July 16, 1945. The United States successfully detonated a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon near Alamogordo, in New Mexico, marking the beginning of the Atomic Age. The Fat Man, device which detonated in Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945 used the same conceptual design of the Trinity Test, code given to the detonation of the device. This test was a result of the Manhattan Project meant to produce atomic bombs and lead by the United States with the support of the United Kingdom and Canada. In the immediate postwar years, the Manhattan Project conducted several weapons tests, developed new bombs, promoted the development of the network of national laboratories, supported medical research into radiology and began work on the creation of nuclear-powered warships. It was in control of American atomic weapons research and production until the creation of the United States Atomic Energy Commission in January 1947.
Also on July 16: Coronation of Richard II of England (1377); The first banknotes in Europe are issued by the Swedish bank Stockholms Banco (1661); First performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782); The world’s first parking meter is installed in Oklahoma City, in the United States (1935); The government of Vichy France orders the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup, arresting 13,152 Jews who are deported to Auschwitz (1942); _The Catcher in the Rye_, writen by J.D. Salinger is published for the first time (1951); Apollo 11, the first manned space mission to land on the Moon, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida (1969); Former White House aide Alexander Butterfield informs the United States Senate that President Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations, starting the Watergate scandal (1973); Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr resigns and is replaced by Saddam Hussein (1979).
Born on July 16: Clare of Assisi (1194), Andrea del Sarto (1486), Joshua Reynolds (1723), Shoeless Joe Jackson (1888), Larry Semon (1889), Mary Philbin (1902), Robert Sheckley (1928).