This date in history: July 1st

This date in history: July 1st

(WTVM) - Happy First of July - It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out we're halfway through the year, although it's not actually half until noon local time. That's because July 1 is the 182nd day of 2015, which means 183 are left. This time next year it will be exactly half because of leap year.

Noted events from the date include the first day of fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Often described as the turning point of the Civil War, the Union victory ended Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's attempt to invade the North. Sadly, close to 8,000 soldiers died in the three-day battle, most of them Union forces. All of the dead would be remembered later in the year when Pres. Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address.

July 1 is also Canada Day, a national holiday for our neighbors to the north. The British North America Act took effect on July 1, 1867, creating the Canadian Confederation and the federal dominion of Canada. It's basically the country's birthday, so happy 148th Canada!

Mail delivery became a bit faster on July 1, 1963, when ZIP codes were introduced in the U.S.  ZIP stands for zone improvement plan. The postal service also introduced two-letter state abbreviations that day. It's when Alabama went from being Ala. to just Al and Georgia became Ga instead of Geo.

The third and youngest member of the "Bonanza" cast died on July 1, 1991. Michael Landon played Little Joe on the television series about a wealthy landowner and his three sons. Other generations would come to know Landon as Charles Ingalls, the patriarch from "Little House on the Prairie." Michael Landon was only 54 when he died of cancer.

Noted births include cosmetics queen Estee Lauder in 1906, actor Dan Aykroyd in 1952 and singer Missy Elliott in 1971

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