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September 8, 1504: Michelangelo's David was unveiled in Florence. The statue represents the Biblical hero David, a favored subject in the art of Florence. Originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, the statue was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo della Signoria, the seat of civic government in Florence.
September 9, 1739: The Stono Rebellion, the largest slave uprising in the American colonies prior to the Revolution, erupted near Charleston, South Carolina. the uprising was led by Catholic Kongolese. Their leader, Jemmy, was a literate slave who led 20 other enslaved Kongolese, who may have been former soldiers, in an armed march south from the Stono River. They recruited nearly 60 other slaves and killed 22–25 whites before being intercepted by the South Carolina militia near the Edisto River. In that battle, 20 whites and 44 slaves were killed, and the rebellion was largely suppressed. Most of the captured slaves were executed, while survivors were to the West Indies. In response to the rebellion, the South Carolina legislature passed the Negro Act of 1740 restricting slave assembly, education, and movement. It also enacted a 10-year moratorium against importing African slaves, and established penalties against slaveholders' harsh treatment of slaves. It required legislative approval for manumissions, which slaveholders had previously been able to arrange privately.
September 10, 1972: The United States suffered its first loss of an international basketball game in a disputed match against the Soviet Union at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. With the U.S. team trailing 49–48 in the waning seconds of the contest, American guard Doug Collins stole a Soviet pass at halfcourt and was fouled hard by Zurab Sakandelidze as he drove toward the basket, being knocked down into the basket stanchion. With three seconds remaining on the game clock, Collins was awarded two free throws and sank the first to tie the score at 49. Just as Collins lifted the ball to begin his shooting motion in attempting the second free throw, the horn from the scorer's table sounded, marking the beginning of a chain of events that left the game's final three seconds mired in controversy.
September 11, 1893: Parliament of the World's Religions opened in Chicago, where Swami Vivekananda delivered his famous speech on fanaticism, tolerance and the truth inherent in all religions. The 1893 Parliament, which ran from 11 to 27 September, had marked the first formal gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Today it is recognized as the occasion of the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide.
September 12, 490 BCE: Though the date is subject of some debate, the Athenians and their Plataean allies, defeated the first Persian invasion force of Greece. The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is often seen as a pivotal moment in European history. The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. Although thought to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.
September 13, 1814: In a turning point in the War of 1812, the British fail to capture Baltimore. During the battle, Francis Scott Key composed his poem "Defence of Fort McHenry," which is later set to music and becomes the United States' national anthem. Key, accompanied by the British Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of the British Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, one of whom was Dr. William Beanes, who had been arrested after putting rowdy stragglers under citizen's arrest. Skinner, Key, and Beanes were not allowed to return to their own sloop because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. As a result of this, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13–14, 1814.
September 14, 1975: The first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, was canonized by Pope Paul VI. On 31 July 1809, Elizabeth established a religious community in Emmitsburg, Maryland dedicated to the care of the children of the poor. It was the first congregation of religious sisters to be founded in the United States, and its school was the first free Catholic school in America. This modest beginning marked the start of the Catholic parochial school system in the United States. The order was initially called the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph. From that point on, she became known as "Mother Seton".
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July 28, 1932: President Herbert Hoover orders the United States Army to forcibly evict the "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C. The veterans had assembled to demand cash-payment redemption of their service certificates promised with the passage of the World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924. Although not redeemable until 1945, each service certificate issued to a qualified veteran soldier, bore a face value equal to the soldier's promised payment plus compound interest. The principal demand of the Bonus Army was the immediate cash payment of their certificates.
July 29, 1907: Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England. The camp ran from August 1 to August 9, 1907, and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.
July 30, 1619: In Jamestown, Virginia, the first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time. The House was established by the Virginia Company, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America and to make conditions in the colony more agreeable for its current inhabitants. The House's first session accomplished little, as it was cut short by an outbreak of malaria.
July 31, 1703: Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet entitled The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the Establishment of the Church. In it he ruthlessly satirized both the High church Tories and those Dissenters who hypocritically practiced so-called "occasional conformity." Though it was published anonymously, the true authorship was quickly discovered and Defoe was arrested and charged with seditious libel. Defoe was found guilty. He was fined, sentenced to public humiliation in a pillory, and to an indeterminate length of imprisonment which would only end upon the discharge of the punitive fine. According to legend, the publication of his poem Hymn to the Pillory caused his audience at the pillory to throw flowers instead of the customary harmful and noxious objects and to drink to his health.
August 1, 1960: Dahomey declared independence from France under the presidency of Hubert Maga. For the next twelve years, ethnic strife contributed to a period of turbulence, as there were several coups and regime changes. On October 26, 1972, Lt. Col. Mathieu Kérékou overthrew the ruling triumvirate to become president and stated that the country would not "burden itself by copying foreign ideology, and wants neither Capitalism, Communism, nor Socialism". Later he announced that the country was officially Marxist, nationalized the petroleum industry and banks, and renamed the country to the People's Republic of Benin.
August 2, 1923: Warren G, Harding died unexpectedly in San Francisco, California, and Vice President, Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th President of the United States. Doctors issued a release stating that the cause of Harding’s death was "some brain evolvement, probably an apoplexy." Mrs. Harding refused to allow an autopsy. In retrospect, scholars speculate that Harding had shown physical signs of cardiac insufficiency with congestive heart failure in the preceding weeks. Naval medical consultants who examined the president in San Francisco concluded he had suffered a heart attack. Dr. Wilbur included in his memoirs a letter from Dr. Charles Miner Cooper in support of their cerebral apoplexy diagnosis, based on Harding's last observed condition, while acknowledging that no final determination could be made.
