Today is the 215th day of 2015 and the 44th day of summer.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1492, Christopher Columbus, seeking a sea route to the Far East, departed Palos de la Frontera, Spain.
In 1861, the final installment of Charles Dickens' serialized novel "Great Expectations" was published in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round.
In 1914, Germany declared war on France.
In 1958, the U.S. nuclear-powered submarine Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.
In 1972, the U.S. Senate ratified the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Elisha Otis (1811-1861), inventor; Ernie Pyle (1900-1945), journalist/war correspondent; Leon Uris (1924-2003), author; Tony Bennett (1926- ), singer; Martin Sheen (1940- ), actor; Martha Stewart (1941- ), TV personality/business mogul; James Hetfield (1963- ), singer-songwriter; Tom Brady (1977- ), football player; Evangeline Lilly (1979- ), actress.
TODAY'S FACT: Santa Claus Land, the world's first theme park, opened on this day in 1946 in Santa Claus, Indiana.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1936, Jesse Owens won the first of his four gold medals during the Olympic Games in Berlin. Owens edged out teammate Ralph Metcalfe with a 10.3-second time in the 100-meter dash.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Life hinges on many factors we cannot control. Two of the most important factors, we can control. We can manage our relationships -- and what is life but a series of relationships? -- and we can correct our mistakes, here on Earth within our life span." -- Leon Uris, "Redemption"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 70 -- length (in days) of Christopher Columbus' first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492.
TODAY'S MOON: Between full moon (July 31) and last quarter moon (Aug. 6).