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The History Channel


* On July 15, 1888, the Bandai volcano erupts on the Japanese island of Honshu, killing hundreds and burying many nearby villages in ash. The eruption left an 8,000-foot crater in the earth. In the aftermath, the ash from Bandai dimmed the sun slightly worldwide for months.


* On July 21, 1899, Ernest Miller Hemingway, author of such novels as “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea,” is born in Oak Park, Ill. The influential American literary icon became known for his straightforward prose and use of understatement.


* On July 17, 1920, Nils Bohlin, the Swedish engineer and inventor responsible for the three-point lap-and-shoulder seatbelt, is born. Before 1959, only two-point lap belts were available in automobiles, and for the most part, the only people who regularly buckled up were race-car drivers.


* On July 16, 1945, the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, N.M. The destructive power was the equivalent of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The original $6,000 budget for the Manhattan Project ballooned to a total cost of $2 billion.


* On July 19, 1956, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announces that the United States is withdrawing its offer of financial aid to Egypt to help with the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River. The Soviet Union rushed to Egypt’s aid, and the Aswan Dam officially opened in 1964.


* On July 18, 1969, shortly after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy of Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond. Kennedy escaped the submerged car, but his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, did not. The senator did not report the fatal car accident for 10 hours.


* On July 20, 1973, the actor and martial-arts expert Bruce Lee dies in Los Angeles at age 32 from a brain edema possibly caused by a reaction to a prescription painkiller. His film, “Enter the Dragon,” was released in the United States one month after his death.

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