Today in History, 22 July: What Happened on this Day

Historical Events


Capture of Pope Innocent II

In 1139, Pope Innocent II found himself in a perilous situation as he was ambushed and taken captive by the forces of Roger II of Sicily at Galluccio. This event occurred during an attempt to invade the Kingdom of Sicily. The conflict between the papacy and the Kingdom of Sicily had been escalating, and Roger II’s forces saw an opportunity to seize the Pope as a significant hostage. This capture had far-reaching implications for the relations between the papacy and secular rulers, as it highlighted the political struggles of the time and the tensions between the spiritual and temporal powers.



Treaty of Frankfurt

The Treaty of Frankfurt was signed in 1489 between Maximilian of Austria and King Charles VIII of France. This treaty was a significant diplomatic agreement that sought to address the complex power dynamics and territorial ambitions in Europe during that period. It helped establish a measure of stability between the two powerful nations and attempted to delineate their spheres of influence and potential areas of conflict. Treaties like these played a crucial role in shaping the political landscape of Europe and mitigating potential wars and conflicts between major powers.



William I of Orange moves from Antwerp to Delft

In 1582, William I of Orange, also known as William the Silent, made a strategic move from Antwerp to Delft. William was a key figure in the Dutch struggle for independence from Spanish rule, and his relocation to Delft was driven by both political and security concerns. Delft offered a more defensible position against potential threats from Spanish forces, and it became a crucial center for the Dutch resistance. William’s leadership and actions during this time were pivotal in shaping the course of Dutch history and ultimately led to the establishment of the Dutch Republic.



Foundation of Buen Retiro Palace

In 1632, the foundation was laid in Madrid for the Buen Retiro Palace, commissioned by King Philip IV of Spain. This lavish palace complex was intended as a royal retreat and a symbol of the Spanish monarchy’s grandeur. The Buen Retiro Palace’s construction and subsequent use as a cultural and recreational center reflected the opulence and splendor of the Spanish Golden Age. It became a significant site for artistic and cultural patronage, hosting numerous works of art and entertainment, making it an essential part of Spanish history and cultural heritage.



Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj wins the fort of Vellore

In 1678, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the renowned Maratha warrior king, achieved a notable victory by capturing the fort of Vellore. Prior to this, his forces had successfully taken the Gingee Fort in 1677. The conquest of Vellore was part of Shivaji’s larger vision to establish a strong Maratha presence in the Deccan region and resist the expanding territories of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Shivaji’s military prowess and strategic genius earned him a lasting place in Indian history, and his legacy continues to inspire generations as a symbol of resistance and independence.



George Washington takes command of the US Army

In 1775, during the American Revolutionary War, George Washington was appointed as the commanding general of the Continental Army. This decision was a crucial turning point in the fight for American independence. Washington’s experience as a military leader, along with his ability to unite the diverse colonies, made him the most suitable choice for this significant position. Under his leadership, the Continental Army grew in strength and determination, ultimately leading to the defeat of the British and the establishment of the United States of America.



Smolny Cathedral Consecrated

In 1835, the Smolny Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was consecrated. This magnificent cathedral was initially commissioned by Empress Elizabeth of Russia, and its construction spanned several decades. The Smolny Cathedral’s architecture and design showcase the beauty of Russian Baroque and Neoclassical styles, making it an architectural marvel and a symbol of religious and cultural significance in Russia. Over the years, the cathedral has played various roles, serving as a place of worship, an educational institution, and a historical landmark.



Battle of Atlanta

The Battle of Atlanta took place in 1864 during the American Civil War. Union General William T. Sherman’s forces engaged Confederate troops under General John Bell Hood in a significant military confrontation. The battle’s outcome resulted in a Union victory, with substantial casualties on both sides. The Union’s successful capture of Atlanta had far-reaching consequences, boosting Northern morale and contributing to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Moreover, it marked a turning point in the war and set the stage for Sherman’s subsequent “March to the Sea,” a campaign that inflicted severe damage on the Confederacy and hastened the war’s end.



First Motor Race between Paris and Rouen

In 1894, history witnessed the first motor race, a groundbreaking event that marked the beginning of the automobile era. Organized by the newspaper Le Petit Journal, the race took place in France, running from Paris to Rouen. It attracted numerous participants, showcasing the early automotive innovations and inspiring further advancements in vehicle technology. This landmark event not only ignited public interest in motor racing but also paved the way for the automobile’s integration into society, revolutionizing transportation and industry worldwide.



