This Day In History

Jul 12, 1389:
Geoffrey Chaucer is named chief clerk by Richard II

King Richard II appoints Geoffrey Chaucer to the position of chief clerk of the king's works in Westminster on this day in 1389.

Chaucer, the middle-class son of a wine merchant, served as a page in an aristocratic household during his teens and was associated with the aristocracy for the rest of his life. In 1359, he fought in France with Edward III, and was captured in a siege. Edward III ransomed him, and he later worked for Edward III and John of Gaunt. One of his earliest known works was an elegy for the deceased wife of John of Gaunt, Book of the Duchesse.

In 1372, Chaucer traveled to Italy on diplomatic missions, where he may have been exposed to Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. He also visited Flanders and France, and was appointed comptroller of customs. He wrote several poems in the 1380s, including The Parlement of Foules and Troilus and Criseyde. In the late 1380s or early 1390s, he began work on the Canterbury Tales, in which a mixed group of nobles, peasants, and clergy make a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The work, a compilation of tales told by each character, is remarkable for its presentation of the spectrum of social classes. Although Chaucer intended the book to include 120 stories, he died in 1399, with only 22 tales finished.

Jul 12, 1780:
The Battle of Huck's Defeat

On this day in 1780, Philadelphia lawyer Captain Christian Huck and 130 Loyalist cavalry, belonging to British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton's legion, suffer defeat at the hands of 500 Patriot militiamen at Williamson's Plantation in South Carolina. The plantation was in South Carolina's New Acquisition District along the border with North Carolina.

Huck and his Loyalists arrived at the Bratton plantation on the evening of July 11 to find only Martha Bratton at home, while her husband, Patriot William Bratton, was leading raids against Tory gatherings with his militia. While Martha was questioned by the Loyalists, a slave named Watt, notified Bratton of Huck's presence near his home. Bratton, in turn, brought his Patriot militia back to the plantation and launched a surprise attack at dawn on July 12 on the Loyalist encampment at neighboring Williamson's plantation. The Patriots surrounded Huck's camp under cover of darkness and then opened fire as the soldiers emerged from their blankets at dawn, scoring a total defeat of the Loyalist forces, and killing Huck. The British lost between 25 and 50 men killed, including Huck, at least twice as many wounded and 29 captured. Only one Patriot died, and Continental morale received a significant a boost.

In the aftermath of the Patriot success, Martha earned recognition for her refusal to divulge her husband's whereabouts under extreme duress. In addition, Watt's endeavor to notify Bratton that Huck was in the area won him a place in local history. Both have markers in their honor. Historic Brattonsville is now a living history museum, which reenacts the battle for two days each July. Its historic buildings appear in the film The Patriot (2000), starting Mel Gibson.

Jul 12, 1861:
Confederacy signs treaties with Native Americans

Special commissioner Albert Pike completes treaties with the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, giving the new Confederate States of America several allies in Indian Territory. Some members of the tribes also fought for the Confederacy.

A Boston native, Pike went west in 1831 and traveled with fur trappers and traders. He settled in Arkansas and became a noted poet, author, and teacher. He bought a plantation and operated a newspaper, the Arkansas Advocate. By 1837 he was practicing law and often represented Native Americans in disputes with the federal government.

Pike was opposed to secession but nonetheless sided with his adopted state when it left the Union. As ambassador to the Indians, he was a fortunate addition to the Confederacy, which was seeking to form alliances with the tribes of Indian Territory. Besides the agreements with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, Pike also engineered treaties with the Creek, Seminole, Comanche, and Caddos, among others.

Ironically, many of these tribes had been expelled from the Southern states in the 1830s and 1840s but still chose to ally themselves with those states during the war. The grudges they held against the Confederate states were offset by their animosity toward the federal government. Native Americans were also bothered by Republican rhetoric during the 1860 election. Some of Abraham Lincoln's supporters, such as William Seward, argued that the land of the tribes in Indian Territory should be appropriated for distribution to white settlers. When the war began in 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron ordered all posts in Indian Territory abandoned to free up military resources for use against the Confederacy, leaving the area open to invasion by the Confederates.

By signing these treaties, the tribes severed their relationships with the federal government, much in the way the southern states did by seceding from the Union. They were accepted into the Confederates States of America, and they sent representatives to the Confederate Congress. The Confederate government promised to protect the Native American's land holdings and to fulfill the obligations such as annuity payments made by the federal government.

Some of these tribes even sent troops to serve in the Confederate army, and one Cherokee, Stand Watie, rose to the rank of brigadier general.

Jul 12, 1861:
Wild Bill Hickok's first gunfight

Wild Bill Hickok begins to establish his reputation as a gunfighter after he coolly shoots three men during a shootout in Nebraska.

Born in Homer (later called Troy Grove), Illinois, James Butler Hickok moved to Kansas in 1855 at the age of 18. There he filed a homestead claim, took odd jobs, and began calling himself by his father's name, Bill. A skilled marksman, Hickok honed his abilities as a gunslinger. Though Hickok was not looking for trouble, he liked to be ready to defend himself, and his ability with a pistol soon proved useful.

By the summer of 1861, Hickok was working as a stock tender at a stage depot in Nebraska called Rock Creek Station. Across the creek lived Dave McCanles, a mean-spirited man who disliked Hickok for some reason. McCanles enjoyed insulting the young stockman, calling him Duck Bill and claiming he was a hermaphrodite. Hickok took his revenge by secretly romancing McCanles' mistress, Sarah Shull.

On this day in 1861, the tension between Hickok and McCanles came to a head. McCanles may have learned about the affair between Shull and Hickok, though his motivations are not clear. He arrived at the station with two other men and his 12-year-old-son and exchanged angry words with the station manager. Then McCanles spotted Hickok standing behind a curtain partition. He threatened to drag "Duck Bill" outside and give him a thrashing. Demonstrating remarkable coolness for a 24-year-old who had never been involved in a gunfight, Hickok replied, "There will be one less son-of-a-bitch when you try that."

McCanles ignored the warning. When he approached the curtain, Hickok shot him in the chest. McCanles staggered out of the building and died in the arms of his son. Hearing the shots, the two other gunmen ran in. Hickok shot one of them twice and winged the other. The other workers at the station finished them off.

The story of Hickok's first gunfight spread quickly, establishing his reputation as a skilled gunman. In 1867, Harper's New Monthly Magazine published a highly exaggerated account of the shoot-out which claimed Hickok had single-handedly killed nine men. The article quoted Hickok as saying, "I was wild and I struck savage blows." Thus began the legendary career of "Wild Bill."

For the next 15 years, Hickok would further embellish his reputation with genuine acts of daring, though the popular accounts continued to exceed the reality. He died in 1876 at the age of 39, shot in the back of the head by a young would-be gunfighter looking for fame.

Jul 12, 1862:
Medal of Honor created

President Abraham Lincoln signs into law a measure calling for the awarding of a U.S. Army Medal of Honor, in the name of Congress, "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection." The previous December, Lincoln had approved a provision creating a U.S. Navy Medal of Valor, which was the basis of the Army Medal of Honor created by Congress in July 1862. The first U.S. Army soldiers to receive what would become the nation's highest military honor were six members of a Union raiding party who in 1862 penetrated deep into Confederate territory to destroy bridges and railroad tracks between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1863, the Medal of Honor was made a permanent military decoration available to all members, including commissioned officers, of the U.S. military. It is conferred upon those who have distinguished themselves in actual combat at risk of life beyond the call of duty. Since its creation, during the Civil War, more than 3,400 men and one woman have received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in U.S. military conflict.

Jul 12, 1915:
Allied attack on Achi Baba

On July 12, 1915, Allied forces make a sixth and final attempt to capture Achi Baba, a prominent hill position featuring a commanding view of Cape Helles, on the Gallipoli Peninsula, from its Turkish defenders.

Though many modern-day historians have questioned the actual strategic importance of the hill in the grand scheme of the Gallipoli invasion, Achi Baba was seen by the Allied command at the time as a crucial objective in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire s forces and their German allies. Because of this, Sir Ian Hamilton, chief commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, had set the capture of Achi Baba as a priority from the first day of the Allied land invasion, on April 25, 1915. In addition to the disorderly landing itself, three separate unsuccessful attempts had been made to capture the heights, as well as the nearby village of Krithia, by that June. On June 28, another attempt met with similar failure, at the cost of heavy Allied casualties, in the Battle of Gulley Ravine.

The attack of July 12 began after the arrival of Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, a regional commander sent from the Western Front to aid Hamilton on the front lines in Gallipoli, along with an additional division of Allied forces. Yet again, the Allies were unsuccessful, gaining a total of only 350 yards over two days of heavy fighting before Hunter-Weston called off the attacks. The Allied casualty figure–4,000 dead or wounded–was lower than the Turkish one–some 10,000 men–but Achi Baba remained in Turkish hands. From then on, the bulk of Allied operations in Gallipoli were focused further north, around the so-called Anzac Cove (named for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) and Suvla Bay.

Jul 12, 1933:
First Dymaxion car produced

The first three-wheeled, multi-directional Dymaxion car--designed by the architect, engineer and philosopher Buckminster Fuller--is manufactured in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on this day in 1933.

Born in Massachusetts in 1895, Fuller set out to live his life as (in his own words) "an experiment to find what a single individual can contribute to changing the world and benefiting all humanity." After making up the world "Dymaxion" as a combination of the words "dynamic," "maximum" and "ion," he took the word as his own personal brand. Among his groundbreaking creations were the geodesic dome and the Dymaxion house, which was made of lightweight aluminum and could be shipped by air and assembled on site.

In 1927, Fuller first sketched the Dymaxion car under the name "4D transport." Part aircraft, part automobile, it had wings that inflated. Five years later, Fuller asked his friend, the sculptor Isamu Noguchi, to make more sketches of the car. The result was an elongated teardrop design, with a rear third wheel that lifted off the ground and a tail fin. Fuller set up production of the Dymaxion car in a former Locomobile factory in Bridgeport in March 1933. The first model rolled out of the Bridgeport factory on July 12, 1933--Fuller's 38th birthday. It had a steel chassis (or frame) and a body made of ash wood, covered with an aluminum skin and topped with a painted canvas roof. It was designed to be able to reach a speed of 120 miles per hour and average 28 miles per gallon of gasoline.

Sold to Gulf Oil, the Dymaxion car went on display at the Century of Progress exposition in Chicago. That October, however, the professional driver Francis Turner was killed after the Dymaxion car turned over during a demonstration. An investigation cleared Dymaxion of responsibility, but investors became scarce, despite the enthusiasm of the press and of celebrities such as the novelist H.G. Wells and the painter Diego Rivera.

Along with the Nazi-built KdF-wagen (the forerunner of the Volkswagen Beetle), the Dymaxion was one of several futuristic, rear-engined cars developed during the 1930s. Though it was never mass-produced, the Dymaxion helped lead to public acceptance of new streamlined passenger cars, such as the 1936 Lincoln Zephyr. In 2008, the only surviving Dymaxion was featured in an exhibit dedicated to Fuller's work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. An article published in The New York Times about the exhibit recalled Fuller's own impressions of the Dymaxion: "I knew everyone would call it a car," he told the literary critic Hugh Kenner in the 1960s; instead, it was actually "the land-taxiing phase of a wingless, twin orientable jet stilts flying device."
12 July Births

100 BC – Julius Caesar, Roman General (d. 44 BC)
1394 – Ashikaga Yoshinori, Japanese shogun (d. 1441)
1468 – Juan del Encina, Spanish poet, playwright, and composer (d. 1530)
1596 – Michael I of Russia, Tsar of All Russia (d. 1645)
1675 – Evaristo Felice Dall'Abaco, Italian violinist and composer (d. 1742)
1730 – Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, founded the Wedgwood Company (d. 1795)
1803 – Peter Chanel, French priest and saint (d. 1841)
1807 – Thomas Hawksley, English engineer (d. 1893)
1813 – Claude Bernard, French physiologist (d. 1878)
1817 – Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher and author (d. 1862)
1824 – Eugène Boudin, French painter (d. 1898)
1828 – Nikolay Chernyshevsky, Russian philosopher (d. 1889)
1849 – William Osler, Canadian physician and author (d. 1919)
1850 – Otto Schoetensack, German anthropologist (d. 1912)
1852 – Hipólito Yrigoyen, Argentinian politician, 19th President of Argentina (d. 1933)
1854 – George Eastman, American innovator and entrepreneur (d. 1933)
1855 – Ned Hanlan, Canadian rower (d. 1908)
1861 – Anton Arensky, Russian pianist, composer, and educator (d. 1906)
1863 – Albert Calmette, French physician (d. 1933)
1863 – Paul Drude, German physicist (d. 1906)
1868 – Stefan George, German poet (d. 1933)
1868 – Karl Röderer, Swiss target shooter (d. 1928)
1870 – Louis II, Prince of Monaco (d. 1949)
1872 – Emil Hácha, Czech lawyer and politician, 3rd President of Czechoslovakia (d. 1945)
1876 – Max Jacob, French poet, painter, and critic (d. 1944)
1878 – Peeter Põld, Estonian scientist and politician (d. 1930)
1880 – Tod Browning, American actor, director, and screenwriter (d. 1962)
1884 – Louis B. Mayer, Belarusian-American film producer (d. 1957)
1884 – Amedeo Modigliani, Italian painter and sculptor (d. 1920)
1886 – Jean Hersholt, Danish-American actor and director (d. 1956)
1892 – Bruno Schulz, Ukrainian-Polish author and painter (d. 1942)
1895 – Kirsten Flagstad, Norwegian soprano (d. 1962)
1895 – Buckminster Fuller, American architect, engineer, and author, designed the Montreal Biosphère (d. 1983)
1895 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American songwriter, director, and producer (d. 1960)
1900 – Chhabi Biswas, Indian actor (d. 1962)
1902 – Günther Anders, German philosopher (d. 1992)
1904 – Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
1906 – Pietro Tordi, Italian actor (d. 1990)
1908 – Milton Berle, American comedian, actor, and singer (d. 2002)
1908 – Alain Cuny, French actor (d. 1994)
1908 – Paul Runyan, American golfer (d. 2002)
1909 – Joe DeRita, American actor (d. 1993)
1909 – Fritz Leonhardt, German engineer, designed Fernsehturm Stuttgart (d. 1999)
1909 – Herbert Zim, American naturalist, author, and educator (d. 1994)
1911 – Evald Mikson, Estonian footballer and Nazi collaborator (d. 1993)
1913 – Willis Lamb, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2008)
1914 – Mohammad Moin, Iranian scholar (d. 1971)
1916 – Robert E. Gilka, American photographer and journalist (d. 2013)
1916 – Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Ukrainian-Russian sniper (d. 1974)
1917 – Andrew Wyeth, American painter (d. 2009)
1918 – Mary Glen Haig, English fencer
1919 – Lenny Mancini, American boxer (d. 2003)
1919 – George Weissman, American businessman (d. 2009)
1920 – Keith Andes, American actor (d. 2005)
1920 – Pierre Berton, Canadian journalist and author (d. 2004)
1920 – Randolph Quirk, Manx linguist
1920 – Beah Richards, American actress and playwright (d. 2000)
1921 – Bob Fillion, Canadian ice hockey player
1922 – Mark Hatfield, American politician, 29th Governor of Oregon (d. 2011)
1923 – René Favaloro, Argentine surgeon (d. 2000)
1924 – Fedon Matheou, Greek basketball player and coach (d. 2011)
1925 – Albert Lance, Australian-French tenor (d. 2013)
1925 – Roger Smith, American businessman (d. 2007)
1927 – Françoys Bernier, Canadian pianist, conductor and educator (d. 1993)
1927 – Conte Candoli, American trumpet player (d. 2001)
1927 – Jack Harshman, American baseball player (d. 2013)
1927 – Harley Hotchkiss, Canadian businessman (d. 2011)
1927 – Frank Windsor, English actor
1928 – Alastair Burnet, English journalist (d. 2012)
1928 – Elias James Corey, American chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
1928 – Imero Fiorentino, American lighting designer (d. 2013)
1928 – Jo Myong-rok, North Korean military officer (d. 2010)
1928 – Pixie Williams, New Zealand singer (d. 2013)
1930 – Alberto Lionello, Italian actor (d. 1994)
1930 – Gordon Pinsent, Canadian actor, director, and screenwriter
1930 – Irene Sutcliffe, English actress
1931 – Eric Ives, English historian (d. 2012)
1931 – Geeto Mongol, Canadian-American wrestler (d. 2013)
1932 – Otis Davis, American runner
1932 – Monte Hellman, American director, producer, and editor
1933 – Victor Poor, American engineer, developed the Datapoint 2200 (d. 2012)
1933 – Donald E. Westlake, American author (d. 2008)
1934 – Van Cliburn, American pianist (d. 2013)
1935 – Roy Barraclough, English actor
1936 – Meta Ramsey, British intelligence officer and politician
1937 – Bill Cosby, American comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter
1937 – Mickey Edwards, American politician
1937 – Lionel Jospin, French politician, 165th Prime Minister of France
1937 – Michel Louvain, Canadian singer
1937 – Robert McFarlane, American colonel and diplomat, 13th United States National Security Advisor
1937 – Guy Woolfenden, English composer and conductor
1938 – Jaishankar, Indian actor (d. 2000)
1938 – Ron Fairly, American baseball player and sportscaster
1938 – Wieger Mensonides, Dutch swimmer
1939 – Phillip Adams, Australian journalist
1941 – Benny Parsons, American race car driver (d. 2007)
1941 – Joseph Whipp, American actor
1942 – Roy Palmer, English cricketer and umpire
1942 – Billy Smith, Australian rugby player
1942 – Tam White, Scottish singer and actor (d. 2010)
1943 – Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Canadian civil servant
1943 – Christine McVie, English singer-songwriter and keyboard player (Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack)
1943 – Walter Murch, American film editor and sound designer
1943 – Paul Silas, American basketball player and coach
1944 – Simon Blackburn, English academic philosopher
1944 – Delia Ephron, American author, screenwriter and playwright
1944 – Kent Finell, Swedish radio host (d. 2013)
1944 – Denise Nicholas, American actress, screenwriter, and activist
1945 – Michael Kenward, British science writer
1945 – Leopoldo Mastelloni, Italian actor, singer, and director
1946 – Gareth Edwards, Welsh rugby player and sportscaster
1947 – Robert Fisk, English journalist
1947 – Wilko Johnson, English guitarist Dr Feelgood, The Blockheads
1947 – Richard C. McCarty, American psychologist and academic
1948 – Susan Blu, American voice actress and director
1948 – Ben Burtt, American director, screenwriter, and sound designer
1948 – Walter Egan, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1948 – Richard Simmons, American fitness trainer and actor
1948 – Jay Thomas, American actor
1949 – Rick Hendrick, American businessman, founded Hendrick Motorsports
1949 – Simon Fox, English rock drummer, (Be-Bop Deluxe)
1950 – Eric Carr, American drummer and songwriter (Kiss) (d. 1991)
1950 – Gilles Meloche, Canadian ice hockey player
1951 – Joan Bauer, American author
1951 – Brian Grazer, American screenwriter and producer, founded Imagine Entertainment
1951 – Cheryl Ladd, American actress and singer
1951 – Piotr Pustelnik, Polish mountaineer
1951 – Sylvia Sass, Hungarian soprano
1951 – Jamey Sheridan, American actor
1952 – Voja Antonić, Serbian computer scientist and journalist, designed the Galaksija computer
1952 – Irina Bokova, Bulgarian politician
1952 – Philip Taylor Kramer, American bass player (Iron Butterfly) (d. 1995)
1952 – Liz Mitchell, Jamaican singer (Boney M.)
1953 – John Ausonius, Swedish criminal and murderer
1954 – Eric Adams, American singer-songwriter (Manowar)
1954 – Robert Carl, American pianist and composer
1954 – Wolfgang Dremmler, German footballer
1954 – Sulakshana Pandit, Indian actress and singer
1955 – Timothy Garton Ash, English historian
1955 – Jimmy LaFave, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1955 – Bambi Woods, American porn actress
1956 – Mel Harris, American actress
1956 – Sandi Patty, American singer
1956 – Mario Soto, Dominican baseball player
1956 – Tony Galvin, English footballer, who represented Republic of Ireland
1957 – Rick Husband, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2003)
1957 – Dave Semenko, Canadian ice hockey player and sportscaster
1957 – Taso N. Stavrakis, American actor and stuntman
1958 – J. D. Hayworth, American politician
1958 – Tonya Lee Williams, English-Canadian actress
1959 – David Brown, Australian meteorologist
1959 – Charlie Murphy, American actor and screenwriter
1959 – Karl J. Friston, English psychiatrist and neuroscientist
1960 – Corynne Charby, French model, actress, and singer
1961 – Heikko Glöde, German footballer and manager
1962 – Julio César Chávez, Mexican boxer
1962 – Dan Murphy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Soul Asylum)
1962 – Dean Wilkins, English footballer and manager
1962 – Joanna Shields, American-English businesswoman
1964 – Tim Gane, English guitarist (Stereolab and McCarthy)
1964 – Gaby Roslin, English actress
1965 – Sanjay Manjrekar, Indian cricketer and sportscaster
1965 – Robin Wilson, American musician (Gin Blossoms)
1966 – Taiji, Japanese bass player and songwriter (Loudness and X Japan) (d. 2011)
1966 – Jeff Bucknum, American race car driver
1966 – Annabelle Croft, English tennis player and television and radio presenter
1966 – Tamsin Greig, English actress
1966 – Ana Torrent, Spanish actress
1966 – Misato Watanabe, Japanese singer
1967 – Richard Herring, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter
1967 – George Freeman, English politician
1967 – John Petrucci, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment, and Explorers Club)
1967 – Bruny Surin, Canadian sprinter
1968 – Catherine Plewinski, French swimmer
1968 – Lady Saw, Jamaican singer
1969 – Lisa Nicole Carson, American actress
1969 – Chantal Jouanno, French politician
1969 – Alan Mullally, England cricketer
1969 – Anne-Sophie Pic, French chef
1969 – Jesse Pintado, Mexican-American guitarist (Napalm Death, Terrorizer, and Lock Up) (d. 2006)
1970 – Aure Atika, Portuguese-French actress
1970 – Lee Byung-hun, South Korean actor
1970 – Juba Kalamka, American rapper (Deep Dickollective)
1971 – Andriy Kovalenco, Ukrainian-Spanish rugby union player
1971 – Loni Love, American comedian, actress, and author
1971 – Kristi Yamaguchi, American figure skater
1972 – Travis Best, American basketball player
1972 – Brett Reed, American drummer (Rancid and Devils Brigade)
1972 – Jake Wood, English actor
1973 – Christian Vieri, Italian footballer
1974 – Sharon den Adel, Dutch singer-songwriter (Within Temptation)
1974 – Stelios Giannakopoulos, Greek footballer and manager
1974 – Gregory Helms, American wrestler
1975 – Cheyenne Jackson, American actor and singer
1975 – Kai Greene, American bodybuilder
1976 – Dan Boyle, Canadian ice hockey player
1976 – Anna Friel, English actress
1976 – Tracie Spencer, American singer-songwriter and actress
1977 – Neil Harris, English footballer
1977 – Steve Howey, American actor
1977 – Brock Lesnar, American mixed martial artist and wrestler
1978 – Claire Chitham, New Zealand actress
1978 – Topher Grace, American actor and screenwriter
1978 – Michelle Rodriguez, American actress
1979 – Nikos Barlos, Greek basketball player
1980 – Irina Embrich, Estonian fencer
1980 – Johanna Klum, German singer
1980 – Katherine Legge, English race car driver
1980 – Tom Price, English actor
1981 – Adrienne Camp, South African singer-songwriter (The Benjamin Gate)
1981 – Pradeepan Raveendran, Sri Lankan director, producer, and screenwriter
1982 – Antonio Cassano, Italian footballer
1982 – Tara Kirk, American swimmer
1983 – Megumi Kawamura, Japanese volleyball player
1984 – Gareth Gates, English singer-songwriter and actor
1984 – Jonathan Lewis, American football player
1984 – Natalie Martinez, American actress
1984 – Michael McGovern, Irish footballer
1984 – Sami Zayn, Canadian professional wrestler
1984 – Yoshino Nanjō, Japanese voice actress and singer (fripSide)
1985 – Luiz Ejlli, Albanian singer
1985 – Natasha Poly, Russian model
1985 – Gianluca Curci, Italian footballer
1985 – Paulo Vitor Barreto, Brazilian footballer
1985 – Kevin Lacombe, Canadian cyclist
1986 – JP Pietersen, South African rugby player
1986 – Didier Digard, French footballer
1986 – Hannaliis Jaadla, Estonian footballer
1988 – LeSean McCoy, American football player
1988 – Melissa O'Neil, Canadian singer
1988 – Inbee Park, South Korean golfer
1988 – Risa Taneda, Japanese voice actress
1989 – Nick Palmieri, American ice hockey player
1989 – Phoebe Tonkin, Australian actress and model
1990 – Bébé, Portuguese footballer
1991 – Erik Per Sullivan, American actor
1991 – Dexter Roberts, American singer
1991 – James Rodríguez, Colombian footballer
1992 – Eoghan Quigg, Irish singer and actor
1995 – Luke Shaw, English footballer
1995 – Jordyn Wieber, American gymnast
1996 – Jordan Romero, American mountaineer
1997 – Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist

Jul 12, 1943:
Russians halt German advance in a decisive battle at Kursk

On this day in 1943, one of the greatest clashes of armor in military history takes place as the German offensive against the Russian fortification at Kursk, a Russian railway and industrial center, is stopped in a devastating battle, marking the turning point in the Eastern front in the Russians' favor.

