What Happened on July 7 in History?

by oaeen
Joan of Arc's Retrial

July 7 is a date marked by a variety of significant historical events across the world. From pivotal moments in political history and major military actions to notable scientific discoveries and cultural milestones, this day has seen it all. This article explores a series of impactful occurrences on July 7, providing insight into their historical context and lasting effects.

1307: The Death of Edward I of England

King Edward I of England, also known as “Edward Longshanks” and “The Hammer of the Scots,” died on July 7, 1307. His reign was marked by significant military campaigns, including the conquest of Wales and attempts to subjugate Scotland. Edward’s efforts to centralize royal power and his legal reforms had lasting impacts on English governance and the relationship between the monarchy and its subjects.

1456: Joan of Arc’s Retrial

On July 7, 1456, Joan of Arc, the famed French heroine of the Hundred Years’ War, was posthumously acquitted of heresy charges. Joan had been executed in 1431 after being tried and convicted by an English-backed ecclesiastical court. Her retrial, conducted by the Inquisitor-General of France, was ordered by Pope Callixtus III and resulted in her exoneration. This retrial cleared her name, ultimately leading to her canonization as a saint in 1920, and cementing her legacy as a martyr and symbol of French unity and resistance.

1537: The Death of Madeleine de Valois

Madeleine de Valois, Queen of Scots and the first wife of King James V of Scotland, died on July 7, 1537. Her marriage to James V was part of the “Rough Wooing,” a series of diplomatic maneuvers and conflicts between Scotland and England. Although her time as queen was brief, her death underscored the complex political alliances and tensions of the period.

1865: Mary Surratt Executed

Mary Surratt, the first woman to be executed by the United States federal government, was hanged on July 7, 1865, for her involvement in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Her execution was controversial, with debates about her level of involvement and the fairness of her trial. Surratt’s death remains a significant event in American history, highlighting the complexities of justice and punishment during the tumultuous period following the Civil War.

1881: First International Telephone Call

On July 7, 1881, the first international telephone call was made between St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, and Calais, Maine, USA. This groundbreaking communication demonstrated the potential for long-distance voice communication and paved the way for the development of the global telecommunications network. The success of this call marked a significant milestone in the evolution of telecommunications technology.

1898: The Hawaiian Islands Annexed by the United States

On July 7, 1898, the United States formally annexed the Hawaiian Islands following the approval of the Newlands Resolution by Congress and the signature of President William McKinley. This annexation marked a significant expansion of U.S. territory in the Pacific and had profound implications for the native Hawaiian population, including cultural and political changes that continue to be felt today. The annexation also played a crucial role in establishing the United States as a major Pacific power.

1907: The Birth of Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein, one of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, was born on July 7, 1907. Heinlein’s works, including “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “Starship Troopers”, explored complex social, political, and technological themes, earning him a prominent place in the genre. His innovative storytelling and thought-provoking ideas continue to inspire readers and writers alike.

1923: The World War I Memorial Carillon in Ottawa

The World War I Memorial Carillon in Ottawa, Canada, was officially inaugurated on July 7, 1923. Located in the Peace Tower of the Canadian Parliament, the carillon serves as a tribute to the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during World War I. The inauguration of this memorial reflected the nation’s efforts to honor the sacrifices of its military personnel and foster a sense of national unity and remembrance.

1928: The First Solo Flight from the UK to Australia

On July 7, 1928, Australian aviator Bert Hinkler completed the first solo flight from the United Kingdom to Australia. His journey, which began on February 7, 1928, covered approximately 11,250 miles and took just under 16 days.Hinkler’s achievement demonstrated the potential for long-distance air travel and inspired future advancements in aviation.

1928: Sliced Bread Invented

July 7, 1928, marked a revolutionary moment in the food industry with the introduction of sliced bread. Otto Frederick Rohwedder, an American inventor, created the first bread-slicing machine, which was installed at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri. The pre-sliced bread was advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped,” giving rise to the popular phrase “the best thing since sliced bread.” This innovation significantly changed consumer habits and the way bread was consumed and marketed.