August 3, 1678: Robert LaSalle completed construction of the Le Griffon, the first known ship built on the Great Lakes. The explorer sought a Northwest Passage to China and Japan in order to extend France's trade. Creating a fur trade monopoly with the Native Americans would finance his quest and building Le Griffon was an "essential link in the scheme."
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July 21, 1865: The Hickok – Tutt shootout occurred in the town square of Springfield, Missouri between Wild Bill Hickok, and cowboy, Davis Tutt. The first story of the shootout was detailed in an article in Harper's Magazine in 1867, making Hickok a household name and folk hero.
July 22, 1793: The Scottish explorer, Alexander Mackenzie, reached the Pacific Ocean becoming the first European to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada. This was the first east to west crossing of North America north of Mexico and predated the Lewis and Clark expedition by 10 years.
July 23, 1914: Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia demanding that Serbia to allow the Austrians to investigate the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbia would reject the demand and Austria declared war on July 28.
July 24, 1983: George Brett batting for the Kansas City Royals against the New York Yankees, had a game-winning home run nullified in the what would become known as the "Pine Tar Incident." Yankees manager Billy Martin, had noticed a large amount of pine tar on Brett's bat and requested that the umpires inspect his bat. The umpires ruled that the amount of pine tar on the bat exceeded the amount allowed by rule, nullified Brett's home run, and called him out. As Brett was the third out in the ninth inning with the home team in the lead, the game ended with a Yankees win.
July 25, 1894: The First Sino-Japanese War began when the Battle of Pungdo took place offshore of Asan, Chungcheongnam-do Korea between cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy of Meiji Japan and components of the Beiyang Fleet of the Empire of China. The war was fought over the issue of control of Korea, and ended when China sued for peace in February 1895.
July 26, 1948: President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States. The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy. The order eliminated Montford Point as a segregated Marine boot camp. It became a satellite facility of Camp Lejeune. The last of the all-black units in the United States military would not finally be abolished until September 1954.
July 27, 1794: Maximilien Robespierre was arrested after encouraging the execution of more than 17,000 "enemies of the Revolution." His goal had been to use the guillotine to create what he called a "republic of virtue." Robespierre argued, "Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie." Terror was thus a tool to accomplish his overarching goals for democracy.
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June 30, 1520: Hernán Cortés and his army of Spanish conquistadors and native allies fought their way out of Tenochtitlan following the death of the Aztec king Moctezuma II, whom the Spaniards had been holding as a hostage. The event is often referred to as La Noche Triste account of the sorrow that Cortés and his surviving followers expressed at the loss of life and treasure incurred in the escape from Tenochtitlan.
July 1, 1898: The Battle of San Juan Hill was fought in Santiago de Cuba. The fight for the heights was the bloodiest and most famous battle of the Warm as it was the scene of the greatest victory for the Rough Riders and their commander, the future Vice-President and later President, Theodore Roosevelt, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his actions,
July 2, 1776: The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was not approved until July 4th.
July 3, 1940: the French fleet of the Atlantic based at Mers el Kébir, was bombarded by the British fleet, coming from Gibraltar, causing the loss of three battleships: Dunkerque, Provence and Bretagne. One thousand two hundred sailors perished.
July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, told a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself "The luckiest man on the face of the earth" as he announced his retirement from major league
July 5, 1937: Spam, the luncheon meat, was introduced into the market by the Hormel Foods Corporation. During World War II, more than 100 million pounds of the product were shipped overseas to feed Allied troops. After the war, Hormel aggressively market the product, increasing its popularity. Today, over seven billion cans of Spam have been sold worldwide.
July 6, 1885: Louis Pasteur successfully tested his vaccine against rabies. The patient was Joseph Meister, a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. Despite facing possible prosecution for practicing medicine without a license, Pasteur decided to treat the boy with an experimental vaccine he had only tested on dogs.
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May 12, 1926: The Italian-built airship Norge became the first vessel to fly over the North Pole. The expedition was the brainchild of polar explorer and expedition leader Roald Amundsen, the airship's designer and pilot Umberto Nobile and American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, who along with the Aero Club of Norway financed the trip.
May 13, 1846: The United States declared war on Mexico, following the April 25th, Thornton Affair in which a 2,000-strong Mexican cavalry detachment attacked a U.S. patrol in the contested territory north of the Rio Grande and south of the Nueces River. The attack resulted in the death of 16 American soldiers
May 14, 1607: Jamestown became the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Established by the Virginia Company of London as “James Fort,” it followed several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
May 15, 1886: The American poet, Emily Dickinson, died at the age of 55. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890, but was heavily edited. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955. She is considered to be one of the most important American poets.
May 16, 1770: 14-year old Marie Antoinette married 15-year-old Louis-Auguste, who later became the king of France. The ceremonial wedding of the Dauphin and Dauphine took place in the Palace of Versailles.
May 17, 1939: The Columbia Lions and the Princeton Tigers played in the United States' first televised sporting event, a collegiate baseball game in New York City.
May 18, 1953: Jackie Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier at Rogers Dry Lake, California. Encouraged by her lifelong friend Chuck Yeager, Cochran flew a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet borrowed from the Royal Canadian Air Force at an average speed of 652.337 mph.