• On July 26, 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin set up more efficient colonial routes and standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight.
• On July 22, 1933, American Wiley Post returns to Floyd Bennett Field in New York, becoming the first aviator to fly solo around the world. Piloting a Lockheed Vega monoplane named the Winnie May, he circled the globe in 7 days, 18 hours and 49 minutes.
• On July 27, 1949, the world’s first jet-propelled airliner, the British De Havilland Comet, makes its maiden test-flight in England. The jet engine would revolutionize the airline industry, shrinking air travel time in half.
• On July 24, 1959, during the grand opening ceremony of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev engage in a heated debate in a model kitchen set up for the fair. The “kitchen debate” became one of the most famous episodes of the Cold War.
• On July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival, performing a rock-and-roll set publicly for the first time. The dismayed audience shouted and booed when he launched into an electrified version of “Maggie’s Farm.”
• On July 28, 1976, a nighttime earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale flattens Tangshan, a Chinese industrial city with a population of 1 million. The 23-second temblor leveled 90 percent of Tangshan’s buildings, killing an estimated 242,000 people in the city and surrounding areas.
• On July 23, 1996, at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the U.S. women’s gymnastics team wins its first-ever team gold. The American women’s best finish to that point had been a silver at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
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