Happy Birthday Canada, You are Turning 148 Years Old!

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

Canada Day was the day the British North America Act was signed in 1867, creating the federal dominion of Canada and the Confederation of Canada. Yet Canada’s existence is but one thread in the tapestry of history. To commemorate this day, we bring to you other interesting events that also happened on July 1st.

We begin this story far off in the East where sunglasses were being worn for the first time in 1200 CE. The lenses were made from slabs of smoked quartz attached to a rough frame that sat haphazardly on the faces of very rich Chinese courtiers.

In 1862, the U.S. Congress’ Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act outlawed polygamy for the first time. No longer were husbands allowed multiple wives—at least not officially.

That same year, Emperor Alexander II of Russia granted Jews the right to publish books. This was by far an improvement from his father Nicholas I’s rule, when he attempted to Russianize the Jews through numerous extreme methods.

July 1st, 1878 was also Louis Blériot’s birthday. The pioneering aviator became the first person to fly across the English Channel in 1908, and probably had a slightly more comfortable ride than what we get in coach today.

In 1903, the 1st Tour de France bicycle race began. This first cycling race, sponsored by the newspaper L’Auto (ancestor to the current L’ Equipe) ran until July 19th. This notorious race that continues until today began as a marketing strategy to circulate L’Auto.

In 1907, the world’s first air force was established by the US Army. This small Aeronautical Division was meant to take “charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines and all kindred subjects.” Perhaps it was a surprise when they came to use in WWI.

On July 1st, 1916, Coca-Cola brought the current coke formula to the market. The company presented the formula for the syrup of the eponymous carbonated drink as a trade secret known only to a few employees. This mass and highly successful marketing, publicity, and intellectual property strategy was brought by then Coca-Cola president Robert W. Woodruff (also an avid philanthropist).

Thirteen years later, US cartoonist Elzie Segar created “Popeye.” Popeye made his first debut in “Thimble Theatre,” an established comic strip. Soon Popeye won the hearts of many, becoming the focus of “Thimble Theatre” as well as starring in television cartoons, and arcade games. Through gaining strength by eating spinach, Popeye raised sales for the vegetable over the century.

In 1933, German Nazi regime declared that married women shouldn’t work. Nonetheless, women were often praised for “services to the state and race.” What did that mean? We leave to you to conjecture.

On July 1, 1949, Bao Dai’s Republic of Vietnam gained independence from France. France had been heavily involved with Vietnam since the 19th century with the reason of protecting the work of Catholic missionaries in the country.

Then, in 1956 on the same day of the year Elvis Presley, wearing a tuxedo—deviating from his usual style—appeared on Steve Allen Show. Allen, possessing a disliking towards rock and roll, had Presley dressing up as a hound dog performing his song of the same name. Presley referred to the performance as the most ridiculous one of his career.

This concludes only some of the exciting history of the World on July 1st. We leave this tale for you to end – what history will you be making on Canada’s Day 2015?

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