Thursday, July 7, 2005
1798: Depredations by French privateers on American merchant ships lead the U.S. Congress to rescind all treaties with France, triggering an undeclared naval war between the two countries that will end when the Americans capture more than 20 French vessels, including two frigates.
1816: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who wrote enormously farces like The Rivals and A School for Scandal to finance his real love, politics, dies flat broke and out of office.
1846: Immediately after learning that war has broken out with Mexico, Commodore John Sloat occupies Monterey and Yerba Buena (now San Francisco) and claims California for the United States.
1754: Kings College opens its doors New York City, with one faculty member and eight students. After the King loses the Revolutionary War, the name is discreetly changed to "Columbia."
1930: Under the direction of industrialist Henry Kaiser, work begins on the mammoth Hoover Dam.
1936: Henry Philips gets the patents for the X-topped screws that bear his name. His breakthrough will come when General Motors decided to use the new screws for its 1936 Cadillac -- four years later virtually every American car will be made with Philips screws.
1948: Fatima Cigarettes brings you the first episode of a fact-based police program called Dragnet. The show's musical motif will go on to edge out the start of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as the most recognizable four-note musical opening of all time.
1969: The Canadian Parliament enacts the Official Languages Act, decreeing that henceforth English and French shall be equal languages in Canada.