This is your morning Open Thread. Pour a cup of your favorite morning beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country
657 – Battle of Siffin.
811 – Battle of Pliska; Byzantine emperor Nicephorus I is slain, his heir Stauracius is seriously wounded.
920 – Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Leon against the Muslims at Pamplona.
1309 – Henry VII is recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.
1469 – Wars of the Roses: Battle of Edgecote Moor – Pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of Edward IV of England.
1581 – Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration). The declaration of independence of the northern Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II.
1745 – The first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford, England
1758 – French and Indian War: Siege of Louisbourg ends with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
1775 – The birth of what would later become the United States Post Office Department is established by the Second Continental Congress.
1788 – New York ratifies the United States Constitution and becomes the 11th state of the United States.
1803 – The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opens in south London.
1822 – Jose de San Martín arrives in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet with Simon Bolivar.
1847 – Liberia declares independence.
1861 – American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumes command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.
1863 – American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ends – At Salineville, Ohio, Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers are captured by Union forces.
1878 – In California, the poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” makes his last clean getaway when he steals a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box will be found later with a taunting poem inside.
1882 – Premiere of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal at Bayreuth.
1882 – The Republic of Stellaland is founded in Southern Africa.
1887 – Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.
1890 – In Buenos Aires, the Revolucion del Parque takes place, forcing President Juarez Celman’s resignation.
1891 – France annexes Tahiti.
1908 – United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).
1914 – Serbia and Bulgaria interrupt diplomatic relationship.
1936 – The Axis Powers decide to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.
1936 – King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicated the throne, officially unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
1937 – End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.
1941 – World War II: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.
1944 – World War II: Soviet army enters Lviv, major city of western Ukraine, liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jewish survivors left, out of 160,000 Jews in Lviv prior to Nazi occupation.
1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hits Great Britain.
1945 – The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.
1945 – The Potsdam Declaration is signed in Potsdam, Germany.
1945 – The US Navy cruiser Indianapolis arrives at Tinian with the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
1946 – Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport
1947 – Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act into United States law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.
1948 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.
1952 – King Farouk of Egypt abdicates in favor of his son Fuad.
1953 – Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution.
1953 – Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek, Arizona, which becomes known as the Short Creek Raid.
1956 – Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.
1957 – Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, is assassinated
1958 – Explorer program: Explorer 4 is launched.
1963 – Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, is launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.
1968 – Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong Dinh Dzu is sentenced to five years hard labor for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.
1971 – Apollo Program: Apollo 15 Mission – Launch of Apollo 15.
1977 – The National Assembly of Quebec imposes the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.
1989 – A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
1990 – The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.
1994 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders the removal of Russian troops from Estonia.
2005 – Space Shuttle program: STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.