The Germans had been driven from Kursk, a key communications center between north and south, back in February. By March, the Russians had created a salient, a defensive fortification, just west of Kursk in order to prevent another attempt by the Germans to advance farther south in Russia. In June, the German invaders launched an air attack against Kursk; on the ground, Operation Cottbus was launched, ostensibly dedicated to destroying Russian partisan activity, but in reality resulting in the wholesale slaughter of Russian civilians, among whom Soviet partisan fighters had been hiding. The Russians responded with air raids against German troop formations.

By July, Hitler realized that the breaking of the Russian resistance at Kursk was essential to pursuing his aims in Soviet Russia and the defense of Greater Germany, that is, German-occupied territory outside prewar German borders. "This day, you are to take part in an offensive of such importance that the whole future of the war may depend on its outcome," Hitler announced to his soldiers on July 4. But on July 5, the Russians pulled the rug out from under Hitler's offensive by launching their own artillery bombardment. The Germans counterattacked, and the largest tank battle in history began: Between the two assailants, 6,000 tanks were deployed. On July 12, 900 Russian tanks clashed with 900 German (including their superior Tiger tanks) at Prokhorovka—the Battle of Kursk's most serious engagement. When it was all over, 300 German tanks, and even more Russian ones, were strewn over the battlefield. "The earth was black and scorched with tanks like burning torches," reported one Russian officer. But the Russians had stopped the German advance dead in its tracks. The advantage had passed to the East. The Germans' stay in Soviet territory was coming to an end.

Jul 12, 1957:
A new Aga Khan

The Nizari Ismaili sect of the Shiite Muslims welcomes a new spiritual leader when Prince Karim Al-Hussain of Pakistan is proclaimed Aga Khan IV. Prince Karim's grandfather, Aga Khan III, died the previous day after a 72-year reign.

According to tradition, Aga Khan IV and his predecessors are said to be direct descendants of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, and Ali's wife Fatimah, Muhammad's daughter. The supporters of Ali and his successors became known as the Shiites, who comprise the second largest branch of Islam. Upon the death of the sixth imam--or spiritual leader--of the Shiites in A.D. 765, the majority of Shiites supported the succession of his youngest son, Musa al-Kazim. Those who supported the eldest son, Ismail, broke away from the main body of Shiites and became known as the Ismailis.

In the late ninth century, the Qaramitah Ismailis, who claimed direct descent from Ismail, began to establish themselves on the Arabian peninsula and in present-day Iraq. In the 10th century, the Fatimid Ismailis came to power in Tunis and Egypt and built a broad missionary network across the Arab world. In 1094, another schism split the movement over the succession of the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir. Those who upheld the claims of the older son Nizar became known as the Nizari Ismailis.

Beginning in the late 11th century, the Nizaris began to spread across Persia (Iran) and Syria, and followers of the sect inspired terror throughout the Muslim world for their violence and blind obedience to their spiritual leader. Europeans called them "Assassins" (Arabic for "hashish smoker") for their alleged practice of taking hashish before carrying out political or religious murders. The Nizaris remained in political power until they were displaced by the Mongols and the Mamluks in the 14th century.

The Nizari religion survived, however, and two rival lines competed for the title of imam. By the 19th century, the lesser line had died out. The imam of the surviving Nizari line, Hasan Ali Shah, was governor of the Persian province of Kerman in the early 19th century and was in high favor of the ruler of Persia, Fath Ali Shah. In 1818, the shah conferred on him the title Aga Khan, which means "chief commander." In 1838, Aga Khan I rose up in revolt of the shah's successor, Mohammad Shah, but was defeated and fled to India.

The second Aga Khan reigned for only four years before Aga Khan III, or Sultan Sir Mohammed Shah, came to power in 1885. Aga Khan III became an important leader to all of India's Muslims, not just the Ismailis, and bypassed his own son to pick his grandson as heir. On July 12, 1957, 19-year-old Prince Karim was proclaimed Aga Khan IV.

First criticized as a wealthy jet setter, Aga Khan IV devoted much of his time and money to the development of Nizari Ismaili communities spread throughout Pakistan, India, Iran, Syria, and Africa. A strong leader, he ordered his millions of followers to leave countries in which they were persecuted and to become citizens of nations in which they were allowed to practice their religion freely. The Aga Khan is known for his business acumen and continues his grandfather's successful thoroughbred-breeding enterprise. He is also the founder and chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network, which works to further social and economic development around the world. In 2005, the Aga Khan received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy.

Jul 12, 1957:
Eisenhower takes first presidential ride in a helicopter

On this day in 1957, Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the first president to ride in the newest advance in aviation technology: the helicopter.

Although experimental military helicopters had been tested since 1947, it was not until 10 years later that a president considered using the new machine for short, official trips to and from the White House. Eisenhower suggested the idea to the Secret Service, which approved of the new mode of transportation, seeing it as safer and more efficient than the traditional limousine motorcade. The HMX-1 Nighthawks squadron put into the president's service was initially administered jointly by the Army and the Marine Corps. In 1976, the Marine Corps took over all helicopter operations.

During his second term, Eisenhower used a Bell UH-13-J Sioux to fly to the presidential retreat at Camp David and to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. According to the White House's Military Office, presidents since Eisenhower have used the Sikorsky VH-3D, otherwise known as a Sea King, for travel both in the continental United States and abroad. Most presidential helicopter flights depart and arrive from the White House's south lawn. The official presidential helicopter is always called Marine One, just as the official presidential airplane is always referred to as Air Force One. Marine One and a second decoy helicopter now accompany Air Force One on all presidential trips.

Currently there are 19 helicopters, including Sea Kings and the UH-60 Blackhawk available for the president's use.

Jul 12, 1963:
The Moors Murderers begin their killing spree

Sixteen-year-old Pauline Reade is abducted while on her way to a dance near her home in Gorton, England, by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the so-called "Moors Murderers," launching a crime spree that will last for over two years. Reade's body was not discovered until 1987, after Brady confessed to the murder during an interview with reporters while in a mental hospital. The teenager had been sexually assaulted and her throat had been slashed.

Brady and Hindley met in Manchester in 1961. The shy girl quickly became infatuated with Brady, a self-styled Nazi, who had a substantial library of Nazi literature and an obsession with sadistic sex. After photographing Hindley in obscene positions, Brady sold his amateur pornography to the public.

In order to satisfy their sadistic impulses, Brady and Hindley began abducting and killing young men and women. After Pauline Reade, they kidnapped 12-year-old John Kilbride in November and Keith Bennett, also 12, in June the next year. The day after Christmas in 1964, Leslie Ann Downey, a 10-year-old from Manchester, was abducted.

In 1965, the couple killed a 17-year-old boy with a hatchet in front of Hindley's brother-in-law, David Smith, perhaps in an attempt to recruit him for future murders. This apparently crossed the line for Smith, who then went to the police.

Inside Brady's apartment, police found luggage tickets that led them to two suitcases in Manchester Central Station. They contained photos of Leslie Ann Downey being tortured along with audiotapes of her pleading for her life. Other photos depicted Hindley and Brady in a desolate area of England known as Saddleworth Moor. There, police found the body of John Kilbride.

The Moors Murderers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1966. Their notoriety continued after it was revealed that a guard at Holloway women's prison had fallen for Hindley and had an affair with her. For his part, Brady continued to confess to other murders, but police have been unable to confirm the validity of his confessions.

Jul 12, 1965:
First Marine wins Medal of Honor

Viet Cong ambush Company A of the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, led by U.S.M.C. Lt. Frank Reasoner of Kellogg, Idaho. The Marines had been on a sweep of a suspected Viet Cong area to deter any enemy activity aimed at the nearby airbase at Da Nang.

Reasoner and the five-man point team he was accompanying were cut off from the main body of the company. He ordered his men to lay down a base of fire and then, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire, killed two Viet Cong, single-handedly wiped out an enemy machine gun emplacement, and raced through enemy fire to rescue his injured radio operator. Trying to rally his men, Reasoner was hit by enemy machine gun fire and was killed instantly. For this action, Reasoner was nominated for America's highest award for valor. When Navy Secretary Paul H. Nitze presented the Medal of Honor to Reasoner's widow and son in ceremonies at the Pentagon on January 31, 1967, he spoke of Reasoner's willingness to die for his men: "Lieutenant Reasoner's complete disregard for his own welfare will long serve as an inspiring example to others." Lieutenant Reasoner was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam.

Jul 12, 1966:
North Vietnam urged to treat U.S. POWs better

The National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and American socialist Norman Thomas appeal to North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh on behalf of captured American pilots. The number of American captives was on the increase due to the intensification of Operation Rolling Thunder, the U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam. On July 15, 18 senators opposed to President Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam policy signed a statement calling on North Vietnam to "refrain from any act of vengeance against American airmen." The next day, the United Nations Secretary General also urged North Vietnam to exercise restraint in the treatment of American prisoners of war. On July 19, North Vietnamese ambassadors in Beijing and Prague asserted that the captured Americans would go on trial as war criminals. However, Ho Chi Minh subsequently gave assurances of a humanitarian policy toward the prisoners, in response, he said, to the appeal he received from SANE and Norman Thomas. Despite Ho's assurances, the American POWs were routinely mistreated and tortured. They were released in 1973 as part of the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords that were signed on January 27, 1973.

Jul 12, 1979:
Disco is dealt death blow by fans of the Chicago White Sox

As the 1970s came to an end, the age of disco was also nearing its finale. But for all of its decadence and overexposure, disco didn't quite die a natural death by collapsing under its own weight. Instead, it was killed by a public backlash that reached its peak on this day in 1979 with the infamous "Disco Demolition" night at Chicago's Comiskey Park. That incident, which led to at least nine injuries, 39 arrests and the cancellation and forfeit of a Major League Baseball game, is widely credited—or, depending on your perspective, blamed—with dealing disco its death blow.

The event was the brainchild of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, popular disk jockeys on Chicago's WLUP "The Loop" FM. Dahl had only recently moved to WLUP from rival station WDAI when that station switched to an all-disco format—a relatively common reformatting trend in American radio in 1979. But however many other rock DJs were displaced by disco, only Dahl was inspired to launch a semi-comic vendetta aimed at "the eradication and elimination of the dreaded musical disease."

On May 2, the rainout of a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers led to the scheduling of a doubleheader on July 12. Dahl and Meier approached the White Sox with a rather unorthodox idea for an attendance-boosting promotion: Declare July 12 "Disco Demolition" night and allow Dahl to blow up a dumpster full of disco records between games of the doubleheader. White Sox executive Mike Veeck embraced the idea in the same spirit with which his father, legendary team-owner Bill Veeck, had once sent a little person to the plate in a major league ballgame in order to amuse the fans and draw a walk.

The first mistake organizers made on Disco Demolition night was grossly underestimating the appeal of the 98-cent discount tickets offered to anyone who brought a disco record to the park to add to the explosive-rigged dumpster. WLUP and the White Sox expected perhaps 5,000 more fans than the average draw of 15,000 or so at Comiskey Park. What they got instead was a raucous sellout crowd of 40,000-plus and an even more raucous overflow crowd of as many as 40,000 more outside on Shields Avenue. The second mistake was failing to actually collect those disco records, which would become dangerous projectiles in the hands of a crowd that was already out of control by the time Dahl detonated his dumpster in center field during warm-ups for the evening's second game.

What followed was utter chaos, as fans by the thousands stormed the field and began to wreak havoc, shimmying up the foul poles, tearing up the grass and lighting vinyl bonfires on the diamond while the stadium scoreboard implored them to return to their seats. Conditions were judged too dangerous for the scheduled game to begin, and the Detroit Tigers were awarded a win by forfeit.
12 July Deaths

783 – Bertrada of Laon (b. 720)
1441 – Ashikaga Yoshinori, Japanese shogun (b. 1394)
1536 – Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch priest and philosopher (b. 1466)
1584 – Steven Borough, English explorer (b. 1525)
1645 – Michael I of Russia (b. 1596)
1664 – Stefano della Bella, Italian engraver (b. 1610)
1682 – Jean Picard, French astronomer (b. 1620)
1693 – John Ashby, English admiral (b. 1640)
1712 – Richard Cromwell, English politician (b. 1626)
1742 – Evaristo Felice Dall'Abaco, Italian violinist and composer (b. 1675)
1749 – Charles de la Boische, Marquis de Beauharnois, French navy officer and politician, Governor General of New France (b. 1671)
1773 – Johann Joachim Quantz, German flute player and composer (b. 1697)
1804 – Alexander Hamilton, American general, economist, and politician, 1st United States Secretary of the Treasury (b. 1755)
1845 – Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian author (b. 1808)
1849 – Dolley Madison, American wife of James Madison, 4th First Lady of the United States (b. 1768)
1870 – John A. Dahlgren, American admiral (b. 1809)
1892 – Alexander Cartwright, American fireman, invented baseball (b. 1820)
1910 – Charles Rolls, English engineer and businessman, co-founded Rolls-Royce Limited (b. 1887)
1918 – Dragutin Lerman, Croatian explorer (b. 1864)
1926 – Gertrude Bell, English archaeologist and spy (b. 1868)
1931 – Nathan Söderblom, Swedish archbishop, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1866)
1934 – Ole Evinrude, Norwegian-American inventor and businessman, invented the outboard motor (b. 1877)
1935 – Alfred Dreyfus, French colonel (b. 1859)
1944 – Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., American general and politician, Governor of Puerto Rico (b. 1887)
1945 – Boris Galerkin, Russian mathematician and engineer (b. 1871)
1945 – Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, German field marshal (b. 1895)
1946 – Ray Stannard Baker, American journalist and author (b. 1870)
1947 – Jimmie Lunceford, American saxophonist and bandleader (b. 1902)
1949 – Douglas Hyde, Irish scholar and politician, 1st President of Ireland (b. 1860)
1950 – Elsie de Wolfe, American actress, author, and interior decorator (b. 1865)
1960 – Buddy Adler, American film producer (b. 1909)
1961 – Mazo de la Roche, Canadian author (b. 1879)
1962 – Roger Wolfe Kahn, American composer and bandleader (b. 1907)
1965 – Christfried Burmeister, Estonian speed skater (b. 1898)
1966 – D. T. Suzuki, Japanese author (b. 1870)
1969 – Henry George Lamond, Australian author (b. 1885)
1971 – Yvon Robert, Canadian wrestler (b. 1914)
1973 – Lon Chaney, Jr., American actor (b. 1906)
1975 – James Ormsbee Chapin, American painter and illustrator (b. 1887)
1979 – Minnie Riperton, American singer-songwriter (b. 1947)
1982 – Kenneth More, English actor (b. 1914)
1983 – Chris Wood, English saxophonist (Traffic and Ginger Baker's Air Force) (b. 1944)
1990 – João Saldanha, Brazilian footballer, manager, and journalist (b. 1917)
1992 – Caroline Pafford Miller, American journalist and author (b. 1903)
1993 – Dan Eldon, English photographer and journalist (b. 1970)
1996 – John Chancellor, American journalist (b. 1927)
1996 – Jonathan Melvoin, American keyboard player (The Smashing Pumpkins) (b. 1961)
1997 – François Furet, French historian and author (b. 1927)
1998 – Jimmy Driftwood, American singer-songwriter and banjo player (b. 1907)
1998 – Arkady Ostashev, Russian rocket scientist.(b. 1925)
1998 – Serge Lemoyne, Canadian painter (b. 1941)
1999 – Rajendra Kumar, Pakistani-Indian actor and producer (b. 1929)
1999 – Bill Owen, English actor (b. 1914)
2000 – Charles Merritt, Canadian colonel and politician, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1908)
2001 – Fred Marcellino, American illustrator (b. 1939)
2003 – Benny Carter, American musician, bandleader, and composer (b. 1907)
2003 – Mark Lovell, English race car driver (b. 1960)
2004 – Betty Oliphant, Canadian ballerina, co-founder of the National Ballet School of Canada (b. 1918)
2004 – Jeff Morris, American actor (b. 1934)
2005 – John King, Baron King of Wartnaby, English businessman (b. 1917)
2007 – Robert Burås, Norwegian singer-songwriter and guitarist (My Midnight Creeps and Madrugada) (b. 1975)
2007 – Mr. Butch, American guitarist (b. 1951)
2007 – Stan Zemanek, Australian radio host (b. 1947)
2008 – Bobby Murcer, American baseball player, coach, and sportscaster (b. 1946)
2008 – Tony Snow, American journalist, 26th White House Press Secretary (b. 1955)
2010 – Olga Guillot, Cuban singer (b. 1922)
2010 – James P. Hogan, English author (b. 1941)
2010 – Paulo Moura, Brazilian clarinet player and saxophonist (b. 1932)
2010 – Pius Njawé, Cameroonian journalist (b. 1957)
2010 – Harvey Pekar, American author and critic (b. 1939)
2011 – Sherwood Schwartz, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1916)
2012 – Alimuddin, Pakistani cricketer (b. 1930)
2012 – Eddy Brown, English footballer and manager (b. 1926)
2012 – Maita Gomez, Filipino model and activist (b. 1947)
2012 – Else Holmelund Minarik, Danish-American author and illustrator (b. 1920)
2012 – Roger Payne, English mountaineer (b. 1956)
2012 – Hamid Samandarian, Iranian director (b. 1931)
2012 – Dara Singh, Indian wrestler and actor (b. 1928)
2012 – George C. Stoney, American director and producer (b. 1916)
2012 – Ginny Tyler, American voice actress and singer (b. 1925)
2013 – Pran, Indian actor (b. 1920)
2013 – Amar Bose, American businessman, founded the Bose Corporation (b. 1929)
2013 – Ray Butt, English director and producer (b. 1935)
2013 – Andrzej Czyżniewski, Polish footballer (b. 1953)
2013 – Takako Takahashi, Japanese author (b. 1932)
2013 – Alan Whicker, Egyptian-English journalist (b. 1925)

Jul 12, 1979:
Disco is dealt death blow by fans of the Chicago White Sox

As the 1970s came to an end, the age of disco was also nearing its finale. But for all of its decadence and overexposure, disco didn't quite die a natural death by collapsing under its own weight. Instead, it was killed by a public backlash that reached its peak on this day in 1979 with the infamous "Disco Demolition" night at Chicago's Comiskey Park. That incident, which led to at least nine injuries, 39 arrests and the cancellation and forfeit of a Major League Baseball game, is widely credited—or, depending on your perspective, blamed—with dealing disco its death blow.

The event was the brainchild of Steve Dahl and Garry Meier, popular disk jockeys on Chicago's WLUP "The Loop" FM. Dahl had only recently moved to WLUP from rival station WDAI when that station switched to an all-disco format—a relatively common reformatting trend in American radio in 1979. But however many other rock DJs were displaced by disco, only Dahl was inspired to launch a semi-comic vendetta aimed at "the eradication and elimination of the dreaded musical disease."

On May 2, the rainout of a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers led to the scheduling of a doubleheader on July 12. Dahl and Meier approached the White Sox with a rather unorthodox idea for an attendance-boosting promotion: Declare July 12 "Disco Demolition" night and allow Dahl to blow up a dumpster full of disco records between games of the doubleheader. White Sox executive Mike Veeck embraced the idea in the same spirit with which his father, legendary team-owner Bill Veeck, had once sent a little person to the plate in a major league ballgame in order to amuse the fans and draw a walk.

The first mistake organizers made on Disco Demolition night was grossly underestimating the appeal of the 98-cent discount tickets offered to anyone who brought a disco record to the park to add to the explosive-rigged dumpster. WLUP and the White Sox expected perhaps 5,000 more fans than the average draw of 15,000 or so at Comiskey Park. What they got instead was a raucous sellout crowd of 40,000-plus and an even more raucous overflow crowd of as many as 40,000 more outside on Shields Avenue. The second mistake was failing to actually collect those disco records, which would become dangerous projectiles in the hands of a crowd that was already out of control by the time Dahl detonated his dumpster in center field during warm-ups for the evening's second game.

What followed was utter chaos, as fans by the thousands stormed the field and began to wreak havoc, shimmying up the foul poles, tearing up the grass and lighting vinyl bonfires on the diamond while the stadium scoreboard implored them to return to their seats. Conditions were judged too dangerous for the scheduled game to begin, and the Detroit Tigers were awarded a win by forfeit.

Jul 12, 1984:
Ferraro named vice presidential candidate

Walter Mondale, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, announces that he has chosen Representative Geraldine Ferraro of New York as his running mate. Ferraro, a daughter of Italian immigrants, had previously gained notoriety as a vocal advocate of women's rights in Congress.

Four days after Ferraro was named vice presidential candidate, Governor Mario Cuomo of New York opened the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco with an impassioned retort to Republican President Ronald Reagan's contention that the United States was a "shining city on a hill." Citing widespread poverty and racial strife, Cuomo derided President Reagan as oblivious to the needs and problems of many of America's citizens. His enthusiastic keynote address inaugurated a convention that saw Ferraro become the first woman nominated by a major party for the vice presidency. However, Mondale, the former U.S. vice president under Jimmy Carter, proved a lackluster choice for the Democratic presidential nominee.

On November 6, President Reagan and Vice President George Bush defeated the Mondale-Ferraro ticket in the greatest Republican landslide in U.S. history. The Republicans carried every state but Minnesota--Mondale's home state.

Ferraro left Congress in 1985. In 1992 and 1998, she made unsuccessful bids for a U.S. Senate seat. During President Bill Clinton's administration, she was a permanent member on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Jul 12, 1990:
Yeltsin resigns from Communist Party

Just two days after Mikhail Gorbachev was re-elected head of the Soviet Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Republic of Russia, announces his resignation from the Party. Yeltsin's action was a serious blow to Gorbachev's efforts to keep the struggling Soviet Union together.

In July 1990, Soviet Communist Party leaders met in a congress for debate and elections. Gorbachev, who had risen to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, came under severe attack from Communist Party hard-liners. They believed that his political and economic reforms were destroying the Party's control of the nation. Gorbachev fired back at his critics during a speech in which he defended his reforms and attacked the naysayers as backward-looking relics from the dark past of the Soviet Union. He was rewarded with an overwhelming vote in favor of his re-election as head of the Communist Party. Just two days after that vote, however, Yeltsin shattered the illusion that Gorbachev's victory meant an end to political infighting in the Soviet Union. Yeltsin had been a consistent critic of Gorbachev, but his criticisms stemmed from a belief that Gorbachev was moving too slowly in democratizing the Soviet political system. Yeltsin's dramatic announcement of his resignation from the Communist Party was a clear indication that he was demanding a multiparty political system in the Soviet Union. It was viewed as a slap in the face to Gorbachev and his policies.

During the next year and a half, Gorbachev's power gradually waned, while Yeltsin's star rose. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union officially dissolved. Yeltsin, however, retained his position of power as president of Russia. In their own particular ways, both men had overseen the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Yeltsin remained president of Russia until December 31, 1999, when he resigned. Despite his attempts at economic reform, his tenure in office saw the country's economy falter badly, including a near-complete collapse of its currency. His administration was also marked by rampant corruption, an invasion of Chechnya and a series of bizarre incidents involving Yeltsin that were reputedly a result of his alcoholism. Yeltsin's opponents twice tried to impeach him. With his resignation, Prime Minsiter Vladimir Putin became acting president until new elections could be held. On March 26, 2000, Putin became Russia's new president.

Jul 12, 1995:
Heat wave hits Chicagoland

On this day in 1995, a heat advisory is issued in Chicago, Illinois, warning of an impending record-breaking heat wave. By the time the heat breaks a week later, nearly 1,000 people are dead in Illinois and Wisconsin.

On July 13, the temperature in the city hit 106 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat index, which combines temperature with humidity for an estimate of how hot it feels, was above 120 F. During the week, the daytime temperature never went below the mid-90s and even the nighttime temperature stayed in the mid-80s. The use of air conditioning by those who had it caused records to be set for energy use and, subsequently, some power failures. People opened so many hydrants to cool themselves off in the streets that water pressure in several communities was lost. Attempts to close the hydrants were often met with violent resistance. When the heat warped train rails and made them unusable, commuting delays became common.

The young and the old were the most vulnerable to the heat. Hundreds of children were hospitalized from heat ailments. By July 14, paramedics and area hospitals were overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the continuing emergency. Soon, the corpses began to pile up. At the Chicago morgue, 17 bodies were usually handled per day. But just midway through the heat wave, there was a backlog of hundreds of bodies. Refrigerated trucks had to be brought in to hold the excess.

