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Moments in time

 

 

• On July 21, 365 A.D., a powerful earthquake off the coast of Greece causes a tsunami that devastates the city of Alexandria, Egypt. It was not until 1995 that archaeologists discovered the ruins of the old city off the coast of present-day Alexandria.

• On July 22, 1598, William Shakespeare’s play “The Merchant of Venice” is entered on the Stationers’ Register. By decree of Queen Elizabeth, the register licensed printed works, giving the Crown tight control over all published material.

• On July 19, 1799, the Rosetta Stone is found in Egypt by a French soldier. The irregularly shaped black basalt slab contained fragments of passages written Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. It held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years.

• On July 24, 1901, William Sydney Porter, otherwise known as O. Henry, is released from prison after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank in Austin, Texas. He began writing stories to support his young daughter while he was in prison.

• On July 25, 1917, in Paris, the exotic dancer Mata Hari is sentenced to death by a French court for spying on Germany’s behalf during World War I. Since 1903, she had performed in Paris as a dancer, claiming she was an Indian priestess.

• On July 20, 1948, President Harry Truman institutes a military draft with a proclamation calling for nearly 10 million men to register for within the next two months. Truman’s action came during increasing Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union.

•On July 23, 1976, members of the American Legion who were gathered in Philadelphia begin suffering from a mysterious form of pneumonia. Within 10 days, 22 people were dead and hundreds were experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms. Their ailment would come to be known as Legionnaires disease.

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