On This Day … 08 July


  • 1099 – Some 15,000 starving Christian soldiers begin the siege of Jerusalem by marching in a religious procession around the city as its Muslim defenders watch.
  • 1283 – Roger of Lauria, commanding the Aragonese fleet, defeats an Angevin fleet sent to put down a rebellion on Malta.
  • 1497 – Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.
  • 1663 – Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal charter to Rhode Island.
  • 1709 – Peter I of Russia defeats Charles XII of Sweden at the Battle of Poltava, thus effectively ending Sweden’s status as a major power in Europe.
  • 1716 – The Battle of Dynekilen forces Sweden to abandon its invasion of Norway.
  • 1758 – French forces hold Fort Carillon against the British at Ticonderoga, New York.
  • 1760 – British forces defeat French forces in the last naval battle in New France.
  • 1775 – The Olive Branch Petition is signed by the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies of North America.
  • 1776 – Church bells (possibly including the Liberty Bell) are rung after John Nixon delivers the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
  • 1808 – Joseph Bonaparte approves the Bayonne Statute, a royal charter intended as the basis for his rule as king of Spain.
  • 1822 – Chippewas turn over a huge tract of land in Ontario to the United Kingdom.
  • 1853 – The Perry Expedition arrives in Edo Bay with a treaty requesting trade.
  • 1859 – King Charles XV & IV accedes to the throne of Sweden–Norway.
  • 1864 – Ikedaya Incident: The Choshu Han shishi’s planned Shinsengumi sabotage on Kyoto, Japan at Ikedaya.
  • 1874 – The Mounties begin their March West.
  • 1912 – Henrique Mitchell de Paiva Couceiro leads an unsuccessful royalist attack against the First Portuguese Republic in Chaves.
  • 1937 – Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan sign the Treaty of Saadabad.
  • 1947 – Reports are broadcast that a UFO crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico in what became known as the Roswell UFO incident.
  • 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 Rangoon University Student Union building to crush the Student Movement.
  • 1970 – Richard Nixon delivers a special congressional message enunciating Native American self-determination as official US Indian policy, leading to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975.
  • 1982 – A failed assassination attempt against Iraqi president Saddam Hussein results in the Dujail Massacre over the next several months.
  • 1994 – Kim Jong-il begins to assume supreme leadership of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il-sung.
  • 2014 – Israel launches an offensive on Gaza amid rising tensions following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
  • Air Force and Air Defense Forces Day (Ukraine).

People (Births)

  • 1819 – Francis Leopold McClintock, Irish admiral and explorer (d. 1907).
  • 1838 – Eli Lilly, American soldier, chemist, and businessman, founded Eli Lilly and Company (d. 1898).
  • 1838 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin, German general and businessman, founded the Zeppelin Airship Company (d. 1917).
  • 1909 – Alan Brown, English soldier (d. 1971).
  • 1910 – Carlos Betances Ramírez, Puerto Rican general (d. 2001).
  • 1915 – Neil D. Van Sickle, American Air Force major general (d. 2019).
  • 1915 – Lowell English, United States Marine Corps general (d. 2005).
  • 1918 – Paul B. Fay, American businessman, soldier, and diplomat, 12th United States Secretary of the Navy (d. 2009).
  • 1918 – Oluf Reed-Olsen, Norwegian resistance member and pilot (d. 2002).
  • 1918 – Edward B. Giller, US Major General (d. 2017).
  • 1919 – Walter Scheel, German soldier and politician, 4th President of West Germany (d. 2016).
  • 1926 – John Dingell, American lieutenant and politician (d. 2019).

People (Deaths)

  • 1538 – Diego de Almagro, Spanish general and explorer (b. 1475).
  • 1942 – Louis Franchet d’Espèrey, Algerian-French general (b. 1856).
  • 1943 – Jean Moulin, French soldier (b. 1899).
  • 1994 – Kim Il-sung, North Korean commander and politician, President of North Korea (b. 1912).
  • 1999 – Pete Conrad, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1930).
  • 2014 – John V. Evans, American soldier and politician, 27th Governor of Idaho (b. 1925).

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