July 26 1953. Fidel Castro led a small group of revolutionaries to an attack on the military Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. Unprepared and disorganised, the attack was a failure and half of the assailants lost their lives. Fidel Castro, survived but was captured and condemned to 15 years in prison. Eighteen months later he was pardoned and exiled with his brother to Mexico. There, he met Ernesto Guevara and he organised the resistance: he created the 26th of July Movement in honour of the attack, which marked the beginning of his armed rebellion against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
Also on July 26: Atahualpa, the 13th and last emperor of the Incas, dies by strangulation at the hands of Francisco Pizarro’s Spanish conquistadors (1533); The office that would later become the United States Post Office Department is established (1775); Publication of the Unua Libro by Dr. L.L. Zamenhof, founding the Esperanto movement (1887); The Potsdam Declaration is signed in Potsdam, Germany (1945); Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland premieres in London, United Kingdom (1951); Carlos Castillo Armas, dictator of Guatemala, is assassinated (1957); The National Assembly of Quebec imposes the use of French as the official language of the provincial government (1977).
Born on July 26: George Bernard Shaw (1856), Aldous Huxley (1894), Stanley Kubrick (1928), Mick Jagger (1943), Ivian Sarcos (1989).