Today in History, July 1

AAP and agencies
1983 - The High Court rules against building the Gordon-below-Franklin dam in Tasmania


1847 - The US Post Office issues the first adhesive-backed stamps.

1867 - The provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario become the Dominion of Canada.

1910 - South Africa becomes a dominion of the British Empire after the British defeat the Dutch settlers in the Boer War (1899-1902).

1916 - The British army attacks German lines at the start the First Battle of the Somme during World War I, sustaining their heaviest casualties in one day: 20,000 dead.

1921 - Revolutionaries Mao Zedong and Chen Duxiu, who turned to Marxism after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution victory in Russia, secretly meet in Shanghai and establish the Communist Party of China.

1926 - The British and Portuguese agree on a boundary between what is now Angola and Namibia.

1961 - Algerians vote overwhelmingly for independence from France.

1962 - Rwanda and Burundi gain their independence from Belgium.

1967 - China's Communist Party proclaims the overthrow of President Liu Shaoqi.

1968 - Britain, the Soviet Union, the US and 58 non-nuclear nations sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

1969 - Denmark becomes the first country to allow the sale and production of pornography.

1974 - Australia's road signs switch from imperial to metric. Argentina's President Juan Peron dies during his third term in office.

1983 - Australia's High Court rules against the building of the controversial Gordon-below-Franklin dam in Tasmania.

1990 - East and West Germany's economies and social welfare systems are officially merged.

1991 - After the democratic revolutions of 1989 in eastern Europe, the Warsaw Pact is declared "nonexistent" at a final summit meeting in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

1994 - Palestine Liberation Organisation leader Yasser Arafat drives from Egypt into Gaza, ending his 27-year exile and returning to Palestinian land with the trappings of a head of state.

1996 - The world's first voluntary euthanasia law takes effect in Australia's Northern Territory.

1997 - After 156 years as a British colony, Hong Kong awakens to its first day as part of China.

1999 - Queen Elizabeth II opens Scotland's first Parliament in nearly 300 years.

2001 - Twenty-seven slashed bodies are found in Aceh, Indonesia, where more than 870 people have been killed in a separatist war by the Free Aceh Movement or GAM rebels.

2002 - A Boeing 757 cargo jet crashes mid-air into a Russian passenger airliner over Germany, killing 71.

2004 - Saddam Hussein faces an Iraqi court for the first time, scoffing at charges of war crimes and genocide.

2007 - Hong Kong marks a decade of Chinese rule with a colourful parade and a mass street protest to call for progress on democratic reform.

2008 - France's army chief resigns following a weekend military show in which 16 people were shot and wounded when real bullets were used instead of blanks.

2009 - Iran's embattled opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi tells supporters "it's not yet too late" to push for their rights, and he joins a reformist ex-president in condemning the regime for a post-election crackdown both say was tantamount to a coup.

2010 - Surgeon Jayant Patel, 60, is sentenced to seven years' jail for the manslaughter of three patients and causing grievous bodily harm to a fourth while director of surgery at Bundaberg Base Hospital between 2003 and 2005.

2011 - The Australian Greens gain the balance of power for the first time in the Senate.

2012 - A pro-democracy heckler interrupts a speech by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the swearing-in of Hong Kong's new leader.

2012 - The carbon tax comes into effect, with the $23 per tonne price on carbon emissions directly affecting 294 electricity generators and other companies.

2013 - Demonstrations across Egypt call for the resignation of President Mohammed Morsi.

2014 - David Greenglass, a spy for the Soviet Union who spent 10 years in prison for his role in the explosive atomic spying case of the Cold War, dies aged 92.

2015 - The UN's World Heritage Committee decides against declaring the Great Barrier Reef is "in danger", but it will remain under close watch for four years. US and Cuba agree to open embassies in each other's country, ending 50 years of detente.

2016 - British Home Secretary Theresa May emerges as the frontrunner to lead the Conservative Party after David Cameron's resignation following the Brexit vote.

2018 - President Donald Trump's National Security adviser John R Bolton states that the US has a plan to dismantle the nuclear weapons program of North Korea in a year.

2019 - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison promises consultation on a religious freedom bill. Protesters break into Hong Kong's parliament building on the anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule.

Today's Birthdays:

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, German philosopher and mathematician (1646-1716); George Sand (Armandine Dudevant), French author (1804-1876); James Cagney, US actor (1904-1986); Estee Lauder, US businesswoman and cosmetics company founder (1906-2004); Olivia de Havilland, British actress (1916-); Sydney Pollack, American film director (1934-2008); Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997); Sir Seretse Khama, first president of Botswana (1921-1980); Twyla Tharp, US dancer/choreographer (1941-); Deborah Harry, US singer (1945-); Carl Lewis, US Olympic athlete (1961-); Nick Giannopoulos, Australian comedian (1963-); Pamela Anderson, US actress (1967-); Liv Tyler, American actress (1977-).

Thought For Today:

The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there - LP Hartley, British author (1895-1972).