Most of those who died were older men who lived alone, despite the fact that senior women outnumbered senior men in the area. Researchers believe that strength of social connections to the community, which can be greater with women, was the most important factor in determining who became a victim of the heat wave.

Without any explicit criteria about how to identify a death due to heat, it was difficult to accurately count the deaths from the disaster. However, about 740 more people died in Chicago during the heat wave than in a normal week. Cook County's chief medical examiner, Edmund Donoghue, estimated that there were 465 heat-related deaths in the city. Mayor Richard Daley questioned this number, but may have been trying to downplay the toll to avoid criticism of the city's poor preparations for the heat. In fact, it was several days into the heat wave before the city implemented its heat-emergency plan.

Four years later, when another heat wave hit the city, better preparation and a more rapid response limited the deaths to just over 100.

Jul 12, 1998:
France beats Brazil to win FIFA World Cup

On July 12, 1998, France defeats favored Brazil 3-0 to win the FIFA World Cup at Stade de France in Saint Denis. This was the first World Cup France had hosted since 1938 and the country’s first-ever World Cup title.

The 1998 Les Bleus was a multi-ethnic squad that reflected the country’s diverse post-World War II make-up. Defender Lilian Thuram was from Guadeloupe, junior striker Thierry Henry was of Antillean heritage and brilliant playmaker Zinedine Zidane was descended from northern Algerian Berbers. Though from varied backgrounds, the players shared a common determination to improve on France’s performance in 1994, when the team failed to even qualify for the World Cup. At the team’s core was a stingy defense that allowed only two goals through its first seven World Cup games.

Even after a shootout victory over a disciplined Italian team in the quarterfinals and a 2-1 win over Croatia in the semi-finals, few believed France had a true shot at the championship, especially against world-renowned Brazil, led by Ronaldo, a precocious goal-scorer and the 1996 and 1997 FIFA Player of the Year. Although the 21-year-old would go on to be named the Most Valuable Player of the 1998 World Cup behind four goals and three assists, he came into the final against France with a sore ankle and a headache that left him dizzy.

To the surprise of many in the soccer establishment, the usually prolific Brazilians were unable to crack France’s defense and went scoreless in 90 minutes of play. Meanwhile, in the 27th minute of play, Zidane scored his first goal of the tournament, heading the ball into the goal off a corner kick and sending an excited buzz through the mostly French crowd. Twenty-one minutes later, Zidane scored a second time, again on a header from a corner kick, and the 80,000 spectators at Stade de France erupted. In the 68th minute, however, French defender Marcel Desailly was given his second yellow card and ejected. Though the French were now forced to play down one man, they continued to attack and in the third minute of added time, midfielder Emanuel Petit scored to put the French up 3-0 and ensure the team’s first World Cup victory.

France was the first host nation to win the World Cup since Argentina in 1978.

Jul 12, 2008:
Angelina Jolie gives birth to twins

On this day in 2008, a girl named Vivienne Marcheline and a boy named Knox Leon are born to actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at Fondation Lenval hospital in Nice, France. The twins’ arrival made headlines around the world, as their celebrity parents had been a source of media fascination since their romantic relationship became public in 2005. In addition to the twins, the high-profile couple, nicknamed “Brangelina” by the media, have two sons--Maddox, adopted from Cambodia, and Pax, adopted from Vietnam; a daughter, Zahara, adopted from Ethiopia; and a biological daughter, Shiloh, who was born in Namibia. Jolie and Pitt appeared on the August 18, 2008, cover of People magazine with the twins. The couple was paid a reported $14 million (which they donated to charity) for the cover image and a 19-page photo spread inside the magazine.

Jolie, born June 4, 1975, is the daughter of actor Jon Voight, with whom she appeared, at age seven, in the movie Lookin’ To Get Out (1982). Jolie won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Girl, Interrupted (1999) and became world-famous for her starring role in the blockbuster action hit Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). She also appeared in such films as The Good Shepherd (2006) and A Mighty Heart (2006). From 1996 to 1999, the multi-tattooed actress was married to British actor Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), with whom she co-starred in the 1995 film Hackers. Jolie had a well-publicized second marriage to actor Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade) that lasted from 2000 to 2003. The two reportedly wore vials of each other’s blood around their necks.

Pitt, who was born December 18, 1963, rose to fame in the early 1990s with roles in such films as Thelma & Louise (1991), A River Runs Through It (1992) and Kalifornia (1993). He went on to build a long list of starring credits in a number of acclaimed films, including Fight Club (1999), Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and Babel (2006). In 2000, Pitt married actress Jennifer Aniston (most famous for her role on the long-running TV sitcom Friends) in a lavish ceremony in Malibu, California. The couple divorced in 2005 and Pitt became romantically involved with Jolie, his co-star in Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), a film about a pair of married assassins. As soon as news of their relationship broke, “Brangelina” received extensive media coverage as they traveled around the world making movies, raising their ever-expanding brood and involving themselves in a variety of humanitarian causes.
13 July Events

##1174 – William I of Scotland, a key rebel in the Revolt of 1173–1174, is captured at Alnwick by forces loyal to Henry II of England.
##1249 – Coronation of Alexander III as King of Scots.
##1260 – The Livonian Order suffers its greatest defeat in the 13th century in the Battle of Durbe against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
##1490 – John of Kastav finishes a cycle of frescoes in the Holy Trinity Church in Hrastovlje (now southwestern Slovenia).
##1558 – Battle of Gravelines: in France, Spanish forces led by Count Lamoral of Egmont defeat the French forces of Marshal Paul de Thermes at Gravelines.
##1573 – Eighty Years' War: the Siege of Haarlem ends after seven months.
##1643 – English Civil War: Battle of Roundway Down – In England, Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, commanding the Royalist forces, heavily defeats the Parliamentarian forces led by Sir William Waller.
##1787 – The Continental Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory. It also establishes procedures for the admission of new states and limits the expansion of slavery.
##1793 – Journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a member of the opposing political faction.
##1794 – The Battle of the Vosges is fought between French forces and those of Prussia and Austria.
##1814 – The Carabinieri, the national gendarmerie of Italy, is established.
##1830 – The General Assembly's Institution, now the Scottish Church College, one of the pioneering institutions that ushered the Bengal Renaissance, is founded by Alexander Duff and Raja Ram Mohan Roy, in Calcutta, India.
##1854 – In the Battle of Guaymas, Mexico, General José María Yáñez stops the French invasion led by Count Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon.
##1863 – New York City draft riots: in New York, New York, opponents of conscription begin three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.
##1878 – Treaty of Berlin: the European powers redraw the map of the Balkans. Serbia, Montenegro and Romania become completely independent of the Ottoman Empire.
##1905 – The verdict in the six-month long Smarthavicharam trial of Kuriyedath Thathri is pronounced, leading to the excommunication of 65 men of various castes.
##1919 – The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.
##1923 – The Hollywood Sign is officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. It originally reads "Hollywoodland " but the four last letters are dropped after renovation in 1949.
##1941 – World War II: Montenegrins begin a popular uprising against the Axis powers (Trinaestojulski ustanak).
##1962 – In an unprecedented action, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan dismisses seven members of his Cabinet, marking the effective end of the National Liberals as a distinct force within British politics.
##1973 – Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the "Nixon tapes" to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in.
##1977 – Somalia declares war on Ethiopia, starting the Ethiopian-Somali War.
##1977 – New York, New York, amidst a period of financial and social turmoil experiences an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that leads to widespread fires and looting.
##1985 – The Live Aid benefit concert takes place in London, England, United Kingdom and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as other venues such as Sydney, Australia and Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union.
##1985 – Vice President George Bush becomes the Acting President for the day when President Ronald Reagan undergoes surgery to remove polyps from his colon.
##1990 – An earthquake with its epicenter in Afghanistan results in the greatest number of fatalities in a mountaineering accident in High Asian mountains when an avalanche kills 43 climbers in Camp I on Pik Lenina (Lenin Peak).
##2003 – French DGSE personnel abort an operation to rescue Íngrid Betancourt from FARC rebels in Colombia, causing a political scandal when details are leaked to the press.
##2011 – Mumbai is rocked by three bomb blasts during the evening rush hour, killing 26 and injuring 130.
##2013 – Typhoon Soulik kills at least 9 people and affects more than 160 million in East China and Taiwan.

Jul 13, 1787:
Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance

On this day in 1787, Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance, structuring settlement of the Northwest Territory and creating a policy for the addition of new states to the nation. The members of Congress knew that if their new confederation were to survive intact, it had to resolve the states' competing claims to western territory.

In 1781, Virginia began by ceding its extensive land claims to Congress, a move that made other states more comfortable in doing the same. In 1784, Thomas Jefferson first proposed a method of incorporating these western territories into the United States. His plan effectively turned the territories into colonies of the existing states. Ten new northwestern territories would select the constitution of an existing state and then wait until its population reached 20,000 to join the confederation as a full member. Congress, however, feared that the new states—10 in the Northwest as well as Kentucky, Tennessee and Vermont—would quickly gain enough power to outvote the old ones and never passed the measure.

Three years later, the Northwest Ordinance proposed that three to five new states be created from the Northwest Territory. Instead of adopting the legal constructs of an existing state, each territory would have an appointed governor and council. When the population reached 5,000, the residents could elect their own assembly, although the governor would retain absolute veto power. When 60,000 settlers resided in a territory, they could draft a constitution and petition for full statehood. The ordinance provided for civil liberties and public education within the new territories, but did not allow slavery. Pro-slavery Southerners were willing to go along with this because they hoped that the new states would be populated by white settlers from the South. They believed that although these Southerners would have no slaves of their own, they would not join the growing abolition movement of the North.

Jul 13, 1793:
Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat

Jean Paul Marat, one of the most outspoken leaders of the French Revolution, is stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday, a Royalist sympathizer.

Originally a doctor, Marat founded the journal L'Ami du Peuple in 1789, and its fiery criticism of those in power was a contributing factor to the bloody turn of the Revolution in 1792. With the arrest of the king in August of that year, Marat was elected as a deputy of Paris to the Convention. In France's revolutionary legislature, Marat opposed the Girondists--a faction made up of moderate republicans who advocated a constitutional government and continental war.

By 1793, Charlotte Corday, the daughter of an impoverished aristocrat and an ally of the Girondists in Normandy, came to regard Marat as the unholy enemy of France and plotted his assassination. Leaving her native Caen for Paris, she had planned to kill Marat at the Bastille Day parade on July 14 but was forced to seek him out in his home when the festivities were canceled. On July 13, she gained an audience with Marat by promising to betray the Caen Girondists. Marat, who had a persistent skin disease, was working as usual in his bath when Corday pulled a knife from her bodice and stabbed him in his chest. He died almost immediately, and Corday waited calmly for the police to come and arrest her. She was guillotined four days later.

Jul 13, 1798:
Wordsworth visits Tintern Abbey

While on a walking tour, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy visit a ruined church called Tintern Abbey.

The ruins inspired Wordsworth's poem "Tintern Abbey," in which Wordsworth articulated some of the fundamental themes of Romantic poetry, including the restorative power of nature. The poem appeared in Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems in 1798, which Wordsworth collaborated on with his friend and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The book, which also included Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, sold out within two years. The book's second edition included an important preface that articulated the Romantic manifesto.

Wordsworth was born near England's Lake District in 1770. He lost his mother when he was eight, and his father died five years later. Wordsworth attended Cambridge, then traveled in Europe, taking long walking tours with friends through the mountains. During his 20s, Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy and became close friends with Coleridge.

In 1802, after years of living on a modest income, Wordsworth came into a long-delayed inheritance from his father and was able to live comfortably with his sister. He married their longtime neighbor Mary Hutchinson and had five children. The poet's stature grew steadily, although most of his major work was written by 1807. In 1843, he was named poet laureate of England, and he died in 1850, at the age of 80.

Jul 13, 1861:
Union routs Rebels at the Battle of Corrick's Ford

On this day, Union General George B. McClellan distinguishes himself by routing Confederates under General Robert Garnett at Corrick's Ford in western Virginia. The battle ensured Yankee control of the region, secured the Union's east-west railroad connections, and set in motion the events that would lead to the creation of West Virginia.

Two days before Corrick's Ford, Union troops under General William Rosecrans flanked a Confederate force at nearby Rich Mountain. The defeat forced Garnett to retreat from his position on Laurel Hill, while part of McClellan's force pursued him across the Cheat River. A pitched battle ensued near Corrick's Ford, in which Garnett was killed—the first general officer to die in the war. But losses were otherwise light, with only 70 Confederate, and 10 Union, casualties.

The Battle of Corrick's Ford was a significant victory because it cleared the region of Confederates, but it is often overlooked, particularly because it was overshadowed by the Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, which occurred shortly thereafter on July 21. However, the success made McClellan a hero, even though his achievements were inflated. Two weeks later, McClellan became commander of the Army of the Potomac, the primary Federal army in the east. Unfortunately for the Union, the small campaign that climaxed at Corrick's Ford was the zenith of McClellan's military career.

Jul 13, 1866:
Construction begins on Fort Phil Kearny

Colonel Henry Carrington begins construction on Fort Phil Kearny, the most important army outpost guarding the Bozeman Trail.

In 1863, a Georgia-born frontiersman named John Bozeman blazed a wagon road that branched off from the Oregon Trail and headed northwest to the gold fields of western Montana. The trail passed through the traditional hunting grounds of the Sioux, and Chief Red Cloud attacked several wagon trains to try to stop the violation of Indian Territory. Despite the questionable legality of the Bozeman Trail, the U.S. government decided to keep it open and began building a series of protective army forts along the route.

Colonel Henry Carrington was assigned the task of designing and building the largest and most important of these outposts, Fort Phil Kearny. A talented strategist and designer, Carrington planned the fort with care. He selected a site in northern Wyoming that was near a source of water and commanded a view over a good section of the Bozeman Trail. He began building on this day in 1866, setting up a timbering operation and sawmill to supply the thousands of logs needed for construction.

By fall, Carrington had erected an imposing symbol of American military power. A tall wooden palisade surrounded a compound the size of three football fields. Inside the walls, Carrington built nearly 30 buildings, including everything from barracks and mess halls to a stage for the regimental band. Only the most massive and determined Indian attack would have been capable of taking Fort Phil Kearny.

Unfortunately, Carrington's mighty fortress had one important flaw: the nearest stands of timber lay several miles away. To obtain the wood essential for heating and further construction, a detachment had to leave the confines of the fort every day. The Indians naturally began to prey on these "wood trains." In December, a massive Indian ambush wiped out a force of 80 soldiers under the command of Captain William Fetterman.

Despite this weakness, Fort Phil Kearny was still a highly effective garrison. Nonetheless, the U.S. Army found it nearly impossible to halt completely the Indian attacks along the trail. In 1868, the government agreed to abandon all of the forts and close the trail in exchange for peace with the Indians. Immediately after the soldiers left, the Indians burned Carrington's mighty fortress to the ground.

Jul 13, 1914:
Austrian investigation into archduke's assassination concludes

On July 13, 1914, Friedrich von Wiesner, an official of the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office, reports back to Foreign Minister Leopold von Berchtold the findings of an investigation into the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife Sophie the previous June 28, in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary had long feared its waning influence in early 20th-century Europe, and was particularly threatened after the two Balkan Wars of 1912-13 confirmed the growing influence and ambition of Serbia, backed by its mighty Slavic ally, Russia. In fact, even before Franz Ferdinand’s death, Berchtold’s office had been preparing a memorandum for the archduke, as well as for Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II, proposing an alliance with Bulgaria to shore up Austrian influence and isolate Serbia in the tumultuous Balkans region. When Gavrilo Princip, a young Bosnian Serb nationalist, shot Franz Ferdinand and Sophie at point-blank range in their car in Sarajevo on June 28, Berchtold—along with most in Vienna and the rest of the world—assumed the Serbian government had some complicity in the plot. Two days after the assassination, Berchtold proposed a “final and fundamental reckoning with Serbia” to the Austrian emperor, 84-year-old Franz Josef, who agreed to send a personal note to Kaiser Wilhelm, along with a revised and more aggressive version of the memorandum. On July 5, the kaiser gave Berchtold’s ambassador what has become known as carte blanche or “blank check” assurance that Germany would back Austria-Hungary in any punitive action it chose to take against Serbia.

By July 8, both Berchtold and Conrad von Hotzendorff, the bellicose chief of staff of the Austrian army, had come to believe that a military invasion of Serbia was both desirable and necessary to capitalize on the situation and crush the upstart rival. Even as Austrian investigators worked to sort through the evidence in Sarajevo, then, Austria-Hungary, with German encouragement (in fact, Berlin was pressing Vienna to act more quickly) plotted the next step: the presentation of an ultimatum to Serbia that would be worded in such a way as to make it practically impossible for the other country to accept.

On July 13, Wiesner reported the findings of the Austrian investigation: “There is nothing to prove or even suppose that the Serbian government is accessory to the inducement for the crime, its preparation, or the furnishing of weapons. On the contrary, there are reasons to believe that this is altogether out of the question.” The only evidence that could be found, it seemed, was that Princip and his cohorts had been aided by individuals with ties to the government, most likely members of a shadowy organization within the army, the Black Hand. Realizing he would have to go ahead without evidence of Serbian guilt, Berchtold declined to share these findings with Franz Josef, while his office continued the drafting of the Serbian ultimatum, which was to be delivered on July 23 in Belgrade.

Jul 13, 1930:
First World Cup

On July 13, 1930, France defeats Mexico 4-1 and the United States defeats Belgium 3-0 in the first-ever World Cup football matches, played simultaneously in host city Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event.

After football (soccer, to Americans) was dropped from the program for the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, FIFA President Jules Rimet helped to organize an international tournament in 1930. Much to the dismay of European footballers, Uruguay, winner of back-to-back gold medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics and 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, was chosen to host the inaugural World Cup.

Due to depression in Europe, many European players, afraid their day jobs would not exist when they returned, were either unable or unwilling to attend the tournament. As a result, some of the most accomplished European teams, including three-time Olympic gold medalist England and football enthusiasts Italy, Spain, Germany and Holland did not make an appearance at the first World Cup. However, when Uruguay agreed to help pay traveling expenses, Rimet was able to convince Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In Romania, King Carol selected the team members himself, gave them a three-month vacation from their jobs and guaranteed the players would be employed when they returned.

Going into the tournament, Uruguay and Argentina were the overwhelming favorites, while France and the United States also fielded competitive sides. In the first round, France’s Lucien Laurent scored the first-ever World Cup goal. In its second game, France lost to Argentina 1-0 amid controversy over the referees ending the game six minutes early. Once the problem was discovered, the referees had to bring the Argentine players back onto the field to play the final minutes. After beating Belgium, the United States beat Paraguay to set up a semi-final match with Argentina, which they lost 6-1. Still, the semi-final placement was the best U.S. World Cup finish to date.

In the first World Cup final, held on July 30, 1930, 93,000 spectators looked on as Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in a rematch of the 1928 Olympic gold medal game. Uruguay went on to win its second World Cup in 1950 with a 2-1 win over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
13 July Births

