02 July 2008

This day in history: 2 Jul

1644: The combined forces of the Scottish Covenanters, under the Earl of Leven, and the Parliamentarians, under Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester, defeated the Royalists, commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine and the Marquess of Newcastle, in the Battle of Marston Moor.

1776: The Continental Congress adopted a resolution, proposed by Richard Henry Lee and seconded by John Adams, severing ties with Great Britain.
Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally absolved.
(The wording of the Declaration of Independence would be approved on 4 July.)

1839: 53 rebelling African slaves led by Joseph Cinque took over the slave ship Amistad.

1853: The Russian Army invaded Moldavia, then part of the Ottoman Empire, beginning the Crimean War.

1863: Lt Gen James Longstreet's First Corps attacked the Union left flank in the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, with particularly vicious fighting in Devil's Den and on Little Round Top. This was followed by attacks on the Union right by the Confederate Second Corps (Lt Gen Richard S Ewell), at Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill.

1881: In Washington DC, lawyer Charles J Guiteau shot US President James Garfield. (Garfield, who was hit twice, died on 19 September. Guiteau was hanged on 30 Jun 1882.)

1900: Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin flew his first airship, LZ 1, over the Bodensee.

1937: Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over the Pacific Ocean whilst flying their Lockheed Electra 10E from Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island.

1976: North and South Vietnam, divided since 1954, were formally reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

2002: Steve Fossett landed in Queensland, Australia, thus becoming the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.

Sir Robert Peel (1788–1850), Ernest Hemingway (1899—1961), Betty Grable (1916–1973), Fred Gwynne (1926–1993), Brig Gen James M Stewart (1908-1997) and Beverly Sills (1929–2007) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556), Olav V of Norway (1903–1991), Frederick Fennell (1914-2004), Erich Topp (1914-2005), Hans-Ulrich Rudel (1916-1982) and Dave Thomas (1932–2002).

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