On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one…
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
622 – The beginning of the Islamic calendar.
1054 – Three Roman legates fracture relations between Western and Eastern Christian Churches through the act of placing an invalidly-issued Papal Bull of Excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia during Saturday afternoon divine liturgy. Historians frequently describe the event as starting the East-West Schism.
1212 – Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa: After Pope Innocent III called European knights to a crusade, forces of Kings Alfonso VIII of Castile, Sancho VII of Navarre, Pedro II of Aragon and Afonso II of Portugal defeated those of the Berber Muslim leader Almohad, thus marking a significant turning point in the Reconquista and medieval history of Spain.
1377 – Coronation of Richard II of England.
1661 – The first banknotes in Europe are issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco.
1683 – Manchu Qing Dynasty naval forces under traitorous commander Shi Lang defeat the Kingdom of Tungning in the Battle of Penghu near the Pescadores Islands.
1769 – Father Junipero Serra founds California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá. Over the following decades, it evolves into the city of San Diego.
1779 – American Revolutionary War: Light infantry of the Continental Army seize a fortified British Army position in a midnight bayonet attack at the Battle of Stony Point.
1782 – First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio.
1790 – The District of Columbia is established as the capital of the United States after the signing of the Residence Act.
1861 – American Civil War: At the order of President Abraham Lincoln, Union troops begin a 25 mile march into Virginia for what will become the The First Battle of Bull Run, the first major land battle of the war.
1862 – American Civil War: David Farragut is promoted to rear admiral, becoming the first officer in United States Navy to hold an admiral rank.
1880 – Emily Stowe becomes the first female physician licensed to practice medicine in Canada.
1915 – Henry James became a British citizen, to dramatize his commitment to England during the first World War.
1918 – Czar Nicholas II, his family, the family doctor, their servants and their pet dog are shot by the Bolsheviks, who had held them captive for 2 months in the basement of a house in Ekaterinberg, Russia.
1931 – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia signs the first constitution of Ethiopia.
1935 – The world’s first parking meter is installed in the Oklahoma capital, Oklahoma City.
1941 – Joe DiMaggio hit safely for the 56th consecutive game, a streak that is an enduring MLB record.
1942 – Holocaust: Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup (Rafle du Vel’ d’Hiv): the government of Vichy France orders the mass arrest of 13,152 Jews who are held at the Winter Velodrome in Paris before deportation to Auschwitz.
1945 – World War II: The leaders of the three Allied nations, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Harry S Truman and leader of the Soviet Union Josef Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.
1945 – Manhattan Project: The Atomic Age begins when the United States successfully detonates a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
1948 – Following token resistance, the city of Nazareth, revered by Christians as the hometown of Jesus, capitulates to Israeli troops during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War’s Operation Dekel.
1951 – J.D. Salinger novel The Catcher in the Rye published by Little, Brown and Company
1951 – Cary Grant presses his hands and shoes into wet cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
1957 – United States Marine major John Glenn flies a F8U Crusader supersonic jet from California to New York in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds, setting a new transcontinental speed record.
1960 – USS George Washington (SSBN-598) a modified Skipjack class submarine successfully test fires the first Ballistic missile while submerged.
1965 – The Mont Blanc Tunnel linking France and Italy opens.
1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 11, the first manned space mission to land on the Moon is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
1973 – Watergate Scandal: Former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield informs the United States Senate that President Richard Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations.
1979 – Iraqi President Hasan al-Bakr resigns and is replaced by Saddam Hussein.
1994 – Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collides with Jupiter. Impacts continue until July 22.
1999 – John F. Kennedy, Jr., piloting a Piper Saratoga aircraft, dies in a plane mishap over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, along with his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette.
2004 – Millennium Park, considered Chicago’s first and most ambitious early 21st century architectural project, is opened to the public by Mayor Richard M. Daley.