former President Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal. Following his announcement, the ships were forced to pay tolls for using the canal. The declaration was a shock to the French and British stakeholders and it sparked off an international debate


1957

Trivia

Carlos Castillo Armas Assassinated

Carlos Castillo Armas was an officer in the military of Guatemala, before he was sworn -in as the President of the country following a CIA backed coup in 1954. On this day in 1957, a palace guard named Romeo Vasquez, shot the dictator to death.


1958

Trivia

‘Explorer 4’ Was Launched

As a part of the Explorers program, the satellite ‘Explorer 4’ was launched from a ‘Juno I’ rocket, on this day in 1958. The satellite, aimed to study Van Allen radiation belts and how the Earth’s magnetosphere reacted to nuclear explosions.


1963

Trivia

‘Syncom 2’ Is Launched By ‘NASA’

The world of space exploration witnessed a moment of glory as ‘Syncom 2’, was launched by ‘NASA’ from Cape Canaveral on this day in 1963. It was the first geosynchronous communication satellite to enter the orbit.


1971

Trivia

‘Apollo 15’ Left Cape Canaveral

The historic ‘Apollo 15’ space mission was launched on this day in 1971. A ‘NASA’ initiative, the motive of this manned mission was to deploy a Lunar Roving Vehicle, the first ever of its kind to collect surface material from the moon.


1983

Trivia

Contraception Test Case Verdict Out

Victoria Gillick started a movement in Britain against the Department of Health and Social Security directive to doctors to provide contraception for under-16s. She argued that parental consent should be mandatory for under-16s to obtain contraceptive and even moved her motion to High Court. Judge Victoria Gillick handed out the ruling in this case on this day in 1983 wherein she denied Victoria's application.


1984

Trivia

Serial Killer Ed Gein Dies

Ed Gein, who was the inspiration behind Hollywood movies like 'Psycho', 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Silence of the Lambs' died, on this day in 1984. Ed had a troubled childhood which morphed him into the serial killer he was. The convict would skin his victims and had even made a suit out of human skin, which police later found at his farm. He was serving in his time in a state facility in Wisconsin when he died of cancer.


1989

Trivia

Robert T. Morris, Jr. Prosecuted Under The 1986 Computer Fraud And Abuse Act

Quite a few sites on the internet are filled with malware and other fraudulent files. Interestingly, it was a graduate student at ‘Cornell University’ who developed the world's first ever internet bug, the ‘Morris Worm’. Robert Tappan Morris released the worm in 1988, which used system vulnerabilities to access them and replicate, until the device was no more useful. For his crimes, he was charged under the ‘1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’. It was the first time in history that an individual was indicted under the legislation. Morris was sentenced to probation for a period of 3 years, was asked to pay a fine of $10,000 and spend 400 hours in community service.


1990

Trivia

The Cocaine Drink

On this day, in Miami, Florida, a man drank a soft drink named Pony Malta de Bavaria while commuting to office. Soon after, he became unconscious and went into coma, from which he never recovered. Later, when that bottle and other bottles of the same drink were inspected, it was found that they contained a thick layer of cocaine, the consumption of which could prove fatal.


1994

Trivia

Israeli Embassy In London Bombed

The embassy of Israel in London was rocked by a bomb explosion on this day in 1994. Security officials speculated the involvement of ‘Hezbollah’, a Lebanon-based extremist organization in the car blast. The vehicle contained as many as 20-30 pounds of explosives and the tragedy claimed around 14 lives.


2005

Trivia

NASA Launched ‘Discovery’

Following the disaster during NASA's Columbia mission, ‘Discovery’ too had a rough start when technical failures caused the launch to be aborted on July 13, 2005. However, on July 26, following troubleshooting, the Orbiter Vehicle was successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad ‘39B’.


People Born This Day

Aldous Huxley
(1894-1963)
Writer [ British ]
Andy Goldsworthy
(1956-)
Sculptor & Photographer [ British ]
George Bernard Shaw
(1856-1950)
Playwright [ Irish ]
Carl Jung
(1875-1961)
Psychiatrist [ Swiss ]
Jason Statham
(1967-)
Actor, Producer, Martial Artist [ British ]
Kate Beckinsale
(1973-)
[ British ]
Kevin Spacey
(1959-)
Actor [ American ]
Mick Jagger
(1943-)
Singer, Musician [ British ]
Sandra Bullock
(1964-)
[ American ]
Stanley Kubrick
(1928-1999)
[ American ]
Alfred Marshall
(1842-1924)
Economist [ British ]
Jeremy Piven
(1965-)
Actor [ American ]
John Howard
(1939-)
Former Prime Minister of Australia [ Australian ]
Paul Walden
(1863-1957)
Chemist [ German ]
Asif Ali Zardari
(1955-)
Former President of Pakistan [ Pakistani ]
Vladimír Mečiar
(1942-)
Politician [ Slovak ]
Chairil Anwar
(1922-1949)
Poet [ Indonesian ]
George Clinton
(1739-1812)
Fourth Vice President of the U.S.A [ American ]
Thaksin Shinawatra
(1949-)
Former Prime Minister of Thailand [ Thai ]
Carson James Lueders
(2001-)
YouTuber, Singer, Dancer [ American ]
Elizabeth Gillies
(1993-)
Actress & Singer [ American ]
Taylor Momsen
(1993-)
TV Actress, Singer-songwriter, Actress [ American ]
Michael Campion
(2002-)
Actor, Model [ American ]
Erica Delsman
(2004-)
Musical.ly Star [ American ]
Dorothy Hamill
(1956-)
Figure Skater [ American ]
Amanda Steele
(1999-)
YouTuber, Vlogger [ American ]
Scott Cawthon
(1971-)
Game Designer, Animator [ American ]


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