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Today in History: New Coke fails, Tesla is born, and the Bahamas gains independence

Today is an auspicious one in the history of soft drinks: On July 10, 1985, Coca-Cola reverted back to its original recipe, just two months after an experimental product called “New Coke” proved a disaster. Evidently freaked out by surging sales in Pepsi, Coke attempted to make its iconic drink sweeter. Despite a huge P.R. push that enlisted Bill Cosby among others, sales went totally flat, and the project was abandoned.

Meanwhile, 159 years ago today, Nikola Tesla was born in what is now Croatia. Tesla’s is one of the most fascinating American immigrant stories ever, as through sheer force of will he traveled from the backwaters of southern Europe to Thomas Edison’s office before he turned 30. Unfortunately, most of Tesla’s utopian engineering schemes ended up tragically thwarted. But in the meantime, he basically predicted the advent of every device and technology we now enjoy today: in a 1926 interview he said that soon, “We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance,” and that, “We shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles.”

Finally: 42 years ago today, The Bahamas gained independence from the United Kingdom. It only took 490 years between Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Bahamian archipelago (exactly which island the explorer stumbled onto remains disputed) and the conclusion of the Bahamas Independence Conference at Marlborough House in London establishing July 10 as the end of British rule…


…before it became free from European control, although it remains part of the British Commonwealth (meaning Queen Elizabeth is still the country’s sovereign). Watch this and more days in history at Timeline.

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