#TodayInHistory – July 164 min read
July 16 – Some important events on this day.
622 👉🏼 Muslim Era begins – Muhammad begins flight from Mecca to Medina (Hijra)
1054 👉🏼 Three Roman legates fracture relations between Western and Eastern Christian churches by placing invalid Papal Bull of Excommunication on altar of Hagia Sophia during liturgy. Often dated start of the East-West Schism.
1439 👉🏼 Kissing is banned in England (to stop the Black Death from spreading)
1519 👉🏼 Public debate between Martin Luther and theologian Johann Eck at Pleissenburg Castle in Liepzig, during which Luther denies the divine right of the Pope
1548 👉🏼 La Paz, Bolivia, is founded
1661 👉🏼 1st banknotes in Europe are issued by Bank of Stockholm.
Stockholms Banco issued the first banknote in Europe on this day. They were a much easier way of making transactions than lugging around bags of copper and silver coins, but could be exchanged for metal at a later date.
Eventually they caused more problems than they were worth – so many people used the notes and lent them that the bank was unable to honour requests for the credit to be transferred into metal coinage. Eventually the bank collapsed and the Swedish government took over, and the bank’s founder, Johan Palmstruch, was imprisoned.
His idea of banknotes however did not die and would reach its apogee in Europe with the introduction of a banknote across borders – the Euro – in 2002.
1782 👉🏼 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Die Entführung aus dem Serail” premieres in Vienna with Mozart conducting
1809 👉🏼 La Paz, Bolivia declares its independence from the Spanish Crown and forms the Junta Tuitiva led by Pedro Domingo Murillo, the 1st independent government in Spanish America
1867 👉🏼 Amstel Hotel, “the dignified old lady” opens in Amsterdam
1880 👉🏼 Dr. Emily Stowe becomes the first woman licenced to practise medicine in Canada
1918 👉🏼 Romanov family executed, ending a 300-year imperial dynasty
1926 👉🏼 National Geographic takes 1st natural-color undersea photos
1940 👉🏼 Adolf Hitler orders preparations for the invasion of Britain (Operation Sealion)
1945 👉🏼 1st test detonation of an atomic bomb, Trinity Site, Alamogordo, New Mexico as part of the US Manhattan Project.
The Manhattan Project was the codename for the American effort to develop and test nuclear weapons during World War II. Run by General Leslie Groves, the construction of the actual bomb was overseen by Robert Oppenheimer, who was head of the Los Alamos Laboratory where it was developed.
In 1939 a letter written by Leo Szilard and signed by Albert Einstein was delivered to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The letter urged the United States to develop uranium stockpiles and commence research efforts, especially as Nazi Germany might do the same.
Two bomb types were developed: Little Boy, a uranium bomb, and Fat Man, a plutonium bomb. The work was carried out with extreme secrecy; many of those working on the project had no idea what they were working towards. Despite the security, Soviet spies managed to penetrate the project, and were aware that the US had developed the bomb.
On this day, the Trinity test became the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Less than a month later, President Harry Truman authorized the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to date the only use of nuclear weapons in history. The bombs brought about the quick end of World War II without the need for a catastrophic invasion of Japan, but with an exceptionally high loss of civilian life in the two destroyed cities.
1957 👉🏼 US Marine Major John Glenn sets transcontinental speed record (03:28:08).
The Soviet Union had dominated the Space Race in the late 1950s and early 1960s with a two significant firsts: first satellite launch (Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957) and first man in space (Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961).
America decided to step up its game. Under President John F. Kennedy, the government had set itself lofty goals – including a manned Moon landing later in the decade.
John Glenn, the man selected to be the first American to orbit the Earth, had been a distinguished World War II fighter pilot and in 1957 had made the first supersonic transcontinental flight across America.
On February 20, 1962, he orbited the Earth three times aboard his Friendship 7 spacecraft in just under five hours.
After his NASA career ended, Glenn became a politician, serving as a senator for Ohio from 1974 until 1999.
1969 👉🏼 Apollo 11 launched, carrying 1st men to land on Moon.
Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot on Apollo 11 and the second person to walk on the Moon, photographed this bootprint about an hour into their lunar extra-vehicular activity, as part of investigations into the soil mechanics of the lunar surface.
The photo would later become synonymous with humankind’s venture into space.
1995 👉🏼 Amazon officially opens for business as an online bookseller. Within a month, the fledgling retailer had shipped books to all 50 U.S. states and to 45 countries. Founder Jeff Bezos’s motto was “get big fast,” and Seattle-based Amazon eventually morphed into an e-commerce colossus, selling everything from groceries to furniture to live ladybugs, and helping to revolutionize the way people shop.
2018 👉🏼 Historic cemetery (1878-1911) announced discovered near Houston, Texas, containing 95 remains though to be African Americans forced into labour