6 Important Things That Also Happened on the 4th of July
Fireworks are sure to light up the sky on July 4 to mark American Independence Day. Worldwide, there are also other major events that are being remembered on this day. Below are six that are truly notable.
1. The last heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire died.
Otto von Habsburg, the final heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, died at the age of 98 on July 4, 2011, in Germany. He never had the chance to rule the empire but he served as a member of the European parliament for more than 20 years.
2. The first direct flight between Beijing and Taiwan took off.
There has been some serious tension between China and Taiwan since the civil war in 1949, which resulted in both countries banning flights between the two places. This ended on July 4, 2008, bringing the first mainland tourists to Taiwan.
3. The first robotic rover landed on Mars.
NASA launched Pathfinder on December 4, 1996, and it landed on Mars seven months later on July 4, 1997. This technology transmitted 2.3 billion bits of information about the red planet and returned to Earth on September 27, 1997.
4. Rwanda Liberation Day.
July 4 marks the end of the genocide against Rwanda’s Tutsi minority population. Over 800,000 deaths occurred over the course of three months and around two million Hutus fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
5. Former President Truman signed Public Law 600.
Following World War II, Puerto Rico demanded independence from the United States but it was denied. Instead, President Truman signed Public Law 600, which turned Puerto Rico into a commonwealth and gave it some rights including the ability to elect its own governor, write their own constitution, and engage in free trade with the United States.
6. The Huskar Pit Disaster happened in England.
A mining pit flooded on July 4, 1838, killing 26 children working in mines. The youngest victim is a seven-year-old boy and the oldest is a 17-year-old girl. This disaster led to the 1842 Mines and Collieries Act, which prohibited children under 10 years old and all girls from working underground.