This photo captures an unusual view of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, where soccer’s most prestigious event, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, takes place today. If you’re still feeling fuzzy on World Cup details, here’s a quick primer: Today’s event is the culmination of 64 matches that began June 14, with 32 men’s national teams battling for the sport’s top honors. Previous World Cup champs France face off against Croatia in today’s game. Croatia’s team is the ‘Cinderella’ of the match, as they’ve come through with some unexpected victories. Congrats to both teams for making it this far!
Location: British Museum
The Rosetta Stone in the British Museum
Also on this day,
1834 | System of torturous tribunals ends in Spain
Instituted by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella in 1478, the dreaded Spanish Inquisition finally comes to an official end. Preaching a doctrine that ordered conversion to Catholicism or exile, and employing torture and death sentences, the Inquisition will not be missed.1870 | Last Confederate state is readmitted to the Union
The United States is once again made whole as Georgia gains representation in Congress, making it the last of the former Confederate states to be readmitted to the Union. It’s a watershed moment for Reconstruction, but the process of healing after the Civil War will remain arduous.1997 | Famed fashion designer shot in Miami
Just back from a morning walk, Italian style icon Gianni Versace is shot twice while on the front steps of his Miami Beach, Florida, mansion. The fifth and final victim of Andrew Cunanan’s multi-state crime spree, Versace will be mourned by family, friends, and a shocked fashion industry.
At the end of the American Civil War, the devastation and disruption in the state of Georgia were dramatic. Wartime damage, the inability to maintain a labor force without slavery, and miserable weather had a disastrous effect on agricultural production. The state's chief cash crop, cotton, fell from a high of more than 700,000 bales in 1860 to less than 50,000 in 1865, while harvests of corn and wheat were also meager. The state government subsidized construction of numerous new railroad lines. White farmers turned to cotton as a cash crop, often using commercial fertilizers to make up for the poor soils they owned. The coastal rice plantations never recovered from the war.
Bartow County was representative of the postwar difficulties. Property destruction and the deaths of a third of the soldiers caused financial and social crises; recovery was delayed by repeated crop failures. The Freedmen's Bureau agents were unable to give blacks the help they needed.
Our Shark Awareness Day celebrity is a blue shark swimming in the cold waters off Cork, Ireland. The inspiration for its name comes from the blue shark’s back color, not its mood. It’s currently listed as ‘near threatened’—a status all too common for sharks today. Why celebrate an apex predator that most humans associate with horror movies? Because without sharks acting as population control on other marine life, the world’s oceans would be a very different place. Blue sharks eat a lot of squid and fish, and like land predators, help to keep their prey from overpopulation. Mother Nature keeps us in a delicate balance, so it’s important that we don’t accidentally remove a vital member of that system… even if that creature seems scary to most of us.
Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left), handcuffed to Nicola Sacco (right). Dedham, Massachusetts Superior Court, 1923. This photo was taken in 1923 when Sacco was on the 23rd day of a hunger strike.
Also on this day,
1789 | Parisians storm an ancient symbol of royal tyranny
The French Revolution’s flash point is centered on Paris’ Bastille, as upwards of 1,000 insurgents attack the medieval fortress and prison to acquire its large stores of gunpowder. Bastille Day will be celebrated from then on as a national holiday in France.1881 | A notorious Wild West outlaw Billy the Kid is brought down
Henry McCarty, better known by his deceptively childlike nickname ‘Billy the Kid,’ first killed a man at 17 and has since become famous as both a folk hero and vicious criminal. New Mexico Sheriff Pat Garrett ends the 21-year-old Kid’s storied career with a shot just above the heart.1960 | A young Goodall journeys into Africa to study chimpanzees
With funds raised by her friend and mentor, noted paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey, 26-year-old Jane Goodall journeys to Gombe Stream National Park on Lake Tanganyika, in what will later be Tanzania, Africa. There the amateur primatologist will begin her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzee communities.
Date: Jul 14, 1789
By mid-July and into August, an Atlantic puffin chick will have matured enough to leave the cliffside burrow where it was born, clumsily making its perilous way to the sea, where it will spend the next two or three years before ever returning to land. The chick’s parents will follow, leaving separately and then flying over the surf to migrate and search for fishing spots, or diving into the water to gobble up fish. In spring or early summer they’ll return to shore to nest, reunite with their mate, and with any luck, raise another chick or two. Puffins can dig their own burrows, as they prefer to build nests underground atop seaside cliffs. But if there are empty rabbit warrens available, the puffins have no problem moving in. They’re not even above kicking a rabbit out to take over.