July 1, 2020
Day 183 of 366
July 1st is the 183rd day of the year. It is Independence Day in Burundi, Rwanda, and Somalia. The first two left Belgian control in 1962, and Somalia’s independence came from the unification of the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somalia) and the State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) in 1960.
Historical items of note:
- In 1766, young French nobleman François-Jean de la Barre was tortured and beheaded. Before his body was burnt on a pyre, a copy of Voltaire’s Dictionnaire philosophique was nailed to his torso. His crime was not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in Abbeville, France.
- In 1858, a joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers on evolution was conducted before the Linnean Society of London.
- In 1870, the United States Department of Justice formally came into existence.
- In 1878, Canada joined the Universal Postal Union.
- In 1881, the world’s first international telephone call was made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, United States.
- In 1890, Canada and Bermuda were linked by telegraph cable.
- In 1908, SOS was adopted as the international distress signal.
- In 1916, actress Olivia de Havilland was born.
- In 1932, Australia’s national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was formed.
- In 1934, actor Jamie Farr was born.
- In 1935, actor David Prowse was born.
- In 1942, actress Geneviève Bujold was born.
- In 1945, singer-songwriter and actress Debbie Harry was born.
- In 1952, Canadian actor, producer, and screenwriter Dan Aykroyd was born.
- In 1956, actor Alan Ruck was born.
- In 1961, Diana, Princess of Wales was born.
- In 1962, actor and producer Andre Braugher was born.
- In 1963, ZIP codes were introduced for the United States mail service.
- In 1966, the first color television transmission in Canada took place from Toronto.
- In 1968, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed in Washington, D.C., London, and Moscow by sixty-two countries.
- In 1972, the first Pride march in England took place.
- In 1977, actress Liv Tyler was born.
- In 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman.
- In 1980, “O Canada” officially became the national anthem of Canada.
- In 1984, the PG-13 rating was introduced by the Motion Picture Association of America.
- In 1990, East Germany accepted the Deutsche Mark as its currency, thus uniting the economies of East and West Germany.
- In 1991, the Warsaw Pact was officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague.
- Also in 1991, Terminator 2: Judgement Day opened.
- In 1997, China resumed sovereignty over the city-state of Hong Kong, ending 156 years of British colonial rule.
- In 1999, the Scottish Parliament was officially opened by Elizabeth II on the day that legislative powers were officially transferred from the old Scottish Office in London to the new devolved Scottish Executive in Edinburgh. In Wales, the powers of the Welsh Secretary were transferred to the National Assembly.
- In 2007, smoking in England was banned in all public indoor spaces.
July 1st is Canada Day.
A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.
It was originally called Dominion Day – Le Jour de la Confédération in French – but was renamed in 1982, the same year in which the Canadian Constitution was patriated by the Canada Act 1982.
Most communities in Canada celebrate with parades, festivals, fireworks, concerts, and citizenship ceremonies. Given the federal nature of the anniversary, celebrating Canada Day can be a cause of friction in the province of Quebec, where the holiday is overshadowed by Quebec’s National Holiday on June 24th. Canada Day also coincides with Quebec’s Moving Day, when many fixed-lease apartment rental terms expire.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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