July 4 is the 185th day of the year (186th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 180 days remaining.
993 - Saint Ulrich of Augsburg canonized.
1054 - A supernova is observed by the Chinese and Amerindians near the star ζ Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day. Its remnants form the Crab Nebula.
1187 - Saladin defeats Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem, at the Battle of Hattin.
1776 - American Revolutionary War: The Continental Congress approves a Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain forming the United States of America.
1802 - At West Point, New York the United States Military Academy opens.
1803 - The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the American people.
1817 - At Rome, New York, construction on the Erie Canal begins.
1837 - Grand Junction Railway, world's first long-distance railway, opens between Birmingham and Liverpool
1845 - Near Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau embarks on a two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond (see Walden).
1855 - In Brooklyn, New York, Walt Whitman's first edition of his book of poem's titled Leaves of Grass is published.
1859 - Franco-Piedmontese War: The Battle of Magenta.
1863 - American Civil War: Battle of Vicksburg - Ulysses S. Grant and the Union army capture the Confederate city Vicksburg, Mississippi after the town surrendered. The siege lasted 47 days.
1865 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is published.
1881 - In Alabama, the Tuskegee Institute opens.
1894 - The short-lived Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed by Sanford B. Dole.
1910 - African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match sparking race riots across the United States.
1918 - Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI ascended the throne.
1934 - Boxer Joe Louis wins his first professional boxing match.
1939 - Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, tells a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself "The luckiest man on the face of the earth" as he announces his retirement from major league baseball.
1946 - After over 400 years, the Philippines achieves full independence.
1950 - first broadcast by Radio Free Europe
1959 - With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1960 - With the admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1966 - President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into United States law. The act will go into effect next year.
1976 - Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing most passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by pro-Palestinian hijackers.
1987 - In France, former Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie (aka the "Butcher of Lyon") is convicted of crimes against humanity and is sentenced to life imprisonment.
1997 - NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
2002 - A Prestige Airlines cargo Boeing 707 crashes just short of the runway in Bangui, Central African Republic killing 25
1804 - Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer (+ 1864)
1807 - Giuseppe Garibaldi, italian patriot
1826 - Stephen Foster, songwriter: "Oh! Susanna," "Camptown Races" (+ 1864)
1872 - Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States
1878 - George M. Cohan, singer, dancer, composer, actor, writer (+ 1942)
1883 - Rube Goldberg, cartoonist (+ 1970)
1902 - George Murphy, dancer, actor, Senator from California (+ 1992)
1910 - Gloria Stuart, actress
1911 - Mitch Miller, bandleader, television personality
1917 - Manolete (Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez), bullfighter (+ 1947)
1918 - Ann Landers, advice columnist (+ 2002)
1918 - Abigail Van Buren, advice columnist and twin sister to Ann Landers
1921 - Tibor Varga, violinist, conductor and pedagogue
1924 - Eva Marie Saint, actress: North by Northwest, On the Waterfront
1927 - Gina Lollobrigida, actress
1930 - George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees
1938 - Bill Withers, singer/songwriter
1943 - Geraldo Rivera, reporter, talk show host
1976 - Daijiro Kato, Japanese motorcycle racer
1187 - Raynald of Chatillon was executed by Saladin after the Battle of Hattin.
1826 - John Adams, 2nd president of the United States and Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States. In a remarkable coincidence, both of these framers of the United States Declaration of Independence died on the 50th anniversary of its adoption.
1831 - James Monroe, 5th president of the United States
1838 - Colonel José Antonio Vidaurre and his accomplices, authors of The Riot of Quillota, Chile were shot.
1891 - Hannibal Hamlin, US politician
1902 - Swami Vivekananda
1926 - Frassati Piergiorgio, Member of FUCI
1934 - Marie Sklodowska-Curie, co-discoverer of radium and polonium
1970 - Barnett Newman, artist
1971 - August Derleth, science fiction and fantasy writer and editor.
1975 - Georgette Heyer, author
1995 - Eva Gabor, actress
1997 - Charles Kuralt, television reporter
2003 - Barry White, smooth soul singer
Holidays and observances
United States - Independence Day (1776)
July 3 - July 5 - June 4 - August 4 - more historical anniversaries
See Also: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December