• On July 22, 1598, William Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice” is entered on the Stationers’ Register. By decree of Queen Elizabeth, the Stationers’ Register licensed printed works, giving the Crown tight control over all published material.
• On July 19, 1799, during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign, a French soldier discovers a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the town of Rosetta, about 35 miles north of Alexandria. Called the Rosetta Stone, the artifact held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years.
• On July 18, 1925, Volume One of Adolf Hitler’s philosophical autobiography, “Mein Kampf,” is published. It was a blueprint of his agenda for a Third Reich and a clear exposition of the nightmare that will envelope Europe from 1939 to 1945.
• On July 16, 1935, the world’s first parking meter, known as Park-O-Meter No. 1, is installed on the southeast corner of what was then First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Okla. Parking cost a nickel an hour. By the early 1940s, there were more than 140,000 parking meters operating in the United States.
• On July 17, 1955, Disneyland — Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy and futurism — opens. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, Calif. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.
• On July 20, 1969, at 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
(c) 2012 King Features Syndicate, Inc.