This Day In History, July 3rd

What happened on this day in history: George Washington takes command of the Continental Army, Jim Morrison dies of mysterious causes in Paris, and more.

1035: William I Becomes Duke Of Normandy

William I, known as William the Conqueror, becomes Duke of Normandy at the age of eight following the death of his father, Robert I. He successfully defended his right to the English throne during the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and later expanded his kingdom by conquering Scotland and Wales.

1775: George Washington Takes Command Of The Continental Army

George Washington

Public DomainGeorge Washington in 1776, when he was the commander of the Continental Army.

George Washington takes formal command of the Continental Army. Two weeks earlier, on June 15, the Continental Congress had officially named the Virginian as commander-in-chief. Washington would go on to lead his troops to victory over the British during the Revolutionary War and later served as the United States’ first president.

1883: Franz Kafka Is Born

Franz Kafka is born in Prague, then a part of Austria-Hungary. During his life, Kafka penned startling and penetrating works of fiction like The Metamorphosis. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 of tuberculosis.

1971: Jim Morrison Dies

Jim Morrison Lying On Stage

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesJim Morrison at a performance in Germany in 1968.

Jim Morrison dies at the age of 27 in Paris, France, of heart failure. The frontman of The Doors, Morrison had found fame singing hits like “Light My Fire” and “Break On Through.” But the singer struggled under the burden of stardom and turned increasingly to drugs, which is suspected to have triggered his premature death.

1976: Operation Entebbe Rescues 102 Hostages In Uganda

Israeli commandos launch Operation Entebbe, a daring rescue mission designed to save more than 100 hostages in Uganda who were taken captive after their plane was hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

With the cooperation of the Ugandan government and Idi Amin, PFLP operatives had taken control of the flight shortly after it departed from Tel Aviv, then demanded that some 50 Palestinian prisoners be released in exchange for the hostages being freed. However, Israeli soldiers were able to swoop in, rescue 102 of the 106 hostages, and kill all of the hijackers while sustaining only one casualty themselves.

1990: A Stampede In Mecca Kills 1,400

Pilgrims visiting Mecca during the Hajj are caught in a stampede in a tunnel. Some 1,400 people died from suffocation and getting trampled to death. It was the deadliest disaster during the Hajj until 2015 when 2,000 pilgrims were crushed to death in the Mina stampede.