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Jul 09 2010

On This Day in History: July 9

Wimbledon tournament begins

On July 9, 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then an outer-suburb of London. Twenty-one amateurs showed up to compete in the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. The winner was to take home a 25-guinea trophy.

Tennis has its origins in a 13th-century French handball game called jeu de paume, or “game of the palm,” from which developed an indoor racket-and-ball game called real, or “royal,” tennis. Real tennis grew into lawn tennis, which was played outside on grass and enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late 19th century.

In 1868, the All England Club was established on four acres of meadowland outside London. The club was originally founded to promote croquet, another lawn sport, but the growing popularity of tennis led it to incorporate tennis lawns into its facilities. In 1877, the All England Club published an announcement in the weekly sporting magazine The Field that read: “The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, propose [sic] to hold a lawn tennis meeting open to all amateurs, on Monday, July 9, and following days. Entrance fee pounds 1 1s 0d.”

The All English Club purchased a 25-guinea trophy and drew up formal rules for tennis. It decided on a rectangular court 78 feet long by 27 feet wide; adapted the real tennis method of scoring based on a clock face–i.e., 15, 30, 40, game; established that the first to win six games wins a set; and allowed the server one fault. These decisions, largely the work of club member Dr. Henry Jones, remain part of the modern rules.

 455 – Roman  military commander Avitus is proclaimed emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1540 – Henry VIII of England annuls his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.

1541 – Estevão da Gama departs Massawa, leaving behind 400 matchlock men and 150 slaves under his brother Christovão da Gama, with orders to help the Emperor of Ethiopia defeat Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi who had invaded his Empire.

1755 – French and Indian War: Braddock Expedition – British troops and colonial militiamen are ambushed and suffer a devastating defeat by French and Native American forces.

1789 – In Versailles, the National Assembly reconstitutes itself as the National Constituent Assembly and begins preparations for a French constitution.

1790 – Russo-Swedish War: Second Battle of Svensksund – in the Baltic Sea, the Swedish Navy captures one third of the Russian fleet.

1793 – The Act Against Slavery is passed in Upper Canada and the importation of slaves into Lower Canada is prohibited.

1807 – The Treaties of Tilsit are signed by Napoleon I and Alexander I.

1810 – Napoleon annexes the Kingdom of Holland as part of the First French Empire.

1815 – Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Benevente becomes Prime Minister of France.

1816 – Argentina declares independence from Spain.

1846 – The territory of the District of Columbia south of the Potomac River (39 mi² or about 100 km²) is returned to Virginia through an Act of Congress.

1850 – President Zachary Taylor dies and Millard Fillmore becomes the 13th President of the United States.

1863 – American Civil War: the Siege of Port Hudson ends.

1867 – An unsuccessful expedition led by E.D Young sets out to search for Dr David Livingstone (Scottish missionary and explorer).

1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.

1896 – William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetalism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

1872 – The doughnut cutter was patented by John F. Blondel.

1900 – Queen Victoria gives royal assent to an Act creating the Commonwealth of Australia thus uniting separate colonies on the continent under one federal government.

1918 – Great train wreck of 1918: in Nashville, Tennessee, an inbound local train collides with an outbound express killing 101 and injuring 171 people, making it the deadliest rail accident in United States history.

1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’.

1943 – World War II: Operation Husky – Allied forces perform an amphibious invasion of Sicily.

1944 – World War II: Battle of Normandy – British and Canadian forces capture Caen, France.

1944 – World War II: Battle of Saipan – Americans take Saipan.

1944 – World War II: Battle of Tali-Ihantala – Finland wins the Battle of Tali-Ihantala, which is to date largest battle of north Europe. Red Army withdraws its troops from Ihantala and digs into defensive position, which ends the Vyborg-Petrozavodsk Offensive.

1951 – U.S. President Truman asked Congress to formally end the state of war between the United States and Germany.

1955 – The Russell-Einstein Manifesto is released by Bertrand Russell in London.

1958 – Lituya Bay is hit by a mega-tsunami. The wave is recorded at 524 meters high, making it the largest wave in history.

1962 – Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States of America.

1962 – In a seminal moment for pop art, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans exhibition opens at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

1975 – The National Assembly of Senegal passes a law that paves way for a (albeit highly restricted) multi-party system.

1979 – A car bomb destroys a Renault motor car owned by famed “Nazi hunters” Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at their home in France. A note purportedly from ODESSA claims responsibility.

1982 – Pan Am Flight 759 crashes in Kenner, Louisiana killing all 145 people on board and eight others on the ground.

1984 – York Minster is struck by a lightning bolt and the resulting fire ravages most of the building. However the cathedral valuables are rescued by clergymen and the “Rose Window” is not affected.

1986 – The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalising homosexuality in New Zealand.

1989 – Two bombs explode in Mecca, killing one pilgrim and wounding 16 others.



1991
– South Africa is readmitted into the Olympic movement after 30 years of exclusion.

1995 – The Navaly church bombing is carried out by the Sri Lankan Air Force killing 125 Tamil civilian refugees.

1999 – Days of student protests begin after Iranian police and hardliners attack a student dormitory at the University of Tehran.

2002 – The African Union is established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The first chairman is Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa.

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