Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today is Tuesday, July 17, the 198th day of 2018. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On July 17, 1944, during World War II, 320 men, two-thirds of them African-Americans, were killed when a pair of ammunition ships exploded at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in California.

Email newsletter signup

On this date:

In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War began as right-wing army generals launched a coup attempt against the Second Spanish Republic.

In 1938, aviator Douglas Corrigan took off from New York, saying he was headed for California; he ended up in Ireland, supposedly by accident, earning the nickname “Wrong Way Corrigan.”

In 1954, the two-day inaugural Newport Jazz Festival, billed as “The First American Jazz Festival,” opened in Rhode Island; among the performers the first night was Billie Holiday, who died in New York on this date in 1959 at age 44.

In 1955, Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim, California.

In 1967, jazz composer-musician John Coltrane died in Long Island, New York, at age 40.

In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower link-up of its kind.

In 1981, 114 people were killed when a pair of suspended walkways above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel collapsed during a tea dance.

In 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Europe-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board.

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

In 2014, all 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

Ten years ago: The FDA lifted its salmonella warning on tomatoes amid signs the record outbreak, while not over, might finally be slowing. President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO’-ree ahl-MAHL’-ih-kee) held a secure video conference during which they agreed to set a “general time horizon” for bringing more U.S. troops home from the Iraq war.

Five years ago: In a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on domestic spying, members of Congress said they’d never intended to allow the National Security Agency to build a database of every phone call in America, while top Obama administration officials countered that the once-secret program was legal and necessary to keep America safe.

One year ago: The latest Republican effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare” was dealt a fatal blow in the Senate when two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the measure. A white former Texas police officer, Roy Oliver, was indicted on a murder charge in the April shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, who was in a car with four other black teens. A Georgia jury said CSX Transportation should pay $3.9 million to the family of a movie worker killed on a railroad trestle in 2014 during the filming of a movie about musician Gregg Allman. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was released from a federal prison in Minnesota where he had served a little over a year for a banking conviction related to a child-sex-abuse scandal.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Donald Sutherland is 83. Actress-singer Diahann Carroll is 83. Rock musician Spencer Davis is 79. Sportscaster Verne Lundquist is 78. Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor is 78. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 71. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler is 69. Actress Lucie Arnaz is 67. Actor David Hasselhoff is 66. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 66. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN’-geh-lah MEHR’-kuhl) is 64. Television producer Mark Burnett is 58. Actress Nancy Giles is 58. Singer Regina Belle is 55. Rock musician Kim Shattuck is 55. Country singer Craig Morgan is 54. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 52. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 51. Actor Andre Royo is 50. Actress Bitty Schram is 50. Actor Jason Clarke is 49. Movie director F. Gary Gray is 49. Singer JC (PM Dawn) is 47. Rapper Sole’ is 45. Country singer Luke Bryan is 42. Actor Eric Winter is 42. Hockey player Marc Savard is 41. Actor Mike Vogel is 39. Actor Tom Cullen is 33. Actor Brando Eaton is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jeremih (jehr-uh-MY’) is 31. Actress Summer Bishil (BIHSH’-ihl) is 30. Actress Billie Lourd is 26. Actor Leo Howard is 21.