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Jul 08 2010

On This Day in History: July 8

Let Freedom Ring. Your morning open thread

On this day in 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8.

In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling, however, was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Paris celebrates 2,000th birthday

On this day in 1951, Paris, the capital city of France, celebrates turning 2,000 years old. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.

The history of Paris can be traced back to a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii, who sometime around 250 B.C. settled an island (known today as Ile de la Cite) in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. By 52 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Romans had taken over the area, which eventually became Christianized and known as Lutetia, Latin for “midwater dwelling.” The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the Seine and the name Lutetia was replaced with “Paris.” In 987 A.D., Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business.

1099 – First Crusade: 15,000 starving Christian  soldiers march in a religious procession around Jerusalem  as its Muslim  defenders look on.

1497 – Vasco da Gama sets sail on first direct European voyage to India.

1663 – Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.

1758 – French forces hold Fort Carillon against the British at Ticonderoga, New York.

1760 – French and Indian War: Battle of Restigouche – British defeat French forces in last naval battle in New France.

1775 – The Olive Branch Petition signed by the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies.

1776 – The Declaration of Independence is read aloud in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the Liberty Bell is rung.

1822 – Chippewas turn over huge tract of land in Ontario to the United Kingdom.

1853 – Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay.

1863 – Demoralized by the surrender of Vicksburg, Confederates in Port Hudson, Louisiana, surrender to Union forces.

1864 – Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreats into Atlanta to prevent being flanked by Union General William T. Sherman.

1864 – The Shinsengumi sabotage the Choshu-han shishi’s planned attack on Kyoto, Japan at Ikedaya. This event is known as Ikedaya Jiken.

1876 – White supremacists kill five Black Republicans in Hamburg, SC.

1889 – The first issue of the Wall Street Journal is published.

1892 – St. John’s, Newfoundland is devastated in the Great Fire of 1892.

1905 – The mutinous crew of the battleship Potemkin  surrenders to Rumanian authorities.

1918 – Ernest Hemingway is wounded in Italy while working as an ambulance driver for the American Red Cross.

1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, bottoming out at 41.22.

1947 – Reports are broadcast that a UFO crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico.

1948 – The United States Air Force accepts its first female recruits into a program called Women in the Air Force (WAF).

1960 – Francis Gary Powers is charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.

1962 – Ne Win besieges and dynamites the Ragoon University Student Union building to crash the Student Movement.

1969 – IBM CICS is made generally available or the 360 mainframe computer.

1970 – Richard Nixon delivers a special congressional message enunciating Native American Self-Determination as official US Indian policy, leading to the Indian Self-Determination Act.

1982 – Assassination attempt against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Dujail.

1997 – NATO invites the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999.

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