17th July In History

Modern ways to entertain saw the light of the day on 17th July 1955 as Disneyland was opened for public in the United States of America. Another way to comfort the human race was found when American Willis Haviland Carrier developed the first air-conditioning system. Grace Kelly fans, however, had the last chance to see their favourite actor as her final movie High Society was released on this day. While July 17 has a good share of amusement it fades when we look at the disasters that happened on this day. On this day the US ammunition ships exploded at Port Chicago, Papua New Guinea and Java Island were struck by earthquake and tsunami, and three flights crashed. The disasters remind us to be extra cautious in our dealings with human lives and nature. July 17th is the day when 22 African countries boycotted Olympic Games’ Opening Ceremony in 1976 over apartheid system in South Africa. It was good news for aspiring dentists in America as the first dental school, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was set up in Boston, Massachusetts. The most astonishing event of this day is that archrivals U.S.A and U.S.S.R joined hands, albeit in space science, for the first time with the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project.


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 17th July



180

Politics

12 North African Christians Given Death Sentence

On 17th July, 180, 12 North African Christians were sentenced to death for refusing to renounce their faith by Vigellius Saturninus who was the governor of Africa Proconsularis. The men were tried under Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and the record of the trial tells that the men belonged to Scilla or Scillium in Numidia, Africa. This is the earliest indication of the existence of Christianity in this region at that time.


1402

Politics

Zhu Di Takes Over The Ming Dynasty Of China

Zhu Di, the third emperor of China’s Ming dynasty, ascended the throne after his father on 17 July, 1402. Di gave his reign the name Yongle, which means eternal happiness. He made the Ming dynasty very powerful and shifted the capital to Beijing from Nanjing.


1429

Politics

Charles VII Crowned King Of France

Charles VII was crowned the King of France on July 17, 1429 at Reims, after winning the French city of Orleans from the British forces. The British had attacked Orleans and it was with the help of Joan of Arc that King Charles was able to defeat the English army. Charles VII, who was called as the Dauphin before being crowned, strengthened the Monarchy.


1791

Politics

Lafayette’s Guards Open Fire At Petitioners

It was on 17th July, 1791 that the guards of marquis de Lafayette opened fire on a group of petitioners who were demanding the abdication of King Louis XVI at Champ de Mars in Paris. Around 50 people were either killed or injured by the guards. Lafayette, who was elected the commander of National Guard of Paris, became quite unpopular because of this incident. This led Lafayette to resign from the guard in October.


1918

Politics

Bolsheviks Kill Last Russian Tsar Nicholas II

The Bolsheviks killed the last Russian tsar Nicholas II or Nikolay Aleksandrovich along with his wife and children on July 17, 1918 at Yekaterinburg in Russia after the October Revolution. The Bolsheviks were revolutionary people who believed in the ideology of Karl Marx. Vladimir Ilyich Ulianov or Lenin formed the Bolsheviks who began the October or Bolshevik Revolution.


1932

Politics

Altona Bloody Sunday Battle Takes Place

When the Nazi’s fought the communists on the streets of Germany severe riots broke out on 17 July 1932 in which hundreds of lives were lost in Altona in Hamburg. This came to be known as the Altona Bloody Sunday battle. This happened because Franz von Papen was made Chancellor and he dissolved the Reichstag and called for elections for July 31, 1932. Papen also accepted the pact with Hitler and lifted the ban on SA. These decisions resulted in the outbreak of political violence and murder throughout Germany. There was a severe fight between the storm troopers and Communists.


1945

Politics

Potsdam Conference Begins In Germany

The President of the United States of America Harry S. Truman, premier of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin and United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Potsdam, Berlin in Germany on 17 July 1945. This marked the beginning of the Potsdam Conference. The leaders talked about European matters after World War II, the defeat of Germany and the war with Japan. The leaders were able to sort out issues related to their nations but suspicions over USSR’s plans in Europe remained because Soviet forces still occupied large parts of Eastern Europe.


1968

Politics

Baath Party Overtakes Key Areas In Baghdad

On July 17, 1968, important regions in Baghdad, Iraq, were seized by members of the Baath Party. Baathist Hasan al-Bakr became the president, the prime minister and secretary-general of the party. Bakr’s cousin Saddam Hussein worked from behind to check those against the new regime.


1969

Politics

General Earle Wheeler Goes To South Vietnam

On July 17, 1969 General Earle Wheeler who was the chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff paid a visit to South Vietnam to oversee the status of U.S. army men there. Wheeler also took stock of the progress made by South Vietnamese armed forces and their future goals. In his report to the then President Richard Nixon he said that the plan to improve Vietnamese troops was going on well.


