The First Foot Guards

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This Date in History: July

Graeme Marsden's collection 
of significant dates in American and European history,
organized by Month and by Day.

Most references are from the 18th century, and there is a preference for military occurrences, especially those of The First Foot Guards.

Check out 'What happened on this day?'




1 July 1690
At the Battle of the Boyne, William III of England defeated the Jacobites under James II.

1 July 1751
The first volume of Diderot's Encyclopédie was published in Paris.

1 July 1837
Compulsory registration of Births, Marriages & Deaths in England & Wales began. For genealogists, this is a landmark date. Previously there were only Parish Registers, which dated back to 1531, although many of these records have been lost. Under the B, M & D Act, Registration Districts were formed covering several parishes. Initially they had the same boundaries as the Poor Law boundaries set up in 1834.

1 July 1838
Charles Darwin presented a paper to the Linnaean Society in London, on his theory of the evolution of species.

1 July 1863
The Battle of Gettysburg began.


2 July 1644
Oliver Cromwell defeated Prince Rupert at the Battle of Marston Moor, his first victory over the Royalists in the English Civil War.

2 July 1759
16 New Jersey soldiers were surprised while gathering firewood near Lake George by a force of close to 240 Indians, who killed and scalped half a dozen soldiers. They taunted the rest of the Army before escaping in their canoes.

2 July 1800
Parliamentary union of Great Britain and Ireland, becoming "The United Kingdom".


3 July 1608
French explorer Samuel Champlain founded Québec

3 July 1775
General George Washington took command of the army besieging Boston

3 July 1778
The Wyoming Valley Massacre PA
While Washington's army was stationed outside of New York, the frontier became the new stage for battle. One of the bloodiest was the "Wyoming Valley Massacre," where a band of Tories and Iroquois slaughtered and tortured hundreds of American settlers in western Pennsylvania.


4 July 1754
At Great Meadows, Lt. Col. George Washington attempted to secure a foothold for Virginia in western Pennsylvania, but was checked when a French force based at Fort Duquesne (modern day Pittsburgh) forced him to surrender his poorly situated Fort Necessity.

4 July 1802
The United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point NY.

4 July 1826
50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died. Each believed the other had outlived them. They had been friends, enemies then friends again before they died. Adams died in his armchair at his home - now the Adams NHS in Quincy.

4 July 1828
The Canal and the Railroad

The groundbreaking for the Chesapeake & Ohio canal took place, with President John Quincy Adams ceremonially turning the first spade full of earth. Ironically, this was also the same day as the groundbreaking for its rival, the B&O Railroad.

From the very beginning, problems slowed down the canal project, and the company had to compete with the B&O Railroad for property rights. By the time the canal was opened the B&O Railroad was already well established, and the Canal Company dropped its plans to continue another 180 miles westward to Pittsburgh.

The C&O Canal operated for 74 years with peak use in the 1870s of about 750 canal boats hauling 663,500 tons of freight: mostly coal, flour, iron, and limestone. Today the ribbon site is the C&O National Historic Park.

4 July 1829
Britain's first regular scheduled bus service began running, between Marylebone Road and the Bank of England, in London. It was called The Omnibus (Latin for 'For All'), which was popularly shortened to 'the bus'.

4 July 1831
'America' (My country, 'tis of thee), written by Samuel Francis Smith, was first sung in public at Park Street Church in Boston.


5 July 1777
The Continentals evacuated Fort Ticonderoga. They were to retake it later.

5 July 1865
William Booth founded the Salvation Army in London.


6 July 1535
Sir Thomas More was beheaded on London's Tower Hill for treason.

"I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and for coming down let me shift for myself." [Thomas More ascends the steps to the scaffold]

6 July 1553
Mary I acceded to the throne, becoming the first queen to rule England in her own right.

6 July 1685
James II defeated the Duke of Monmouth, claimant to the throne, at the Battle of Sedgemoor, the last battle to be fought on English soil.

6 July 1777
British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga.

6 July 1809
Pope Pius VII, having excommunicated Napoleon, was taken prisoner by the French.


7 July 1853
US naval officer Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Japan, and persuaded her to open trade contacts with the West

7 July 1777
The Battle of Hubbardton VT

A relatively small battle erupted in Hubbardton after the Americans lost Fort Ticonderoga to Burgoyne's attack. The Americans retreated into Vermont, but were caught by the British General Fraser. This loss, coupled with the loss of Ticonderoga, dealt a crippling blow to the American cause in the North.


