This Day in History July 17th

This day in history

July 17 is the 198th day of the year (199th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 167 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 180,  Twelve inhabitants of Scillium in North Africa are executed for being Christians. This is the earliest record of Christianity in that part of the world.

In 1048,  Damasus II is elected pope.

In 1203,  The Fourth Crusade captures Constantinople by assault. The Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos flees from his capital into exile.

In 1402,  Zhu Di, better known by his era name as the Yongle Emperor, assumes the throne over the Ming Dynasty of China.

In 1429,  Hundred Years’ War: Charles VII of France is crowned the King of France in the Reims Cathedral after a successful campaign by Joan of Arc

In 1453,  Battle of Castillon: The last battle of Hundred Years’ War, the French under Jean Bureau defeat the English under the Earl of Shrewsbury, who is killed in the battle in Gascony.

In 1717,  King George I of Great Britain sails down the River Thames with a barge of 50 musicians, where George Frideric Handel‘s Water Music is premiered.

In 1762,  Catherine II becomes tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia.

In 1771,  Bloody Falls Massacre: Chipewyan chief Matonabbee, traveling as the guide to Samuel Hearne on his Arctic overland journey, massacres a group of unsuspecting Inuit.

In 1791,  Members of the French National Guard under the command of General Lafayette open fire on a crowd of radical Jacobins at the Champ de Mars, Paris, during the French Revolution, killing as many as 50 people.

In 1793, Charlotte Corday, who murdered the French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat, was guillotined.

In 1794,  The sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne are executed 10 days prior to the end of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror.

In 1841, the first British humor magazine “Punch” was first published.

In 1856,  The Great Train Wreck of 1856 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, kills over 60 people.

In 1861, Congress authorized the first paper money to be issued.

In 1862, Federal law authorizes the acceptance of “persons of African descent, for the purpose of constructing entrenchments or performing camp competent,” into the armed forces of the Union.

In 1863, Battle of Honey Springs, largest battle of war in Indian Territory. White soldiers were the minority in both Union and Confederate fighting forces. Native Americans made up a significant portion of each of the opposing armies and African Americans fought with the Union force.

In 1863, The Civil War draft riots in New York were finally suppressed — several days after they began — by soldiers recalled from the front to restore order.

In 1864, CSA President Davis replaces Gen Joe Johnston with John Bell Hood.

In 1866, Authorization was given this day to build a tunnel beneath the Chicago River. The project was completed three years later at a cost of $512,709.

In 1867,  Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the first dental school in the U.S. that is affiliated with a university.

In 1881,  Jim Bridger, American mountain man and explorer (b. 1804) died on his farm near Kansas City, Missouri, on July 17, 1881, at the age of 77. He was among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820-1850, as well as mediating between native tribes and encroaching whites. He was of English ancestry, and his family had been in North America since the early colonial period. Jim Bridger had a strong constitution that allowed him to survive the extreme conditions he encountered walking the Rocky Mountains from what would become southern Colorado to the Canadian border. He had conversational knowledge of French, Spanish and several native languages. He would come to know many of the major figures of the early west, including Brigham Young, Kit Carson, George Armstrong Custer, John Fremont, Joseph Meek, and John Sutter.

In 1896,  Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, the Indian sage, at age 16, spontaneously initiates a process of self-enquiry that culminates within a few minutes in his own permanent awakening.

In 1899,  NEC Corporation is organized as the first Japanese joint venture with foreign capital.

In 1916, the Federal Farm Loan Act is signed, establishing a land bank system for loans to farmers.

In 1917,  King George V issues a Proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family will bear the surname Windsor.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna Crisco edit letters removed.jpg

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia

In 1918,  Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his immediate family and retainers are murdered by Bolshevik Chekists at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Among those killed was the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (18 June 1901 – 17 July 1918). She was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. She was murdered with her family by members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police. The location of her burial was unknown during the decades of Communist rule, and rumors that she had escaped circulated after her death. A mass grave near Yekaterinburg which held the remains of the Tsar, his wife, and three of their daughters was revealed in 1991, and the bodies of the remaining daughter and the Tsarevitch Alexei were discovered in 2007. Forensic analysis and DNA testing have confirmed that the remains are those of the imperial family, showing that Anastasia and the other grand duchesses were killed in 1918. Several women have claimed to be Anastasia, including Anna Anderson, who died in 1984, but DNA testing in 1994 showed that she was not related to the Romanov family.

In 1918,  The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; 5 lives are lost.

