- 1862 – The U.S. Congress passes law that prohibits slavery.
- 1912 – The US official establishes an eight-hour work day.
- 1913 – South Africa implements the Natives Land Act. The law limited the areas of land that could be owned by black people to “native reserve” areas, which comprised less than 10 percent of the country’s total area. It was in force until Apartheid was dismantled in the 1990s.
- 1948 – The first stock car race sanctioned by NASCAR.
- 1953 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by electrocution at Sing Sing Prison in New York. They had been found guilty of providing vital information on the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union during 1944-45. They were the first U.S. civilians to be sentenced to death for espionage and were also the only married couple ever executed together in the U.S.
- 1964 – The U.S. Senate passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 18 Senators unsuccessfully launched a filibuster to prevent passage of the law against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Richard Russel stated, “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.” The bill was signed into law on July 2, 1964.
- 1978 – The comic strip Garfield begins.
- 1987 – An ETA car bomb kills 21 in Barcelona. The 1987 Hipercor bombing was one of the bloodiest attacks by Basque separatist organization, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA.
- 2002 – Steve Fossett takes off on his record-breaking balloon flight. The American adventurer lifted off from Northam in Western Australia to commence history’s first solo flight around the world in any aircraft. On July 3, after having traveled 33,195 km (20,626 mi), he touched down again in Queensland, Australia.
- 1566 – James I (King of England)
- 1623 – Blaise Pascal (Mathematician)
- 1861 – José Rizal (Filipino polymath)
- 1897 – Moe Howard (Leader of the Three Stooges)
- 1903 – Lou Gehrig (Baseball player)
- 1945 – Aung San Suu Kyi (Burmese politician, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 1947 – Salman Rushdie (Indian author)
- 1954 – Kathleen Turner (Actress)
- 1962 – Paula Abdul (Singer and singing judge)
- 1964 – Boris Johnson (British politician)
- 1978 – Dirk Nowitzki (Basketball Player)
- 1987 – Rashard Mendenhall (NFL Football player)
- 1312 – Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall (English nobleman)
- 1937 – J. M. Barrie (Scottish author, playwright)
- 1991 – Jean Arthur (American actress)
- 1993 – William Golding (English author, poet, playwright, Nobel Prize laureate)
- 2013 – James Gandolfini (American actor)