1st Solo Flight Round the World by Wiley Post

In 1933, aviator Wiley Post completed the first solo flight around the world, marking a historic achievement in aviation history. He accomplished this feat in a Lockheed Vega aircraft named “Winnie Mae.” Post’s seven-day and nineteen-hour journey demonstrated the capabilities of modern aircraft and navigation technology, solidifying his place as a trailblazer in the world of aviation and inspiring future generations of pilots and adventurers.



John Dillinger Killed

In 1934, infamous bank robber and “Public Enemy No. 1” John Dillinger was mortally wounded by FBI agents outside Chicago’s Biograph Theatre. Dillinger’s crime spree had captured the public’s attention, and his death marked the end of a notorious era in American criminal history. The circumstances surrounding his demise and the subsequent public fascination with his life and exploits turned him into a legendary figure in popular culture.



Eamon de Valera wins Irish Elections

In 1937, Eamon de Valera, a prominent political leader and statesman, won the Irish elections. De Valera’s election victory was a significant event in Ireland’s political landscape, as he became the prime minister (Taoiseach) of Ireland. His leadership played a crucial role in shaping the country’s policies and guiding it through tumultuous times, including World War II and the quest for Irish independence.



US Senate rejects FDR’s proposal to enlarge Supreme Court

In 1937, the U.S. Senate rejected President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposal to expand the Supreme Court’s size. FDR’s plan, known as the “court-packing plan,” aimed to appoint additional justices to the Supreme Court, which was perceived by many as an attempt to influence and tip the balance of the judiciary in favor of Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. The rejection of the proposal underscored the importance of the separation of powers in the United States and highlighted the role of the Supreme Court as a vital check on executive power.



Dirk Jan De Geer meets Adolf Hitler seeking peace talks

In 1940, during World War II, Dutch Prime Minister Dirk Jan De Geer met with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to seek peace talks. This controversial meeting took place during the German occupation of the Netherlands and was met with mixed reactions from the Dutch population and the international community. Some saw it as an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the war, while others criticized it as appeasement. The meeting reflected the complex and difficult decisions faced by leaders during times of conflict and invasion.



Warsaw Ghetto Jews sent to Treblinka Extermination Camp

In 1942, during the Holocaust, the tragic and horrifying event occurred where approximately 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto were sent to the Treblinka Extermination Camp. This deportation and mass murder of Jews were part of the Nazi’s genocidal “Final Solution” plan, which aimed to systematically exterminate European Jews. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which had occurred earlier in 1943, was a desperate attempt by the Jews to resist the deportation to death camps and fight against the oppressors.



US forces led by General George S. Patton liberate Palermo, Sicily

In 1943, during World War II, United States forces under the command of General George S. Patton successfully liberated the city of Palermo in Sicily from German and Italian occupation. The Battle of Sicily marked a significant step in the Allies’ campaign to liberate Italy from Fascist control. The capture of Palermo demonstrated the strategic importance of the island in the Mediterranean theater and brought hope to the Italian people that liberation from Fascism was possible.



Richard Nixon becomes the first US Vice President to preside over a cabinet meeting

In 1955, Vice President Richard Nixon made history by becoming the first U.S. Vice President to preside over a cabinet meeting in President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s absence. This event showcased the evolving role of the Vice President and emphasized their importance in the functioning of the executive branch. Nixon’s subsequent political career would lead him to become the 37th President of the United States.



Edward Heath succeeds Alec Douglas-Home as leader of the British Conservative Party

In 1965, Edward Heath succeeded Alec Douglas-Home as the leader of the British Conservative Party. This leadership change marked an important moment in British politics, as Heath went on to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1970. His tenure as Prime Minister saw various challenges, including economic difficulties and the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), now the European Union.



US House of Representatives votes to restore citizenship to General Robert E. Lee

In 1975, the United States House of Representatives voted to posthumously restore the citizenship of General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate military leader during the American Civil War. This resolution aimed to reconcile the nation’s historical divisions and recognize the contributions of military leaders from both sides of the Civil War, while also acknowledging the process of national healing and unity that continued to evolve.



Launch of Apple, India’s first geostationary satellite

In 1981, India achieved a significant milestone in space technology with the successful launch of the Apple satellite. It became the country’s first geostationary satellite and was launched by the European Ariane-1 rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. The Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system played a crucial role in communication, broadcasting, meteorology, and disaster warning services, enhancing India’s capabilities in space exploration and technological advancement.



Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca sentenced to life imprisonment

In 1981, Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Rome, Italy, for his assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981. The assassination attempt shocked the world, and Pope John Paul II’s survival was considered miraculous. Agca’s motive and connections were subjects of investigation and speculation, and the incident raised concerns about security and threats against prominent global figures.



