1776: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress.
1790: The Welsh surveyor George Everest, whom Mount Everest is named for, is born.
1802: The United States Military Academy opens in West Point, N.Y.
1803: The Louisiana Purchase is announced in newspapers. The property, which included all of present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska and parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Louisiana, was purchased from France for $15 million (or 3 cents an acre).
1817: Construction on the Erie Canal begins at Rome, N.Y. The canal, shown here in this 1840 map, travels about 363 miles from Albany, N.Y., on the Hudson River to Buffalo, N.Y., at Lake Erie, and was the first transportation system between the eastern seaboard and the Great Lakes that did not require portage.
1826: Thomas Jefferson (left), the third U.S. president, dies the same day as John Adams (right), the second U.S. president, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence. Jefferson, 83, died a few minutes before 1 a.m. in Charlottesville, Va., while Adams, 90, died in Quincy, Mass., a few hours later.
1826: Songwriter Stephen Foster, who wrote "Oh! Susanna", "Camptown Races" and "My Old Kentucky Home" among other songs, is born in Lawrenceville, Pa.
1831: James Monroe, who served as the fifth U.S. president from 1817 to 1825, dies from heart failure and tuberculosis at age 73 in New York City.
1845: Writer Henry David Thoreau begins his two-year experiment in simple living at Walden Pond near Concord, Mass. The experiment would result in the book "Walden," published in 1854.
1848: The cornerstone for the Washington Monument is laid in Washington, D.C. The monument is seen here under construction in 1860.
1855: The first edition of Walt Whitman's book of poems "Leaves of Grass" is published in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1862: Author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson created "Alice in Wonderland" for Alice P. Liddell. Three years later on July 4, 1865, the first edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was released under Dodgson's pseudonym Lewis Carroll.
1872: Calvin Coolidge, who served as the 30th U.S. president between 1923 and 1929, is born in Plymouth Notch, Vt.
1884: The completed Statue of Liberty is formally presented to United States Ambassador to France Levi P. Morton at a ceremony in Paris. The statue was later shipped in pieces to America for reassembly in New York City.
1888: The first professional rodeo in America is held in Prescott, Ariz. The rodeo continues to this day, billing itself as the "World's Oldest Rodeo," as seen in this 2010 photo.
1895: The song "America the Beautiful" is first published in the church periodical The Congregationalist.
1924: Actress Eva Marie Saint, known for movies such as "On the Waterfront," "North by Northwest," "Raintree County," "Exodus" and "Grand Prix," is born in Newark, N.J. Saint won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for 1954's "On the Waterfront."
1927: Playwright and screenwriter Neil Simon is born in The Bronx, N.Y. Simon is known for plays such as "Barefoot in the Park," "The Odd Couple" and "Lost in Yonkers." He's been nominated for four Academy Awards, three for adapting his plays "The Odd Couple," "The Sunshine Boys" and "California Suite," and one for his original screenplay for 1977's "The Goodbye Girl." He's also won three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize.
1929: Al Davis, the principal owner of the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders of the National Football League from 1972 to 2011, is born in Brockton, Mass. During his time as owner, the Raiders won three Super Bowl titles. Davis also coached the Raiders for three years and served as the team's general manager. He was also briefly the commissioner of the American Football League in 1966 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992.
1930: George Steinbrenner, who would go on to own the New York Yankees, is born in Rocky River, Ohio. During Steinbrenner's 37-year ownership from 1973 to his death in July 2010, the Yankees earned seven World Series titles and 11 pennants. His outspokenness and role in driving up player salaries made him one of the sport's most controversial figures.
1934: Marie Curie, the Polish-born French physicist twice awarded the Nobel Prize for her work on radioactivity, dies at age 66 in Passy, Haute-Savoie, France, due to aplastic anemia brought on by her years of exposure to radiation.
1934: Boxer Joe Louis wins his first professional fight.
1934: At Mount Rushmore, George Washington's face is dedicated.
1938: Singer-songwriter Bill Withers, known for hits such as "Lean on Me," "Ain't No Sunshine," "Use Me," "Just the Two of Us" and "Lovely Day," is born in Slab Fork, W.Va.
1939: Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, tells a crowd at Yankee Stadium on Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day that he considers himself "the luckiest man on the face of the Earth." Gehrig, who hadn't played in a game since April 30, 1939, had announced his retirement on June 21.
1959: The short-lived 49-star U.S. flag debuts, six months and one day after the admission of Alaska in January 1959. The U.S. Flag Act calls for new flag designs to become official on the July 4 following admission of one or more new states. The flag lasted one year before it was replaced by the current 50-star flag due to the admission of Hawaii as the 50th state.
1960: Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on Aug. 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia almost 10 and a half months later.
1961: Actress Lauren Bacall marries actor Jason Robards four years after the death of her first husband, Humphrey Bogart, seen here with Bacall in her film debut, 1944's "To Have and Have Not."
1964: The Beach Boys' song "I Get Around" becomes their first No. 1 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
1970: Casey Kasem hosts radio's "American Top 40" for the first time.
1971: Koko, a female gorilla that would go on to learn sign-language, is born.
1976: Elton John and Kiki Dee's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" is released. The song would become John's sixth No. 1 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, a position it held for four weeks.
1990: 2 Live Crew releases the single "Banned in the U.S.A." The song's title is a reference to the decision in a court case that its album "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" was obscene. That decision would later be overturned on appeal.
1990: "Die Hard 2" is released. The Bruce Willis-starring sequel to the 1988 original, the movie would end up making $240 million worldwide, exceeding the box office of the first film, and be followed by three more sequels.
1995: Hungarian actress Eva Gabor, best known for her role on the TV sitcom "Green Acres," dies of respiratory failure and pneumonia at age 76 in Los Angeles, Calif. Gabor, the younger sister of fellow Hungarian-American actresses and socialites Zsa Zsa Gabor and Magda Gabor, also is known for voicing characters in the Disney films "The Aristocats," "The Rescuers" and "The Rescuers Down Under."
1997: Journalist Charles Kuralt, known for his folksy "On the Road" segments for CBS News and also as the first anchor of "CBS News Sunday Morning," dies of complications from lupus at the age of 62 in New York City.
1997: NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
2003: Soul singer Barry White, known for his distinctive bass voice and romantic image on such songs as "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" and "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe," dies of renal failure at age 58 in Los Angeles, Calif.
2004: The symbolic cornerstone One World Trade Center, then known as the Freedom Tower, is laid on the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.
2005: Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram, best known for his 15-year tenure with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL and NFL, dies from complications due to diabetes at the age of 82 in Covington, La. Stram won three AFL Championships (more than any other coach in the league's history) and Super Bowl IV with the Chiefs.
2009: Former NFL quarterback Steve McNair, who spent the majority of his career with the Tennessee Titans, is fatally shot by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi, in a murder–suicide in Nashville, Tenn. McNair, who was 36 years old, led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000 and was named NFL MVP in 2003. He had retired following the 2007 after 13 NFL seasons.
2009: The Statue of Liberty's crown reopens to the public after eight years, due to security concerns following the World Trade Center attacks.
Some Santa Barbara water users are expected to pay big bills after July 1, if they don't cut back. The rate increase is expected to be approved in June and the goal is to encourage residents to save what's left of the city's supply during the serious drought.