##1527 – John Dee, English-Welsh mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer (d. 1609)
##1579 – Arthur Dee, English physician (d. 1651)
##1590 – Pope Clement X (d. 1676)
##1607 – Wenceslaus Hollar, Czech-English etcher (d. 1677)
##1608 – Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1657)
##1745 – Robert Calder, Scottish admiral (d. 1818)
##1760 – István Pauli, Hungarian-Slovene priest (d. 1829)
##1770 – Alexander Balashov, Russian general and politician (d. 1837)
##1776 – Caroline of Baden (d. 1841)
##1793 – John Clare, English poet (d. 1864)
##1798 – Alexandra Feodorovna, German-Russian wife of Nicholas I of Russia (d. 1860)
##1821 – Nathan Bedford Forrest, American general (d. 1877)
##1831 – Arthur Böttcher, German pathologist and anatomist (d. 1889)
##1841 – Otto Wagner, Austrian architect, designed the Austrian Postal Savings Bank and Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station (d. 1918)
##1858 – Stewart Culin, American ethnographer and author (d. 1929)
##1859 – Sidney Webb, 1st Baron Passfield, English economist and politician, Secretary of State for the Colonies (d. 1947)
##1864 – John Jacob Astor IV, American colonel and businessman (d. 1912)
##1876 – William Michaels, American boxer (d. 1934)
##1884 – Yrjö Saarela, Finnish wrestler (d. 1951)
##1889 – Hjalmar Andersson, Swedish runner (d. 1971)
##1889 – Emma Asson, Estonian politician (d. 1965)
##1889 – Louise Mountbatten, German-Swedish wife of Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden (d. 1965)
##1892 – Léo-Pol Morin, Canadian pianist, composer, critic and educator (d. 1941)
##1892 – Jonni Myyrä, Finnish javelin thrower (d. 1955)
##1894 – Isaak Babel, Russian journalist, author, and playwright (d. 1940)
##1895 – Sidney Blackmer, American actor and singer (d. 1973)
##1896 – Mordecai Ardon, Israeli painter (d. 1992)
##1898 – Julius Schreck, German commander (d. 1936)
##1900 – George Lewis, American clarinet player and songwriter (d. 1969)
##1901 – Eric Portman, English actor (d. 1969)
##1903 – Kenneth Clark, English historian and author (d. 1983)
##1905 – Alfredo M. Santos, Filipino general (d. 1990)
##1907 – George Weller, American author, playwright, and journalist (d. 2002)
##1910 – Lien Gisolf, Dutch high jumper (d. 1993)
##1910 – Loren Pope, American journalist and author (d. 2008)
##1913 – Dave Garroway, American journalist (d. 1982)
##1913 – Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, Danish businessman (d. 2012)
##1913 – Kay Linaker, American actress and screenwriter (d. 2008)
##1915 – Kaoru Ishikawa Japanese author and educator (d. 1989)
##1918 – Alberto Ascari, Italian race car driver (d. 1955)
##1918 – Marcia Brown, American author and illustrator
##1920 – William C. Friday, American academic (d. 2012)
##1920 – Bill Towers, English footballer (d. 2000)
##1921 – Git Gay, Swedish actress and singer (d. 2007)
##1921 – Ernest Gold, Austrian-American composer (d. 1999)
##1921 – Friedrich Peter, Austrian politician (d. 2005)
##1922 – Leslie Brooks, American actress and singer (d. 2011)
##1922 – Louis R. Harlan, American historian and academic (d. 2010)
##1922 – Anker Jørgensen, Danish politician, 16th Prime Minister of Denmark
##1922 – Ken Mosdell, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2006)
##1924 – Carlo Bergonzi, Italian tenor
##1924 – Michel Constantin, French actor (d. 2003)
##1924 – Johnny Gilbert, American game show host and announcer
##1926 – Robert H. Justman, American director, producer, and production manager (d. 2008)
##1927 – Simone Veil, French lawyer and politician, 12th President of the European Parliament
##1928 – Tommaso Buscetta, Italian-American mobster (d. 2000)
##1928 – Bob Crane, American actor (d. 1978)
##1928 – Sven Davidson, Swedish tennis player (d. 2008)
##1928 – Leroy Vinnegar, American bassist (d. 1999)
##1929 – Sofia Muratova, Russian gymnast (d. 2006)
##1930 – Sam Greenlee, American author (d. 2014)
##1930 – Naomi Shemer, Israeli singer-songwriter (d. 2004)
##1930 – Viktor Tsybulenko, Ukrainian javelin thrower (d. 2013)
##1931 – Frank Ramsey, American basketball player and coach
##1931 – F. Morgan Taylor, Jr., American athlete and businessman (d. 2010)
##1932 – Hubert Reeves, Canadian astrophysicist
##1933 – Patsy Byrne, English actress
##1933 – David Storey, English author and playwright
##1934 – Peter Gzowski, Canadian journalist (d. 2002)
##1934 – Gordon Lee, English footballer and manager
##1934 – Wole Soyinka, Nigerian author, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate
##1934 – Aleksei Yeliseyev, Russian engineer and astronaut
##1935 – Jack Kemp, American football player and politician (d. 2009)
##1935 – Earl Lovelace, Trinidadian journalist, author, and playwright
##1935 – Monique Vézina, Canadian politician
##1935 – Kurt Westergaard, Danish cartoonist
##1936 – Albert Ayler, American saxophonist and composer (d. 1970)
##1938 – Richard Rust, American actor (d. 1994)
##1939 – Lambert Jackson Woodburne, South African admiral (d. 2013)
##1940 – Donald Lautrec, Canadian singer and actor
##1940 – Tom Lichtenberg, American football player and coach (d. 2013)
##1940 – Patrick Stewart, English actor
##1941 – Robert Forster, American actor
##1941 – Ehud Manor, Israeli songwriter (d. 2005)
##1941 – Jacques Perrin, French actor, director, and producer
##1942 – Harrison Ford, American actor and producer
##1942 – Roger McGuinn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Byrds and Chad Mitchell Trio)
##1944 – Ernő Rubik, Hungarian game designer, architect, and educator, invented the Rubik's Cube
##1944 – Cyril Knowles, English footballer and manager (d. 1991)
##1946 – Cheech Marin, American actor, singer, and screenwriter
##1948 – Catherine Breillat, French director and screenwriter
##1948 – Tony Kornheiser, American sportscaster
##1948 – Daphne Maxwell Reid, American actress
##1949 – Helena Fibingerová, Czech shot putter
##1950 – Rod Dixon, New Zealand runner
##1950 – George Nelson, American astronomer and astronaut
##1950 – Ma Ying-jeou, Hong Kong-Taiwanese politician, 12th President of the Republic of China
##1951 – Rob Bishop, American educator and politician
##1951 – Didi Conn, American actress and singer
##1953 – Gil Birmingham, American actor
##1953 – Mila Mulroney, Bosnian-Canadian wife of Brian Mulroney
##1954 – Sezen Aksu, Turkish singer-songwriter and producer
##1954 – Rick Chartraw, Venezuelan-American ice hockey player
##1954 – Louise Mandrell, American singer
##1954 – David Thompson, American basketball player
##1955 – Mark Mendoza, American rock bass guitarist (Twisted Sister)
##1956 – Claude Giroux, Canadian wrestler
##1956 – Michael Spinks, American boxer
##1956 – Frank Dux, American martial artist and choreographer
##1957 – Thierry Boutsen, Belgian race car driver
##1957 – Cameron Crowe, American director, producer, and screenwriter
##1957 – Jane Hamilton, American author
##1957 – Phil Margera, American television personality
##1957 – Lília Cabral, Brazilian Actress
##1959 – Richard Leman, English field hockey player
##1960 – Robert Abraham, American football player
##1960 – Ian Hislop, Welsh-English journalist and screenwriter
##1960 – Curtis Rouse, American football player (d. 2013)
##1961 – Tahira Asif, Pakistani politician (d. 2014)
##1961 – Stelios Manolas, Greek footballer and manager
##1961 – Tim Watson, Australian footballer, coach, and journalist
##1962 – Tom Kenny, American voice actor, singer, and screenwriter
##1962 – Rhonda Vincent, American singer-songwriter and mandolin player
##1963 – Neal Foulds, English snooker player
##1963 – Kenny Johnson, American actor
##1963 – Spud Webb, American basketball player
##1964 – Paul Thorn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
##1965 – Lesli Kay, American actress
##1965 – Eileen Ivers, American fiddler (Cherish the Ladies)
##1966 – Gerald Levert, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (LeVert and LSG) (d. 2006)
##1966 – Natalia Luis-Bassa, Venezuelan-English conductor
##1967 – Dean Barnett, American journalist (d. 2008)
##1967 – Benny Benassi, Italian DJ and producer (Benassi Bros.)
##1967 – Richard Marles, Australian lawyer and politician
##1968 – Robert Gant, American actor
##1969 – Barney Greenway, English singer-songwriter (Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror, and Benediction)
##1969 – Ken Jeong, American actor
##1969 – Kakhi Kakhiashvili, Georgian-Greek weightlifter
##1969 – Oleg Serebrian, Moldovan politician
##1970 – Barry Pinches, English snooker player
##1970 – Andrei Tivontchik, German pole vaulter
##1971 – Craig Elliott, American illustrator
##1971 – Mark Neeld, Australian rules footballer
##1971 – Jason Reece, American drummer (...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead)
##1972 – Sven Lõhmus, Estonian composer and musician
##1972 – Sean Waltman, American wrestler
##1973 – Mohamed Atiq Awayd Al Harbi, Saudi Arabian terrorist
##1973 – Ariel Zárate, Argentinian footballer
##1974 – Deborah Cox, Canadian singer-songwriter and actress
##1974 – Jarno Trulli, Italian race car driver
##1975 – Danni Boatwright, American model and sportscaster, Miss Kansas USA 1996
##1975 – Mariada Pieridi, Cypriot singer-songwriter
##1976 – Al Santos, American model, actor, and producer
##1976 – Sheldon Souray, Canadian ice hockey player
##1977 – Chris Horn, American football player
##1977 – Ashley Scott, American actress
##1978 – Eva Jinek, American-Dutch journalist
##1978 – Ryan Ludwick, American baseball player
##1978 – Kate More, American porn actress
##1978 – Prodromos Nikolaidis, Greek basketball player
##1979 – Craig Bellamy, Welsh footballer
##1979 – Daniel Díaz, Argentinian footballer
##1979 – Jonathan Goulet, Canadian mixed martial artist
##1979 – Libuše Průšová, Czech tennis player
##1979 – Lucinda Ruh, Swiss figure skater
##1979 – Fernando Salazar, Mexican footballer
##1980 – Corey Clark, American singer
##1980 – Karolina Gruszka, Polish actress
##1980 – Becky O'Donohue, American model and actress
##1980 – Jessie O'Donohue, American model and actress
##1980 – Master Saleem, Indian singer
##1981 – Ágnes Kovács, Hungarian swimmer
##1981 – Fran Kranz, American actor
##1981 – Mirco Lorenzetto, Italian cyclist
##1981 – Ineta Radēviča, Latvian long jumper
##1982 – Brooke Ballentyne, American porn actress
##1982 – Aya Cash, American actress
##1982 – Chri$ Ca$h, American wrestler (d. 2005)
##1982 – Shin-Soo Choo, South Korean baseball player
##1982 – Simon Clist, English footballer
##1982 – Samia Ghadie, English actress
##1982 – Dominic Isaacs, South African footballer
##1982 – Nick Kenny, Australian rugby player
##1982 – Yadier Molina, Puerto Rican baseball player
##1982 – Joost van den Broek, Dutch keyboard player, songwriter, and producer (After Forever, Sun Caged, and Star One)
##1983 – Kristof Beyens, Belgian sprinter
##1983 – Marco Pomante, Italian footballer
##1983 – Carmen Villalobos, Colombian actress and dancer
##1983 – Liu Xiang, Chinese hurdler
##1984 – Scott Gerbacia, American actor
##1984 – Ida Maria, Norwegian singer-songwriter and guitarist
##1984 – Urvashi Sharma, Indian actress and model
##1985 – Trell Kimmons, American sprinter
##1985 – Guillermo Ochoa, Mexican footballer
##1986 – Pierrick Lilliu, French singer-songwriter
##1987 – Neil Denis, Canadian actor
##1988 – Tulisa Contostavlos, English singer-songwriter and actress (N-Dubz)
##1988 – Marcos Paulo Gelmini Gomes, Brazilian-Italian footballer
##1988 – Colton Haynes, American actor and model
##1988 – Steven R. McQueen, American actor
##1988 – Raúl Spank, German high jumper
##1989 – Charis Giannopoulos, Greek basketball player
##1989 – Sayumi Michishige, Japanese singer (Morning Musume, Ecomoni, v-u-den)
##1990 – Eduardo Salvio, Argentinian footballer
##1990 – Matt Weinberg, American actor
##1991 – Ungsumalynn Sirapatsakmetha, Thai actress and model
##1992 – Dylan Patton, American actor
##1992 – Elise Matthysen, Belgian swimmer
##1993 – Daniel Bentley, English footballer
##1993 – Rena Nōnen, Japanese actress and fashion model
##1994 – Ridge Canipe, American actor
##1994 – Hayley Erin, American actress
##1996 – Jena Irene, American singer
##1997 – Leo Howard, American actor and martial artist

Jul 13, 1943:
Largest tank battle in history ends

The Battle of Kursk, involving some 6,000 tanks, two million men, and 5,000 aircraft, ends with the German offensive repulsed by the Soviets at heavy cost.

In early July, Germany and the USSR concentrated their forces near the city of Kursk in western Russia, site of a 150-mile-wide Soviet pocket that jutted 100 miles into the German lines. The German attack began on July 5, and 38 divisions, nearly half of which were armored, began moving from the south and the north. However, the Soviets had better tanks and air support than in previous battles, and in bitter fighting Soviet antitank artillery destroyed as much as 40 percent of the German armor, which included their new Mark VI Tiger tanks. After six days of warfare concentrated near Prokhorovka, south of Kursk, the German Field Marshal Gunther von Kluge called off the offensive, and by July 23 the Soviets had forced the Germans back to their original positions.

In the beginning of August, the Soviets began a major offensive around the Kursk salient, and within a few weeks the Germans were in retreat all along the eastern front.

Jul 13, 1944:
Soviet General Konev establishes a new western border for the USSR

On this day in 1944, General Ivan Konev, one of the Soviet Union's most outstanding officers, pursues an offensive against 40,000 German soldiers to capture the East Galician city of Lvov. When the battle was over, 30,000 Germans were dead, and the USSR had a new western border.

Joseph Stalin had declared that he wanted the western border of the Soviet Union to be pushed back across the River Bug, territory that was part of prewar Poland, but was now occupied German territory. General Konev, who had led the first offensive against the Germans when they invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 (and who had created the "Konev ambush," a strategy by which troops retreat from the center of a battle area, only to allow troops from the flanks to close into the breach, used to defeat German General Heinz Guderian's tank offensive against Moscow), led the Red Army's new attack westward. He encircled 40,000 German soldiers in the town of Brody. After seven days, 30,000 German soldiers were dead, and Lvov was Soviet-occupied territory and would remain a part of the new postwar Soviet map.

General Konev would go on to cross Poland into Germany and, meeting up with U.S. and other Soviet forces, enter Berlin to see the final downfall of the Axis power.

Jul 13, 1948:
Democratic Party platform defends Roosevelt-Truman foreign policies

As the 1948 presidential campaign begins to heat up, the Democratic Party hammers out a platform that contains a stirring defense of the foreign policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Harry S. Truman. The tone of the platform indicated that foreign policy, and particularly the nation's Cold War policies, would be a significant part of the 1948 campaign.

Throughout 1948, President Truman had been put on the defensive by Republican critics who suggested that former President Roosevelt had been too "soft" in dealing with the Soviet Union during World War II. The Republicans also criticized Truman's Cold War policies, calling them ineffective and too costly. By the time the Democratic Party met to nominate Truman for re-election and construct its platform, Truman was already an underdog to the certain Republican nominee, Governor Thomas E. Dewey. The foreign policy parts of the Democratic platform, announced on July 13, 1948, indicated that Truman was going to fight fire with fire. The platform strongly suggested that the Democratic administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt was primarily responsible for America's victory in World War II, and was entirely responsible for establishing the United Nations. After World War II, the document continued, Truman and the Democrats in Congress had rallied the nation to meet the communist threat. The Truman Doctrine, by which Greece and Turkey were saved from communist takeovers, and the Marshall Plan, which rescued Western Europe from postwar chaos, were the most notable results of the Democrats' foreign policy.

Some of Truman's advisers had cautioned him to take a more conciliatory stance on foreign policy issues in the platform, emphasizing the bipartisan nature of U.S. foreign policy since World War II. The pugnacious Truman would have none of that. He was proud of his record of "facing up to the Russians," and decided to rise or fall in the 1948 election based on his accomplishments both at home and abroad. Events proved Truman wise in his approach. Despite the fact that nearly every newspaper and polling organization in the United States picked Dewey to triumph, Truman squeaked by in 1948 in one of the most memorable political upsets in American history.

Jul 13, 1951:
Record-breaking floods hit Kansas

On this day in 1951, rivers across eastern Kansas crest well above flood stage, causing the greatest destruction from flooding in the midwestern United States to that time. Five-hundred-thousand people were left homeless and 24 people died in the disaster.

The above-average rainfall began in June and continued through July 13, dumping well over 25 inches on some areas in eastern Kansas. From July 9 to 13, nearly 6 inches of rain fell. The Kansas, Neosho and Verdigris rivers began taking on more water than their normal carrying capacity a couple of days into the storm. As the rain persisted, flooding began all over the region.

The major towns of Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence were most affected. The July 13 crest exceeded all previous highs by four to nine feet. Two million acres of farmland were lost to the flood. In addition, the flooding caused fires and explosions in refinery oil tanks on the banks of the Kansas River. Some train passengers traveling through the area were stuck on their trains for nearly four days. In all, $760 million in damages were caused by the flood.

Following the great 1951 flood, a series of reservoirs and levees were constructed all over the area. In 1993, these were credited with minimizing the damage from another record flood.

Jul 13, 1955:
Last woman hanged for murder in Great Britain

Nightclub owner Ruth Ellis is convicted of murdering boyfriend David Blakely on this day in 1955. Ellis was later executed by hanging and became the last woman in Great Britain to be put to death.

Ellis was born in Rhyl, Wales, in 1926. She left school as a young teenager, had a child and worked a variety of jobs, eventually becoming a nightclub hostess. In 1950, she married dentist George Ellis, with whom she had a second child. The marriage was short-lived and Ruth Ellis returned to working in nightclubs. She then became involved in a tempestuous relationship with David Blakely, a playboy race-car driver. Ellis became pregnant but miscarried several days after a fight during which Blakely hit her in the stomach. She later became obsessed with Blakely when he failed to come see her as promised. On April 10, 1955, she shot him to death outside the Magdala pub in Hampstead, North London.

During her trial, which began in June 1955, Ellis stated “It was obvious that when I shot him I intended to kill him.” This was a critical statement, as British law required demonstration of clear intent in order to convict someone of murder. It reportedly took the jury less than half an hour to find Ellis guilty and she automatically received the death penalty. Thousands of people signed petitions protesting her punishment; however, on July 13, 1955, the 28-year-old Ellis was hanged at Holloway Prison, a women’s institution in Islington, London. She was the last woman executed for murder in Great Britain. On August 13, 1964, Peter Anthony Allen and John Alan West became the last people to be executed for murder in England. In 1965, the death penalty for murder was banned in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland outlawed capital punishment in 1973. However, several crimes, including treason, remained punishable by death in Great Britain until 1998.

In 1985, a movie titled Dance With a Stranger chronicled Ellis’ life. In December 2003, a British court dismissed an appeal filed by Ellis’s sister asking for Ruth’s conviction to be reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of “provocation and/or diminished responsibility.”

Jul 13, 1960:
Kennedy nominated for presidency

In Los Angeles, California, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is nominated for the presidency by the Democratic Party Convention, defeating Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. The next day, Johnson was named Kennedy's running mate by a unanimous vote of the convention.

Four months later, on November 8, Kennedy won 49.7 percent of the popular vote in one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history, surpassing by a fraction the 49.6 percent received by Vice President Richard M. Nixon, a Republican.

On January 20, 1961, on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th president of the United States. A fourth-generation Irish American, Kennedy was also the nation's first Catholic president. During his famous inauguration address, Kennedy, the youngest candidate ever elected to the presidency, declared that "the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans" and appealed to Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, and the large Kennedy clan seemed fitting representatives of the youthful spirit of America during the early 1960s, and the Kennedy White House was idealized by admirers as a modern-day "Camelot." In foreign policy, Kennedy actively fought communism in the world, ordering the controversial Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and sending thousands of U.S. military "advisers" to Vietnam. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he displayed firmness and restraint, exercising an unyielding opposition to the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba but also demonstrating a level-headedness during tense negotiations for their removal. On the domestic front, he introduced his "New Frontier" social legislation, calling for a rigorous federal desegregation policy and a sweeping new civil rights bill. On November 22, 1963, after less than three years in office, Kennedy was assassinated while riding in an open-car motorcade with his wife in Dallas, Texas.

Jul 13, 1968:
Rockefeller announces new peace proposal

Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, a Republican presidential candidate, reveals a four-stage peace plan that, he argues, could end the war in six months if North Vietnam assented to it. The proposal called for a mutual troop pullback and interposition of a neutral peacekeeping force, followed by the withdrawal of all North Vietnamese and most Allied units from South Vietnam; free elections under international supervision; and direct negotiations between North and South Vietnam on reunification.

In his proposal, Rockefeller represented the liberal northeastern wing of the Republican Party. Taking a stance between Rockefeller and the more conservative elements of his party led by Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon won the nomination on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. For his running mate, he chose Spiro T. Agnew, the governor of Maryland.

In his speech accepting the nomination, Nixon promised to "bring an honorable end to the war in Vietnam" and to inaugurate "an era of negotiations" with leading communist powers, while restoring "the strength of America so that we shall always negotiate from strength and never from weakness." The party subsequently adopted a platform on the war that called for "progressive de-Americanization" of the war. Indeed, shortly after assuming office, Nixon instituted a program of "Vietnamization," a policy aimed at turning the war over to the South Vietnamese and withdrawing U.S. troops.
13 July Deaths

##574 – Pope John III
##716 – Rui Zong, Chinese emperor of the Tang Dynasty (b. 662)
##939 – Pope Leo VII
##1024 – Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 973)
##1205 – Hubert Walter, English archbishop (b. 1160)
##1357 – Bartolus de Saxoferrato Italian jurist (b. 1313)
##1399 – Peter Parler, German architect, designed St. Vitus Cathedral and Charles Bridge (b. 1330)
##1402 – Jianwen Emperor of China (b. 1377)
##1551 – John Wallop, English soldier and diplomat (b. 1490)
##1621 – Albert VII, Archduke of Austria (b. 1559)
##1626 – Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, English politician (b. 1563)
##1628 – Robert Shirley, English adventurer (b. 1581)
##1629 – Caspar Bartholin the Elder, Swedish physician and theologian (b. 1585)
##1683 – Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex, English politician, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (b. 1631)
##1693 – Hendrik Trajectinus, Count of Solms (b. 1636)
##1705 – Titus Oates, English conspirator, fabricated the Popish Plot (b. 1649)
##1755 – Edward Braddock, English general (b. 1695)
##1760 – Conrad Weiser, German-American diplomat (b. 1696)
##1761 – Tokugawa Ieshige, Japanese shogun (b. 1712)
##1762 – James Bradley, English astronomer (b. 1693)
##1789 – Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau, French economist (b. 1715)
##1793 – Jean-Paul Marat, French physician and theorist (b. 1743)
##1807 – Henry Benedict Stuart, Italian cardinal (b. 1725)
##1882 – Johnny Ringo, American criminal (b. 1850)
##1889 – Robert Hamerling, Austrian poet (b. 1830)
##1890 – John C. Frémont, American general and politician, 5th Territorial Governor of Arizona (b. 1813)
##1890 – Johann Voldemar Jannsen, Estonian journalist and poet (b. 1819)
##1896 – August Kekulé, German chemist (b. 1829)
##1907 – Henrik Sillem, Dutch target shooter (b. 1866)
##1921 – Gabriel Lippmann, Luxembourger physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1845)
##1922 – Martin Dies, Sr., American politician (b. 1870)
##1937 – Robert Fournier-Sarlovèze, French polo player and politician (b. 1869)
##1941 – Ilmar Raud, Estonian chess player (b. 1913)
##1945 – Alla Nazimova, Russian-American actress, scriptwriter, and producer (b. 1879)
##1946 – Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer (b. 1864)
##1951 – Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian composer (b. 1874)
##1954 – Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter (b. 1907)
##1955 – Ruth Ellis, Welsh murderer (b. 1926)
##1960 – Joy Gresham, American-English poet and author (b. 1915)
##1965 – Photios Kontoglou, Greek painter (b. 1895)
##1967 – Tom Simpson, English cyclist (b. 1937)
##1967 – Tommy Lucchese, Italian-American mobster (b. 1899)
##1970 – Leslie Groves, American general (b. 1896)
##1973 – Willy Fritsch, German actor and screenwriter (b. 1901)
##1974 – Patrick Blackett, Baron Blackett, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1897)
##1974 – Marthe Vinot, French actress (b. 1894)
##1976 – Frederick Hawksworth, English engineer (b. 1884)
##1976 – Joachim Peiper, German SS officer (b. 1915)
##1979 – Ludwig Merwart, Austrian painter and illustrator (b. 1913)
##1980 – Seretse Khama, Botswana politician, 1st President of Botswana (b. 1921)
##1983 – Gabrielle Roy, Canadian author (b. 1909)
##1993 – Davey Allison, American race car driver (b. 1961)
##1995 – Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, Danish businessman (b. 1920)
##1996 – Pandro S. Berman, American director, producer, and production manager (b. 1905)
##1997 – Miguel Ángel Blanco, Spanish politician (b. 1968)
##1999 – Konstantinos Kollias, Greek general and politician, 168th Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1901)
##2000 – Jan Karski, Polish underground operative (b. 1914)
##2002 – Yousuf Karsh, Turkish-Canadian photographer (b. 1908)
##2003 – Compay Segundo, Cuban singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1907)
##2004 – Arthur Kane, American bass player (New York Dolls) (b. 1949)
##2004 – Carlos Kleiber, German-Austrian conductor (b. 1930)
##2006 – Michael Busselle, English photographer and author (b. 1935)
##2006 – Red Buttons, American actor and singer (b. 1919)
##2007 – Michael Reardon, American mountaineer (b. 1965)
##2008 – Bronisław Geremek, Polish historian and politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland (b. 1932)
##2009 – Dash Snow, American artist (b. 1981)
##2010 – Manohari Singh, Indian saxophonist and composer (b. 1931)
##2010 – George Steinbrenner, American businessman (b. 1930)
##2011 – Allan Jeans, Australian footballer and coach (b. 1933)
##2012 – Shlomo Bentin, Israeli psychologist (b. 1946)
##2012 – Polde Bibič, Slovenian actor and screenwriter (b. 1933)
##2012 – Warren Jabali, American basketball player (b. 1946)
##2012 – Jerzy Kulej, Polish boxer and politician (b. 1940)
##2012 – Wayne Massarelli, American make-up artist (b. 1949)
##2012 – Sage Stallone, American actor (b. 1976)
##2012 – Richard D. Zanuck, American film producer (b. 1934)
##2012 – Ginny Tyler, American voice actress (b. 1925)
##2013 – Bana, Cape Verdean singer (b. 1932)
##2013 – John Cowdery, American politician (b. 1930)
##2013 – Leonard Garment, American lawyer and public servant, 14th White House Counsel (b. 1924)
##2013 – Henri Julien, French race car driver (b. 1927)
##2013 – Cory Monteith, Canadian actor and singer (b. 1982)
##2013 – Ottavio Quattrocchi, Italian businessman (b. 1938)
##2013 – Sharmila Rege, Indian sociologist and author (b. 1964)
##2013 – Mona Røkke, Norwegian jurist and politician (b. 1940)
##2013 – Vernon B. Romney, American lawyer and politician, 14th Attorney General of Utah (b. 1924)
##2013 – Marc Simont, French-American author and illustrator (b. 1915)

Jul 13, 1969:
Wallace criticizes Nixon's handling of the war

Former Alabama Governor George Wallace criticizes President Richard Nixon for his handling of the war and says he favors an all-out military victory if the Paris talks fail to produce peace soon. Wallace had run unsuccessfully against Nixon as a third party candidate in the 1968 presidential election. In 1972, Wallace ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, but was seriously wounded by a would-be assassin. He won several state primaries, but subsequently withdrew from the race. He was not through politically, however, and was twice more elected the governor of Alabama. In 1976, he made another run for the Democratic Party nomination before withdrawing and endorsing Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia. Wallace retired from politics in 1987.

Jul 13, 1978:
Henry Ford II fires Lee Iacocca

On this day in 1978, Ford Motor Company chairman Henry Ford II fires Lee Iacocca as Ford's president, ending years of tension between the two men.

Born to an immigrant family in Pennsylvania in 1924, Iacocca was hired by Ford as an engineer in 1946 but soon switched to sales, at which he clearly excelled. By 1960, Iaccoca had become a vice president and general manager of the Ford division, the company's largest marketing arm. He successfully championed the design and development of the sporty, affordable Ford Mustang, an achievement that landed him on the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines in the same week in 1964.

In December 1970, Henry Ford II named Iacocca president of Ford, but his brash, unorthodox style soon brought him into conflict with his boss. According to Douglas Brinkley's history of Ford "Wheels for the World," Henry authorized $1.5 million in company funds for an investigation of Iacocca's business and private life in 1975. Suffering from a heart condition and aware that the time for his retirement was approaching, Ford made it clear that he eventually wanted to turn the company over to his son Edsel, then just 28. In early 1978, Iacocca was told he would report to another Ford executive, Philip Caldwell, who was named deputy chief executive officer. In his increasingly public struggle with Ford, Iacocca made an attempt to find support among the company's board of directors, giving Ford the excuse he needed to fire him. As Iacocca later wrote in his bestselling autobiography, Ford called Iacocca into his office shortly before 3 pm on July 13, 1978 and let him go, telling him "Sometimes you just don't like somebody."

News of the firing shocked the industry, but it turned into a boon for Iacocca. The following year, he was hired as president of the Chrysler Corporation, which at the time was facing bankruptcy. Iacocca went to the federal government for aid, banking on his belief that the government would not let Chrysler fail for fear of weakening an already slumping economy. The gamble paid off, with Congress agreeing to bail out Chrysler to the tune of $1.5 billion. Iacocca streamlined the company's operations, focused on producing more fuel-efficient cars and pursued an aggressive marketing strategy based on his own powerful personality. After showing a small profit in 1981, Chrysler posted record profits of more than $2.4 billion in 1984. By then a national celebrity, Iacocca retired as chief executive of Chrysler in 1992.

Jul 13, 1985:
Reagan's doctors discover possibly cancerous colon polyp

On this day in 1985, while President Ronald Reagan is undergoing surgery to remove a benign polyp in his large intestine, doctors discover a second polyp and perform a biopsy to determine whether or not it is cancerous.