Polish Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski lifts martial law

In 1983, after 19 months of martial law, Polish Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski lifted the state of emergency in Poland. The declaration of martial law in 1981 had been a response to the growing Solidarity movement, which demanded political and economic reforms in the communist-led country. The decision to lift martial law signaled a gradual easing of government restrictions and a step towards political liberalization.



Launch of Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1C)

In 1988, India’s space program achieved another milestone with the successful launch of the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-1C). Launched from Kourou, the satellite was positioned at 93.5°E and became an integral part of the INSAT system, providing crucial services in communication, broadcasting, meteorology, and search and rescue operations. India’s space endeavors have continued to grow, making significant contributions to both national and international satellite applications.



Jeffrey Dahmer confesses to killing 17 men

In 1991, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer confessed to the murder of 17 men over several years. His horrific crimes, which included necrophilia and cannibalism, shocked the world and led to intense media scrutiny and public outcry. Dahmer’s arrest and subsequent trial brought attention to mental health issues and the need for better understanding and treatment of individuals with psychopathic tendencies.



Pablo Escobar escapes prison

In 1992, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, one of the world’s most infamous criminals, escaped from his prison in Colombia. As the head of the Medellín Cartel, Escobar had been involved in a brutal drug trade and was responsible for numerous crimes and acts of violence. His escape further demonstrated the challenges faced by law enforcement in combating drug trafficking and organized crime, both in Colombia and globally.



Pranab Mukherjee elected 13th President of India

In 2012, Pranab Mukherjee was elected as the 13th President of India, becoming the country’s head of state. Mukherjee, a veteran politician and statesman, had held various important positions in the Indian government and had been a key figure in Indian politics for several decades. As President, he played a ceremonial and constitutional role, representing the country’s unity and diversity.



US President Donald Trump threatens Iran in a tweet

In 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump used social media to deliver a highly controversial message, threatening Iran in an all-caps tweet about “consequences.” The tweet was a response to a speech by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, adding to the escalating tensions between the two nations. The incident highlighted the evolving role of social media in international diplomacy and the potential consequences of such direct and unfiltered communication from world leaders.



Chandrayaan-2 takes off, aiming for a lunar soft-landing

In 2019, India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission successfully took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, with the goal of becoming the fourth nation to achieve a soft-landing on the moon. This ambitious lunar mission showcased India’s growing capabilities in space exploration and science. Although the mission encountered some challenges, it demonstrated India’s commitment to space research and inspired the nation’s scientific community and citizens alike.



Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan meets with US President Donald Trump

In 2019, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C. The meeting aimed to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues of mutual concern. Pakistan and the United States have had a complex relationship over the years, with cooperation and disagreements on various political, security, and economic matters.



Droupadi Murmu becomes the first tribal politician elected President of India

In 2022, Droupadi Murmu made history by becoming the first tribal politician to be elected as the President of India. It marked a significant milestone in Indian politics, celebrating diversity and representation in the highest office of the country. As the head of state (without executive powers), the President plays a crucial role in upholding the Indian Constitution and promoting the values of democracy and unity.


Date Event Details
1959 The Worst Movie Ever On this date, Ed Wood’s cult classic “Plan 9 From Outer Space” premiered, cementing its position as one of the worst films ever made in the history of cinema. The science-fiction horror movie, known for its low-budget production and cheesy special effects, has gained a reputation for being unintentionally humorous due to its poor acting and nonsensical plot. Despite its critical failure, “Plan 9 From Outer Space” has developed a dedicated cult following over the years, appreciating it for its unintentional campiness and as a prime example of “so bad it’s good” filmmaking.
1994 Murder of Interest In 1994, former NFL running back, broadcaster, and actor O.J. Simpson found himself embroiled in one of the most infamous criminal cases in American history. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were brutally murdered, leading to a highly publicized and controversial trial. Simpson was charged with the double homicide, and during the trial, he pleaded “Absolutely 100% Not Guilty” of the murders. The case, often referred to as “The Trial of the Century,” captivated the nation and divided public opinion. Ultimately, Simpson was acquitted of the criminal charges, but the trial’s aftermath continued to be the subject of intense scrutiny and debate.
2019 Film & TV History In 2019, the Marvel superhero film “Avengers: Endgame” achieved a historic milestone by becoming the world’s highest-grossing film, surpassing James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, “Avengers: Endgame” marked the epic conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Infinity Saga” and brought together numerous beloved characters from previous films. The movie’s captivating storyline, impressive visual effects, and emotional depth resonated with audiences worldwide, leading to its immense box office success. With staggering global earnings of $2.9 billion, “Avengers: Endgame” solidified its place in cinematic history and demonstrated the growing influence and popularity of superhero films in the modern era.


