July 14, 1540 – The DeSoto Expedition reached the ancient Indian town of Tasqui on the Choccolocco Creek, about nine miles from its junction with the Coosa River, in Talladega County.
July 14, 1769 – An expedition led by Gaspar de Portolá established a base in California and set out to find the Port of Monterey (now Monterey, California).
July 14, 1789 – Alexander Mackenzie finally completed his journey to the mouth of the great river he hoped would take him to the Pacific, but which turned out to flow into the Arctic Ocean. Later named after him, the Mackenzie is the second-longest river system in North America.
July 14, 1789 – Thousands of Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops stormed the Bastille Prison in Paris, an event that began the decade-long French Revolution. Frustrated by a severe food shortage, high taxation, and the frivolous spending of Queen Marie Antoinette, a crowd that grew to 10,000 stormed the prison in search of gunpowder. Bastille Day became an official holiday in France in 1880.
July 14, 1798 – The Sedition Act becames law in the United States making it a federal crime to write, publish, or utter false or malicious statements about the United States government. The act allowed the prosecution of people who voiced or printed malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States.
July 14, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette attended a banquet held in his honor at Sansay House in Morristown, New Jersey.
July 14, 1864 - Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest suffered his biggest defeat when Union General Andrew J. Smith routed his force at the Battle of Tupelo, Mississippi. Union losses stood at 674, while Forrest and CSA General Stephen Lee lost over 1,300 soldiers.
July 14, 1865 – The first ascent of the Matterhorn was accomplished by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom died on the descent.
July 14, 1881 - Sheriff Pat Garrett shot 21-year-old Henry McCarty, popularly known as Billy the Kid, to death at the Maxwell Ranch, outside Fort Sumner, in New Mexico. Billy had escaped from the county jail and killed the two guards on duty. He headed for the home of his friend Pete Maxwell, but Garrett, who’d been tracking the gunslinger for three months, was waiting inside the door and shot him once above the heart. No legal charges were brought against Garrett since the killing was ruled a justifiable homicide.
July 14, 1882 - John Ringo, the famous gun-fighting gentleman, is found dead in Turkey Creek Canyon, outside of Tombstone, Arizona. It looked as if Ringo had shot himself in the head and the official ruling was that he had committed suicide. Some believed, however, that he had been murdered either by his drinking friend Frank “Buckskin” Leslie or a young gambler named “Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce.” To complicate matters further, Wyatt Earp later claimed that he had killed Ringo, so the truth remains obscure to this day.
July 14, 1912 – Folk singer Woody Guthrie was born in Okemah, Okla.
July 14, 1913 – Future U.S. President Gerald Rudolph Ford was born Leslie Lynch King Jr. in Omaha, Nebraska. The young Ford went on to become the first vice president to assume office after a president resigned, after President Richard M. Nixon stepped down during the Watergate burglary scandal on Aug. 9, 1974. His career included service on the Warren Commission that investigated President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
July 14, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Sheriff Williams was making preparations to execute John Salter and Robert Watkins on Aug. 6.
July 14, 1915 - A movie version of Alabama author Octavus Roy Cohen's book “The Honeymoon Baby” was released.
July 14, 1917 – Playwright Arthur Laurents was born in Brooklyn.
July 14, 1918 – Swedish director and writer Ingmar Bergman was born in Uppsala.
July 14, 1919 – Army Pvt. Charles Frances McDonald Jr. of Monroeville, Ala. “died from disease” during World War I at General Hospital No. in Spartanburg, S.C. Born on Aug. 25, 1890 to Charles Frances McDonald Sr. and Annie Strock, McDonald enlisted June 4, 1917 in Mobile. He was sent to France on May 7, 1918, served with HQ Detachment, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Division, AEF and with the Army of Occupation-Germany. He later reported sick to hospital and was shipped to Fort Gordon, Ga. on April 28, 1918. He is buried in Old Salem Cemetery near Mexia, Ala.
July 14, 1933 – In Germany, all political parties are outlawed except the Nazi Party.
July 14, 1935 - Author C. Terry Cline was born in Birmingham, Ala.
July 14, 1948 – Funeral services for Lt. Winton D. McIntyre, who graduated from Evergreen High School in 1940, were held at Memorial Cemetery in Mobile, Ala. with full military honors. He was killed in New Guinea on April 9, 1944. McIntyre, son of Mr. and Mrs. O.R. McIntyre, were former residents of Conecuh County, but later of Prichard. McIntyre was well known in Evergreen, where he finished high school in 1940.
July 14, 1948 - At the National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, half of the Alabama delegation walked out in protest of the party's stand for civil rights. Three days later those delegates and other southerners formed the States' Rights party, or "Dixiecrats," at a convention in Birmingham, nominating Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for president.
July 14, 1958 – During the Iraqi Revolution, the monarchy was overthrown by popular forces led by Abd al-Karim Qasim, who becomes the nation's new leader.
July 14, 1967 - Eddie Mathews of the Houston Astros hit his 500th career home run.
July 14, 1968 – Atlanta Braves slugger Henry "Hank" Aaron hit the 500th home run of his career in a 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants. With 499 career home runs under his belt, Aaron hit a three-run shot in the third inning off Giants’ pitcher Mike McCormick. Aaron was mobbed at home plate by his teammates and presented with an award by Braves President Bill Bartholomay honoring him as the seventh man in baseball history to hit 500 home runs.
July 14, 1969 - U.S. President Nixon signed a baseball from the baseball Hall of Fame that had the signatures of nine other U.S. Presidents.
July 14, 1969 - Though technically still legal tender, the United States withdrew the large denomination bills of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 from circulation on this day.
July 14, 1970 - U.S. President Nixon threw out the first ball at the major league baseball All-Star Game.
July 14, 1981 - The Major League Baseball All-Star Game was postponed because of a 33-day-old baseball players strike. The game was held on August 9.
July 14, 1981 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan met with Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates to discuss sickle cell anemia and funding for the National Institute of Health.
July 14, 1981 – Snow Hill Institute at Snow Hill in Wilcox County, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
July 14, 2003 – In an effort to discredit U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who had written an article critical of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Washington Post columnist Robert Novak revealed that Wilson's wife Valerie Plame was a CIA "operative".
July 14, 2003 - The U.S. government finally admitted the existence of Area 51.
July 14, 2005 – Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher Winchester of Escambia County, Ala. was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A memorial marker placed in his honor at baseball fields in East Brewton. Winchester was born on Nov. 13, 1981.
July 14, 2006 – Right-handed pitcher Christopher Scottie Booker of Monroeville, Ala. was returned to the Washington Nationals by the Kansas City Royals.
July 14, 2014 - Olympic gold medal winner Alice Coachman passed away. At age 16, Coachman enrolled in the high school program at Tuskegee Institute. She was a mainstay on Tuskegee's powerful track squad, which won 11 of 12 AAU championships between 1937 and 1948 under legendary coach Cleve Abbott. Coachman won 10 straight championships in the high jump between 1939 and 1948, as well as 25 indoor and outdoor 50- and 100-meter championships. In 1948, she finally had her chance at the Olympics (the 1940 and 1944 Olympic Games were cancelled because of World War II). Despite being past her prime at age 25 and suffering from back troubles, Coachman set an Olympic record in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 6-1/8 inches—a feat that stood for eight years. Coachman was the first black female athlete of any nation to win an Olympic gold medal and also was the first American female to win an Olympic medal in track and field. Image shows Coachman during the medal ceremony for the high jump at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.