1973

Politics

Afghanistan’s King Is Ousted In A Coup

On July 17, 1973 King of Afghanistan Mohammad Zahir Shah was overthrown in a bloodless coup. The coup was planned and executed by Shah’s brother-in-law General Mohammad Daud Khan when the King was in Italy to spend some time there after an eye injury treatment in Britain. Daud Khan declared Afghanistan a republic and made himself the president. Shah was later honoured with the title of the Father of the Nation.


1979

Politics

Nicaraguan President Resigns

Anastasio Somoza Debayle, former president of Nicaragua and the commander in chief of the armed forces, resigned on 17 July, 1979. Somoza went into exile to Miami, Florida, U.S and was later assassinated in Paraguay. When the Sandinista National Liberation Front, a Nicaraguan group, ousted Somoza and took over the reins of Nicaragua, Somoza had to flee.


1203

Wars

Fourth Crusade Captures Byzantine Empire

Constantinople, the former capital of the Byzantine Empire, of the Ottoman Empire, was captured by the armies of the Fourth Crusade on July 17, 1203. The Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos, a weak and greedy person, ran away from the capital city into exile to Thrace. Angelos’ brother Isaac II and his son (crowned Alexius IV) were reinstated by the Fourth Crusade. The Fourth Crusade was formed by Pope Innocent III to regain the Holy Land of Jerusalem but it was sent to Constantinople instead.


1453

Wars

The Last Battle Of 100 Years’ War Is Fought

The final battle of the Hundred Years of War, called as the battle of Castillon, was fought on 17th July, 1453 in France. The French army lead by Jean Bureau became stronger with the addition of Bureau’s field artillery. The army began the recapture of Guyenne by starting with the pro-English bastion of Castillon. The Hundred Years of War was a conflict between France and England over several issues, which includes the legitimate heir to the crown of France. The strife over gaining the crown made the British and French generations fight for a span of 100 years.


1936

Wars

Spain Faces Civil War

The garrison towns throughout Spain erupted in a military revolt against the Popular Front government, which was a left-wing, Republican political party, on 17 July, 1936. This began the civil war in which the rebels were able to capture Spanish Morocco, the Canary Islands, and the Balearic Islands and some other parts. But the Republicans were able to gain control over the capital city of Madrid and quell the uprising in other areas of Spain.


1972

Wars

South Vietnamese Troops Try To Gain Citadel

South Vietnamese troops thrust themselves within 200 yards of the Citadel in Quang Tri City on 17 July 1972 so as to overpower it. The residents, of the areas overtaken by the troops, sided with the refugees and moved towards the south to escape the fight between North and South Vietnamese. In the Nguyen Hue Offensive the North Vietnamese army had taken control of Quang Tri City.


1976

Wars

Indonesia Annexes East Timor

On 17 July, 1976, Indonesia annexed East Timor after its then president Suharto ordered the invasion of Timor. The United Nations opposed the invasion but Indonesia defied it. The invasion was triggered after a civil war broke out in East Timor when Portugal and Lisbon allowed all of their colonies to choose their government. The civil was fought between those who wanted independence and those who backed annexation to Indonesia.


1944

Disasters & Natural Calamities

US Ammunition Ships Explode At Port Chicago

On 17 July 1944 two merchant ships SS Quinault Victory and SS E.A. Bryan were destroyed when ammunition in one of the ships exploded. The disaster killed 320 people and damaged all buildings in Port Chicago. The incident happened when both the ships were being loaded at Port Chicago, near San Francisco in the U.S. Port Chicago was chosen because it had the capacity to load two ships at a time and the Naval Ammunition Depot at Mare Island, California, could not meet the requirement. Untrained staff and compromise on safety standards led to the blast.


1996

Disasters & Natural Calamities

TWA 800 Flight Crashes At Long Island

A Boeing Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800 crashed on 17th July 1996 near the shores of Long Island in New York state. The crash killed all 230 people on board and destroyed the plane. The aircraft was on its way to Paris from New York. The plane crashed possibly because of an explosion in one of its fuel tank.


1998

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Papua New Guinea Is Hit By A Tsunami

Volcano sensitive country of Papua New Guinea experienced the worst tsunami on 17 July 1998. At least 2,500 lives were lost and several villages were ruined in the 30-foot high tidal waves. A study to find the cause of the Tsunami revealed that it was an underwater landslide that caused the tsunami and not an earthquake.


