On this day: John McEnroe won Wimbledon final

Events, birthdays and anniversaries for 4 July
On this day in 1981 John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon mens singles final. Picture: GettyOn this day in 1981 John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon mens singles final. Picture: Getty
On this day in 1981 John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon mens singles final. Picture: Getty

1653: The “Barebones” parliament – an assembly entirely nominated by Oliver Cromwell and the Army’s Council of Officers – went into session.

1776: The Declaration of Independence was adopted in Philadelphia.

1798: Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Alexandria, Egypt.

1827: Slavery was abolished in New York.

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1829: The first scheduled horse-drawn bus service was introduced in London, running between Marylebone Road and Bank Junction.

1838: Flooding during a rainstorm drowned 26 children in the Huskar Colliery mining disaster at Silkstone, England. This led to the 1842 commission on the employment of women and children in mines, resulting in the ban on female and child labour underground.

1840: The Cunard Line began its first Atlantic crossing as RMS Britannia, a 700-ton wooden paddle-steamer departed from Liverpool, bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

1848: The Communist Manifesto was published by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels.

1883: The Statue of Liberty was presented to the US by France.

1892: James Keir Hardie became the first Socialist to win a seat in the British Parliament.

1892: Western Samoa changed the International Dateline, so there were 367 days there that year, with two occurrences on Monday 4 July.

1898: French ocean liner SS La Bourgogne collided with British sailing ship Cromartyshire. La Bourgogne sank with the loss of 549 lives.

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1910: In a boxing match billed as the “fight of the century”, former undefeated world heavyweight champion James J Jeffries came out of retirement to challenge the incumbent, Jack Johnson, for his title, but was knocked out in the 15th round.

1937: First successful flight in a helicopter was made by Hanna Reitsch in Germany.

1944: Japanese fighter pilots launched their first kamikaze attack on the US fleet at Iwo Jima.

1960: The USA unfurled their new Stars and Stripes flag, with a 50th star to honour Hawaii as a new state.

1980: Evonne Cawley defeated Chris Evert 6-1, 7-6 in the Wimbledon ladies singles final, the first mother to win since the First World War.

1981: John McEnroe defeated Bjorn Borg 4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon men’s singles final.

1992: Steffi Graf won the ladies singles title at Wimbledon.

1996: The Prince of Wales delivered his divorce terms to the Princess, said to be £15 million.

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1996: Hotmail, the free internet email service, was launched.

2004: The cornerstone of Freedom Tower was laid on the site of the World Trade Center, New York City.

2007: BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was freed by Gaza captors after being held for 114 days.

2009: The Statue of Liberty’s crown reopened to the public after eight years, having been closed due to security fears following the World Trade Centre attacks.

2014: Rolf Harris was sentenced to five years and nine months of imprisonment for indecently assaulting minors.


Jo Whiley, broadcaster, 50; Neil Morrissey, actor, 53; Doddie Weir, rugby player and commentator, 45; René Arnoux, racing driver, 67; Mark Davis, golfer, 51; David “Kid” Jensen, broadcaster, 65; Prince Michael of Kent, 73 Henri Leconte, tennis player, 52; Ute Lemper, singer, 52; Gina Lollobrigida, actress, 88; Jenny Seagrove, actress, 58; Colin Welland, actor and playwright, 81; Eva Marie Saint, actress, 91; Jeremy Spencer, musician (Fleetwood Mac), 67; Bill Withers, singer-songwriter, 77; Neil Simon, playwright, 88; Pam Shriver, tennis player and analyst, 53; Patrick Tilley, science fiction author, 87.


Births: 1790 Sir George Everest, surveyor-general of India after whom mountain was named; 1807 Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian politician and war hero; 1845 Thomas Barnardo, founder of homes for destitute children; 1898 Gertrude Lawrence, actress; 1916 Iva Toguri D’Aquino (“Tokyo Rose”), wartime radio propagandist; 1918 Abigail Van Buren, advice columnist and radio show host (“Dear Abby”); 1960 Roland Ratzenberger, Formula One racing driver.

Deaths: 965 Pope Benedict V; 1850 William Kirby, “the father of entomology”; 1881 William H Bonney, outlaw “Billy the Kid”; 1934 Marie Curie, discoverer of radium; 1938 Suzanne Lenglen, six-time Wimbledon singles champion; 1995 Eva Gabor, actress; 1996 Clay Jones, chairman of BBC radio’s Gardener’s Question Time; 2003 Barry White, singer-songwriter; ; 2012 Eric Sykes CBE, comedian.