July dates in Virginia history
July 2, 1788
The newly adopted U.S. Constitution goes into effect in Virginia. The document
is based, primarily, on the "Virginia Plan" drafted by James Madison.
July 4, 1584
Sailing under the sponsorship of Sir Walter Ralegh, Philip Armadas and
Arthur Barlowe land on the Atlantic coast in what is now North Carolina. The English name the entire
region "Virginia," in honor of Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen."
July 4, 1776
The Continental Congress formally approves the Declaration of Independence,
drafted primarily by Thomas Jefferson with revisions added by Benjamin Franklin. The document details
a philosophy of human rights and lists grievances against the royal government.
July 4, 1826
Third president of the U.S., Thomas Jefferson, dies at his home,
Monticello, fifty years to the day after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Second
president, John Adams, dies on the same day.
July 4, 1831
James Monroe, fifth U.S. president and a native of Westmoreland Co.
dies. Monroe's body will be disinterred from its resting place in New York City and relocated to
Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond in 1858.
July 4, 1989
The United Mine Workers of America hold a rally in Norton, Virginia, during the
Pittston Coal Strike. Long-time labor activist Cesar Chavez delivers a speech to a crowd of about five thousand.
July 10, 1943
Tennis champion Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr, is born in Richmond. In 1975,
Ashe will become the first African American male to win the Wimbledon singles title.
July 21, 1861
Union forces under General Irvin McDowell cross Bull Run, initiating the first
major battle of the Civil War, the battle of Manassas or (Bull Run). A costly confederate victory shatters
hopes on both sides for a quick bloodless war.
July 25, 1831
Cyrus McCormick demonstrates the world's first successful mechanical reaper on a crop of oats in Rockbridge County.
July 28, 1903
Maggie L. Walker establishes the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, becoming the
first woman in the United States to found and become president of a chartered bank. She serves as the
bank's president until 1931.
July 30, 1619
The Virginia General Assembly, the first representative legislative body
in North America, convenes at Jamestown. Hot, humid weather during the six-day session claims the
life of Walter Shelly of Smythes Hundred and causes illness among several burgesses and the governor,
Sir George Yeardley.
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