Reagan's 1985 surgery was performed at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland. He was 74 years old at the time and America's oldest sitting president. Immediately after the procedure, doctors informed the president of the existence of the second, and possibly cancerous, polyp. Reagan and his wife Nancy agreed to schedule a second surgery for its removal the following week.

A clause in the 25th Amendment provides for the transfer of presidential powers to the vice president should the president become temporarily incapacitated (for example while under anesthesia). The decision must be made prior to any procedure. For his 1985 surgeries, Reagan chose not to invoke the clause. By contrast, in 2002, President George W. Bush elected to make the official transfer before he underwent a routine colonoscopy, in light of the fact that he was a wartime president. Therefore, for 20 minutes in 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney was officially in charge of the country, while Bush was undergoing a procedure to remove benign colon polyps.

Reagan's second polyp did indeed turn out to be cancerous. The following week, doctors removed two feet of the president's intestine in addition to the diseased polyp. After the surgery, Reagan reportedly quipped, "well, I'm glad that's all out" and said that he planned to live a long time.

By sharing their experiences, both Reagan and Bush helped to raise the public's awareness about colon cancer.

Jul 13, 1985:
Live Aid concert

On July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially open Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. Continued at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and at other arenas around the world, the 16-hour "superconcert" was globally linked by satellite to more than a billion viewers in 110 nations. In a triumph of technology and good will, the event raised more than $125 million in famine relief for Africa.

Live Aid was the brainchild of Bob Geldof, the singer of an Irish rock group called the Boomtown Rats. In 1984, Geldof traveled to Ethiopia after hearing news reports of a horrific famine that had killed hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians and threatened to kill millions more. After returning to London, he called Britain's and Ireland's top pop artists together to record a single to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was written by Geldof and Ultravox singer Midge Ure and performed by "Band Aid," an ensemble that featured Culture Club, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, U2, Wham!, and others. It was the best-selling single in Britain to that date and raised more than $10 million.

"Do They Know It's Christmas?" was also a No. 1 hit in the United States and inspired U.S. pop artists to come together and perform "We Are the World," a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie. "USA for Africa," as the U.S. ensemble was known, featured Jackson, Ritchie, Geldof, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dylan, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, and many others. The single went to the top of the charts and eventually raised $44 million.

With the crisis continuing in Ethiopia, and the neighboring Sudan also stricken with famine, Geldof proposed Live Aid, an ambitious global charity concert aimed at raising more funds and increasing awareness of the plight of many Africans. Organized in just 10 weeks, Live Aid was staged on Saturday, July 13, 1985. More than 75 acts performed, including Elton John, Madonna, Santana, Run DMC, Sade, Sting, Bryan Adams, the Beach Boys, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Queen, Duran Duran, U2, the Who, Tom Petty, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton. The majority of these artists performed at either Wembley Stadium in London, where a crowd of 70,000 turned out, or at Philadelphia's JFK Stadium, where 100,000 watched. Thirteen satellites beamed a live television broadcast of the event to more than one billion viewers in 110 countries. More than 40 of these nations held telethons for African famine relief during the broadcast.

A memorable moment of the concert was Phil Collins' performance in Philadelphia after flying by Concorde from London, where he performed at Wembley earlier in the day. He later played drums in a reunion of the surviving members of Led Zeppelin. Beatle Paul McCartney and the Who's Pete Townsend held Bob Geldof aloft on their shoulders during the London finale, which featured a collective performance of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Six hours later, the U.S. concert ended with "We Are the World."

Live Aid eventually raised $127 million in famine relief for African nations, and the publicity it generated encouraged Western nations to make available enough surplus grain to end the immediate hunger crisis in Africa. Geldof was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his efforts.

In early July 2005, Geldof staged a series of "Live 8" concerts in 11 countries around the world to help raise awareness of global poverty. Organizers, led by Geldof, purposely scheduled the concert days before the annual G8 summit in an effort to increase political pressure on G8 nations to address issues facing the extremely poor around the world. Live 8 claims that an estimated 3 billion people watched 1,000 musicians perform in 11 shows, which were broadcast on 182 television networks and by 2,000 radio stations. Unlike Live Aid, Live 8 was intentionally not billed as a fundraiser--Geldof's slogan was, "We don't want your money, we want your voice." Perhaps in part because of the spotlight brought to such issues by Live 8, the G8 subsequently voted to cancel the debt of 18 of the world's poorest nations, make AIDS drugs more accessible, and double levels of annual aid to Africa, to $50 billion by 2010.

Jul 13, 1985:
Live Aid is held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia and broadcast live throughout the world

"This is your Woodstock, and it's long overdue." That was the introduction offered by 1960s folk icon Joan Baez at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the opening of the North American portion of Live Aid on this day in 1985. The biggest rock concert and charity event in the history of the world, staged simultaneously on two sides of the Atlantic Ocean and broadcast globally to an audience of 1.5 billion, bore little resemblance to the chaotic, hedonistic and profit-making Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, however. Conceived and organized by the Irish pop star Bob Geldof in response to the disastrous east African famine of 1984-1985, Live Aid raised upwards of £40 million (then equivalent to roughly $50 million) in relief aid via ticket sales and direct contributions from television viewers.

Live Aid grew out of Geldof's groundbreaking Band Aid project, which pioneered the use of record sales as a large-scale fundraising mechanism. Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" directly inspired USA For Africa's "We Are The World," just as Geldof's Live Aid would directly inspire Farm Aid and countless other large-scale musical fundraising events. Still better known in 1985 as the lead singer of the Boomtown Rats than as a philanthropist, Bob Geldof announced plans for Live Aid in the spring of 1985 and convinced a lineup of some of the era's biggest names to appear on the bill without compensation, including Sting, Madonna, Sade, Dire Straits, Wham and Phil Collins, who appeared both at Wembley Stadium in London and at JFK in Philadelphia thanks to a transatlantic flight on the Concorde. Even more impressive was the list of rock giants who participated: The Who, Elton John, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and—in a powerhouse performance at Wembley—Queen.

Even with such a monumental lineup, Live Aid was not nearly as memorable for its music as for its mission. There was no moment to rival Jimi Hendrix's legendary "Star Spangled Banner" wakeup at Woodstock, for instance. In the UK, the future Sir Bob Geldof is fondly remembered for exhorting viewers of the Live BBC broadcast to "Give us your [expletive] money," though he never actually said those words. He was, however, a constant, hectoring presence on screen during breaks between musical sets and did at one point use a choice expletive in urging the BBC presenter to encourage telephone credit-card donations rather than mail-in ones. His efforts helped make Live Aid a smashing success and a model on which many future fundraising events would be based.

Jul 13, 1990:
Ghost opens

On this day in 1990, the romantic-thriller Ghost, starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, opens in theaters across the United States. The film, about a woman who communicates with her murdered husband through a sassy psychic, was a box-office hit and received multiple Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Goldberg, who played psychic Oda Mae Brown, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She became only the second African-American actress to win an Academy Award. (In 1939, Hattie McDaniel was named Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a slave governess in Gone With the Wind.) Written by Bruce Joel Rubin and directed by Jerry Zucker, Ghost contained the now-iconic love scene, set to “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, in which Sam (Swayze) communes with Molly (Moore) while she is sitting at a potter’s wheel.

The three stars of Ghost all rose to prominence in Hollywood in the 1980s. Patrick Swayze, born in 1952, was a professional dancer who appeared in such films as The Outsiders (1983) and Red Dawn (1984) before his breakout performance in Dirty Dancing (1987). After Ghost, his film credits included Point Break (1991), City of Joy (1992) and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newman (1995). In 2008, Swayze announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died in September 2009 at the age of 57.

Demi Moore, who was born in 1962, became famous in the 1980s as a member of the so-called “Brat Pack” cast of St. Elmo’s Fire (1985), which co-starred Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy and Mare Winningham. Following the success of Ghost, she was cast in a number of big-budget films in the 1990s, including A Few Good Men (1992), Indecent Proposal (1993), Striptease (1996) and G.I. Jane (1997). After taking a break from Hollywood for several years, Moore appeared in 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. She was married to the actor Bruce Willis, with whom she has three daughters, from 1987 to 2000. In 2005, Moore wed the actor Ashton Kutcher, who is 15 years her junior.

Whoopi Goldberg, who was born in 1955, had previously received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple (1985). Her lengthy list of film credits also includes Sister Act (1991) and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998). In 2007, Goldberg replaced Rosie O’Donnell as a co-host of the daytime talk show The View.

Jul 13, 2010:
Legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner dies

On this day in 2010, George Steinbrenner, the larger-than-life, longtime owner of the New York Yankees, who re-established the team as one of baseball’s most successful franchises, dies of a heart attack at age 80 in Tampa, Florida. Under Steinbrenner, who owned the team from 1973 until his death, the Yankees won seven World Series championships and 11 American League pennants. Nicknamed “the Boss,” the influential, demanding and controversial owner also built the Yankees into baseball’s first billion-dollar team.

George Michael Steinbrenner III was born on July 4, 1930, and raised in Bay Village, Ohio, near Cleveland. After graduating from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1952, he served in the Air Force, earned a master’s degree in physical education from Ohio State University and did brief stints as an assistant college football coach at Northwestern and Purdue. In 1957, Steinbrenner joined his family’s Great Lakes shipping business and went on to grow it substantially. In the early 1960s, he became an owner of the short-lived Cleveland Pipers professional basketball team, and later invested in horse racing and Broadway shows, among other ventures.

In 1973, Steinbrenner headed an investment group that bought the Yankees for less than $10 million. (At the time of his death, the team was worth an estimated $1.6 billion.) Although he initially promised to be a hands-off owner and “stick to building ships,” Steinbrenner soon became heavily involved in running the team, even dictating the length of his players’ hair and sometimes directing post-game traffic outside Yankee Stadium. He had contentious relationships with a number of his players and staff, and famously hired and fired manager Billy Martin five times. Steinbrenner himself was suspended from the sport twice--first, in 1974, after pleading guilty to making illegal corporate contributions to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign, and a second time, in 1990, for paying a small-time gambler to dig up damaging information about Yankee outfielder Dave Winfield, with whom Steinbrenner was feuding. Beyond baseball, Steinbrenner became a pop-culture figure, hosting “Saturday Night Live” and being portrayed as a recurring character on “Seinfeld.”

When Steinbrenner purchased the Yankees, the team was struggling and hadn’t won a World Series since 1962. He began spending record-breaking sums to acquire the game’s top players and soon got results: the Bronx Bombers won the World Series in 1977 and 1978, and again in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Steinbrenner and the Yankees also raked in millions from lucrative licensing and marketing deals. However, the Yankees’ long-term dominance and colossal payroll earned them detractors, who charged Steinbrenner with “buying” championships and driving up salaries (and ticket prices) across the sport. In an effort to level the playing field for teams with fewer financial resources, Major League Baseball in 2002 instituted a luxury tax in which teams whose payroll goes over a certain threshold are taxed on the excess amount.

In 2009, the Yankees won their 27th World Series--more than any other team in baseball history. By then, Steinbrenner’s health was in decline and he had ceded day-to-day management of the team to his sons Hal and Hank. Following Steinbrenner’s July 13, 2010, death, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said, "He was and always will be as much of a New York Yankee as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and all of the other Yankee legends."
14 July Events

756 – Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty China flees the capital Chang'an as An Lushan's forces advance toward the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.
1223 – Louis VIII becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Philip II of France.
1769 – An expedition led by Gaspar de Portolà establishes a base in California and sets out to find the Port of Monterey (now Monterey, California).
1771 – Foundation of the Mission San Antonio de Padua in modern California by the Franciscan friar Junípero Serra.
1789 – French Revolution: citizens of Paris storm the Bastille.
1789 – Alexander Mackenzie finally completes his journey to the mouth of the great river he hoped would take him to the Pacific, but which turns out to flow into the Arctic Ocean. Later named after him, the Mackenzie is the second-longest river system in North America.
1790 – French Revolution: citizens of Paris celebrate the unity of the French people and the national reconciliation in the Fête de la Fédération.
1791 – The Priestley Riots drive Joseph Priestley, a supporter of the French Revolution, out of Birmingham, England.
1798 – The Sedition Act becomes law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government.
1853 – Opening of the first major US world's fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations in New York City.
1865 – First ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom die on the descent.
1877 – The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 begins in Martinsburg, West Virginia, US, when Baltimore and Ohio Railroad workers have their wages cut for the second time in a year.
1881 – Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.
1900 – Armies of the Eight-Nation Alliance capture Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion.
1902 – The Campanile in St. Mark's Square, Venice collapses, also demolishing the loggetta.
1911 – Harry Atwood, an exhibition pilot for the Wright Brothers lands his airplane at the South Lawn of the White House. He is later awarded a Gold medal from U.S. President William Howard Taft for this feat.
1916 – Start of the Battle of Delville Wood as an action within the Battle of the Somme, which was to last until 3 September 1916.
1928 – New Vietnam Revolutionary Party is founded in Huế amid providing some of the communist party's most important leaders in its early years.
1933 – Gleichschaltung: in Germany, all political parties are outlawed except the Nazi Party.
1933 – The Nazi eugenics begins with the proclamation of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring that calls for the compulsory sterilization of any citizen who suffers from alleged genetic disorders.
1943 – In Diamond, Missouri, the George Washington Carver National Monument becomes the first United States National Monument in honor of an African American.
1948 – Palmiro Togliatti, leader of the Italian Communist Party, is shot and wounded near the Italian Parliament.
1950 – Korean War: North Korean troops initiate the Battle of Taejon.
1957 – Rawya Ateya takes her seat in the National Assembly of Egypt, thereby becoming the first female parliamentarian in the Arab world.
1958 – Iraqi Revolution: in Iraq the monarchy is overthrown by popular forces led by Abdul Karim Kassem, who becomes the nation's new leader.
1960 – Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild.
1965 – The Mariner 4 flyby of Mars takes the first close-up photos of another planet.
1969 – Football War: after Honduras loses a soccer match against El Salvador, riots break out in Honduras against Salvadoran migrant workers.
1969 – The United States $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills are officially withdrawn from circulation.
1976 – Capital punishment is abolished in Canada.
1987 – Montreal, Canada, is hit by a series of thunderstorms causing the Montreal Flood of 1987.
1992 – 386BSD is released by Lynne Jolitz and William Jolitz beginning the Open Source Operating System Revolution. Linus Torvalds releases his Linux soon afterwards.
2000 – A powerful solar flare, later named the Bastille Day event, causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth.
2002 – French President Jacques Chirac escapes an assassination attempt unscathed during Bastille Day celebrations.
2003 – In an effort to discredit U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who had written an article critical of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak reveals that Wilson's wife Valerie Plame is a CIA "operative".

Jul 14, 1099:
Jerusalem captured in First Crusade

During the First Crusade, Christian knights from Europe capture Jerusalem after seven weeks of siege and begin massacring the city's Muslim and Jewish population.

Beginning in the 11th century, Christians in Jerusalem were increasingly persecuted by the city's Islamic rulers, especially when control of the holy city passed from the relatively tolerant Egyptians to the Seljuk Turks in 1071. Late in the century, Byzantine Emperor Alexius Comenus, also threatened by the Seljuk Turks, appealed to the West for aid. In 1095, Pope Urban II publicly called for a crusade to aid Eastern Christians and recover the holy lands. The response by Western Europeans was immediate.

The first crusaders were actually undisciplined hordes of French and German peasants who met with little success. One group, known as the "People's Crusade," reached as far as Constantinople before being annihilated by the Turks. In 1096, the main crusading force, featuring some 4,000 mounted knights and 25,000 infantry, began to move east. Led by Raymond of Toulouse, Godfrey of Bouillon, Robert of Flanders, and Bohemond of Otranto, the army of Christian knights crossed into Asia Minor in 1097.

In June, the crusaders captured the Turkish-held city of Nicaea and then defeated a massive army of Seljuk Turks at Dorylaeum. From there, they marched on to Antioch, located on the Orontes River below Mount Silpius, and began a difficult six-month siege during which they repulsed several attacks by Turkish relief armies. Finally, early in the morning of June 3, 1098, Bohemond persuaded a Turkish traitor to open Antioch's Bridge Gate, and the knights poured into the city. In an orgy of killing, the Christians massacred thousands of enemy soldiers and citizens, and all but the city's fortified citadel was taken. Later in the month, a large Turkish army arrived to attempt to regain the city, but they too were defeated, and the Antioch citadel surrendered to the Europeans.

After resting and reorganizing for six months, the crusaders set off for their ultimate goal, Jerusalem. Their numbers were now reduced to some 1,200 cavalry and 12,000 foot soldiers. On June 7, 1099, the Christian army reached the holy city, and finding it heavily fortified, began building three enormous siege towers. By the night of July 13, the towers were complete, and the Christians began fighting their way across Jerusalem's walls. On July 14, Godfrey's men were the first to penetrate the defenses, and the Gate of Saint Stephen was opened. The rest of the knights and soldiers then poured in, the city was captured, and tens of thousands of its occupants were slaughtered.

The crusaders had achieved their aims, and Jerusalem was in Christian hands, but an Egyptian army marched on the holy city a few weeks later to challenge their claim. The Egyptians' defeat by the outnumbered Christians in August ended Muslim resistance to the Europeans for the time being, and five small Christian states were set up in the region under the rule of the leaders of the crusade.

Jul 14, 1789:
French revolutionaries storm Bastille

Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.

The Bastille was originally constructed in 1370 as a bastide, or "fortification," to protect the walled city of Paris from English attack. It was later made into an independent stronghold, and its name--bastide--was corrupted to Bastille. The Bastille was first used as a state prison in the 17th century, and its cells were reserved for upper-class felons, political troublemakers, and spies. Most prisoners there were imprisoned without a trial under direct orders of the king. Standing 100 feet tall and surrounded by a moat more than 80 feet wide, the Bastille was an imposing structure in the Parisian landscape.

By the summer of 1789, France was moving quickly toward revolution. There were severe food shortages in France that year, and popular resentment against the rule of King Louis XVI was turning to fury. In June, the Third Estate, which represented commoners and the lower clergy, declared itself the National Assembly and called for the drafting of a constitution. Initially seeming to yield, Louis legalized the National Assembly but then surrounded Paris with troops and dismissed Jacques Necker, a popular minister of state who had supported reforms. In response, mobs began rioting in Paris at the instigation of revolutionary leaders.

Bernard-Jordan de Launay, the military governor of the Bastille, feared that his fortress would be a target for the revolutionaries and so requested reinforcements. A company of Swiss mercenary soldiers arrived on July 7 to bolster his garrison of 82 soldiers. The Marquis de Sade, one of the few prisoners in the Bastille at the time, was transferred to an insane asylum after he attempted to incite a crowd outside his window by yelling: "They are massacring the prisoners; you must come and free them." On July 12, royal authorities transferred 250 barrels of gunpowder to the Bastille from the Paris Arsenal, which was more vulnerable to attack. Launay brought his men into the Bastille and raised its two drawbridges.

On July 13, revolutionaries with muskets began firing at soldiers standing guard on the Bastille's towers and then took cover in the Bastille's courtyard when Launay's men fired back. That evening, mobs stormed the Paris Arsenal and another armory and acquired thousands of muskets. At dawn on July 14, a great crowd armed with muskets, swords, and various makeshift weapons began to gather around the Bastille.

Launay received a delegation of revolutionary leaders but refused to surrender the fortress and its munitions as they requested. He later received a second delegation and promised he would not open fire on the crowd. To convince the revolutionaries, he showed them that his cannons were not loaded. Instead of calming the agitated crowd, news of the unloaded cannons emboldened a group of men to climb over the outer wall of the courtyard and lower a drawbridge. Three hundred revolutionaries rushed in, and Launay's men took up a defensive position. When the mob outside began trying to lower the second drawbridge, Launay ordered his men to open fire. One hundred rioters were killed or wounded.

Launay's men were able to hold the mob back, but more and more Parisians were converging on the Bastille. Around 3 p.m., a company of deserters from the French army arrived. The soldiers, hidden by smoke from fires set by the mob, dragged five cannons into the courtyard and aimed them at the Bastille. Launay raised a white flag of surrender over the fortress. Launay and his men were taken into custody, the gunpowder and cannons were seized, and the seven prisoners of the Bastille were freed. Upon arriving at the Hotel de Ville, where Launay was to be arrested by a revolutionary council, the governor was pulled away from his escort by a mob and murdered.

The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum. Joined by four-fifths of the French army, the revolutionaries seized control of Paris and then the French countryside, forcing King Louis XVI to accept a constitutional government. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.

By order of the new revolutionary government, the Bastille was torn down. On February 6, 1790, the last stone of the hated prison-fortress was presented to the National Assembly. Today, July 14--Bastille Day--is celebrated as a national holiday in France.

Jul 14, 1798:
Sedition Act becomes federal law

On this day in 1798, one of the most egregious breaches of the U.S. Constitution in history becomes federal law when Congress passes the Sedition Act, endangering liberty in the fragile new nation. While the United States engaged in naval hostilities with Revolutionary France, known as the Quasi-War, Alexander Hamilton and congressional Federalists took advantage of the public's wartime fears and drafted and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, without first consulting President John Adams.

The first three acts took aim at the rights of immigrants. The period of residency required before immigrants could apply for citizenship was extended from five to 14 years, and the president gained the power to detain and deport those he deemed enemies. President Adams never took advantage of his newfound ability to deny rights to immigrants. However, the fourth act, the Sedition Act, was put into practice and became a black mark on the nation's reputation. In direct violation of the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act.

In opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Virginia and Kentucky Resolves, declaring the acts to be a violation of the First and Tenth Amendments. President Adams, appalled at where Hamilton and the congressional Federalists were leading the country under the guise of wartime crisis, tried to end the undeclared war with France to undercut their efforts. He threatened to resign from the presidency and leave the Federalists with Republican Vice President Thomas Jefferson if they did not heed his call for peace. Adams succeeded in quashing Hamilton and the Federalists' schemes, but ended any hope of his own re-election in the process.

Jul 14, 1811:
Byron returns to England after a two-year trip

Byron returns to England on this day in 1811, after touring Europe and the Near East for two years. His travels inspire his first highly successful work, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (1812). The poem brings him almost instant acclaim in England, and Byron's taste, manners, and fashion all become widely imitated. "I awoke one morning and found myself famous," he says.

Byron was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1788, and raised in near poverty. Afflicted with a clubfoot, Byron endured a painful childhood. At age 10, he inherited his great uncle's title. He attended Harrow, then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he ran up enormous debts and wrote poetry. His first published volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness (1807), was savaged by critics, especially in Scotland, and his second published work, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809), attacked the English literary establishment.

In 1815, he married Anne Isabella Milbanke, and the couple had a daughter, August Ada, who proved to be a mathematical prodigy and contributed to the first digital-computer design, conceived by Charles Babbage. Byron and his wife separated as scandal broke out over Byron's suspected incestuous relationship with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. He was ostracized by polite society and forced to flee England in 1816. He settled in Geneva, near Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and became intimately involved with Mary's half-sister, Claire Clairmont. She bore Byron's daughter Allegra in January 1817.

Byron moved to Venice that year and entered a period of wild debauchery. In 1819, he began an affair with the Countess Teresa Guiccioli, the young wife of an elderly count, and the two remained attached for many years. Byron, always an avid supporter of liberal causes and national independence, supported the Greek war for independence. He joined the cause in Greece, training troops in the town of Missolonghi, where he died of malaria just after his 36th birthday.

Jul 14, 1864:
Confederates defeated at the Battle of Tupelo

On this day, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest suffers his biggest defeat when Union General Andrew J. Smith routs his force in Tupelo, Mississippi. The battle came just a month after the Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi, in which Forrest engineered a brilliant victory over a larger Union force from Memphis that was designed to keep him from threatening General William T. Sherman's supply lines in Tennessee.

Hoping to neutralize Forrest, Sherman sent Smith's expedition to destroy Forrest and his cavalry. Smith left LaGrange, Tennessee, on June 22 with 14,000 troops.

Forrest and his cavalry were part of a 10,000-man force commanded by General Stephen Lee, but Forrest and Lee shared command responsibilities. Forrest's strategy at Tupelo was similar to his tactics at the Battle of West Point, Mississippi, five months earlier. In both battles, Forrest used part of his force to entice the Yankees into a trap. The plan worked well at West Point, but in Tupelo Smith did not take the bait. Instead of driving right at Forrest, Smith dug his troops in around Tupelo. Lee and Forrest were uneasy about attacking the Yankees, but they agreed to try to drive Smith out of Mississippi.

The assault began on the morning of July 14. Smith's Union troops were in an ideal position for fending off an attack. The Confederates had to fight uphill across nearly a mile of open terrain. Lee struck one flank and Forrest struck the other. Poor communication ruined the Rebels' coordination, and after three hours they had not breached the Union line. Although Lee was the ranking Confederate, he had offered Forrest command of the battle. Forrest declined, but assigning blame for the defeat is difficult. Union losses stood at 674, while Forrest and Lee lost over 1,300 soldiers.

