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 July 23 in History

 Today's birthday

For the week of Jul. 20, 2014

Independence Day: Colombia. Beginning in the fourteenth century, the region that is now Colombia was the center of the Spanish colony known as New Granada, which included Panama and most of Venezuela. Beginning in 1810, Simon Bolivar led a war of independence from Spain, which ended with victory over Spanish forces on this day in 1819. This day is celebrated in Colombia as a national holiday.

National Holiday: Belgium. This day marks the day in 1831 that Belgium became independent from the Netherlands and Leopold I ascended the throne as Belgiumis first king.

Revolution Day: Egypt. This day marks the beginning of the military coup in 1952 that led to the proclamation of the proclamation of the Egyptian republic.

Bella Abzug (1920-1998): Jewish American. Womenis rights advocate and politician. A graduate of Hunter College and Columbia Law School, where she was an editor of the Law Review, Abzug began her career as a civil rights lawyer and became a leading advocate for equal rights, peace, and political reform. In the 1960s she became a fervent antiwar activist and a founder of Women Strike for Peace, a group opposing nuclear testing and the war in Vietnam. In 1970, Abzug won a seat in the United States Congress and served until 1976, when she ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the Senate. While in the House, she cosponsored the Equal Rights Amendment and the Freedom of Information Act, as well as the legislation that established August 26 as Womanis Equality Day. After leaving Congress, Abzug dedicated the rest of her life to achieving womenis rights as a founder of the lobbying groups National Womenis Political Caucus and Women USA, as well as the Womenis Environment and Development Organization.

Pioneer Day: Mormon. This marks the day in 1847 that Brigham young led other believers in the teachings of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, into the valley of the Great Salt Lake, where they would establish the center of the Church of Latter Day Saints and build Salt Lake City.

Simon Bolivar (1783-1830): Ecuador and Venezuela. Military and political leader. This public holiday honors Bolivar. Known as iThe Liberator,i Simon Bolivar led the rebellion against Spanish rule that established the independence of Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

Constitution Day : Puerto Rico. The constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was approved in 1952 on this day, which is now commemorated each year with official government ceremonies.

Republic Day : Tunisia. This day commemorates the end of the Tunisian monarchy and the establishment of a republic in 1957.

Hector P. Garcia (1914-1996): Hispanic American. Medical doctor and civil rights activist. Dr. Garcia practiced medicine in Corpus Christi, Texas, after receiving hid medical degree from the University of Texas. He was also involved in the civil rights movement for Hispanic Americans, and in 1948 founded the American G. I. Forum, a national advocacy organization for Mexican American war veterans. In 1968, he became the first Hispanic to serve on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and in 1984, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the day of his death at age 82.

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990): United States. Signed into law on this date, this milestone of U.S. civil rights legislation protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the areas of employment, transportation, and public accommodation. (Earlier legislation had addressed discrimination in housing.) The law requires a wide range of public and private establishments to make new and renovated facilities accessible to people with disabilities and to make ireadily achievable i changes to existing facilities in order to increase accessibility.

Jose Celso Barbosa: Puerto Rico. This is a public holiday honoring Barbosa, a doctor and a politician born on this day in 1857. I 1899, he founded the Republican Party if Puerto Rico that advocated statehood for the island.

Seventh Night (Chii-hsi), or Weaving Maid and Herd Boy Festival, is a romantic festival based on a tale of a couple who disobeyed the chief deity and are, therefore, held in the sky as stars on either side of the Milky Way. On this night, magpies fly up from earth and join their wings to form a bridge over the Milky Way so that the lovers can meet.