First Posted: 7/10/2014
The History Channel
* On Aug. 1, 1498, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sets foot on the American mainland for the first time, in present-day Venezuela. Thinking it was an island, he christened it Isla Santa and claimed it for Spain. Columbus, a deeply religious man, decided that Venezuela was the outer regions of the Garden of Eden.
* On July 29, 1862, Confederate spy Marie Isabella “Belle” Boyd is arrested by Union troops and detained for providing crucial information to the Confederates during the war. It was the first of three arrests. Boyd was just 18 years old.
* On Aug. 2, 1876, “Wild Bill” Hickok, one of the greatest gunfighters of the American West, is murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota. Hickok was playing cards with his back to the saloon door when a young gunslinger named Jack McCall shot him in the back of the head.
* On July 31, 1937, Charles Martine, an Apache scout who played an important role in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886, dies on the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico. After being found, Geronimo agreed to a meeting with Gen. Nelson Miles, during which he gave his unconditional surrender. Martine and Geronimo were exiled, and Martine never did receive his promised reward.
* On July 28, 1945, a United States military plane crashes into the Empire State Building, killing 14 people. Upon impact, the plane’s jet fuel exploded. One engine from the plane went straight through the building and landed in a penthouse apartment across the street.
* On July 30, 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase “under God” inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto and be printed on all U.S. paper currency.
* On Aug. 3, 1965, CBS-TV news shows pictures of men from the First Battalion, Ninth Marines setting fire to huts in the village of Cam Na, Vietnam, despite reports that the Viet Cong had already fled the area. The film report sparked indignation and condemnation of the U.S. policy.