Despite the Union victory, the overly cautious Smith had lost an opportunity to completely destroy Forrest and Lee's army. He had not counterattacked, and the Confederates maintained a dangerous force in Mississippi.

Jul 14, 1881:
Billy the Kid is shot to death

Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots Henry McCarty, popularly known as Billy the Kid, to death at the Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico. Garrett, who had been tracking the Kid for three months after the gunslinger had escaped from prison only days before his scheduled execution, got a tip that Billy was holed up with friends. While Billy was gone, Garrett waited in the dark in his bedroom. When Billy entered, Garrett shot him to death.

Back on April 1, 1878, Billy the Kid ambushed Sheriff William Brady and one deputy in Lincoln, New Mexico, after ranch owner John Tunstall had been murdered. Billy had worked at Tunstall's ranch and was outraged by his employer's slaying-vowing to hunt down every man responsible. Sheriff Brady and his men, who had been affiliated with rival ranchers, were involved with the gang that killed Tunstall on February 18. Billy's retaliatory attack left Brady and Deputy George Hindman dead. Although only 18 years old at the time, Billy had now committed as many as 17 murders.

Following his indictment for the murder of Sheriff Brady, Billy the Kid was the most wanted man in the West. Evading posses sent to capture him, he eventually struck a deal with the new governor of New Mexico: In return for his testimony against the perpetrators of the ongoing ranch wars in the state, Billy would be set free. Although he kept his word about the testimony, he began to distrust the promise that he would be released and so he escaped.

Once a fugitive, Billy killed a few more men, including the gunslinger Joe Grant, who had challenged him to a showdown. Legend has it that Billy managed to get a hold of Grant's gun prior to the fight and made sure that an empty chamber was up first in the man's revolver. When it came time to fire, only Billy's gun went off and Grant was left dead.

Legendary Sheriff Pat Garrett finally brought Billy the Kid in to stand trial. The judge sentenced Billy the Kid to hang until "you are dead, dead, dead." Billy reportedly responded, "And you can go to hell, hell, hell." Two weeks before his scheduled execution, Billy escaped, killing two guards in the process.

Garrett mounted yet another posse to bring in the Kid. After tracing him to the Maxwell Ranch, Garrett shot him to death. No legal charges were brought against him since the killing was ruled a justifiable homicide.

Jul 14, 1882:
Gunfighter John Ringo found dead

John Ringo, the famous gun-fighting gentleman, is found dead in Turkey Creek Canyon, Arizona.

Romanticized in both life and death, John Ringo was supposedly a Shakespeare-quoting gentleman whose wit was as quick as his gun. Some believed he was college educated, and his sense of honor and courage was sometimes compared to that of a British lord. In truth, Ringo was not a formally educated man, and he came from a struggling working-class Indiana family that gave him few advantages. Yet, he does appear to have been better read than most of his associates, and he clearly cultivated an image as a refined gentleman.

By the time he was 12, Ringo was already a crack shot with either a pistol or rifle. He left home when he was 19, eventually ending up in Texas, where in 1875 he became involved in a local feud known as the "Hoodoo War." He killed at least two men, but seems to have either escaped prosecution, or when arrested, escaped his jail cell. By 1878, he was described as "one of the most desperate men in the frontier counties" of Texas, and he decided it was time to leave the state.

In 1879, Ringo resurfaced in southeastern Arizona, where he joined the motley ranks of outlaws and gunslingers hanging around the booming mining town of Tombstone. Nicknamed "Dutch," Ringo had a reputation for being a reserved loner who was dangerous with a gun. He haunted the saloons of Tombstone and was probably an alcoholic. Not long after he arrived, Ringo shot a man dead for refusing to join him in a drink. Somehow, he again managed to avoid imprisonment by temporarily leaving town. He was not involved in the infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881, but he did later challenge Doc Holliday (one of the survivors of the O.K. Corral fight) to a shootout. Holliday declined and citizens disarmed both men.

The manner of Ringo's demise remains something of a mystery. He seems to have become despondent in 1882, perhaps because his family had treated him coldly when he had earlier visited them in San Jose. Witnesses reported that he began drinking even more heavily than usual. On this day in 1882, he was found dead in Turkey Creek Canyon outside of Tombstone. It looked as if Ringo had shot himself in the head and the official ruling was that he had committed suicide. Some believed, however, that he had been murdered either by his drinking friend Frank "Buckskin" Leslie or a young gambler named "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce." To complicate matters further, Wyatt Earp later claimed that he had killed Ringo. The truth remains obscure to this day.
14 July Births

1454 – Poliziano, Italian poet and scholar (d. 1494)
1602 – Cardinal Mazarin, Italian-French politician, 2nd Chief Minister of the French Monarch (d. 1661)
1608 – George Goring, Lord Goring, English general (d. 1657)
1610 – Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (d. 1670)
1634 – Pasquier Quesnel, French theologian (d. 1719)
1671 – Jacques d'Allonville, French astronomer and mathematician (d. 1732)
1675 – Claude Alexandre de Bonneval, French general (d. 1747)
1676 – Caspar Abel, German historian, poet, and theologian (d. 1763)
1696 – William Oldys, English historian and author (d. 1761)
1721 – John Douglas, Scottish bishop (d. 1807)
1743 – Gavrila Derzhavin, Russian poet (d. 1816)
1755 – Michel de Beaupuy, French general (d. 1796)
1785 – Mordecai Manuel Noah, American journalist and diplomat (d. 1851)
1801 – Johannes Peter Müller, German physiologist and anatomist (d. 1858)
1816 – Arthur de Gobineau, French author (d. 1882)
1829 – Edward Benson, English archbishop (d. 1896)
1859 – Willy Hess, German violinist and educator (d. 1928)
1860 – Owen Wister, American author (d. 1938)
1862 – Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter and graphic artist (d. 1918)
1865 – Arthur Capper, American journalist and politician, 20th Governor of Kansas (d. 1951)
1868 – Gertrude Bell, English archaeologist and spy (d. 1926)
1872 – Albert Marque, French sculptor and doll maker (d. 1939)
1882 – Teddy Billington, American cyclist (d. 1966)
1885 – Sisavang Vong, Laos king (d. 1959)
1888 – Scipio Slataper, Italian author and critic (d. 1915)
1889 – Ante Pavelić, Croatian politician, 1st Foreign Minister of the Independent State of Croatia (d. 1959)
1893 – Clarence J. Brown, American publisher and politician, 36th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio (d. 1965)
1893 – Garimella Satyanarayana, Indian poet (d. 1952)
1894 – Dave Fleischer, American animator, director, and producer (d. 1979)
1896 – Buenaventura Durruti, Spanish soldier and anarchist (d. 1936)
1898 – Happy Chandler, American politician, 49th Governor of Kentucky (d. 1991)
1901 – Gerald Finzi, English composer (d. 1956)
1901 – George Tobias, American actor and singer (d. 1980)
1903 – Irving Stone, American author (d. 1989)
1906 – Tom Carvel, Greek-American businessman, founded Carvel (d. 1990)
1906 – William H. Tunner, American general (d. 1983)
1910 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (d. 2001)
1911 – Pavel Prudnikau, Belarusian poet and author (d. 2000)
1911 – Terry-Thomas, English actor and singer (d. 1990)
1912 – Northrop Frye, Canadian critic (d. 1991)
1912 – Woody Guthrie, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Almanac Singers) (d. 1967)
1913 – Gerald Ford, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 38th President of the United States (d. 2006)
1917 – George Bookasta, American actor and director (d. 2014)
1918 – Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2007)
1918 – Arthur Laurents, American director, screenwriter, and playwright (d. 2011)
1919 – Lino Ventura, Italian-French actor (d. 1987)
1920 – Shankarrao Chavan, Indian politician, Minister of Finance for India (d. 2004)
1921 – Sixto Durán Ballén, American-Ecuadorian politician, 48th President of Ecuador
1921 – Leon Garfield, English author (d. 1996)
1921 – Armand Gaudreault, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2013)
1921 – Geoffrey Wilkinson, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1996)
1922 – Robert Creamer, American journalist (d. 2012)
1922 – Robin Olds, American general and pilot (d. 2007)
1922 – Elfriede Rinkel, German SS officer
1923 – Dale Robertson, American actor and singer (d. 2013)
1923 – Willie Steele, American long jumper (d. 1989)
1923 – Robert Zildjian, American businessman, founded Sabian (d. 2013)
1924 – Warren Giese, American football player, coach, and politician (d. 2013)
1925 – Sheila Guyse, American actress and singer (d. 2013)
1926 – Harry Dean Stanton, American actor and singer
1927 – John Chancellor, American journalist (d. 1996)
1927 – Mike Esposito, American illustrator (d. 2010)
1927 – Peggy Parish, American author (d. 1988)
1928 – Nancy Olson, American actress
1930 – Polly Bergen, American actress and singer
1931 – Jacqueline de Ribes, French fashion designer
1931 – E. V. Thompson, English author (d. 2012)
1932 – Rosey Grier, American football player and actor
1932 – Princess Margarita of Baden (d. 2013)
1933 – Robert Bourassa, Canadian politician, 22nd Premier of Quebec (d. 1996)
1933 – Franz, Duke of Bavaria
1936 – Pema Chödrön, American nun and author
1936 – Robert F. Overmyer, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1996)
1937 – Yoshirō Mori, Japanese politician, 55th Prime Minister of Japan
1938 – Jerry Rubin, American activist, author, and businessman (d. 1994)
1938 – Tommy Vig, Hungarian vibraphone player, drummer, and composer
1939 – Karel Gott, Czech singer-songwriter and actor
1939 – Sid Haig, American actor
1939 – George Edgar Slusser, American scholar and author
1940 – Susan Howatch, English author
1941 – Maulana Karenga, American philosopher, author, and activist, created Kwanzaa
1941 – Andreas Khol, German-Austrian politician
1942 – Ken Hutcherson, American football player (d. 2013)
1942 – Javier Solana, Spanish physicist and politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain
1943 – Christopher Priest, English author
1944 – Billy McCool, American baseball player
1945 – Jim Gordon, American drummer and songwriter (Traffic, Derek and the Dominos, Delaney & Bonnie, and Souther–Hillman–Furay Band)
1946 – Vincent Pastore, American actor
1946 – John Wood, Australian actor and screenwriter
1947 – Claudia Kennedy, American general
1947 – Navin Ramgoolam, Mauritius politician, 3rd Prime Minister of Mauritius
1948 – Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu of Zulu
1948 – Earl Williams, American baseball player (d. 2013)
1949 – Tommy Mottola, American businessman
1951 – Erich Hallhuber, German actor (d. 2003)
1952 – Bob Casale, American guitarist, keyboard player, and producer (Devo) (d. 2014)
1952 – Franklin Graham, American evangelist and missionary
1952 – Eric Laneuville, American actor, director, and producer
1952 – Joel Silver, American actor and producer, co-founded Dark Castle Entertainment
1953 – Bebe Buell, American model and singer
1953 – Martha Coakley, American politician, 58th Attorney General of Massachusetts
1955 – L. Brent Bozell III, American journalist and activist, founded the Media Research Center
1956 – Julio Chávez, Argentinian actor
1958 – Mircea Geoană, Romanian politician and diplomat, 97th Minister of Foreign Affairs for Romania
1958 – Robert Jensen, American journalist and educator
1958 – Joe Keenan, American screenwriter, producer, and author
1960 – Anna Bligh, Australian politician, 37th Premier of Queensland
1960 – Kyle Gass, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (Tenacious D and Trainwreck)
1960 – Angélique Kidjo, Beninese singer-songwriter and activist
1960 – Jane Lynch, American actress and singer
1960 – Mike McPhee, Canadian ice hockey player
1961 – Jackie Earle Haley, American actor
1962 – Antonio Díaz Sánchez, Cuban activist
1962 – Jeff Olson, American drummer, songwriter, and radio host Trouble, Retro Grave, and The Skull
1963 – Jacques Lacombe, Canadian organist and conductor
1963 – Phil Rosenthal, American journalist
1963 – Aja, American pornographic actress, adult film director and exotic dancer
1965 – Urmas Kruuse, Estonian politician
1966 – Juliet Cesario, American actress
1966 – Owen Coyle, Scottish-Irish footballer and manager
1966 – Tanya Donelly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Throwing Muses, Belly, and The Breeders)
1966 – Matthew Fox, American actor
1966 – Ellen Reid, Canadian singer and pianist (Crash Test Dummies)
1966 – Brian Selznick, American author and illustrator
1966 – Matt Hume American mixed martial artist and trainer
1967 – Marios Constantinou, Cypriot footballer and manager
1967 – Jeff Jarrett, American wrestler and promoter, co-founded Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
1967 – Patrick J. Kennedy, American politician
1967 – Robin Ventura, American baseball player and manager
1968 – Michael Palmer, Singaporean lawyer and politician, 8th Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore
1969 – José Hernández, Puerto Rican baseball player
1969 – Kazushi Sakuraba, Japanese mixed martial artist and wrestler
1969 – Sven Sester, Estonian politician
1969 – Craig Ricci Shaynak, American actor and producer
1970 – Thomas Lauderdale, American pianist (Pink Martini)
1970 – Nina Siemaszko, American actress
1971 – Mark LoMonaco, American wrestler
1971 – Nick McCabe, English guitarist (The Verve and The Black Ships)
1971 – Ross Rebagliati, Canadian snowboarder
1971 – Madhu Sapre, Indian model, Miss India 1992
1971 – Joey Styles, American sportscaster
1971 – Marie-Chantal Toupin, Canadian singer
1971 – Howard Webb, English footballer and referee
1972 – Deborah Mailman, Australian actress
1973 – Tani Fuga, Samoan rugby player
1973 – Paul Methric, American rapper and producer (Twiztid, Dark Lotus, and Psychopathic Rydas)
1973 – Halil Mutlu, Turkish weightlifter
1973 – Candela Peña, Spanish actress
1973 – Adam Quinn, American bagpipes player and composer (Lucid Druid)
1974 – Erick Dampier, American basketball player
1974 – David Mitchell, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter
1975 – Taboo, American rapper and actor (The Black Eyed Peas)
1975 – Tim Hudson, American baseball player
1975 – Jamey Johnson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
1976 – Ranj Dhaliwal, Canadian author
1976 – Geraint Jones, Papua New Guinean-English cricketer
1976 – Kirsten Sheridan, Irish director and screenwriter
1976 – Monique Covét, Hungarian pornographic actress and fetish model
1977 – Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden
1978 – Mattias Ekström, Swedish race car driver
1978 – Caroline Lesley, Canadian-American actress
1978 – Kristy Wright, Australian actress
1979 – Bernie Castro, Dominican baseball player
1979 – Scott Porter, American actor and singer
1979 – Axel Teichmann, German skier
1980 – Chad Faust, Canadian-American actor, singer, director, and producer
1980 – Jed Madela, Filipino singer-songwriter
1980 – George Smith, Australian rugby player
1981 – Milow, Belgian singer-songwriter
1981 – Trevor Fehrman, American actor
1981 – Robbie Maddison, Australian motorcycle racer
1981 – Lee Mead, English actor and singer
1982 – Dmitry Chaplin, Russian-American dancer and choreographer
1982 – Achille Coser, Italian footballer
1982 – Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Nigerian Lawyer and Media Personality
1983 – Igor Andreev, Russian tennis player
1983 – Drew Cheetwood, American actor
1983 – Wesley Dening, Australian television host and producer
1983 – Thomas Howard, American football player (d. 2013)
1983 – Tito Muñoz, American conductor
1984 – Nilmar, Brazilian footballer
1984 – Renaldo Balkman, American basketball player
1984 – Erica Blasberg, American golfer (d. 2010)
1984 – Lenka Dlhopolcová, Slovak tennis player
1984 – Mounir El Hamdaoui, Moroccan footballer
1984 – Samir Handanović, Slovenian footballer
1984 – Fleur Saville, New Zealand actress
1985 – Billy Celeski, Australian footballer
1985 – Lee Kwang-soo, Korean actor
1985 – Darrelle Revis, American football player
1985 – Altuna Sejdiu, Albanian-Macedonian singer
1986 – Alexander Gerndt, Swedish footballer
1987 – Aqeel Ahmed, English director, producer, and screenwriter
1987 – Sara Canning, Canadian actress
1987 – Dan Reynolds (musician), American lead singer for Imagine Dragons
1986 – Dan Smith (Bastille), British lead singer for Bastille (band)
1987 – Margus Hunt, Estonian American football player, discus thrower and shot putter
1987 – Adam Johnson, English footballer
1987 – Sean Smith, American football player
1987 – Ryan Sweeting, Bahamian-born American tennis player
1988 – James Vaughan, English footballer
1988 – Conor McGregor, Irish mixed martial artist
1989 – Sean Flynn, American actor
1991 – Shabazz Napier, American basketball player
1993 – Dovilė Dzindzaletaitė, Lithuanian triple jumper
1999 – Camryn, American singer and actress
1999 – Dawson Dunbar, Canadian actor

Jul 14, 1913:
Future President Gerald R. Ford is born

On this day in 1913, Gerald R. Ford is born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska. His biological father left the family when Ford was three years old. His mother's second husband, Gerald Ford, adopted the young boy and gave him his name. The young Ford went on to become the first vice president to assume office after a president resigned, after President Richard M. Nixon stepped down in 1974.

The handsome, blonde, blue-eyed Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and went on to play football at the University of Michigan, where he was voted the team's most valuable player in his senior year. He then worked as an assistant coach for Yale University's football program while pursuing his law degree. After graduation in 1941, Ford earned extra money as a model. In 1942, just after joining the Navy, Ford appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in his uniform, but was not officially credited with posing. He went on to serve in World War II from 1942 until the war ended in 1945.

Following the war, Ford began a law practice and became involved in Republican politics. It was during one of his modeling jobs after the war that he met his future wife, Elizabeth Anne Bloomer, who was called Betty. His passion for football was so keen that during their honeymoon in 1948, Ford took his new bride to a Michigan State Rose Bowl playoff game against Northwestern University. That same year, he was elected to Congress; his career included service on the Warren Commission that investigated President John F. Kennedy's assassination. In December 1973, President Richard Nixon chose Ford as his vice president after Spiro Agnew resigned following charges of tax evasion. In 1974, Nixon himself resigned in the face of impeachment by Congress over the Watergate burglary scandal. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974.

On September 5, 1975, in Sacramento, California, a woman named Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme attempted to shoot Ford, but the gun misfired. Seventeen days later, on September 22, Ford narrowly escaped another assassination attempt when Sara Jane Moore tried to kill the president in San Francisco. Fromme, a drug-addled Charles Manson cult follower, and Moore, a mentally unstable former FBI informant who fell into fringe revolutionary politics, both targeted Ford as a symbol of their hatred for the political establishment. Both women were caught and imprisoned for life.

Ford was responsible for governing the nation in the aftermath of the divisive Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. In an effort to put the past behind the nation, he pardoned Nixon immediately upon becoming president. According to White House historians, Ford described his administration's policies as "moderate in domestic affairs, conservative in fiscal affairs, and internationalist in foreign affairs."

Ford lost his first official presidential race in 1976 to Democrat Jimmy Carter, but remained actively involved in public policy during his retirement. In 2000, his alma mater, the University of Michigan, honored him by founding the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Ford died on December 26, 2006, at the age of 93.

Jul 14, 1918:
Quentin Roosevelt killed

On this day in 1918, Quentin Roosevelt, a pilot in the United States Air Service and the fourth son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, is shot down and killed by a German Fokker plane over the Marne River in France.

The young Roosevelt was engaged to Flora Payne Whitney, the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the country's richest men. The couple met at a ball in Newport, Rhode Island, in August 1916 and soon fell in love, although the alliance between the modest, old-money Roosevelts and the flamboyantly wealthy Vanderbilt-Whitneys was at first controversial on both sides.

Quentin's letters to Flora, from the time they met until his death, charted the course of America's entry into the war. Theodore Roosevelt, incensed at America's continuing neutrality in the face of German aggression--including the sinking of the British cruise liner Lusitania in May 1916, in which 128 Americans drowned--campaigned unsuccessfully for the presidency in 1916, severely criticizing Woodrow Wilson, who was reelected on a neutrality platform. While he was initially neutral, Quentin came to agree with his father, writing to Flora in early 1917 from Harvard University, where he was studying, that "We are a pretty sordid lot, aren't we, to want to sit looking on while England and France fight our battles and pan gold into our pockets."

After U.S. policy, as well as public opinion, shifted decisively towards entrance into the conflict against Germany, Wilson delivered his war message to Congress on April 2, 1917. At age 20, Quentin was too young to be drafted under the subsequent military conscription act, but as the son of Theodore Roosevelt, he was certainly expected to volunteer. His father, at 58, had expressed his own intention to head to France immediately as head of a volunteer division; upon Wilson's rejection of the idea, TR declared that his sons would go in his place.

Before the month of April 1917 was out, Quentin had left Harvard, volunteered for the U.S. Air Service and proposed to Flora. The young couple received their parents' consent, at first reluctant, only to say goodbye to each other at the Hudson River Pier on July 23 as Quentin set sail to France for training. Over the next year, Quentin struggled with difficult flight training (on Nieuport planes, already discarded by the French as a second-rate aircraft), brutally cold conditions, illness (in November he caught pneumonia and was sent to Paris on a three-week leave) and derision from his older brothers, Ted, Archie and Kermit, all of whom were already on their way to the front. Quentin also suffered from the separation from Flora, whom he urged to find a way to come to Paris and marry him; though she tried, she was ultimately unsuccessful. Despite the pain of separation from his beloved, Quentin was determined to get to the front, to silence his brothers' criticism and prove himself to them and to his father.

In June 1918, Quentin got his wish when he was made a flight commander in the 95th Aero Squadron, in action near the Aisne River. "I think I got my first Boche," he wrote in excitement to Flora on July 11, referring to a German plane he had shot at during a flight mission. Three days later, during the Second Battle of the Marne, his Nieuport was engaged by three Boche planes, according to one of the other pilots on his flight mission. Shot down, Quentin's plane fell behind the German lines, near the village of Chamery, France.

Flora Payne Whitney saved every one of Quentin's letters to her. She became a surrogate member of the Roosevelt family for a time, nursing her own pain and comforting Theodore Roosevelt, who was by many reports shattered by the loss of his youngest son, until his death in January 1919. She would later go on to marry twice, have four children, and follow her mother, the sculptor and art patron Gloria Vanderbilt Whitney, into a leadership role at the famous Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. She died in 1986.

Jul 14, 1918:
Influential Swedish director Ingmar Bergman born

On this day in 1918, Ingmar Bergman, the writer, director and producer who made some 50 films during his career, including The Seventh Seal (1956), Wild Strawberries (1957) and Through a Glass Darkly (1961), is born in Uppsala, Sweden. Bergman’s work was often autobiographical and tackled dark topics such as death and betrayal. Considered one of the greatest directors in movie history, Bergman influenced many American filmmakers, notably Woody Allen.

Bergman grew up in a strict Lutheran family and would later explore the relationship between God and man in his work. He was involved in theater during his university days in Stockholm and made his big-screen debut with 1944’s Torment, for which he penned the screenplay. Bergman had his first international hit as a director with 1955’s Smiles of a Summer Night. The film was followed by some of his best-known work, including The Seventh Seal, a medieval morality tale starring Max Von Sydow as a knight; Wild Strawberries, about an elderly college professor looking back at his life; and The Virgin Spring (1959), about a medieval society transitioning to Christianity. The Virgin Spring won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In the 1960s, Bergman made two trilogies. The first included Through a Glass Darkly, which won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Winter Light (1962) and The Silence (1963), while the second trilogy consisted of Persona (1965), Hour of the Wolf (1968) and Shame (1968). Bergman’s work from the 1970s included the TV series-turned movie Scenes from a Marriage (1974), which chronicled the turmoil in one couple’s relationship. The film co-starred Liv Ullmann, a Norwegian actress who appeared in nine of Bergman’s films; off-screen, Ullmann and Bergman had a five-year relationship and were the parents of a daughter.

In 1976, Bergman was arrested for income tax evasion in Stockholm and subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown. Although the charges against him were later dropped, he closed his film studio on the remote Swedish island of Faro and went into self-imposed exile in Germany. He later emerged to direct Fanny and Alexander (1982), which won four Oscars, including Best Foreign Film. Bergman also received nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. When he was in his 80s, he directed the television movie Saraband (2003), which was based on the main characters in Scenes from a Marriage. In addition to his film work, he directed plays, operas and television productions throughout his career. Bergman, who was married five times and had nine children, died at the age of 89 on July 30, 2007, on Faro.

Jul 14, 1963:
Rupture between USSR and China grows worse

Relations between the Soviet Union and China reach the breaking point as the two governments engage in an angry ideological debate about the future of communism. The United States, for its part, was delighted to see a wedge being driven between the two communist superpowers.

In mid-1963, officials from the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China met in Moscow to try to mend their ideological rift. The Chinese government had become openly critical of what it referred to as the growing "counterrevolutionary trends" in the Soviet Union. In particular, China was unhappy with the Soviet Union's policy of cooperation with the West. According to a public statement made by the Chinese government on June 14, 1963, a much more militant and aggressive policy was needed in order to spread the communist revolution worldwide. There could be no "peaceful coexistence" with the forces of capitalism, and the statement chided the Russians for trying to reach a diplomatic understanding with the West, and in particular, the United States.

