On This Day … 02 July


  • 437 – Emperor Valentinian III begins his reign over the Western Roman Empire. His mother Galla Placidia ends her regency, but continues to exercise political influence at the court in Rome.
  • 626 – Li Shimin, the future Emperor Taizong of Tang, ambushes and kills his rival brothers Li Yuanji and Li Jiancheng in the Xuanwu Gate Incident.
  • 866 – Battle of Brissarthe: The Franks led by Robert the Strong are defeated by a joint Breton-Viking army.
  • 936 – King Henry the Fowler dies in his royal palace in Memleben. He is succeeded by his son Otto I, who becomes the ruler of East Francia.
  • 963 – The Byzantine army proclaims Nikephoros II Phokas Emperor of the Romans on the plains outside Cappadocian Caesarea.
  • 1298 – The Battle of Göllheim is fought between Albert I of Habsburg and Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg.
  • 1494 – The Treaty of Tordesillas is ratified by Spain.
  • 1561 – Menas, emperor of Ethiopia, defeats a revolt in Emfraz.
  • 1582 – Battle of Yamazaki: Toyotomi Hideyoshi defeats Akechi Mitsuhide.
  • 1613 – The first English expedition (from Virginia) against Acadia led by Samuel Argall takes place.
  • 1644 – English Civil War: Battle of Marston Moor.
  • 1645 – Battle of Alford: Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
  • 1698 – Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine.
  • 1776 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress adopts a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence is not published until 04 July.
  • 1816 – The French frigate Méduse strikes the Bank of Arguin and 151 people on board have to be evacuated on an improvised raft, a case immortalised by Géricault’s painting The Raft of the Medusa.
  • 1823 – Bahia Independence Day: The end of Portuguese rule in Brazil, with the final defeat of the Portuguese crown loyalists in the province of Bahia.
  • 1853 – The Russian Army crosses the Pruth river into the Danubian Principalities, Moldavia and Wallachia – providing the spark that will set off the Crimean War.
  • 1871 – Victor Emmanuel II of Italy enters Rome after having conquered it from the Papal States.
  • 1897 – British-Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi obtains a patent for radio in London.
  • 1900 – The first Zeppelin flight takes place on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
  • 1921 – World War I: US President Warren G. Harding signs the Knox–Porter Resolution formally ending the war between the United States and Germany.
  • 1934 – The Night of the Long Knives ends with the death of Ernst Röhm.
  • 1937 – Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.
  • 1940 – Indian independence leader Subhas Chandra Bose is arrested and detained in Calcutta.
  • 1940 – The SS Arandora Star is sunk by U-47 in the North Atlantic with the loss of over 800 lives, mostly civilians.
  • 1966 – France conducts its first nuclear weapon test in the Pacific, on Moruroa Atoll.
  • 1976 – End of South Vietnam; Communist North Vietnam annexes the former South Vietnam to form the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
  • 1986 – Rodrigo Rojas and Carmen Gloria Quintana are burnt alive during a street demonstration against the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in Chile.
  • 2008 – Colombian conflict: Íngrid Betancourt, a member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia, is released from captivity after being held for six and a half years by FARC.

People (Births)

  • 1665 – Samuel Penhallow, English-American soldier and historian (d. 1726).
  • 1820 – Juan N. Méndez, Mexican general and interim president, 1876-1877 (d. 1894).
  • 1914 – Erich Topp, German admiral (d. 2005).
  • 1915 – Valerian Wellesley, 8th Duke of Wellington, British peer, politician and soldier (d. 2014).
  • 1916 – Hans-Ulrich Rudel, German colonel and pilot (d. 1982).
  • 1923 – Cyril M. Kornbluth, American soldier and author (d. 1958).
  • 1925 – Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (d. 1963).
  • 1936 – Omar Suleiman, Egyptian general and politician, 16th Vice President of Egypt (d. 2012).

People (Deaths)

  • 649 – Li Jing, Chinese general (b. 571).
  • 1582 – Akechi Mitsuhide, Japanese samurai and warlord (b. 1528).
  • 1656 – François-Marie, comte de Broglie, Italian-French general (b. 1611).
  • 1850 – Robert Peel, English lieutenant and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1788).
  • 1857 – Carlo Pisacane, Italian soldier and philosopher (b. 1818).
  • 1915 – Porfirio Díaz, Mexican general and politician, 29th President of Mexico (b. 1830).
  • 1920 – William Louis Marshall, American general and engineer (b. 1846).
  • 1955 – Edward Lawson, English soldier, Victoria Cross recipient (b. 1873).
  • 1973 – Ferdinand Schörner, German field marshal (b. 1892).
  • 2014 – Louis Zamperini, American runner and World War II US Army Air Forces captain (b. 1917).
  • 2016 – Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, activist, and author (b. 1928).

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