Factbox: Fourth of July, the Other Historic Events

Most of us know that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, but do you know about some of the other significant moments that have happened on July 4th throughout our history? Here is a look back through time at some of the lesser-known events throughout time.

* July 4, 1054: For those who love astronomy, it was on this day 947 years ago, that Crab Nebula could first be seen by humans. It had actually occurred 4,000 years before, and even though it had lessened in intensity, it was still six times brighter than Venus appeared to those living during that time. It was even visible peak daylight hours, and both the Chinese and Japanese recorded it. It is possible that it was also seen in North America. In northwestern New Mexico at the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, there is a pictograph that is said to represent the supernova that created the Crab Nebula.

* July 4, 1754: On this date Lieutenant Colonel George Washington surrendered to Fort Necessity, in southwestern Pennsylvania, to the French Captain Louis Coulon de Villiers in the French and Indian War. This battle set the stage for the American Revolution and eventually ended with the removal of French power. Fort Necessity was Washington’s first military campaign and he accepted surrender terms so that the peaceful withdrawal of the troops could be allowed. Washington later said that he was tricked into signing the document that stated he confessed to the killing of the brother of the French commander, as he did not speak French of the details of the document were translated wrong.

* July 4, 1802: The United States Military Academy at West Point was established by Thomas Jefferson 209 years ago. Jefferson established the academy so that we wouldn’t have to rely on foreign engineers and artillerists. Initially its sole function was to train engineers, and to be sure that all military officers were men of science.

*July 4, 1826: 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died. Adams and Jefferson had many outstanding disagreements as well as a somewhat nasty campaign when first Adams defeated Jefferson to become our second president and then again when Jefferson defeated Adams to become the third United States president. Adams apparently claimed, “I will outlive Jefferson”, and his last words on that July 4th were, “Thomas Jefferson survives.” He had initially been correct; however, as Jefferson had passed just a few hours before Adams.

*July 4, 1862: According to the diary of famous author Lewis Carroll, he first told the “fairy-tale of Alice’s adventures.” It was initially not a story for the public, but one he told to a little girl named Alice Pleasance Liddell. She was the second daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College at Oxford. Young Alice pestered Carroll many times to write down his story, and several years later he completed the first manuscript.

*July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig delivered his famous speech to a crowd of 60,000 New York Yankees fans on Fourth of July in 1939. Gehrig confirmed his diagnosis, which is now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and went on to tell fans that he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

*July 4th birthdays: A few of the well-known people in history who were born on this date include: The famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren, Leona Helmsley the American hotel operator, Neil Simon the famed playwright, and Al Davis the owner of the Oakland Raiders.