July 22, 1934 – Louise Fletcher, an American Academy Award-winning actress, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She is best known for her iconic role as Nurse Ratched in the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Besides this, she also made notable appearances in the TV series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and other successful films during her illustrious career.


July 22, 1940 – Alex Trebek, a Canadian-American Emmy Award-winning TV game show host, was born in Sudbury, Ontario. Trebek gained international fame as the host of the long-running quiz show “Jeopardy!” from 1984 until his passing in 2020. His warm demeanor, vast knowledge, and signature phrase “What is…?” became synonymous with the show, making him an enduring television personality.


July 22, 1946 – Danny Glover, an American actor and human rights activist, was born in San Francisco, California. Glover’s career is highlighted by his portrayal of Detective Roger Murtaugh in the “Lethal Weapon” film series and his role as Albert in “The Color Purple.” Beyond acting, he has been actively involved in humanitarian causes, advocating for human rights and social justice.


July 22, 1949 – Alan Menken, a celebrated American composer, was born in New Rochelle, New York. Menken’s immense talent in composing music for Disney animated films has earned him numerous Academy Awards. His notable works include the music for films like “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” and many others, contributing to the magic of Disney’s animated classics.


July 22, 1964 – John Leguizamo, a Colombian-American actor and comedian, was born in Bogotá, Colombia. Leguizamo is renowned for his one-man stage shows, such as “Mambo Mouth” and “Freak,” where he portrays multiple characters with unmatched skill. He has also delivered memorable performances in various films, including “Whispers in the Dark” and “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.”


July 22, 1965 – Shawn Michaels, an American professional wrestler, was born in San Antonio, Texas. Michaels, often referred to as “The Heartbreak Kid,” is regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He enjoyed a highly successful career in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), winning multiple championships and accolades, including being a four-time WWF/WWE World Heavyweight Champion and a two-time Royal Rumble winner.


July 22, 1970 – Devendra Fadnavis, the 18th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India, was born. Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis is a prominent Indian politician who served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra from October 31, 2014, to November 12, 2019. He later became the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra from June 30, 2022. Throughout his political career, Fadnavis has made significant contributions to the state’s governance and development.


July 22, 1992 – Selena Gomez, an American actress and singer, was born in Grand Prairie, Texas. Gomez rose to fame as the star of the Disney Channel series “Wizards of Waverly Place.” She transitioned into a successful music career, releasing hit songs like “Wolves” and “Lose You To Love Me.” Additionally, she has actively engaged in philanthropy and advocacy, supporting causes such as mental health awareness and UNICEF initiatives.


July 22, 1802 – Marie Francois Xavier Bichat, a prominent French anatomist and physiologist known for his groundbreaking work in the tissue theory of medicine, passed away at the young age of 30. His untimely death was a result of a tragic accident; he fell downstairs at the Hotel-Dieu and subsequently developed a fever that proved fatal. Despite his short life, Bichat’s contributions to medical science were immense, as he was the first to systematically study tissues and laid the foundation for modern histology and pathology.

July 22, 1934 – John Dillinger, a notorious American bank robber, met his end at the age of 31. Dillinger’s criminal exploits and daring bank heists made him a public enemy during the Great Depression era. However, his reign of crime came to an abrupt halt when he was shot dead by federal agents outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago. The agents acted on a tip regarding Dillinger’s whereabouts, leading to a dramatic and violent confrontation. His death marked the end of an infamous era in American criminal history.

July 22, 1950 – William Lyon Mackenzie King, the 10th Prime Minister of Canada, passed away at the age of 75. King served as Prime Minister for a total of three terms, from 1921 to 1930 and again from 1935 to 1948. Known for his political astuteness and leadership during tumultuous times, King navigated Canada through significant events such as World War II and the Great Depression. His death was attributed to pneumonia, marking the end of a remarkable political career that left a lasting impact on Canada’s history and development.

July 22, 2008 – Estelle Getty, a beloved American actress famous for her role as Sophia Petrillo on the hit TV series “The Golden Girls” and its spin-off “The Golden Palace,” passed away at the age of 84. Getty’s portrayal of the sharp-witted and sassy Sophia endeared her to audiences worldwide. Her death was caused by Lewy body disease, a progressive neurological disorder that affects cognition and movement. Getty’s legacy as a talented actress and her unforgettable performance on “The Golden Girls” continue to be cherished by fans, making her a beloved icon of television history.

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