2006

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Java Island Struck By Earthquake, Tsunami

The coast of Java island in Indonesia was hit by a 7.7 magnitude undersea earthquake on 17 July 2006. The earthquake caused a tsunami that killed over 300 people, wounded hundreds of other people and damaged several houses and buildings. The tsunami waves which were around six-feet high lashed the resort of Pangandaran.


2007

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Brazil’s TAM Airlines Plane Crashes At The Airport

An Airbus A320 aircraft of TAM Airlines Flight JJ3054 crashed after a failed landing at the Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 17 July, 2007. The plane hit a petrol station and the warehouse of TAM, which is Brazil’s largest airline. The accident resulted in the death of all 187 people on board and another 12 people on the ground. A short runway was one of the reasons for the crash. The accident was considered to be the most tragic in Brazil’s aviation history then.


1976

Sports

African Countries Boycott Olympic Games’ Opening Ceremony

On 17th July, 1976, the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony, which was being held in Montreal, Canada, was boycotted by 22 African nations led by Tanzania. The boycott decision was taken because New Zealand’s rugby team was touring South Africa, which supported apartheid. The International Olympic Committee did not ban New Zealand from participating in the Olympics despite it having sporting ties with South Africa. South Africa had been banned from the Olympics since 1964 but the ban was lifted in 1991.


1941

Sports

Joe Dimaggio’s Hitting Spree Comes To A Halt

Joe DiMaggio, the US professional baseball player, lost his 56-game hitting streak in a match against the Cleveland Indians on 17 July 1941. The New York Yankees center fielder had made his mark as the top-class all-rounder of the game.


1717

Literature & Entertainment

Premiere Of Handel’s Water Music Takes Place

English composer George Frideric Handel’s water music debuted on 17th July 1717 on a barge on the Thames River. Handel’s music was played for recreational purpose on a royal cruise organized by King George I of England who had asked Handel to write the music for a concert. Water music is short pieces of music for small orchestra created by Handel who was born in Germany.


1955

Literature & Entertainment

Disneyland Opens To Public

The amusement park Disneyland opened on 17 July 1955 in Anaheim, California, U.S.A. The theme park’s opening day was bad as the fountains did not work due to a strike called by the plumbers; there were traffic snarls and high temperature to add to the discomfort. Frontierland, Adventureland and Sleeping Beauty’s castle were showcased in the beginning. The park was spread on 160 acres and was constructed on an orange grove.


1956

Literature & Entertainment

‘High Society’ Feature Film Released

17th July is known for being the day ‘High Society’, a Hollywood musical, released in theatres across the U.S. It was the last movie in which Grace Kelly acted, prior to getting married to Prince Rainier of Monaco and then deciding not to act. The lead stars in ‘High Society’ included Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. The movie was nominated for two Oscars.


1967

Literature & Entertainment

Hendrix Leaves ‘The Monkees’

One of the most unusual collaborations of American music split when Jimi Hendrix backed out from an opening act for the pop rock band ‘The Monkees’ on this day of 1967. The U.S rock guitarist Hendrix mixed American music genres like blues, jazz, soul, rock with English rock to create a new style of music altogether.


1762

Trivia

Peter The Great Was Murdered

Emperor of Russia Peter III, famously hailed as Peter The Great, was murdered by Alexei Orlov on 17th July, 1762. Orlov was the brother of Peter’s wife Catherine’s love interest, Gregory. After Peter’s death, Catherine, who was born in Germany, became the sole czar of Russia. Catherine was the longest serving and one of the most popular female rulers of Russia. During her reign, Catherine ushered Russia into the modern world.


1867

Trivia

America Opens Its First Dental School

On this day the first dental school in America, the ‘Harvard School of Dental Medicine’, was set up in Boston, Massachusetts. The institution was also the first to be affiliated to a university and it consisted of only 5 students when it started. The first dean of the institute was Dr. Nathan Cooley Keep, who was a known doctor and an advocate of dental medicine.


1899

Trivia

Japan’s First Foreign Funded Firm Is Established

The ‘Nippon Electric Company, Limited’ (better known as the ‘NEC Corporation’) was established on this day. The firm was the first joint venture of Japan to utilize funds from offshore sources. Japanese businessman Kunihiko Iwadare formed the firm in collaboration with the American enterprise ‘Western Electric Company’ (now known as ‘Alcatel-Lucent’).


