In 1789, President George Washington signed a measure establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs, forerunner of the Department of State.
In 1861, Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan took command of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.
In 1866, Cyrus W. Field finished laying out the first successful underwater telegraph cable between North America and Europe. A previous cable in 1858 burned out after only a few weeks’ use.
In 1909, during the first official test of the U.S. Army’s first airplane, Orville Wright flew himself and a passenger, Lt. Frank Lahm, above Fort Myer, Va., for one hour and 12 minutes.
In 1921, Canadian researcher Frederick Banting and his assistant, Charles Best, succeeded in isolating the hormone insulin at the University of Toronto.
In 1940, Bugs Bunny made his “official” debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon “A Wild Hare.”
In 1942, during World War II, the First Battle of El Alamein in Egypt ended in a draw as Allied forces stalled the progress of Axis invaders. The Allies went on to win a clear victory over the Axis in the Second Battle of El Alamein later that year.
In 1960, Vice President Richard M. Nixon was nominated for president on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of urban rioting, the same day black militant H. Rap Brown said in Washington that violence was “as American as cherry pie.”
In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to adopt the first of three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, charging he had personally engaged in a course of conduct designed to obstruct justice in the Watergate case.
In 1980, on day 267 of the Iranian hostage crisis, the deposed Shah of Iran died at a military hospital outside Cairo, Egypt, at age 60.
In 1996, terror struck the Atlanta Olympics as a pipe bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park, directly killing one person and injuring 111. Anti-government extremist Eric Rudolph later pleaded guilty to the bombing.
Ten years ago: Comedian Bob Hope died in Toluca Lake, Calif. at age 100. Lance Armstrong won a record-tying fifth straight title in the Tour de France. However, Amstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Five years ago: A gunman went on a rampage at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, killing two people and wounding six others. (Jim D. Adkisson later pleaded guilty to murder and attempted murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.) Two bombs targeting civilians at a packed square in Istanbul, Turkey, killed 17 people. Iran hanged 29 people convicted of murder, drug trafficking and other crimes. Carlos Sastre of Spain won the Tour de France in one of the closest finishes in the 105-year-old race.
One year ago: Britain opened its Olympic Games in a celebration of Old England and new, even cheekily featuring a stunt double for Queen Elizabeth II parachuting with James Bond into Olympic Stadium. The International AIDS Conference closed in Washington, D.C. Tony Martin, 98, the romantic singer who appeared in movie musicals from the 1930s to the 1950s, died in Los Angeles.
Today’s Birthdays: TV producer Norman Lear is 91. Actor Jerry Van Dyke is 82. Sportscaster Irv Cross is 74. Actor John Pleshette is 71. Singer Bobbie Gentry is 69. Actress-director Betty Thomas is 65. Olympic gold medal figure skater Peggy Fleming is 65. Singer Maureen McGovern is 64. Actress Janet Eilber is 62. Rock musician Tris Imboden (Chicago) is 62. Actress Roxanne Hart is 59. Country musician Duncan Cameron is 57. Comedian-actress-writer Carol Leifer is 57. Comedian Bill Engvall is 56. Jazz singer Karrin Allyson is 51. Country singer Stacy Dean Campbell is 46. Rock singer Juliana Hatfield is 46. Actor Julian McMahon is 45. Comedian Maya Rudolph is 41. Rock musician Abe Cunningham is 40. Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn is 39. MLB player Alex Rodriguez is 38. Actor Seamus Dever is 37. Actor Jonathan Rhys (rees) Meyers is 36. Actor Blair Redford is 30. Singer Cheyenne Kimball is 23.