In 1929, USSR drops diplomatic relations with China.

In 1932,  Altona Bloody Sunday: A riot between the Nazi Party paramilitary forces, the SS and SA, and the German Communist Party ensues.

In 1933,  After successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Lithuanian research aircraft Lituanica crashes in Europe under mysterious circumstances.

In 1933, the National Recovery Act (NRA) goes into effect.

In 1936,  Spanish Civil War: An Armed Forces rebellion against the recently elected leftist Popular Front government of Spain starts the civil war.

In 1938,  Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the “wrong way” to Ireland and becomes known as “Wrong Way” Corrigan.

In 1944,  Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California, killing 320.

In 1944,  World War II: Napalm incendiary bombs are dropped for the first time by American P-38 pilots on a fuel depot at Coutances, near Saint-Lô, France.

In 1945,  World War II: the main three leaders of the Allied nations, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.

In 1948,  The South Korean constitution is proclaimed.

In 1948, Southern Democrats opposed to the nomination of President Harry S. Truman met in Birmingham, Alabama, to endorse South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond for the White House.

In 1953,  The largest number of United States midshipman casualties in a single event results from an aircraft crash in Florida killing 44.

In 1955,  Disneyland is dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California.

In 1955, Arco, Idaho, a town of 1,300 people, went into the atomic age as they became the first community in the world to receive all its light and power from atomic energy.

In 1959, Tibet abolishes serfdom. Won’t go serfing now.

Billie Holiday 0001 original.jpgIn 1959,  Billie Holiday, American singer-songwriter and actress (b. 1915) died under police guard from pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959.  In her final years, she had been progressively swindled out of her earnings, and she died with $0.70 in the bank and $750 (a tabloid fee) on her person. Her funeral mass was at Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. She was buried at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery.

Much of Holiday’s material has been rereleased since her death, and she is considered a legendary performer with an ongoing influence on American music. Holiday is the recipient of four Grammy awards, all of them posthumous awards for Best Historical Album. Furthermore, Holiday herself was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. Lady Sings the Blues, a film centered on Holiday’s life, starring Diana Ross, was released in 1972. She is the primary character in the play and later film “Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar and Grill” The role was originated by Reenie Upchurch in 1986 and played by Audra McDonald on Broadway (winning a Tony Award) and in the film.

Ty Cobb LC-DIG-ggbain-08006 crop.jpgIn 1961Ty Cobb, American baseball player and manager (b. 1886) dies at Emory University Hospital. In his last days, Cobb spent some time with the old movie comedian Joe E. Brown, talking about the choices he had made in his life. He told Brown that he felt that he had made mistakes, and that he would do things differently if he could. He had played hard and lived hard all his life, had no friends to show for it at the end, and regretted it. Publicly, however, he claimed to have no regrets: “I’ve been lucky. I have no right to be regretful of what I did.” He was nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder. He was born in rural Narrows, Georgia. Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the last six as the team’s player-manager, and finished his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1936 Cobb received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 222 out of a possible 226 votes. Cobb set 90 MLB records during his career. He still holds several records as of the end of the 2013 season, including the highest career batting average (.366 or .367, depending on source) and most career batting titles with 11 (or 12, depending on source). He retained many other records for almost a half century or more, including most career hits until 1985 (4,189 or 4,191, depending on source), most career runs (2,245 or 2,246 depending on source) until 2001, most career games played (3,035) and at bats (11,429 or 11,434 depending on source) until 1974, and the modern record for most career stolen bases (892) until 1977. He still holds the career record for stealing home (54 times) and as the youngest player to compile 4,000 hits and score 2,000 runs. Cobb ranks fifth all-time in number of games played and committed 271 errors, the most by any American League (AL) outfielder.

In 1962,  Nuclear weapons testing: The “Small Boy” test shot Little Feller I becomes the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada National Security Site.

In 1968,  A revolution occurs in Iraq when Abdul Rahman Arif is overthrown and the Ba’ath Party is installed as the governing power in Iraq with Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr as the new Iraqi President.

In 1973,  King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan is deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan while in Italy undergoing eye surgery.

In 1974,  Dizzy Dean, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1910) dies at the age of 64 in Reno, Nevada, of a heart attack, and was buried in the Bond Cemetery. He was also known as Jerome Herman Dean, was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Browns. A brash and colorful personality, Dean was the last National League pitcher to win 30 games in one season. After his playing career, he became a popular television sports commentator. Dean was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. When the Cardinals reopened the team Hall of Fame in 2014, Dean was inducted among the inaugural class.