Exactly one month later, as the meetings in Moscow continued to deteriorate in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and recrimination, the Soviet government issued a stinging rebuttal to the earlier Chinese statement. The Russians agreed that world communism was still the ultimate goal, but that new policies were needed. "Peaceful coexistence" between communist and capitalist nations was essential in the atomic age, and the Soviet statement went on to declare that, "We sincerely want disarmament." The Soviet statement also addressed the Chinese criticism of the October 1962 missile crisis, in which Russia aided in the establishment of nuclear missile bases in Cuba. Under pressure from the United States, the bases had been withdrawn--according to the Chinese, Russia had "capitulated" to America. Not so, according to the Soviets. The missile bases had been established to deter a possible U.S. invasion of Cuba. Once America vowed to refrain from such action, the bases were withdrawn in order to avoid an unnecessary nuclear war. This was the type of "sober calculation," the Soviet Union indicated, that was needed in the modern world.

The July 14, 1963, Soviet statement was the first clear public indication that Russia and China were deeply divided over the future of communism. American officials greeted the development with undisguised glee, for they believed that the Sino-Soviet split would work to America's advantage in terms of making the Russians more amenable to fruitful diplomatic negotiations on a variety of issues, including arms control and the deepening crisis in Vietnam. That belief was not entirely well founded, as U.S.-Soviet relations continued to be chilly throughout most of the 1960s. Nevertheless, the United States continued to attempt to use this "divide and conquer" tactic well into the 1970s, when it began a rapprochement with communist China in order to gain leverage in its dealings with the Soviet Union.

Jul 14, 1964:
North Vietnamese regulars are fighting in South Vietnam

U.S. military intelligence publicly charges that North Vietnamese regular army officers command and fight in so-called Viet Cong forces in the northern provinces, where Viet Cong strength had doubled in the past six months. Only the day before, South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Khanh had referred to the "invasion" by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) forces.

There would soon be other evidence that North Vietnamese troops were operating in South Vietnam. In August, South Vietnamese officials would claim that two companies from the North Vietnamese army had crossed the Demilitarized Zone in Quang Tri province. A battle ensued, but the North Vietnamese forces were defeated with heavy casualties. It became known later that Hanoi had ordered its forces to begin infiltrating to the South. This marked a major change in the tempo and scope of the war in South Vietnam and resulted in President Lyndon B. Johnson committing U.S. combat troops. North Vietnamese forces and U.S. troops clashed for the first time in November 1965, when units from the newly arrived 1st Cavalry Division engaged several North Vietnamese regiments in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley in the Central Highlands.

Jul 14, 1966:
A mass murderer leaves eight women dead

On the night of July 14, 1966, eight student nurses are brutally murdered by Richard Speck at their group residence in Chicago, Illinois. Speck threatened the women with both a gun and a knife, tying each of them up while robbing their townhouse. Over the next several hours, Speck stabbed and strangled each of the young women throughout various rooms of the place. One young woman, Corazon Amurao, managed to escape with her life by hiding under a bed; Speck had lost count of his victims.

Richard Speck was an alcoholic and a petty criminal with over 20 arrests on his record by the age of 25. He had "Born to Raise Hell" tattooed on his forearm and periodically worked on cargo boats traveling the Great Lakes. On the night of July 13, after drinking heavily at several Chicago bars, Speck broke into the townhouse for student nurses of the South Chicago Community Hospital.

Speck then used his gun to force three nurses into a bedroom, where he found three more women. Using nautical knots, he then tied the women's hands and feet with strips torn from bedsheets. By midnight, three more nurses had come home only to be tied up as well. Speck assured the women that he was only going to rob them.

After stealing from the women, he took them into separate rooms, killing them one by one. The remaining women heard only muffled screams from their roommates. Amurao, who was hiding under her bed, waited until 6 a.m. the following day before leaving her hiding place. She then crawled out onto a second-story ledge and screamed for help. Police responding to the cries obtained a detailed description of Speck from Amurao; the sketch was placed on the front page of every local newspaper the next morning. Speck, who was hiding out at a dollar-a-night hotel, slashed his right wrist and left elbow in a suicide attempt on July 16.

Speck was arrested the next day at the Cook County Hospital. With Amurao's identification and his fingerprints left at the scene, Speck was convicted and sentenced to death. However, in 1972, when the Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty law under which he was sentenced, Speck was re-sentenced to 400 years in prison. He died in prison of a heart attack on December 5, 1991.
14 July Deaths

664 – Eorcenberht, Anglo-Saxon king
1223 – Philip II of France (b. 1165)
1262 – Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester, English soldier (b. 1222)
1575 – Richard Taverner, English translator (b. 1505)
1614 – Camillus de Lellis, Italian priest and saint (b. 1550)
1671 – Méric Casaubon, Swiss-English scholar (b. 1599)
1704 – Sophia Alekseyevna of Russia (b. 1657)
1723 – Claude Fleury, French historian (b. 1640)
1742 – Richard Bentley, English scholar and theologian (b. 1662)
1766 – František Maxmilián Kaňka, Czech architect (b. 1674)
1774 – James O'Hara, 2nd Baron Tyrawley, Irish field marshal (b. 1682)
1780 – Charles Batteux, French philosopher (b. 1713)
1789 – Jacques de Flesselles, French public servant (b. 1721)
1789 – Bernard-René de Launay, French politician (b. 1740)
1790 – Ernst Gideon von Laudon, Austrian field marshal (b. 1717)
1809 – Nicodemus the Hagiorite, Greek monk and saint (b. 1749)
1816 – Francisco de Miranda, Venezuelan general (b. 1750)
1817 – Germaine de Staël, French author (b. 1766)
1827 – Augustin-Jean Fresnel, French physicist and engineer (b. 1788)
1834 – Edmond-Charles Genêt, French-American diplomat (b. 1763)
1850 – August Neander, German historian and theologian (b. 1789)
1856 – Edward Vernon Utterson, English lawyer and historian (b. 1775)
1876 – Thomas Hazlehurst, English architect (b. 1816)
1881 – Billy the Kid, American criminal (b. 1859)
1904 – Paul Kruger, South African politician, 5th President of the South African Republic (b. 1824)
1907 – William Henry Perkin, English chemist (b. 1838)
1910 – Marius Petipa, French dancer and choreographer (b. 1818)
1917 – Octave Lapize, French cyclist (b. 1887)
1918 – Quentin Roosevelt, American lieutenant and pilot (b. 1897)
1924 – Isabella Ford, English activist (b. 1855)
1925 – Francisco Guilledo, Filipino boxer (b. 1901)
1936 – Dhan Gopal Mukerji, Indian-American scholar (b. 1890)
1939 – Alphonse Mucha, Czech painter (b. 1860)
1954 – Jacinto Benavente, Spanish playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1866)
1954 – Jackie Saunders, American actress (b. 1892)
1965 – Adlai Stevenson II, American politician, 5th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (b. 1900)
1966 – Julie Manet, French painter (b. 1878)
1967 – Tudor Arghezi, Romanian author and poet (b. 1880)
1968 – Konstantin Paustovsky, Russian author and poet (b. 1892)
1968 – Ilias Tsirimokos, Greek politician, 164th Prime Minister of Greece (b. 1907)
1970 – Preston Foster, American actor and singer (b. 1900)
1970 – Luis Mariano, Spanish tenor (b. 1914)
1974 – Carl Andrew Spaatz, American general (b. 1891)
1975 – Madan Mohan, Iraqi-Indian composer (b. 1924)
1984 – Ernest Tidyman, American author and screenwriter (b. 1928)
1984 – Philippé Wynne, American singer (The Spinners) (b. 1941)
1986 – Raymond Loewy, American industrial designer (b. 1893)
1989 – Frank Bell, English educator (b. 1916)
1990 – Walter Sedlmayr, German actor and director (b. 1926)
1993 – Léo Ferré, Monacan singer-songwriter, pianist, and poet (b. 1916)
1994 – César Tovar, Venezuelan baseball player (b. 1940)
1996 – Jeff Krosnoff, American race car driver (b. 1964)
1998 – Richard McDonald, American businessman, co-founded McDonald's (b. 1909)
2000 – Pepo, Chilean cartoonist (b. 1911)
2000 – William Roscoe Estep, American historian and educator (b. 1920)
2000 – Meredith MacRae, American actress and singer (b. 1944)
2000 – Georges Maranda, Canadian baseball player (b. 1932)
2001 – Guy de Lussigny, French painter (b. 1929)
2002 – Joaquín Balaguer, Dominican lawyer and politician, 41st President of the Dominican Republic (b. 1906)
2002 – "Pierre Chauvet", Austrian racing driver (b. 1943)
2003 – François-Albert Angers, Canadian economist (b. 1909)
2003 – Éva Janikovszky, Hungarian author (b. 1926)
2004 – Nelly Borgeaud, Swiss-French actress (b. 1931)
2005 – Joe Harnell, American pianist and composer (b. 1924)
2005 – Cicely Saunders, English nurse and physician (b. 1918)
2007 – John Ferguson, Sr., Canadian ice hockey player, coach, and manager (b. 1938)
2008 – Henki Kolstad, Norwegian actor (b. 1915)
2009 – Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Polish actor (b. 1934)
2010 – Gene Ludwig, American organist (b. 1937)
2010 – Charles Mackerras, Australian conductor (b. 1925)
2010 – Mădălina Manole, Romanian singer and actress (b. 1967)
2012 – John Arbuthnott, 16th Viscount of Arbuthnott, Scottish businessman and politician, Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire (b. 1924)
2012 – Barton Biggs, American businessman (b. 1932)
2012 – Don Brinkley, American screenwriter, director, and producer (b. 1921)
2012 – Frank R. Burns, American football player and coach (b. 1928)
2012 – Ennio Cardoni, Italian footballer (b. 1929)
2012 – Bohuslav Ceplecha, Czech race car driver (b. 1977)
2012 – King Hill, American football player (b. 1936)
2012 – Sixten Jernberg, Swedish skier (b. 1929)
2012 – Roy Shaw, English businessman and boxer (b. 1936)
2012 – Enrique Silva Cimma, Chilean academic, lawyer, and politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Chile (b. 1918)
2012 – Sidney Oslin Smith Jr., American judge (b. 1923)
2013 – Tonino Accolla, Italian actor (b. 1949)
2013 – Herbert M. Allison, American lieutenant and businessman (b. 1943)
2013 – Matt Batts, American baseball player and coach (b. 1921)
2013 – Dennis Burkley, American actor (b. 1945)
2013 – Simmie Hill, American basketball player (b. 1946)
2013 – Saturnino Rustrián, Guatemalan cyclist (b. 1942)
2013 – George Smith, English footballer (b. 1921)
2013 – Bill Warner, American motorcycle racer (b. 1969)
2013 – Vladimir Mikhailovich Zakharov, Russian dancer and choreographer (b. 1946)

Jul 14, 1968:
Hank Aaron hits 500th homer

On July 14, 1968, Atlanta Braves slugger Henry "Hank" Aaron hits the 500th home run of his career in a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Henry Aaron was born February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama. The third of eight children, Aaron was a star football player, third baseman and outfielder in high school, and signed with the Negro League’s Mobile Black Bears while still a teenager. He joined the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952 at age 18 and helped them win the Negro League World Series. The next year, his contract was sold to the Milwaukee Braves of the National League. On April 13, 1954, Aaron became the last former Negro League player to make his debut in the major leagues.

Aaron broke camp with the big league Braves in 1954 after a year of thorough domination in the minor leagues. In that and many future seasons with the Braves, Aaron shared the spotlight with third baseman Eddie Matthews. For their careers, the two men hit a record 863 home runs as teammates and hit home runs in the same game 75 times. In 1957, Aaron won his only MVP award, hitting .322 with 44 home runs and 132 RBIs. Aaron, Matthews and pitchers Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette led the Braves to a World Series victory that year over Manager Casey Stengel and his perennial favorite New York Yankees. In 1958, the Braves won their second National League pennant in a row, but lost a World Series rematch to the Yankees.

On July 14, 1968, with 499 career home runs under his belt, Aaron hit a three-run shot in the third inning off Giants’ pitcher Mike McCormick. Aaron was mobbed at home plate by his teammates and presented with an award by Braves President Bill Bartholomay honoring him as the seventh man in baseball history to hit 500 home runs.

Aaron was already 34 years old in 1968, the age at which players of his era usually began a rapid decline. Although 1968 was a slightly off year for the slugger--he hit .287 with 29 home runs and 86 RBIs--Aaron was not yet slowing down. Naysayers ate their words as they watched him hit 203 home runs between 1969 and 1973. On April 8, 1974, after a winter of hate mail containing threats from racist fans, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record for career home runs when he hit his 715th off Cincinnati’s Jack Billingham. Aaron retired from baseball in 1976 with 755 home runs. After a career of remarkable offensive consistency, Aaron retired as the all-time leader in runs batted in, extra base hits and total bases. He was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Jul 14, 1968:
Clifford visits South Vietnam

Defense Secretary Clark Clifford visits South Vietnam to confer with U.S. and South Vietnamese leaders. Upon his arrival in Saigon, Clifford stated that the United States was doing all that it could to improve the fighting capacity of the South Vietnamese armed forces and intended to provide all South Vietnamese army units with M-16 automatic rifles. This effort would increase in 1969 after Richard Nixon became president.

In June 1969, Nixon met with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu on Midway Island. At the meeting, Nixon announced what became known as his "Vietnamization" policy. Under this policy, Nixon intended U.S. troops to help increase the combat capability of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces so that the South Vietnamese could eventually assume full responsibility of the war. Though Nixon described this as a new policy, its roots could be traced back to Clark Clifford's visit to South Vietnam and groundwork that was laid during the Johnson administration.

Jul 14, 1974:
Carl Spaatz dies

On this day in 1974, U.S. Army General Carl Spaatz, fighter pilot and the first chief of staff of an independent U.S. Air Force, dies in Washington, D.C., at age 83.

Spaatz was born in 1891 in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the Military Academy at West Point in 1914. He was a combat pilot during World War I, and at the outbreak of World War II went to England to help evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the German military. (During the Blitz, the air raids on England by the German Luftwaffe, Spaatz would sit on rooftops to better observe German air tactics.) In July 1942, he became commander of the U.S. Eighth Air Force and inaugurated daylight bombing runs against German-occupied territory in Europe. Two years later, Spaatz was made commander of U.S. Strategic Air Forces in Europe and continued the practice of daylight bombing, the target now being Germany itself, especially its fuel-oil plants. Since Germany had already lost access to oil in Romania after that country's occupation by the Soviet Union, the destruction of its native oil production proved particularly devastating to Germany's ability to keep up aircraft production.

In 1945, with the war in the West over (Spaatz was present at the formal German surrender at Reims on May 8), his focus shifted to the Pacific and the Japanese. Although he initially opposed the use of atomic weapons against Japan, he eventually acquiesced and directed the bomb drops on order from President Truman. In fact, his telegraph to Washington stating that there were no Allied prisoner of war camps in Hiroshima resulted in that city becoming the first target of the atom bomb.

In September 1947, General Spaatz, an illustrious combat career behind him, was named the first chief of staff of the now independent U.S. Air Force, which previously had been a unit of the Army. But a desk job was not for him. He retired in 1948.

Jul 14, 1986:
"Father of Streamlining" Raymond Loewy dies

Raymond Loewy, the hugely influential industrial designer who put his mark on the American automobile industry with groundbreaking vehicles such as the Studebaker Champion, Starliner and Avanti, dies on this day in 1986 at his home in Monte Carlo at the age of 92.

Born in France, Loewy served as an engineer in the French army during World War I before completing his degree in engineering and moving to New York City. He had found success as a fashion illustrator by 1929, when Sigmund Gestetner, a British manufacturer of duplicating machines, commissioned him to improve the appearance of his company's product. Loewy revamped the look of the Gestetner duplicator, covering its protruding parts with a smooth shell mounted on a simple base. The design's success earned him a product design job at the Hupp Motor Company, where he began his long association with American automobile manufacturers.

Loewy advocated longer, lighter vehicles that would be more fuel-efficient, a bias that was ahead of its time and clashed with the prevailing attitudes in Detroit. Among his design contributions over the years were slanted windshields, built-in headlights and wheel covers. The Loewy-designed 1947 Studebaker Champion, was dubbed the "coming or going" Studebaker, as it looked very similar whether viewed from the front or the back. His 1953 Starliner Coupe made a splash with its clean lines, lightweight body and relative lack of chrome—quite a contrast from the large, shiny vehicles popular in that era. (In 1972, a poll of American car stylists would pick the Starliner as the industry's best: As Automotive News announced, "The 1953 Studebaker, a long-nosed coupe, with little trim and an air of motion about it, was acclaimed the top car of all time.") Loewy also designed the classic Avanti and Avanti II sports cars for Studebaker.

Founded in the 1930s, Raymond Loewy Associates grew into the largest industrial design firm in the world. Among Loewy's other famous designs were the Lucky Strike cigarette package, the slenderized Coca-Cola bottle, the U.S. Postal Service emblem and the Exxon logo. His signature streamlined look spread to hundreds of products, from toothbrushes and ballpoint pens to refrigerators, but was particularly influential in the transportation industry. Loewy went from streamlining the trash receptacles at New York's Pennsylvania Station to designing the first all-welded locomotive (in 1937). Loewy also designed the modern Greyhound bus (and logo), the interior of NASA's Saturn I, Saturn V, and Skylab spacecraft, and Air Force One, which he redesigned for President John F. Kennedy, giving it the sleek white missile-like exterior it has today.

Jul 14, 1995:
A revolutionary new technology is christened "MP3

Representatives of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) were not in attendance at the 1995 christening of the infant technology that would shake their business model to its core just a few years later. Known formally as "MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3," the technology in question was an efficient new format for the encoding of high-quality digital audio using a highly efficient data-compression algorithm. In other words, it was a way to make CD-quality music files small enough to be stored in bulk on the average computer and transferred manageably across the Internet. Released to the pubic one week earlier, the brand-new MP3 format was given its name and its familiar ".mp3" file extension on this day in 1995.

The importance of MP3, or any other scheme for compressing data, is made clear by some straightforward arithmetic. The music on a compact disc is encoded in such a way that a single second corresponds to approximately 176,000 bytes of data, and a single three-minute song to approximately 32 million bytes (32MB). In the mid-1990s, when it was not uncommon for a personal computer to have a total hard-drive capacity of only 500MB, it was therefore impossible to store even one album's worth of music on the average home computer. And given the actual connection speed of a then-standard 56K dial-up modem, even a single album's worth of music would have taken literally all day to transfer over the Internet. In this way, the nature of the CD format and the state of mid-90s computer and telecommunications technologies offered the music industry a practical barrier to copyright infringement via Internet file-sharing. But then came MP3.

Over the course of the late 1980s and early 1990s, several teams of audio engineers worked to develop, test and perfect the standard that would eventually gain the blessing of Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG). Their approach took advantage of certain physical and cognitive characteristics of human hearing, such as our inability to detect the quieter of two sounds played simultaneously. Using a "perceptual" compression method, engineers were able to eliminate more than 90 percent of the data in a standard CD audio file without compromising sound quality as perceived by the average listener using standard audio equipment.

Suddenly, that digital copy of your favorite pop song took up only 2-3 MB on your hard-drive rather than 32MB, which in combination with the growth in average drive capacity and the increase in average Internet connection speed created the conditions for both the rampant, Winamp- and Napster-enabled copyright infringement of 1999-2000 and for the legal commercial distribution of digital music via the Internet. In the eyes of the RIAA, those are the conditions that also explain the 29 percent decline in the sales of music CDs between 2000 and 2006.

Jul 14, 2003:
Claudette crashes into Texas coast

Hurricane Claudette gathers strength over the Gulf of Mexico and heads for the Texas coast on this day in 2003. By the time it passes through Texas, it causes major damage, especially in Galveston, where it kills two people.

Claudette began to form over St. Lucia in the Caribbean on July 8. It officially became a tropical storm two days later, when it hit the Yucatan peninsula. For four days, it meandered over the Gulf of Mexico, losing strength and direction. Then, on July 14, the storm's winds regained strength and it pushed toward central Texas. Claudette reached hurricane status on July 15, when it hit the Texas coast with 90-mile-per-hour winds.

The gusting winds, some more than 100 miles per hour, felled power lines and trees. Both Texans who died in the storm, a woman in Victoria and a boy in Jourdanton, were killed by falling tree limbs. The Coast Guard was able to rescue two men whose shrimp boat sank in the storm near Galveston. Although the eye of the storm hit more than 100 miles away from Galveston, storm waves there crashed far above the sea wall.

As the storm moved inland, it lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical depression. Still, Claudette dumped eight inches of rain and set off some isolated twisters before dispersing.
15 July Events

1099 – First Crusade: Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after the final assault of a difficult siege.
1149 – The reconstructed Church of the Holy Sepulchre is consecrated in Jerusalem.
1207 – King John of England expels Canterbury monks for supporting Archbishop Stephen Langton.
1240 – Swedish–Novgorodian Wars: a Novgorodian army led by Alexander Nevsky defeats the Swedes in the Battle of the Neva.
1381 – John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, is hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of King Richard II of England.
1410 – Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War: Battle of Grunwald – the allied forces of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeat the army of the Teutonic Order.
1482 – Muhammad XII is crowned the twenty-second and last Nasrid king of Granada.
1685 – Monmouth Rebellion: James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth is executed at Tower Hill, England after his defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685.
1741 – Aleksei Chirikov sights land in Southeast Alaska. He sends men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska.
1789 – Gilbert du Motier, marquis de Lafayette, is named by acclamation Colonel General of the new National Guard of Paris.
1799 – The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign.
1806 – Pike expedition: United States Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike begins an expedition from Fort Bellefontaine near St. Louis, Missouri, to explore the west.
1815 – Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon.
1823 – A fire destroys the ancient Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome, Italy.
1834 – The Spanish Inquisition is officially disbanded after nearly 356 years of terror.
1838 – Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacts with outrage.
1870 – Reconstruction Era of the United States: Georgia becomes the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union.
1870 – Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory are transferred to Canada from the Hudson's Bay Company, and the province of Manitoba and the Northwest Territories are established from these vast territories.
1888 – The stratovolcano Mount Bandai erupts killing approximately 500 people, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
1910 – In his book Clinical Psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin gives a name to Alzheimer's disease, naming it after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.
1916 – In Seattle, Washington, William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporate Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing).
1918 – World War I: the Second Battle of the Marne begins near the River Marne with a German attack.
1920 – The Polish Parliament establishes Silesian Voivodeship before the Polish-German plebiscite.
1922 – Japanese Communist Party is established in Japan.
1927 – Massacre of July 15, 1927: 89 protesters are killed by the Austrian police in Vienna.
1954 – First flight of the Boeing 367-80, prototype for both the Boeing 707 and C-135 series.
1955 – Eighteen Nobel laureates sign the Mainau Declaration against nuclear weapons, later co-signed by thirty-four others.
1959 – The steel strike of 1959 begins, leading to significant importation of foreign steel for the first time in United States history.
1966 – Vietnam War: The United States and South Vietnam begin Operation Hastings to push the North Vietnamese out of the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone.
1974 – In Nicosia, Cyprus, Greek Junta-sponsored nationalists launch a coup d'état, deposing President Makarios and installing Nikos Sampson as Cypriot president.
1975 – Space Race: Apollo–Soyuz Test Project features the dual launch of an Apollo spacecraft and a Soyuz spacecraft on the first joint Soviet-United States human-crewed flight. It was both the last launch of an Apollo spacecraft, and the Saturn family of rockets.
1979 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter gives his so-called malaise speech, where he characterizes the greatest threat to the country as "this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation" but in which he never uses the word malaise.
1980 – A massive storm tears through western Wisconsin, causing US$160 million in damage.
1983 – Orly Airport attack is launched by Armenian militant organisation ASALA at the Paris-Orly Airport in Paris; it leaves 8 people dead and 55 injured.
1996 – A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashes on landing at Eindhoven Airport.
1997 – In Miami, Florida, serial killer Andrew Cunanan guns down Gianni Versace outside his home.
2002 – "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and to possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.
2002 – Anti-Terrorism Court of Pakistan hands down the death sentence to British born Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and life terms to three others suspected of murdering The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
2003 – AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape. The Mozilla Foundation is established on the same day
2006 – Twitter is launched, becoming one of the largest social media platforms in the world.

Jul 15, 1606:
Rembrandt born

The great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn is born in Leiden on July 15, 1606, the son of a miller. His humble origins may help account for the uncommon depth of compassion given to the human subjects of his art. His more than 600 paintings, many of them portraits or self-portraits, are characterized by rich brushwork and color, and a dramatic interplay of shadow and light.