8 July 1497
Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama left Lisbon for a voyage on which he discovered the Cape route to India.

8 July 1663
King Charles II of England granted a charter to Rhode Island.

8 July 1709
Charles XII of Sweden was defeated by Peter the Great's army at the Battle of Poltava, crushing Sweden's territorial ambitions.

8 July 1853
The opening up of Japan. An expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.

8 July 1758
Troops from Halifax NS led by James Abercromby, outnumbered French defenders under Montcalm at Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) by 5 to 1, but were driven off.


9 July 1540
England's King Henry VIII had his six-month-old marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled.

9 July 1755
During the summer of 1755, a British expeditionary force commanded by General Braddock set out to seize Fort Duquesne. Braddock’s army, advancing north along the Monongahela River, was ambushed and routed, and its commanding officer mortally wounded. A disaster for Braddock’s combined colonial and royal army, the defeat also allowed the French and their Delaware and Shawnee allies to use Fort Duquesne as a base from which to raid with impunity the British settlements recently established on the western margin of the Susquehanna River.

9 July 1810
Napoleon annexed Holland, making his brother, Louis, its king.


10 July 1460
In England's Wars of the Roses, the Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians and captured Henry VI at the Battle of Northampton.

10 July 1553
Following the death of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey was proclaimed queen of England.

10 July 1900
The Paris underground railway, the Metro, was opened.


11 July 1533
Pope Clement VII excommunicated England's King Henry VIII.

The incident originated in Henry's decision to divorce Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. The Pope refused to annul the marriage because he was beholden to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and nephew of Catherine.

11 July 1708
The Duke of Marlborough's forces defeated the French at the Battle of Oudenarde, in the War of the Spanish Succession.

War against France 1702-1713
Battle of Oudenarde
In memory of the officers who died in battle:
Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Mathews, First Foot Guards
Ensign John Deane, First Foot Guards

11 July 1767
John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, was born in Braintree MA. The son of John Adams, JQ followed his father on his travels abroad, learning the essentials of diplomacy from an early age.

11 July 1776
Captain Cook sailed from Plymouth in the Resolution, accompanied by the Discovery, on his last expedition.

11 July 1780
French troops arrived at Newport RI.

11 July 1782
Savannah was evacuated by British troops.

11 July 1804
At dawn, political antagonists and personal enemies Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the heights of Weehawken NJ, overlooking New York City across the Hudson River, to settle their longstanding differences in a duel. The participants fired their pistols in close succession. Burr's shot met its target immediately, fatally wounding Hamilton and leading to his death the following day. Burr escaped physically unharmed, but politically ruined. This tragically extreme incident reflected the depth of animosity aroused by the emergence of the political party system.


12 July 1543
England's Henry VIII married Catherine Parr, his sixth and last wife, at Hampton Court Palace.

12 July 1690
Victory of Protestant William III of England over Catholic James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. This battle is celebrated annually by the Orangemen in Northern Ireland, and the parade is regularly the cause of much strife.

12 July 1794
British admiral Horatio Nelson lost his right eye at the siege of Calvi, in Corsica.

12 July 1812
US forces led by General William Hull entered Canada during the War of 1812 against Britain. (However, Hull retreated shortly thereafter to Detroit, and then lost that fort).


13 July 1558
Led by the Count of Egmont, the Spanish army defeated the French at Gravelines, France.

13 July 1585
A group of 108 English colonists, led by Sir Richard Grenville, reached Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

13 July 1643
In England, the Roundheads, led by Sir William Waller, were defeated by Royalist troops under Lord Wilmot in the Battle of Roundway Down.

13 July 1754
George Washington surrendered his hastily-constructed Fort Necessity to the French, leaving them in control of the Ohio Valley

13 July 1793
Charlotte Corday, a young French aristocrat who supported the new republic, killed revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat in his bathtub. She favored the more moderate Girondins over the more radical Jacobins like Marat and Robespierre. Corday saw Marat as the cause of the excesses of the revolution. Corday was guillotined four days after murdering Marat.

13 July 1802
'Hot Wednesday'. London's temperature soared to 101°F in the shade!

13 July 1863
Deadly rioting against the Civil War military draft erupted in New York City.

13 July 1917
Due to the onset of WWI against Kaiser Wilhelm, the British royal family adopted the name "Windsor." It was not the only change: the royal Battenberg family became Mountbatten; German Shepherd dogs were renamed Alsatians.