1930: Construction of Hoover Dam Begins

The construction of the Hoover Dam, one of the most significant engineering achievements of the 20th century, began on July 7, 1930. Located on the border between Nevada and Arizona, the dam was built to control flooding, provide irrigation water, and generate hydroelectric power. Completed in 1936, the Hoover Dam remains a vital source of water and energy for the southwestern United States and stands as a testament to human ingenuity and resourcefulness.

1937: The Marco Polo Bridge Incident

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident, which occurred on July 7, 1937, was a pivotal event that led to the full-scale invasion of China by Japan and the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The skirmish between Chinese and Japanese troops near the Marco Polo Bridge (Lugou Bridge) escalated quickly, resulting in heavy casualties and widespread conflict. This incident marked the beginning of a brutal eight-year war that profoundly affected both nations and set the stage for the Pacific theater of World War II.

1940: The Birth of Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr, the drummer for The Beatles, was born on July 7, 1940. As a member of one of the most influential and successful bands in music history, Starr’s distinctive drumming style and contributions to The Beatles’ sound were integral to their global success. His solo career and continued influence in the music industry have solidified his legacy as a legendary musician.

1946: Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini Becomes First American Saint

On July 7, 1946, Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, becoming the first American citizen to be declared a saint. Born in Italy in 1850, Cabrini immigrated to the United States in 1889 and dedicated her life to supporting Italian immigrants and establishing educational and health care institutions. Her canonization recognized her tireless work and profound impact on immigrant communities and the Catholic Church in America.

1949: The Birth of Shelley Duvall

Actress Shelley Duvall was born on July 7, 1949. Known for her roles in films such as “The Shining” and “Popeye”, Duvall’s unique presence and talent have made her a memorable figure in Hollywood. Her work as an actress and producer, particularly in children’s television, has earned her critical acclaim and a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry.

1954: Elvis Presley’s First Single

Elvis Presley’s first single, “That’s All Right,” was released on July 7, 1954. Recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, the song marked the beginning of Presley’s career as a rock and roll icon. This release is often cited as a pivotal moment in the history of popular music, heralding the rise of rock and roll and Presley’s enduring influence on the genre.

1958: NASA’s Creation Approved

On July 7, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, officially establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This act was a response to the Soviet Union’s successful launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, in 1957. NASA’s creation marked the beginning of the United States’ commitment to space exploration, leading to historic achievements such as the Apollo moon landings and the development of the Space Shuttle program.

1967: The Establishment of the Biafran State

On July 7, 1967, the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War, began following the secession of the southeastern region of Nigeria and the establishment of the Republic of Biafra. The conflict, which lasted until January 15, 1970, resulted in significant loss of life and humanitarian crises. The war highlighted issues of ethnic tension, political instability, and the challenges of post-colonial nation-building in Africa.

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor Nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court

On July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the first woman to be nominated and subsequently appointed to the highest court in the United States. O’Connor’s nomination and confirmation were landmark moments in American legal history, breaking gender barriers and setting a precedent for future female justices. Her tenure on the court was marked by her pragmatic and moderate judicial approach, influencing many significant rulings.

2005: London Bombings

The London bombings on July 7, 2005, also known as the 7/7 bombings, were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks targeting the city’s public transport system during the morning rush hour. Four suicide bombers detonated explosives on three London Underground trains and one double-decker bus, killing 52 civilians and injuring more than 700. This tragic event underscored the ongoing threat of terrorism and led to significant changes in security measures and emergency response strategies in the UK and worldwide.

2006: The Death of Syd Barrett

Syd Barrett, a founding member of the rock band Pink Floyd, died on July 7, 2006. Barrett’s innovative and experimental approach to music helped shape the early sound of Pink Floyd. Despite his departure from the band due to mental health issues, his influence on psychedelic rock and his contributions to music remain significant.


July 7 has witnessed a diverse array of historical events, each contributing to the complex tapestry of human history. From groundbreaking scientific achievements and pivotal military conflicts to significant cultural milestones and notable births and deaths, this date offers a rich glimpse into the past. Reflecting on these events provides valuable insights into the forces that have shaped our world and the individuals who have left lasting legacies.

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