On This Day in History, July 26

In 1581, the northern Low Countries—most of the modern Netherlands—signed the Act of Abjuration against the Spanish monarchy, declaring their independence and lead to the formation of the Dutch Republic. This Act, including the justifications provided for independence and style, is said to have potentially influenced Thomas Jefferson’s drafting of the American Declaration of Independence.

In 1847, the Republic of Liberia declared formal independence. Founded as a settlement by the American Colonization Society, the new African nation would see an influx of freed slaves from the US and the Caribbean, both before and after independence. It was only during the American Civil War that the US would formally recognize Liberia as an independent nation.

In 1941, the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands all froze Japanese assets and cut off oil shipments in response to their occupation of French Indochina, which would become the modern nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The Japanese occupation would leave the colonial government in place until 1945.

A Notable Birth

1928 – Stanley Kubrick (d. 1999) was an American filmmaker who primarily taught himself the craft. After a brief career as a photographer, he would begin making his own films. He produced a number of shorts before his first studio film. Many of his films are well known and beloved.

A Notable Death

1533 – Atahualpa (b. 1502) was the last Emperor of the Incan Empire. He came to power due to two disease-related deaths and a civil war against his own brother. In late 1532, he was taken prisoner by Francisco Pizarro and would later be executed by the Spanish.

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