After deciding to pursue painting, the young Rembrandt was taught by various teachers, among them Amsterdam painter Pieter Lastman, who interested him in biblical, mythological, and historical themes. Rembrandt was also deeply influenced by the Italian painter Caravaggio, whose chiaroscuro technique--the strong use of light and shadow--would become central to Rembrandt's work. He soon developed his own distinct style and by the age of 22 was accomplished enough to take on his own students in Leiden. During this period, he painted the first of nearly 100 self-portraits produced during his lifetime.

Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631 and began to achieve fame and commercial success as a portrait painter. Notable works from this period include the group portrait Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632), the biblical-themed Sacrifice of Isaac (1635), and the mythological masterpiece Danae (1636). In the 1630s, Rembrandt also began to produce ambitious etchings of biblical subjects. These masterful prints, such as Annunciation to the Shepherds (1634), had a lasting effect on printmakers for centuries. During his prosperous decade, Rembrandt's studio was filled with numerous assistants and students, many of whom became accomplished artists in their own right.

As a fashionable portraitist, he began to go out of style after the 1630s. Popular taste preferred Baroque refinement and detail over his increasingly expressive brush strokes and use of shadow. His human figures, inspired by the real people around him, were criticized as being coarse and indecorous. Despite the decline in prominent commissions, Rembrandt maintained an extravagant lifestyle, particularly as a collector, and this ultimately would lead to his bankruptcy in 1656. Financial difficulties were also coupled with personal miseries, particularly the death of his wife in 1642, the death of his mistress in 1663, and the death of his only son in 1668. These troubles scarcely affected his artistic output, however, and the 1640s saw such masterworks as the 1642 painting The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (also known as The Night Watch) and the monumental etching Christ Healing the Sick (1643-1649). He also developed an enduring interest in landscape during this time.

Financial ruin came in the 1650s, but he continued to work with undiminished energy and power. Many of the Rembrandt paintings most celebrated today came from this later period, which saw a profound penetration of character in pictures like Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer (1653) and Bathsheba (1654). Some of his biblical-themed works from this period so closely resemble portraits that their religious subjects are obscure, such as the Jewish Bride (1664). Many soulful self-portraits were also produced in the last years of his life. Rembrandt died in 1669.

Jul 15, 1789:
Lafayette selected colonel-general of the National Guard of Paris

On this day in 1789, only one day after the fall of the Bastille marked the beginning of a new revolutionary regime in France, the French aristocrat and hero of the American War for Independence, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, becomes the colonel-general of the National Guard of Paris by acclamation. Lafayette served as a human link between America and France in what is sometimes known as The Age of Revolutions.

At the age of 19, the young Frenchman's willingness to volunteer his services without pay won the American Congess' respect and Lafayette a commission as a major-general in the Continental Army on July 31, 1777. Lafayette served in the battle at Brandywine in 1777, as well as at Barren Hill, Monmouth and Rhode Island in 1778. Following the formal treaty of alliance with Lafayette's native France in February 1778 and Britain's subsequent declaration of war against France, Lafayette asked to return to Paris and consult the king as to his future service. Washington was willing to spare Lafayette, who departed in January 1779. By March, Benjamin Franklin reported from Paris that Lafayette had become an excellent advocate for the American cause at the French court. Following his six-month respite in France, Lafayette returned to aid the American war effort in Virginia, where he participated in the successful siege of Yorktown in 1781, before returning to France and the further service of his own country. That service involved bringing many of the ideals of the American Revolution to France.

On July 11, 1789, Lafayette proposed a declaration of rights to the French National Assembly that he had modeled on the American Declaration of Independence. Lafayette's refusal to support the escalation of violence known as the Reign of Terror—that followed the French royal family's attempt to flee the country in 1791 resulted in his imprisonment as a traitor from 1792 to 1797. Lafayette returned to military service during the French Revolution of 1830. He died in Paris four years later, where he was buried among many of his noble friends executed during the Reign of Terror at the Cimetière de Picpus.

Jul 15, 1806:
Pike expedition sets out

Zebulon Pike, the U.S. Army officer who in 1805 led an exploring party in search of the source of the Mississippi River, sets off with a new expedition to explore the American Southwest. Pike was instructed to seek out headwaters of the Arkansas and Red rivers and to investigate Spanish settlements in New Mexico.

Pike and his men left Missouri and traveled through the present-day states of Kansas and Nebraska before reaching Colorado, where he spotted the famous mountain later named in his honor. From there, they traveled down to New Mexico, where they were stopped by Spanish officials and charged with illegal entry into Spanish-held territory. His party was escorted to Santa Fe, then down to Chihuahua, back up through Texas, and finally to the border of the Louisiana Territory, where they were released. Soon after returning to the east, Pike was implicated in a plot with former Vice President Aaron Burr to seize territory in the Southwest for mysterious ends. However, after an investigation, Secretary of State James Madison fully exonerated him.

The information he provided about the U.S. territory in Kansas and Colorado was a great impetus for future U.S. settlement, and his reports about the weakness of Spanish authority in the Southwest stirred talk of future U.S. annexation. Pike later served as a brigadier general during the War of 1812, and in April 1813 he was killed by a British gunpowder bomb after leading a successful attack on York, Canada.

Jul 15, 1862:
CSS Arkansas attacks Union ships

The CSS Arkansas, the most effective ironclad on the Mississippi River, battles with Union ships commanded by Admiral David Farragut, severely damaging three ships and sustaining heavy damage herself. The encounter changed the complexion of warfare on the Mississippi and helped to reverse Rebel fortunes on the river in the summer of 1862.

In August 1861, the Confederate Congress granted funds to build two ironclads in Memphis, Tennessee. The ships were still under construction when Union ships captured the city in May 1862. Confederates burned one of them to prevent capture, while the Arkansas was towed further south. Similar in design and appearance to the more famous CSS Virginia (Merrimack), the vessel was completed by early July.

Setting sail with a crew of 100 sailors and 60 soldiers and commanded by Isaac Brown, the Arkansas steamed to Vicksburg, Virginia, where Farragut's gunboats were rapidly dominating the river from New Orleans northward. At the mouth of the Yazoo River on July 15, 1862, the Arkansas engaged in a sharp exchange with the three Union ships sent to intercept the ironclad. After fighting through these ships, the Arkansas headed for the bulk of Farragut's fleet. It then sailed through the flotilla, damaging 16 ships.

Farragut was furious that a single boat wreaked such havoc on his force. The engagement temporarily shifted Confederate fortunes on the Mississippi, but not for long. The Arkansas, pursued by the Union ironclad Essex, fled down the river and experienced mechanical problems. On August 6, the ship ran aground, and the crew blew it up to keep it from falling into Yankee hands.

Jul 15, 1888:
Volcano buries victims in fiery mud

The Bandai volcano erupts on the Japanese island of Honshu on this day in 1888, killing hundreds and burying many nearby villages in ash.

Honshu, the main island of the Japanese archipelago, is in an area of intense geological activity, where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are relatively common. The Bandai volcano is a mountain in northern Honshu with a very steep slope. It had erupted four times in the 1,000 years prior to the 1888 eruption, but none of these had been particularly deadly.

At just after 7 a.m. on July 15, rumblings were heard from Bandai. Only 30 minutes after that, an explosion on the north side of the mountain caused powerful tremors. Fifteen minutes later, there was another explosion and, in the next two hours, dozens followed. The explosive eruptions sent debris thousands of feet into the air. The resulting cloud of ash and steam was estimated at 21,000 feet wide.

The giant cloud sent a dangerous rain of burning mud down over the area. Several villages in the Bandai area were buried by a combination of the fiery mud and landslides caused by the tremors. At the Kawakami spa, 100-foot-deep debris covered the ground. Although 100 bodies were recovered there, many were never found.

The best estimate is that 461 people were killed and hundreds more were seriously injured, suffering broken bones and skulls from the rain or flying debris, as a result of the eruption. More than one hundred people were critically burned. The eruption left an 8,000-foot crater in the earth. In the aftermath, the ash from Bandai dimmed the sun slightly worldwide for months.

Jul 15, 1903:
Ford Motor Company takes its first order

On this day in 1903, the newly formed Ford Motor Company takes its first order from Chicago dentist Ernst Pfenning: an $850 two-cylinder Model A automobile with a tonneau (or backseat). The car, produced at Ford's plant on Mack Street (now Mack Avenue) in Detroit, was delivered to Dr. Pfenning just over a week later.

Henry Ford had built his first gasoline-powered vehicle--which he called the Quadricycle--in a workshop behind his home in 1896, while working as the chief engineer for the main plant of the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. After making two unsuccessful attempts to start a company to manufacture automobiles before 1903, Ford gathered a group of 12 stockholders, including himself, to sign the papers necessary to form the Ford Motor Company in mid-June 1903. As Douglas Brinkley writes in "Wheels for the World," his history of Ford, one of the new company's investors, Albert Strelow, owned a wooden factory building on Mack Avenue that he rented to Ford Motor. In an assembly room measuring 250 by 50 feet, the first Ford Model A went into production that summer.

Designed primarily by Ford's assistant C. Harold Wills, the Model A could accommodate two people side-by-side on a bench; it had no top, and was painted red. The car's biggest selling point was its engine, which at two cylinders and eight-horsepower was the most powerful to be found in a passenger car. It had relatively simple controls, including two forward gears that the driver operated with a foot pedal, and could reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (comparable to the car's biggest competition at the time, the curved-dash Oldsmobile).

Dr. Pfenning's order turned out to be the first of many, from around the country, launching Ford on its way to profitability. Within two months, the company had sold 215 Fords, and by the end of its first year the Mack Avenue plant had turned out some 1,000 cars. Though the company grew quickly in the next several years, it was the launch of the Model T in 1908 that catapulted Ford to the top of the automobile industry. The Lizzie's tremendous popularity kept Ford far ahead of the pack until dwindling sales led to the end of its production in 1927. That same year, Ford released the second Model A amid great fanfare; it enjoyed similar success, though the onset of the Great Depression kept its sales from equaling those of the Model T.

Jul 15, 1904:
The Mad Trapper of Rat River heads for U.S.

Young Johan Jonsen, the future "Mad Trapper of Rat River," leaves Norway with his family and heads for America.

When he was six years old, the Norwegian Jonsen headed for America with his family on this day in 1904. His Swedish father settled the family on a barren 320-acre homestead in North Dakota. At an early age, Jonsen became a skilled outdoorsman and hunter, and by the time he was in his teens was bored with the backbreaking life of a high plains farmer. He struck up a friendship with a local rustler and gunslinger named Bert Dekler who helped him refine his expertise with a pistol.

In 1915, at the age of 17, Jonsen committed his first robbery, seizing $2,800 from the Farmers' State Bank of Medicine Lake, Montana. He managed a successful escape, but was later apprehended in Wyoming for horse theft and returned to Montana. He served three years in the Montana State Penitentiary before being released and quickly returning to a life in crime.

Because he used a variety of aliases, it is difficult to know exactly how many crimes Jonsen committed, but they were apparently abundant. Yet, as he grew older Jonsen began to retreat into the wilderness, where he increasingly became an antisocial hermit. By 1930, he was living in a cabin along the Rat River in an isolated far northeastern section of the Canadian Yukon. There he tolerated no visitors and survived by trapping beaver. He had not totally abandoned his larcenous ways, though--other trappers complained that he pillaged their trap lines.

In late December 1931, an officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and three other men arrived at Jonsen's cabin with a search warrant to investigate the claims that he was pilfering from other trappers' lines. When the Mountie knocked, Jonsen replied by shooting through the door, wounding the officer in the chest. The four men fled, but a larger force returned soon after and began a 15-hour attack with gunfire and dynamite that failed to force Jonsen's surrender. The following day, a blizzard swept in and Jonsen managed to sneak off obscured by the thick curtains of snow. A massive manhunt began that eventually involved scores of men aided by airplanes, dog teams, and skilled Indian guides. Yet, Jonsen-traveling on foot with almost no food-managed to avoid capture for more than month.

On February 17, 1932, the posse found Jonsen and trapped him on the ice in the middle of a frozen river. Still Jonsen refused to surrender. He shot one of his pursuers before the posse killed him with a massive volley of bullets. Having survived 45 days traveling through some of the roughest country in the world with almost no food, the once robust "Mad Trapper of Rat River" was skin and bones. His corpse weighed less than 100 pounds.
15 July Births

1273 – Ewostatewos, Ethiopian monk (d. 1352)
1353 – Vladimir the Bold, Russian prince (d. 1410)
1471 – Eskender, Ethiopian emperor (d. 1494)
1553 – Archduke Ernest of Austria (d. 1595)
1573 – Inigo Jones, English architect, designed the Queen's House (d. 1652)
1606 – Rembrandt, Dutch painter (d. 1669)
1631 – Jens Juel, Danish diplomat (d. 1700)
1638 – Giovanni Buonaventura Viviani, Italian violinist and composer (d. 1693)
1704 – August Gottlieb Spangenberg, German bishop (d. 1792)
1737 – Princess Louise of France (d. 1787)
1779 – Clement Clarke Moore, American author, poet, and educator (d. 1863)
1796 – Thomas Bulfinch, American banker and author (d. 1867)
1799 – Reuben Chapman, American lawyer and politician, 13th Governor of Alabama (d. 1882)
1800 – Sidney Breese, American jurist and politician (d. 1878)
1808 – Henry Edward Manning, English archbishop (d. 1892)
1812 – James Hope-Scott, English lawyer (d. 1873)
1817 – Sir John Fowler, 1st Baronet, English engineer (d. 1898)
1837 – Stephanie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (d. 1859)
1848 – Vilfredo Pareto, Italian economist and sociologist (d. 1923)
1850 – Francesca S. Cabrini, Italian-American nun and saint (d. 1917)
1851 – Eduardo Gutiérrez, Argentinian author (d. 1889)
1858 – Emmeline Pankhurst, English activist (d. 1928)
1864 – Marie Tempest, English actress and singer (d. 1942)
1865 – Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, Irish-English publisher, founded the Amalgamated Press (d. 1922)
1865 – Wilhelm Wirtinger, Austrian mathematician (d. 1945)
1867 – Jean-Baptiste Charcot, French physician and explorer (d. 1936)
1871 – Kunikida Doppo, Japanese author (d. 1908)
1892 – Walter Benjamin, German philosopher and critic (d. 1940)
1893 – Enid Bennett, Australian actress (d. 1969)
1893 – Dick Rauch, American football player and coach (d. 1970)
1894 – Tadeusz Sendzimir, Polish-American engineer (d. 1989)
1899 – Seán Lemass, Irish politician, 4th Taoiseach of Ireland (d. 1971)
1902 – Jean Rey, Belgian politician, 2nd President of the European Commission (d. 1983)
1903 – Walter D. Edmonds, American author (d. 1998)
1903 – K. Kamaraj, Indian politician (d. 1975)
1904 – Rudolf Arnheim, German-American psychologist and author (d. 2007)
1905 – Dorothy Fields, American songwriter (d. 1974)
1906 – Rudolf Uhlenhaut, English-German engineer (d. 1989)
1909 – Jean Hamburger, French physician and surgeon (d. 1992)
1910 – Ken Lynch, American actor (d. 1990)
1911 – Edward Shackleton, Baron Shackleton, English geographer and politician (d. 1994)
1913 – Cowboy Copas, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1963)
1913 – Hammond Innes, English author (d. 1998)
1913 – Abraham Sutzkever, Russian poet (d. 2010)
1914 – Akhtar Hameed Khan, Pakistani activist (d. 1999)
1914 – Howard Vernon, Swiss actor (d. 1996)
1915 – Albert Ghiorso, American scientist (d. 2010)
1918 – Bertram Brockhouse, Canadian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2003)
1918 – Doris Lussier, Canadian actor (d. 1993)
1918 – Brenda Milner, English-Canadian neuropsychologist
1918 – Joan Roberts, American actress and singer (d. 2012)
1918 – Nur Muhammad Taraki, Afghan journalist and politician (d. 1979)
1919 – Fritz Langanke, German lieutenant (d. 2012)
1919 – Iris Murdoch, Irish-English philosopher and author (d. 1999)
1921 – Jack Beeson, American composer (d. 2010)
1921 – Henri Colpi, Swiss-French director and screenwriter (d. 2006)
1921 – Robert Bruce Merrifield, American biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2006)
1922 – Leon M. Lederman, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate
1924 – Jeremiah Denton, American admiral and politician (d. 2014)
1925 – Philip Carey, American actor (d. 2009)
1926 – Driss Chraïbi, Moroccan author (d. 2007)
1926 – Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentinian general and politician, 44th President of Argentina (d. 2003)
1927 – Nan Martin, American actress (d. 2010)
1927 – Gloria Pall, American actress (d. 2012)
1927 – Joe Turkel, American actor
1927 – Carmen Zapata, American actress (d. 2014)
1928 – Carl Woese, American microbiologist (d. 2012)
1929 – Charles Anthony, American tenor (d. 2012)
1929 – Francis Bebey, Cameroonian-French guitarist (d. 2001)
1930 – Jacques Derrida, French philosopher (d. 2004)
1930 – Richard Garneau, Canadian journalist (d. 2013)
1930 – Stephen Smale, American mathematician
1931 – Clive Cussler, American author
1931 – Joanna Merlin, American actress
1931 – Jacques-Yvan Morin, Canadian politician, Deputy Premier of Quebec
1932 – Ed Litzenberger, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2010)
1932 – Paulo Moura, Brazilian clarinet player and saxophonist (d. 2010)
1933 – Julian Bream, English guitarist
1933 – Guido Crepax, Italian author and illustrator (d. 2003)
1933 – M. T. Vasudevan Nair, Indian author
1934 – Harrison Birtwistle, English composer
1934 – Risto Jarva, Finnish director and producer (d. 1977)
1935 – Thilakan, Indian actor (d. 2012)
1935 – Donn Clendenon, American baseball player (d. 2005)
1935 – Alex Karras, American football player, wrestler, and actor (d. 2012)
1935 – Ken Kercheval, American actor
1935 – Campbell Lane, Canadian actor (d. 2014)
1936 – George Voinovich, American politician
1938 – Ernie Barnes, American football player, actor, and painter (d. 2009)
1938 – Barry Goldwater, Jr., American lawyer and politician, 65th Governor of Ohio
1939 – Calixte Duguay, Canadian singer-songwriter
1939 – Aníbal Cavaco Silva, Portuguese politician, 19th President of the Portuguese Republic
1939 – Patrick Wayne, American actor
1940 – Ronald Gene Simmons, American sergeant and murderer (d. 1990)
1941 – Denis Héroux, Canadian director and producer
1942 – Vivian Malone Jones, American activist (d. 2005)
1942 – Mil Máscaras, Mexican wrestler and actor
1943 – Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Irish astrophysicist
1944 – Millie Jackson, American singer-songwriter
1944 – Jan-Michael Vincent, American actor
1945 – Jürgen Möllemann, German politician, Vice-Chancellor of Germany (d. 2003)
1946 – Hassanal Bolkiah, Bruneian sultan
1946 – Linda Ronstadt, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (Stone Poneys and Free Creek)
1947 – Peter Banks, English guitarist and songwriter (Yes, The Syn, and Flash) (d. 2013)
1947 – Lydia Davis, American author
1947 – Roky Erickson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The 13th Floor Elevators)
1948 – Dimosthenis Kourtovik, Greek anthropologist and critic
1948 – Artimus Pyle, American drummer and songwriter (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
1949 – Carl Bildt, Swedish politician, Prime Minister of Sweden
1949 – Trevor Horn, English singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer (The Buggles, Art of Noise, and Producers)
1949 – Richard Russo, American author
1950 – Colin Barnett, Australian politician, 29th Premier of Western Australia
1950 – Arianna Huffington, Greek-American author and journalist, founded The Huffington Post
1951 – Gregory Isaacs, Jamaican singer-songwriter (d. 2010)
1951 – Jesse Ventura, American wrestler, actor, and politician, 38th Governor of Minnesota
1952 – Celia Imrie, English actress
1952 – Terry O'Quinn, American actor
1952 – Johnny Thunders, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers) (d. 1991)
1953 – Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haitian priest and politician and 49th President of Haiti
1953 – Alicia Bridges, American singer-songwriter
1953 – John Denham, English politician
1954 – Tarak Dhiab, Tunisian footballer
1954 – Jeff Jarvis, American journalist and blogger
1954 – Giorgos Kaminis, American-Greek lawyer and politician, 78th Mayor of Athens
1954 – Mario Kempes, Argentinian footballer and manager
1956 – Ian Curtis, English singer-songwriter (Joy Division) (d. 1980)
1956 – Barry Melrose, Canadian ice hockey player, coach, and sportscaster
1956 – Marky Ramone, American drummer and songwriter (Ramones, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and Misfits)
1956 – Joe Satriani, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Chickenfoot and The Greg Kihn Band)
1956 – Wayne Taylor, South African race car driver
1958 – Ardo Hansson, Estonian economist
1958 – Gary Heale, English footballer
1958 – Mac Thornberry, American lawyer and politician
1959 – Vincent Lindon, French actor
1960 – Willie Aames, American actor, director, and screenwriter
1960 – Kim Alexis, American model and actress
1961 – Lolita Davidovich, Canadian actress
1961 – Jean-Christophe Grangé, French journalist and screenwriter
1961 – Scott Ritter, American weapons inspector
1961 – Forest Whitaker, American actor, director, and producer
1962 – Steve Brown, American darts player
1962 – Nikos Filippou, Greek basketball player and manager
1963 – Brigitte Nielsen, Danish-American model, actress, and singer
1963 – Steve Thomas, English-Canadian ice hockey player
1965 – Eleftherios Fotiadis, Greek footballer
1965 – David Miliband, English politician, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
1966 – Jason Bonham, English singer-songwriter and drummer (Bonham, Damnocracy, and Black Country Communion)
1966 – Irène Jacob, French-Swiss actress
1967 – Adam Savage, American actor and special effects designer
1968 – Eddie Griffin, American comedian and actor
1968 – Stan Kirsch, American actor, director, and screenwriter
1970 – Chi Cheng, American bass player (Deftones) (d. 2013)
1970 – Jim Rash, American actor, producer, and screenwriter
1971 – Danijela Martinović, Croatian singer
1972 – Yao Defen, Chinese giant (d. 2012)
1972 – Scott Foley, American actor
1972 – Beth Ostrosky Stern, American model and actress
1973 – Buju Banton, Jamaican singer
1973 – John Dolmayan, Lebanese-American drummer and songwriter (System of a Down and Scars on Broadway)
1973 – Brian Austin Green, American actor and producer
1974 – Marilita Lambropoulou, Greek actress
1974 – Chris Taylor, Australian comedian, actor, and screenwriter
1975 – Cherry, American wrestler and manager
1975 – Heather Nedohin, Canadian curler
1975 – Ben Pepper, Australian basketball player
1976 – Steve Cunningham, American boxer
1976 – Gabriel Iglesias, American comedian and actor
1976 – Jim Jones, American rapper and actor (The Diplomats)
1976 – Diane Kruger, German-American actress and model
1977 – Faraz Anwar, Pakistani guitarist (Mizraab)
1977 – Kitana Baker, American model and actress
1977 – André Nel, South African cricketer
1977 – Lana Parrilla, American actress
1977 – John St. Clair, American football player
1977 – Ray Toro, American guitarist (My Chemical Romance)
1978 – Miguel Olivo, Dominican baseball player
1979 – Laura Benanti, American actress and singer
1979 – Alexander Frei, Swiss footballer
1979 – Renata Kučerová, Czech tennis player
1980 – Reggie Abercrombie, American baseball player
1980 – Jonathan Cheechoo, Canadian ice hockey player
1980 – Kelli Martin, American fashion designer
1980 – Jasper Pääkkönen, Finnish actor and producer
1980 – Rivo Vesik, Estonian beach volleyball player
1980 – Mike Zambidis, Greek kick-boxer
1981 – Alou Diarra, French footballer
1981 – Petros Klampanis, Greek musician and composer
1981 – Marius Stankevičius, Lithuanian footballer
1982 – Alan Pérez, Spanish cyclist
1982 – Neemia Tialata, New Zealand rugby player
1983 – Nelson Merlo, Brazilian race car driver
1983 – Heath Slater, American wrestler
1984 – Alex Boyd, German-Scottish photographer
1984 – Vice Cooler, American singer-songwriter (Hawnay Troof and XBXRX)
1984 – Angelo Siniscalchi, Italian footballer
1984 – Veronika Velez-Zuzulová, Slovak skier
1985 – Chris Tiu, Filipino basketball player and television host
1985 – Burak Yılmaz, Turkish footballer
1986 – Tyler Kennedy, Canadian ice hockey player
1989 – Steven Jahn, German footballer
1989 – Alisa Kleybanova, Russian tennis player
1989 – Tristan Wilds, American actor
1989 – Anthony Randolph, American basketball player
1990 – Zach Bogosian, American ice hockey player
1990 – J. B. Gaynor, American actor
1991 – Derrick Favors, American basketball player
1992 – Tobias Harris American basketball player
1991 – Yuki Kashiwagi, Japanese singer and actress (AKB48 and French Kiss)
1992 – Porter Robinson, American DJ and producer
1993 – Håvard Nielsen, Norwegian footballer