14 July 1789

The Bastille was stormed by the citizens of Paris and razed to the ground as the French Revolution began.
'Le quatorze juillet".

The diary of Louis XVI for 14 July 1789 contained just one word "Rien'… "nothing happened".

14 July 1823
During a visit to Britain, King Kamehameha II of Hawaii and his queen died of measles.

14 July 1867
Alfred Nobel demonstrated dynamite for the first time at a quarry in Redhill, Surrey.


15 July
St Swithun's Day in Britain

British tradition holds that a rainy St Swithun's Day will bring a rainy week. In America this tradition has been replaced by Groundhog Day.

15 July 1099
Jerusalem was captured by the Crusaders with troops led by Godfrey and Robert of Flanders and Tancred of Normandy.

15 July 1779
The Battle of Stony Point NY
In retaliation for the massacres of the previous year, the Americans stormed the British-held fort at Stony Point. They captured the fort, forcing Clinton to abandon his hopes of another New Jersey invasion. From here on in, the British focused their efforts largely on the south.

15 July 1795
The 'Marseillaise', written by Rouget de Lisle in 1792, was officially adopted as the French national anthem.

15 July 1857
During the Indian Mutiny, the second Massacre of Cawnpore (now Kanpur) took place, in which 197 English women and children were killed.


16 July 1769
The Mission San Diego de Alcala was founded, the first of California's 21 missions. Established by Father
Junípero Serra, one of the main objectives of the mission was to Christianize the local Yuma Indians. Today the city is known as San Diego.

16 July 1661
Europe's first banknotes were issued, by the Bank of Stockholm.

16 July 1918
The last tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, along with his entire family, family doctor, servants, and even the pet dog, was murdered by Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg.



17 July 1453
With the defeat of the English at the Battle of Castillon, the Hundred Years' War between France and England came to an end.


18 July 1936
The Spanish Civil War started.


19 July 1693
War against France 1689-1697 
Battle of Landen
In memory of the officers who died in battle:
Lieutenant Colonel George Wingfield, First Foot Guards
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cludde, First Foot Guards
Captain Fausset, First Foot Guards
Captain John Forster, First Foot Guards
Ensign Samuel Swannick, First Foot Guards
Ensign Carre, First Foot Guards

19 July 1545
The Mary Rose, the pride of Henry VIII of England's battle fleet, keeled over and sank in the Solent (approach to Portsmouth) with the loss of 700 lives. (The ship was raised 11 Oct 1982 to be taken to Portsmouth Dockyard.)

19 July 1793
Scots-born Canadian Alexander Mackenzie (1763-1820) was the first explorer to find his way across the North American continent (excluding Mexico). On 19th July he reached the West Coast, having crossed the divide. The expedition was 13 years before Lewis and Clark: an expedition that was backed by President Jefferson in light of the Mackenzie trek. In a previous 1789 expedition Mackenzie followed the Mackenzie River to the Arctic. Mackenzie was knighted in 1802 by King George III for his distinguished services to Great Britain.

19 July 1799
The Rosetta Stone was discovered near the Nile River. Made out of black basalt, the odd-shaped stone was the key to the decipherment of hieroglyphics, since the same text is written in three languages. Today the stone is one of the most-visited artifacts in the British Museum in London.

19 July 1837
Brunel's 70 m/236 ft steamship, the Great Western, was launched at Bristol.


20 July 1588
The Spanish Armada set sail from Corunna on its ill-fated invasion of England. (La Coruna was later the scene of the Battle of Corunna in which the First Foot played a part, and in which General Sir John Moore was killed.)

20 July 1715
"Read 'em The Riot Act". This law went into effect in England and its colonies.

20 July 1773
Pope Clement XIV issued a Papal bull dissolving the Jesuit Order. Clement maintained that the suppression was necessary to maintain peace and tranquility within the Church, but history indicates that the Pope yielded to pressures from the courts of France, Spain, Portugal, and Naples, which resented the large economic and social power enjoyed by the Jesuit Order. The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540. The Jesuits were a learned group of monks who disseminated much scholarly information, although they also suppressed some learning.

20 July 1837
Euston, London's first railway station opened, bringing trains from the north of England into a terminus that was just a short Hansom cab ride to the City, or to Westminster. Regrettably, its fine Georgian portico was demolished in the 1960s. It formed a fine architectural segue to the nearby fashionable Georgian residences that had been spreading gradually northwards. Today it is adjacent to two other rail termini: St Pancras, and King's Cross, each built as a result of railway companies' different approaches from the north, to London. St Pancras is a huge gothic edifice, King's Cross is where Harry Potter embarked (at Platform 10 1/2, of course!)