Dean was best known for winning 30 games in the 1934 season while leading the 1934Gashouse GangSt. Louis team to the National League Pennant and the World Series win over the Detroit Tigers. He had a 30–7 record with a 2.66 ERA during the regular season. His brother, Paul, was also on the team, with a record of 19-11, and was nicknamed “Daffy”, although this was usually only done for press consumption. Though “Diz” sometimes called his brother “Daf”, he typically referred to himself and his brother as “Me an’ Paul”. Continuing the theme, the team included Dazzy Vance and Joe “Ducky” Medwick.

The Gashouse Gang was the southernmost and westernmost team in the major leagues at the time, and became a de facto “America’s Team.” Team members, particularly Southerners such as the Dean brothers and Pepper Martin, became folk heroes inDepression-ravaged America. Americans saw in these players, dirty and hustling rather than handsome and graceful, a spirit of hard work and perseverance, as opposed to the haughty, highly paid New York Giants, whom the Cardinals chased for the National League pennant.

Most of us knew Dean as a well-known radio and television sportscaster, calling baseball for the Cardinals (1941–46), Browns (1941–48), Yankees (1950–51), and Atlanta Braves (1966–68) and nationally with Mutual (1952), ABC (1953–54), and CBS (1955–1965), where he teamed first with Buddy Blattner then with Pee Wee Reese. As a broadcaster, Dean was famous for his wit and his often-colorful butchering of the English language. Much like football star-turned-sportscaster Terry Bradshaw years later, he chose to build on, rather than counter, his image as a not-too-bright country boy, as a way of entertaining fans: “The Good Lord was good to me. He gave me a strong right arm, a good body, and a weak mind.”

In 1975,  Apollo–Soyuz Test Project: An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations.

In 1976,  East Timor is annexed, and becomes the 27th province of Indonesia.

In 1976,  The opening of the Summer Olympics in Montreal is marred by 25 African teams boycotting the New Zealand team.

In 1979,  Nicaraguan dictator General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns and flees to Miami, Florida.

In 1981, The opening of the Humber Bridge by Queen Elizabeth II in England, United Kingdom. The Humber Bridge, billed as the longest single-span bridge in the world (1.4 km).

In 1981,  A structural failure leads to the collapse of a walkway at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, Missouri killing 114 people and injuring more than 200.

In 1984, The Rev. Jesse Jackson, addressing the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, asked the party to forgive him for any error of “temper, taste or tone” during his presidential campaign.

In 1985,  Founding of the EUREKA Network by former head of states François Mitterrand (France) and Helmut Kohl (Germany).

In 1986, Dallas-based LTV Corporation, $4 billion dollars in debt, declared the largest U.S. bankruptcy in U.S. history. With $6.14 billion ($13.4 billion today) in total assets and $4.59 billion in debt. It was the largest bankruptcy in US history to that point.

In 1989,  First flight of the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber.

In 1989,  Holy See–Poland relations are restored.

In 1996,  TWA Flight 800: Off the coast of Long Island, New York, a Paris-bound TWA Boeing 747 explodes, killing all 230 on board.

In 1996,  The Community of Portuguese Language Countries is founded.

In 1997, Woolworth Corporation announced it was closing its 400 remaining five-and-dime stores across the country, ending 117 years in business.

In 1998,  Papua New Guinea earthquake: A tsunami triggered by an undersea earthquake destroys 10 villages in Papua New Guinea killing an estimated 3,183, leaving 2,000 more unaccounted for and thousands more homeless.

In 1998,  A diplomatic conference adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.

In 2001,  Concorde is brought back in to service nearly a year after the July 2000 crash.

In 2006,  The 7.7 Mw Pangandaran tsunami earthquake severely affects the Indonesian island of Java, killing 668 people, and leaving more than 9,000 injured.

In 2007,  TAM Airlines Flight 3054, an Airbus A320, crashes into a warehouse after landing too fast and missing the end of the São Paulo–Congonhas Airport runway, killing 199 people.

In 2009,  Two suicide bombers detonate themselves at two separate hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In 2014,  Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashes near the border of Ukraine and Russia after being shot down. All 298 people on board are killed.

In 2014,  A French regional train on the Pau-Bayonne line crashes into a high-speed train near the town of Denguin, resulting in at least 25 injuries.

In 2015,  At least 120 people are killed and 130 injured by a suicide bombing in Diyala Province, Iraq.

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