July 1, 1862 The last of the Seven Days Battles, the battle of Malvern Hill, takes place east of Richmond. Though the attacking Confederate force is halted by powerful Union artillery that day, the Army of the Potomac continues its movement the next day away from Richmond to the vicinity of Berkeley Plantation on the northern bank of the James River.
July 2, 1788 The newly adopted U.S. Constitution goes into effect in Virginia. The document is based, primarily, on the "Virginia Plan," which was drafted by James Madison.
July 4, 1584 Sailing under the sponsorship of Sir Walter Ralegh, Philip Armadas and Arthur Barlowe land on the Atlantic coast in what is now North Carolina. The English name the entire region "Virginia," in honor of Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen."
July 4, 1776 The Continental Congress formally approves the Declaration of Independence, drafted primarily by Thomas Jefferson with revisions added by Benjamin Franklin. The document details a philosophy of human rights and lists grievances against the royal government.
July 4, 1826 Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, dies at his home, Monticello, fifty years to the day after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which he drafted. The second president, John Adams, dies on the same day.
July 4, 1831 James Monroe, fifth U.S. president and a native of Westmoreland County dies. Monroe's body will be disinterred from its resting place in New York City and relocated to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond in 1858.
July 4, 1989 The United Mine Workers of America hold a rally in Norton, Virginia, during the Pittston Coal Strike. Long-time labor activist Cesar Chavez delivers a speech to a crowd of about five thousand.
July 10, 1943 Tennis champion Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr., is born in Richmond. In 1975, he will become the first African American male to win the Wimbledon singles title.
July 15, 1864 Bank president and business woman Maggie Lena Walker, is born in Richmond. In 1903, she founded the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and was probably the first woman bank president in America. She also worked tirelessly for education reform, women's suffrage, voter registration, and other political and community causes.
July 21, 1861 Union forces under General Irvin McDowell cross Bull Run, initiating the first major battle of the Civil War, the battle of Manassas or Bull Run. A costly confederate victory shatters hopes on both sides for a quick bloodless war.
July 25, 1831 Cyrus McCormick demonstrates the world's first successful mechanical reaper on a crop of oats in Rockbridge County.
July 28, 1903 Maggie L. Walker establishes the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, becoming the first woman in the United States to found and become president of a chartered bank. She serves as its president until 1931.
July 30, 1619 The Virginia General Assembly, the first representative legislative body in North America, convenes at Jamestown. Hot, humid weather during the six-day session claims the life of Walter Shelly of Smythes Hundred and causes illness among several burgesses and the governor, Sir George Yeardley.