This week in history

• On July 4, 1776, more than a year after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington, Mass., the Second Continental Congress officially adopts the Declaration of Independence. Seven years later, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.

• On July 2, 1839, early in the morning, Africans on the Cuban schooner Amistad rise up against their captors, killing two crew members and seizing control of the ship, which had been transporting them to a life of slavery on a sugar plantation at Puerto Principe.

• On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reyar parades a model down a Paris runway in a daring two-piece swimsuit. Uncertain of what to name it, Reyar spontaneously dubbed it “bikini,” inspired by news-making U.S. nuclear tests off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

• On July 8, 1950, the day after the U.N. Security Council recommended that all U.N. forces in Korea be placed under the command of the U.S. military, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the hero of the Pacific War, is appointed head of the United Nations Command by President Harry Truman.

• On July 3, 1971, gamma surgery, a revolutionary bloodless method of destroying tumors and cancers, is performed in Sweden. The gamma knife, composed of 179 beams of cobalt radiation, was fired deep into the skull. The rays burned away the diseased area while the patient remained conscious.

• On July 6, 1976, in Annapolis, Md., the United States Naval Academy admits women for the first time in its history with the induction of 81 female midshipmen.

• On July 7, 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominates Sandra Day O’Connor, an Arizona court of appeals judge, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Known as a moderate conservative, O’Connor was to replace retiring justice Stewart Potter, a Dwight D. Eisenhower appointee.

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