July 4 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming U.S. independence from Britain.
In 1863, Union troops defeated Confederate forces in a battle at Vicksburg, Miss.
In 1895, the poem "America the Beautiful," by Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates, was published. The poem with music by Samuel A. Ward was published as a song in 1910.
In 1910, African-American boxer Jack Johnson took on former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries, beating him in 15 rounds, to stake his claim as the as the greatest heavyweight in the world.
In 1939, Lou Gehrig gave his "luckiest man on the face of the Earth" speech in announcing his retirement from the New York Yankees. Gehrig had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a debilitating motor neuron disease. United Press writer Jack Cuddy wasn't impressed with the Yankees' "Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day," saying doctors made up his ailment to explain his unexpected retirement.
In 1976, Israeli commandos raided the airport at Entebbe, Uganda, rescuing 103 hostages held by Arab militants.
In 1997, NASA's Pathfinder reached Mars to become the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the planet in more than two decades. Pathfinder returned more than 16,000 images and some 8.5 million measurements back to Earth before its final transmission on September, 27, 1997.
In 2013, the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public nine months after it was closed because of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
In 2017, North Korea said it launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile over 580 miles into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. South Korea and its allies described the test as a provocation.