21 July 1798
The Battle of the Pyramids took place, in which Napoleon, soon after his invasion of Egypt, defeated an army of some 60,000 Mamelukes. Napoleon's invasion was in the start of Europe's fascination with Egyptian art and culture, and influenced the French Empire and English Regency design styles.

21 July 1831
Belgium became independent as Leopold the First was proclaimed King of the Belgians.


22 July 1298
The aging English King Edward I and Scottish army under William Wallace met at the Battle of Falkirk. The backbone of Wallace's forces was his infantry, drawn up in four phalanx-style formations called schiltrons. Bristling with spears, the schiltrons seemed invulnerable to the kind of cavalry charge favored by medieval knights. But Edward had a surprise waiting in the wings: swarms of Welsh archers, who came forward in large numbers to discharge their deadly shafts. The schiltrons were quickly reduced to heaps of dead and wounded men, and the remaining Scottish infantry became easy prey for Edward's cavalry. At Falkirk, Edward Longshanks acquired a new nickname: Scottorum malleus (Hammer of the Scots). The battle validated his reputation as a general and showcased his tactical skills. His adoption of the Welsh longbow foreshadowed the English triumphs at Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt.

22 July 1812
The Duke of Wellington defeated the French in the Battle of Salamanca, in Spain.


23 July 1540
Thomas Cromwell was beheaded on Tower Hill in England.

23 July 1627
Sir George Calvert arrived in Newfoundland to develop his land grant. His family coat of arms now forms the state flag of Maryland and is the most easily distinguished flag of all the US States.
Interestingly, the Baltimore oriole is named for the prominent colors in the Calvert coat of arms: yellow and black.

23 July 1637
King Charles I handed over the American colony of Massachusetts to Sir Fernando Gorges, one of the founders of the Council of New England.

23 July 1664
Wealthy non-church members in Massachusetts were given the right to vote. Previously only wealthy church members had the franchise.

23 July 1803
Irish nationalists throughout the country rebelled against Union with Great Britain.



24 July 1588
"I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and of a King of England too."
Elizabeth I speaking at Tilbury as the Spanish Armada approached.

24 July 1683
The first large group of German settlers headed to the New World from Gravesend, England, aboard the ship Concord. The immigrants were all from Krefeld, a region in the lower Rhineland Valley. Being Quakers and Mennonites, the families sought refuge from religious persecution. Aboard the ship was Francis Daniel Pastorius, the future founder of Germantown, Pennsylvania.

24 July 1701
Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac founded a French settlement between Lakes St. Clair and Erie. Located beside some straits, Cadillac appropriately named the settlement Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit, since "detroit" is French for
straits. Today the city is known as Detroit (or "Motown"), and one of its progeny is the Cadillac motorcar. Six decades after its founding, the French lost control of the fort to the Crown Forces.

24 July 1534 
Jacques Cartier landed at Gaspé peninsula in Canada and claimed the territory for France.

24 July 1704
Admiral Sir George Rooke captured Gibraltar from the Spaniards.

24 July 1851
The window tax in Britain was abolished



25 July 1581
A confederation of the northern provinces of the Netherlands proclaimed their independence from Spain.

25 July 1759
The French, under François Pouchot, surrendered Fort Niagara to British and colonial forces.

25 July 1793
War against France 1793-1802
Assault of Valenciennes
In memory of the officer who died in battle:
Ensign Lyonel Robert Tollemache, First Foot Guards


25 July 1909
Bleriot flew across the English Channel (36 minutes, Calais to Dover).


26 July 1745
The first recorded women's cricket match was played near Guildford, Surrey, between teams from Hambledon and Bramley.

26 July 1758
British forces captured France's Fortress of Louisbourg after a seven-week siege. This is the second time it has been captured. The first siege was in 1745 by a group of Massachusetts irregulars under William Pepperrell (the Massachusetts town was named for him, and Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill was named for this triumph). The fortress was returned to the French as part of the Treaty of Utrecht which closed the F&I. The fact that Louisbourg was returned was a sore point with Massachusetts men for many years later.

26 July 1759
The French relinquished Fort Ticonderoga to the British under General Jeffrey Amherst.

26 July 1775
The Continental Congress established a postal system for the colonies with Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General.

