Jul 16 2010

On This Day in History: July 16

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.”

Bhagavad Gita

J. Robert Oppenheimer

 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.

1 comment

  1. TMC

    “Catcher in the Rye”, I’ve never read it. I had enough of my own teenage angst

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