July 30, 734. Caliph Al Mansur founded the city of Baghdad in a site north of the Iranian capital of Ctesiphon. He believed Bagdad was the perfect city to be the capital of the Islamic Empire under the Abbasids. The city was established in an optimal location, as it control trading routes along the Tigris and the presence of water north and south of the city allowed for the households to have a plentiful supply. It took four years to build the city and July was chosen as the starting time because two astrologers believed the city should be build under the sign of the Lion, Leo, which is associated with fire and symbolizes productivity, pride and expansion. The circular design of the city was a reflection of the Persian Sasanian urban design. The city was destroyed in 1258 by the Mongol Empire but with the recognition of Iraq as an independent state it regained some prominence as a center of Arabic culture.
Also on July 30: An earthquake in Naples, Italy, kills about 10,000 people (1629); Foundation of Baltimore, Maryland (1729), Malden Island is discovered by captain George Byron (1825) ; First ascent of Grand Combin, one of the Alps’ highest summits (1859); The Staten Island Ferry Westfield’s boiler explodes, killing over 85 people (1871); Uruguay wins the first FIFA World Cup in Montevideo (1930) ; U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid (1965); A power grid failure leaves seven states and 360 million people in Northern India without power(2012).
Born on July 30: Ferdinando I de’ Medici (1549), Emily Brontë (1818), Henry Ford (1863), Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (1947), Frank Stallone (1950), Neal McCoy (1958), Hilary Swank (1974), Nicky Hayden (1981).