Today in History

Today is Sunday, July 26, the 207th day of 2015. There are 158 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On July 26, 1945, President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek issued the Potsdam Declaration, which called upon Imperial Japan to unconditionally surrender, or face “prompt amd utter destruction.” The same day, Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister after his Conservatives were soundly defeated by the Labour Party; Clement Attlee succeeded him.

On this date:

In 1775, Benjamin Franklin became America’s first Postmaster-General.

In 1788, New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1882, the Richard Wagner opera “Parsifal” premiered in Bayreuth, Germany.

In 1908, U.S. Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte ordered creation of a force of special agents that was a forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In 1925, five days after the end of the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, prosecutor William Jennings Bryan died at age 65. (Although Bryan had won a conviction against John T. Scopes for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, the verdict was later overturned.)

In 1952, Argentina’s first lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires at age 33. King Farouk I of Egypt abdicated in the wake of a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria sank off New England, some 11 hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; at least 51 people died. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

In 1965, the Maldives became independent of Britain.

In 1971, Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy on America’s fourth successful manned mission to the moon.

In 1989, Mark Wellman, a 29-year-old paraplegic, reached the summit of El Capitan in Yosemite (yoh-SEHM’-uh-tee) National Park after hauling himself up the granite cliff six inches at a time over nine days.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In 1995, businessman, former Michigan governor and U.S. housing secretary George W. Romney died at age 88.

Ten years ago: America’s manned space program roared back to life with the launch of Discovery, 2 1/2 years after the Columbia disaster. Six nations resumed nuclear disarmament talks that North Korea had boycotted for 13 months, but little progress was made. Cubs pitcher Greg Maddux recorded his 3,000th career strikeout against San Francisco in the third inning of a 3-2, 11-inning victory for the Giants.

Five years ago: A U.N.-backed tribunal sentenced the Khmer Rouge’s chief jailer, Kaing Guek Eav, to 35 years for overseeing the deaths of up to 16,000 people in Cambodia, with 16 years shaved off for time already served, reducing his sentence to 19 years. A Spanish man who’d undergone the world’s first full face transplant appeared before TV cameras; the 31-year-old, identified only as “Oscar,” thanked his doctors and the family of the donor. Matt Garza pitched the first no-hitter in Tampa Bay Rays history, beating the Detroit Tigers 5-0.

One year ago: Hamas resumed rocket fire on Israel after rejecting its offer to extend a humanitarian cease-fire, the latest setback in international efforts to negotiate an end to the Gaza war. The United States shuttered its embassy in Libya and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort as fighting intensified between rival militias. Dr. Samuel Brisbane, one of Liberia’s most high-profile doctors, died of Ebola; an American physician in Liberia, Dr. Kent Brantly, was reported to have caught the disease, but recovered.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Marjorie Lord is 97. Actor Robert Colbert is 84. Actress-singer Darlene Love is 74. Singer Brenton Wood is 74. Rock star Mick Jagger is 72. Movie director Peter Hyams is 72. Actress Helen Mirren is 70. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Queen) is 66. Actress Susan George is 65. Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill is 59. Actor Kevin Spacey is 56. Rock singer Gary Cherone (sher-OWN’) is 54. Actress Sandra Bullock is 51. Actor-comedian Danny Woodburn is 51. Rock singer Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) is 50. Actor Jeremy Piven is 50. Rapper-reggae singer Wayne Wonder is 49. Actor Jason Statham (STAY’-thum) is 48. Actor Cress Williams is 45. TV host Chris Harrison (“The Bachelor”; “The Bachelorette”) is 44. Actress Kate Beckinsale is 42. Actor Gary Owen is 42. Rock musician Dan Konopka (OK Go) is 41. Gospel/Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 38. Actress Monica Raymund is 29. Actress Caitlin Gerard is 27. Actress Francia Raisa is 27. Christian rock musician Jamie Sharpe (Rush of Fools) is 26. Actress Bianca Santos is 25. Actress-singer Taylor Momsen is 22.

Thought for Today: “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” — Aldous Huxley, English author (born this date in 1894, died in 1963).

By The Associated Press