1902

Trivia

Carrier Designs The Maiden Air-Conditioning System

American industrialist and inventor Willis Haviland Carrier developed the first air-conditioning system on July 17, 1902. Carrier worked on the air-conditioning system when he was an engineer employed with the Buffalo Forge Company. The air-conditioning work started with Carrier’s engineering paper, in which he wrote about ‘Rational Psychrometric Formulae’. The industrialist later founded the ‘Carrier Corporation’.


1917

Trivia

King George V Announces Change Of Royal Surnames

The surnames of the male members of the British Royal family were changed to Windsor after U.K’s King George V issued a proclamation to this effect on 17th July, 1917. The Royals had previously adopted German titles such as Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but decided to change them when anti-German sentiment grew strong in Britain during World War I. The anti-German sentiment was fueled by the attack on London by the German aircraft Gotha G.IV.


1918

Trivia

‘RMS Carpathia’ Sinks After German Attack

The ‘Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Carpathia’ sunk on Ireland’s coast when the imperial German submarine U-boat, bombarded it with torpedoes on 17th July, 1918. Of the 223 people on board, 218 were saved but 5 died. The British ship was being used to transport army men and supplies during the World War I. The ‘RMS Carpathia' had earlier made news for rescuing several passengers of the ill-fated vessel ‘Titanic’.


1938

Trivia

Corrigan Flies On The ‘Wrong Way’

On 17 July, 1938, aviator Douglas Corrigan took a solo flight to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, U.S, but instead, landed at Ireland’s capital Dublin a day later. In his explanation to the U.S aviation authorities, Corrigan said that he took a wrong turn and was misled by a faulty compass. Nevertheless, Corrigan’s license was suspended. This flight earned Corrigan the nickname ‘Wrong Way Corrigan’.


1974

Trivia

Bomb Explodes In The White Tower In London

A bomb exploded in the Mortar Room in the White Tower in London on 17th July, 1974. One person died and 41 people were wounded in the incident. Tourists in the exhibition room in the basement, which was filled with people, could feel the intensity of the blast.


1975

Trivia

In A First, US And USSR Spacecraft Unite

The first international joint meeting between the United States and the Soviet Union in space took place on 17th July, 1975 when their spaceships docked with each other. The astronauts of both the nations joined hands in the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project that consisted of U.S Apollo Command and Service Module and the Soviet Soyuz capsule. The mission proved that two different spacecraft can dock in orbit.


1981

Trivia

Queen Elizabeth II Opens The Humber Bridge

Queen Elizabeth II of England inaugurated the famous bridge built on the river Humber near Kingston upon Hull, in England, on July 17, 1981. The bridge is touted as the largest single-span suspension bridge in the world. The construction of the bridge, which has footpaths and a four-lane highway, began 20 years after the Humber Bridge Act was passed. A suspension bridge was built over the river so that the flow of the estuary is not blocked and the construction cost would be lesser than that of a tunnel.


1981

Trivia

Walkways Of ‘Hyatt Regency’ Collapse

On 17th July 1981, two suspended walkways of the hotel ‘Hyatt Regency’ broke down in Kansas City, Missouri. Around 113 people were killed and 186 were wounded as a result of the collapse. A number of tests were conducted on the material used for construction to determine the cause of the collapse. It was found that a design flaw in the walkways’ suspension systems, sub-standard construction work and enforcement of inefficient procedures, led to the tragedy.


1984

Trivia

Drinking Age In The U.S Raised To 21

The permissible age for drinking in the United States was changed to 21 from 18 years after President Ronald Reagan signed the ‘National Minimum Drinking Age Act’ on 17th July, 1984. The states which were reluctant to comply with the law faced a 10% loss in their federal highway funding. Hence, the act was widely accepted eventually.


1985

Trivia

‘EUREKA’ Initiative Starts

The ‘EUREKA’ initiative began on 17th July, 1985 after 17 countries and members of Commission of the European Communities came together for a Conference of Ministers in Paris, France. The forum was formed by France’s President François Mitterrand and the Chancellor of West Germany, Helmut Kohl. ‘EUREKA’ aims at building cooperation in the areas of technology, research, productivity, biotechnology and others between industries of the world.


1986

Trivia

‘LTV Corporation’ Files For Bankruptcy

America’s third largest steelmaker, the ‘LTV Corporation’, filed for bankruptcy and asked for court protection from its creditors on 17th July, 1986. This was the largest bankruptcy case in U.S history as ‘LTV Corporation’ had incurred a debt of more than $4 billion. Under the bankruptcy law, the enterprise was allowed to resume its business and prepare a plan to repay the creditors.


