1754 – French and Indian War: George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to French Capt. Louis Coulon de Villiers.
1774 – Orangetown Resolutions are adopted in the Province of New York, one of many protests against the British Parliament’s Coercive Acts
1776 – American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress.
1778 – American Revolutionary War: American forces under George Clark capture Kaskaskia during the Illinois campaign.
1802 – At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.
1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.
1817 – In Rome, New York, construction on the Erie Canal begins.
1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.
1827 – Slavery is abolished in New York State.
1837 – Grand Junction Railway, the world’s first long-distance railway, opens between Birmingham and Liverpool.
1863 – American Civil War: The Army of Northern Virginia withdraws from the battlefield after losing the Battle of Gettysburg, signalling an end to the Southern invasion of the North.
1886 – The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.
1918 – Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).
1927 – First flight of the Lockheed Vega.
1941 – Nazi troops massacre Polish scientists and writers in the captured Ukrainian city of Lviv.
1941 – World War II: The Burning of the Riga synagogues: The Great Choral Synagogue in German occupied Riga is burned with 300 Jews locked in the basement.
1942 – World War II: The 250 day Siege of Sevastopol in the Crimea ends when the city falls to Axis forces.
1943 – World War II: The Battle of Kursk, the largest full-scale battle in history and the world’s largest tank battle, begins in Prokhorovka village.
1943 – World War II: In Gibraltar, a Royal Air Force B-24 Liberator bomber crashes into the sea in an apparent accident moments after takeoff, killing sixteen passengers on board; only the pilot survives.
1946 – The Kielce pogrom against Jewish Holocaust survivors in Poland.
1946 – After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attains full independence from the United States.
1947 – The “Indian Independence Bill” is presented before the British House of Commons, proposing the independence of the Provinces of British India into two sovereign countries: India and Pakistan.
1960 – Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Act).
1961 – On its maiden voyage, the Soviet nuclear-powered submarine K-19 suffers a complete loss of coolant to its reactor. The crew are able to effect repairs, but 22 of them die of radiation poisoning over the following two years.
1997 – NASA’s Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
1998 – Japan launches the Nozomi probe to Mars, joining the United States and Russia as a space exploring nation.