July 26 is the 207th day of the year (208th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 158 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country
920 – Rout of an alliance of Christian troops from Navarre and Léon against the Muslims at Pamplona.
1309 – Henry VII is recognized King of the Romans by Pope Clement V.
1469 – Wars of the Roses: the Battle of Edgecote Moor pitting the forces of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick against those of Edward IV of England takes place.
1581 – Plakkaat van Verlatinghe (Act of Abjuration): the northern Low Countries declare their independence from the Spanish king, Philip II.
1745 – The first recorded women’s cricket match takes place near Guildford, England.
1758 – French and Indian War: the Siege of Louisbourg ends with British forces defeating the French and taking control of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
1775 – The office that would later become the United States Post Office Department is established by the Second Continental Congress.
1788 – New York ratifies the United States Constitution and becomes the 11th state of the United States.
1803 – The Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opens in south London.
1822 – José de San Martin arrives in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to meet with Simon Bolivar.
1822 – First day of the three-day Battle of Dervenakia, between the Ottoman Empire force led by Mahmud Dramali Pasha and the Greek Revolutionary force led by Theodoros Kolokotronis.
1847 – Liberia declares independence.
1861 – American Civil War: George B. McClellan assumes command of the Army of the Potomac following a disastrous Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run.
1863 – American Civil War: Morgan’s Raid ends – At Salineville, Ohio, Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his volunteers are captured by Union forces.
1878 – In California, the poet and American West outlaw calling himself “Black Bart” makes his last clean getaway when he steals a safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. The empty box will be found later with a taunting poem inside.
1882 – Premiere of Richard Wagner’s opera Parsifal at Bayreuth.
1882 – The Republic of Stellaland is founded in Southern Africa.
1887 – Publication of the Unua Libro, founding the Esperanto movement.
1890 – In Buenos Aires the Revolucion del Parque takes place, forcing President Juarez Celman’s resignation.
1891 – France annexes Tahiti.
1908 – United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).
1914 – Serbia and Bulgaria interrupt diplomatic relationship.
1936 – The Axis Powers decide to intervene in the Spanish Civil War.
1936 – King Edward VIII, in one of his few official duties before he abdicates the throne, officially unveils the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.
1937 – End of the Battle of Brunete in the Spanish Civil War.
1941 – World War II: in response to the Japanese occupation of French Indo-China, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.
1944 – World War II: the Soviet army enters Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine, liberating it from the Nazis. Only 300 Jews survive out of 160,000 living in Lviv prior to occupation.
1944 – The first German V-2 rocket hits Great Britain.
1945 – The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.
1945 – The Potsdam Declaration is signed in Potsdam, Germany.
1945 – The US Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis arrives at Tinian with parts of the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
1946 – Aloha Airlines begins service from Honolulu International Airport
1947 – Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947 into United States law creating the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.
1948 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs Executive Order 9981 desegregating the military of the United States.
1951 – Walt Disney’s 13th animated film, Alice in Wonderland, premieres in London, United Kingdom.
1952 – King Farouk of Egypt abdicates in favor of his son Fuad.
1953 – Fidel Castro leads an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution.
1953 – Arizona Governor John Howard Pyle orders an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on residents of Short Creek, Arizona, which becomes known as the Short Creek Raid.
1956 – Following the World Bank’s refusal to fund building the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal sparking international condemnation.
1957 – Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, is assassinated.
1958 – Explorer program: Explorer 4 is launched.
1963 – Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, is launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.
1963 – An earthquake in Skopje, Yugoslavia (now in the Republic of Macedonia) leaves 1,100 dead.
1963 – The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development votes to admit Japan.
1965 – Full independence is granted to the Maldives.
1968 – Vietnam War: South Vietnamese opposition leader Truong DInh Dzu is sentenced to five years hard labor for advocating the formation of a coalition government as a way to move toward an end to the war.
1971 – Apollo Program: launch of Apollo 15 on the first Apollo “J-Mission”, and first use of a Lunar Roving Vehicle.
1974 – Greek Prime Minister Constantinos Karamanlis forms the country’s first civil government after seven years of military rule.
1977 – The National Assembly of Quebec imposes the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.
1989 – A federal grand jury indicts Cornell University student Robert T. Morris, Jr. for releasing the Morris worm, thus becoming the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
1990 – The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is signed into law by President George H. W. Bush.
2005 – Space Shuttle program: STS-114 Mission – Launch of Discovery, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.
2005 – Mumbai, India receives 99.5cm of rain (39.17 inches) within 24 hours, bringing the city to a halt for over 2 days.
2007 – Shambo, a black cow in Wales that had been adopted by the local Hindu community, is slaughtered due to a bovine tuberculosis infection, causing widespread controversy.
2008 – 56 people are killed and over 200 people are injured in 21 bomb blasts in Ahmedabad bombing in India.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Anne (Western Christianity)
* Bartolomea Capitanio
* Blessed Andrew of Phu Yen
* Joachim (Anglican Communion)
* Paraskevi of Rome (Eastern Orthodox Church)
* July 26 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Day of the National Rebellion (Cuba)
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Liberia from the United States in 1847.
* Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Maldives from the United Kingdom in 1965.
* Kargil Victory Day or Kargil Vijay Diwas (India)