July 25, 2020
Day 207 of 366
July 25th is the 207th day of the year. Today is the Día Nacional de Galicia (National Day of Galicia), which commemorates the autonomous community of Galicia in Spain.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Merry-Go-Round Day, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, National Threading the Needle Day, National Hire a Veteran Day, National Wine and Cheese Day, and National Day of the Cowboy (which is typically observed on the fourth Saturday in July).
Historical items of note:
- In 1467, the Battle of Molinella occurred. It was the first battle in Italy in which firearms and artillery were used extensively.
- In 1783, the last action of the American Revolutionary War occurred at the Siege of Cuddalore. It was part of the Second Anglo–Mysore War, which pitted the Kingdom of Mysore against the British East India Company during 1780 to 1784. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the conflict between Britain against the French and Dutch in the American Revolutionary War sparked Anglo–Mysorean hostilities in India. The siege ended when news arrived of a preliminary peace treaty between France and Britain.
- In 1788, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 40 in G minor.
- In 1857, naval officer and inventor Frank J. Sprague was born. He contributed to the development of the electric motor, electric railways, and electric elevators.
- In 1861, the United States Congress passed the Crittenden–Johnson Resolution, stating that the Civil War was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery. President Abraham Lincoln was concerned that the slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland (part of the upper south) might leave the Union to join the Confederate States of America. If Maryland were lost, Washington, D.C. would be entirely surrounded by Confederate territory. The resolution intended that the Union Government would take no actions against the institution of slavery in an attempt to retain the loyalty of Unionists in the slave-holding border states. It implied the war would end when the seceding states returned to the Union, with slavery intact. By December 1861, public opinion of the war had shifted so dramatically that the resolution was repealed. Meanwhile, the Confederacy maintained that slavery was a divine right and the very cornerstone of their rebellion.
- In 1866, the United States Congress passed legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant became the first to be promoted to this rank.
- In 1894, the First Sino-Japanese War began when the Japanese fired upon a Chinese warship.
- In 1898, in the Puerto Rican Campaign, the United States seized Puerto Rico from Spain.
- In 1909, Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine from Calais, France to Dover, England in 37 minutes.
- In 1915, Royal Flying Corps Captain Lanoe Hawker became the first British pursuit aviator to earn the Victoria Cross.
- In 1917, Sir Robert Borden introduced the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure. It was not.
- In 1920, biophysicist, chemist, and academic Rosalind Franklin was born. Her work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite.
- In 1923, actress and golden girl Estelle Getty was born.
- In 1955, Somalian-English model and actress Iman was born.
- In 1965, Bob Dylan went “electric” at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music. It was quite the controversy.
- In 1967, actor and producer Matt LeBlanc was born. He will always be Joey.
- In 1976, Viking 1 took the famous Face on Mars photo.
- In 1978, Louise Joy Brown was born. She was the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilization (IVF), known in the media as a “test tube baby” despite being conceived in a Petri dish. Cardinal Albino Luciani (the future Pope John Paul I) expressed concerns that artificial insemination could lead to women being used as “baby factories”, but did not condemn the parents since they simply wanted to have a baby.
- In 1984, Salyut 7 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a spacewalk.
July 25th is Puerto Rico Constitution Day. The holiday commemorates the day the Constitution of Puerto Rico, approved on July 3, 1952, was signed into law by Governor Luis Muñoz Marín later that month. Before then, July 25th had been known as Occupation Day, commemorating the arrival of United States military forces on July 25, 1898 in an area of the municipality of Yauco that in the early 20th century would become the separate municipality of Guánica.
The event is marked by a commemorative ceremony and was established by Law #1 on August 4, 1952.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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