26 July 1790
An attempt at a counter-revolution in France was put down by the National Guard at Lyons.

26 July 1794
The French defeated an Austrian army at the Battle of Fleurus, France.

26 July 1803
The Surrey Iron Railway (incorporated 1801) was opened on this day. It was probably Britain's first railway. It was built from Wandsworth (on the Thames, upstream from London) to Croydon by William Jessop, with a double track, 8.5 miles long with a 1.5 mile branch, and cost about £7000 to build.

The Railway was owned by shareholders - mainly the factory, mill and quarry owners who used the service. Goods only were carried, usually on three or four wagons pulled by horses, mules and donkeys up to four miles per hour. Goods transported included limestone, chalk, clay, flints, fuller's earth, manure, cinders, bricks, coal, timber, metals, corn, flour, malt and potatoes. Tolls were charged per ton per mile, depending on what was being carried, and ranged from 1d (less than 0.5p) for dung to 3d (1.25p) for metals and food.

With the advent of steam trains, the old horse-drawn lines were unable to compete, and the SIR closed by 1846. William Jessop's skill as an engineer was acknowledged when new tracks for the new steam trains were laid along much of the SIR route and are still used today.


27 July 1586
Sir Walter Raleigh returned to England from Virginia.

27 July 1663
British Parliament passed a second Navigation Act, requiring all goods bound for the colonies be sent in British ships from British ports.

27 July 1689
Government forces defeated the Scots Jacobites at the Battle of Killiecrankie.

27 July 1777
The Marquis of Lafayette arrived in New England to help fight the British.

27 July 1540
Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's principal advisor, was beheaded in London. Cromwell was the chief architect of the Protestant Reformation in England. He arranged Henry's marriage to Anne of Cleves as a way of building an alliance with North German princes against the Holy Roman Empire. When the alliance failed, Henry allowed Cromwell to be accused of treason and heresy.

27 July 1694
The Bank of England was chartered by the Parliament at the behest of a group of private merchants who wanted to raise funds for the Crown to wage war in the Low Countries. It soon became the largest and most prestigious financial institution in the United Kingdom. In 1946 the Bank was nationalized. The building on in the City of London is still referred to as 'The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street'.

27 July 1778
British and French fleets fought to a standoff in the first Battle of Ushant, off the coast of Brittany.

27 July 1793
Maximilien Robespierre became a member of the Committee of Public Safety, and on the same date in 1794 he was arrested, tried and executed the next day. 'Hoist with his own petard'.



28 July 1786
The first potato arrived in Britain, brought from Colombia by Thomas Harriot.

28 July 1794
Maximilien Robespierre and 19 other French Revolutionaries went to the guillotine.

28 July 1540
King Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed. This was the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Katherine Howard.


29 July 1030
The patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II, was killed in battle.

29 July 1588
The Spanish Armada was defeated by the English fleet under Howard and Drake, off Plymouth.

"Flavit deus et dissipati sunt."
'God breathed and they were scattered.' The inscription on the medallions minted to commemorate the occasion.

29 July 1900
King Umberto I of Italy was assassinated by an anarchist and succeeded by his son Victor Emmanuel III.


30 July 1619
The House of Burgesses convened for the first time at Jamestown, VA

30 July 1729
The city of Baltimore was founded.

30 July 1619
A representative colonial assembly - the first in America - was held at Jamestown, Virginia, under the new governor of the colony, Sir George Yeardley.

30 July 1792
The French national anthem La Marseillaise by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, was first sung in Paris. Throughout its history, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to change its bloody and bellicose words. The Napoleonic royalty certainly did not approve. The best national anthems - those that are not written for a committee - mostly have the same problem. This is true of Rule Britannia, which is (deliberately) insulting to foreigners.

30 July 1793
Toronto (known as York until 1834) was founded by General John Simcoe.

30 July 1799
The French garrison at Mantua, Italy, surrendered to the Austrians.


31 July 1498
During his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus arrived at the island of Trinidad.

31 July 1556
St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuit order of Catholic priests and brothers - died in Rome.

31 July 1703
English novelist Daniel Defoe was made to stand in the pillory as punishment for offending the government and church with his satire The Shortest Way With Dissenters.

31 July 1760
Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, drove the French army back to the Rhine River.

31 July 1790
The US Patent Office opened, and granted its first patent: for making the vitally important chemical, potash, which could only be made economically in the New England states.

31 July 1777
The Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.


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