On This Day

2nd July

862 – St. Swithun, Bishop of Winchester died.

1698 – Thomas Savery patented the first steam engine.

1776 – The Continental Congress adopted a resolution severing ties with Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence was not approved until July 4.

1777 – Vermont became the first American territory to abolish slavery.

1839 - 53 African slaves being transported to Cuba on the Spanish merchant ship La Amistad revolted against their captors led by Joseph Cinque.

1850 – The self-contained gas mask was patented by Benjamin J. Lane.

1853 – The Russian Army invaded Turkey, beginning the Crimean War.

1881 – Charles J. Guiteau shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield, who eventually died on September 19.

1897 – Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi obtained a patent for radio in London.

1900 - The world's first rigid airship was demonstrated by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.

1937 - U.S. aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan were reported lost over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight. They were never heard from again.

1961 - Author Ernest Hemingway, 61, shot himself at his home in Ketchum, Idaho.

1962 – The first Wal-Mart store opened for business in Rogers, Arkansas.

1964 - U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act, meant to prohibit segregation in public places.

1966 РThe French military exploded a nuclear test bomb codenamed Ald̩baran in Mururoa, their first nuclear test in the Pacific.

1976 – North and South Vietnam, divided since 1954, reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

1976 - The Supreme Court ruled the death penalty was not inherently cruel or unusual.

1990 - A stampede in a pedestrian tunnel at the Muslim holy city of Mecca during the annual Hajj killed 1,426 pilgrims.

1993 - South African President F.W de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela announced that South Africa's first election open to all races would be April 27, 1994.

1994 - The Colombian soccer player who inadvertently scored a goal for the United States, contributing to his team's loss in World Cup competition, was shot to death in Medellin, Colombia.

1997 – James Stewart died.

2005 - Egypt's new ambassador to Iraq was abducted in Baghdad, reportedly by Al-Qaida. He was later murdered.

2008 – Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other FARC hostages were rescued by the Colombian armed forces, she had been held for six and a half years.