On This Day: Puerto Rico becomes self-governing

On July 25, 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing U.S. commonwealth. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

July 25 (UPI) — On this date in history:

In 1909, French pioneer aviator Louis Bleriot became the first person to fly a “heavier-than-air machine” across the English Channel. It took him 36 minutes.

In 1917, Mata Hari was sentenced to death in France as a spy for Germany in World War I. She was executed by firing squad less than three months later and her name became a synonym for a seductive female spy.

In 1934, Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss was assassinated by Nazis during a failed coup attempt.

In 1952, Puerto Rico became a self-governing U.S. commonwealth.

In 1956, the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria and Swedish liner Stockholm collided at night in heavy fog off Nantucket, Mass. The accident had a death toll of 52. Hundreds of people were rescued. The Andrea Doria sank the next morning.

In 1965, folk legend Bob Dylan performed for the first time with electric instruments, so upsetting his fans that they booed him.

UPI File Photo

In 1978, the world’s first “test-tube” baby, Louise Brown, was born in Oldham, England.

In 1986, former Navy radioman Jerry Whitworth was convicted of selling U.S. military secrets to the Soviets through the John Walker spy ring. The government called it the most damaging espionage case since World War II. Whitworth was sentenced to 365 years in prison.

In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan’s King Hussein signed a declaration that ended the 46-year state of war between their countries.

In 2000, an Air France Concorde supersonic jet crashed on takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people, including four on the ground. It was the first crash of a Concorde.

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In 2007, as Iraqis celebrated their national soccer team’s victory over South Korea in the Asian Cup semifinals, two suicide bombers attacked crowds in Baghdad, killing at least 50 people and injuring about 140.

In 2008, California banned the use of trans fats in all restaurants and retail bakeries in the state, beginning in 2010.

In 2012, North Korea announced its leader, Kim Jong Un, had married Ri Sol Ju.

In 2019, U.S. Attorney General William Barr ordered the federal Bureau of Prisons to resume capital punishment 16 years after the last federal execution. After a yearlong series of court battles, the government carried out its first execution July 14, 2020, on Daniel Lewis Lee.

In 2020, Hurricane Hanna made landfall in Texas, bringing life-threatening flooding. The storm killed at least four people.

In 2021, France handed Team USA its first defeat in men’s basketball in 25 games and Japan’s Yuto Horigome won the inaugural gold medal in skateboarding at the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI