On This Day in History, July 28

In 1540, Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to King Henry VIII of England, an influential proponent of English Reformation and involved with arranging and ending a number of his marriages, was executed on the grounds of treason and heresy. He was executed without trial. Ironically on the same day, King Henry VIII married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard, cousin to his second wife, Anne Boleyn. She would later be beheaded for adultery.

In 1821, José de San Martín publicly announced the independence of Peru days after the Act of Independence was signed in Lima, the nation’s capital. The war to liberate the country from Spanish colonial rule came following the liberation of Chile and to ensure other parts of South America would remain free from any potential strongholds of Spanish dominion.

In 1915, 330 US Marines arrive in Haiti at Port-au-Prince, beginning a 19-year long occupation of the nation by American forces. President Woodrow Wilson approved the occupation following four years of internal turmoil in Haiti, along with fears and suspicions of German interference in the island nation, especially following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This occupation was part of the Banana Wars, a series of US military operations in Central America and the Caribbean from 1898 to 1934.

A Notable Birth

1866 – Helen Beatrix Potter (d. 1943) was a British Children’s author and illustrator. Her interest in the natural sciences—including research in mycology—would lead her to eventually self-publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902. She would also breed sheep and was involved with land conservation.

A Notable Death

1969 – Ramón Grau San Martín (b. 1881) was a Cuban physician and politician. He became the President of Cuba for the first time following the 1933 Revolution, serving for 100 days, and was elected once more in 1944. He would oppose Batista’s coup, though permanently retired from public life following the rise of Fidel Castro.

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