1989

Trivia

Stealth Bomber B-2 Makes Its First Flight

The maiden flight of the spirit stealth bomber, B-2, took place on 17 July, 1989, over the Mojave Desert in California U.S. Developed by the firm ‘Northrop Grumman Corp.’, the aircraft is the world's only long range stealth bomber. It can escape radar detection and does not require refueling for up to 6,000 nautical miles.


1995

Trivia

‘NASDAQ’ Composite Index Exceeds The 1000 Mark

The ‘NASDAQ’ composite index in America went above the 1000 mark for the first time on 17th July, 1995. The rise was seen after technology stocks performed strongly. ‘Microsoft’ led the gainers with a rise of $5.375 and blue-chip stocks also touched record levels.


1996

Trivia

Community Of Portuguese Language Countries Is Formed

The ‘Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP)’ came into existence on 17th July, 1996 in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Portuguese is considered the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. The objective of this consortium is to foster political and diplomatic relations between member nations and address social, cultural, scientific as well as economic concerns. Nations that are a part of the ‘CPLP’ include Brazil, East Timor and 5 African nations.


1998

Trivia

International Criminal Court’s Statute Is Adopted

The Statute for the ‘International Criminal Court (ICC)’ was adopted on 17th July, 1998, in Rome, Italy. The purpose behind the establishment of the ICC was to ensure that international laws are strictly followed. The court, which was set up in the Hague, also addresses crimes related to genocide, war and aggression.


2001

Trivia

‘Concorde’ Takes Test To Get Back Into Service

On July 17, 2001, the supersonic passenger aircraft ‘Concorde’ completed its first supersonic test flight without any glitch. The jet was jointly built by aircraft companies of United Kingdom and France. The plane’s services were halted after it crashed in Paris, in 2000, which led to the loss of 113 lives.


2009

Trivia

Indonesia Rocked By Two Suicide Attacks

On 17 July 2009, two suicide attacks took place, one each at ‘JW Marriott’ and the ‘Ritz-Carlton’ hotels, in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Eight people lost their lives during the attacks, while 50 were wounded. Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that the attacks could have been carried out by a terrorist outfit.


2014

Trivia

Malaysian Airlines Flight ‘MH17’ Crashes

On 17 July 2014, ‘MH17’, a Boeing 777 aircraft, belonging to the ‘Malaysian Airlines’, crashed in the region of Ukraine, which is situated along the Russian border. The flight was on the way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and had 283 people onboard. The plane crashed in the conflict zone between Russia and Ukraine. The American intelligence was of the view that it was shot down by a missile.


2014

Trivia

TGV Train Collides With Regional Express

A fast moving TGV train collided with a regional express train on the Pau-Bayonne line, located near the town of Denguin in France on 17th July, 2014. The horrific collision left dozens of people injured. The TGV train was carrying 178 passengers, while the regional TER train had around 70 onboard.


2015

Trivia

‘IS’ Conducts Suicide Attack In Iraq

A suicide car explosion was carried out by militants at a busy market in Khan Bani Saad, situated in Diyala province, Iraq, on 17th July, 2015. The terrorist organization ‘Islamic State (IS)’ accepted it had conducted this devastating attack, which took away more than 100 lives. The heinous act was carried out during the end of the holy month of Ramadan.


People Born This Day

Angela Merkel
(1954-)
Chancellor of Germany [ German ]
Elbridge Gerry
(1744-1814)
[ American ]
Diahann Carroll
(1935-)
[ American ]
Berenice Abbott
(1898-1991)
[ American ]
Camilla Parker Bowles
(1947-)
[ British ]
James Cagney
(1899-1986)
Actor, Dancer [ American ]
Ali Khamenei
(1939-)
Supreme Leader of Iran [ Iranian ]
Ruben Rada
(1943-)
Composer [ Uruguayan ]
Matti Nykänen
(1963-)
Olympic athlete [ Finnish ]
Georges Lemaître
(1894-1966)
Scientist & Priest [ Belgian ]
Luke Bryan
(1976-)
Singer-Songwriter [ American ]
Donald Sutherland
(1935-)
Actor [ Canadian ]
Tiffany Taylor
(1977-)
Model & Actress [ American ]
Kayla Phillips
(1991-)
Model, Instagram Star [ American ]
Alex Ernst
(1996-)
YouTuber, Viner [ American ]
Matt Yoakum
(1980-)
YouTube Personality [ American ]
Shona Vertue
(1984-)
Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher [ Australian ]
Sasha Czack
(1950-)
Photographer [ American ]


People Died This Day

John Coltrane
(1926-1967)
Jazz saxophonist and composer [ American ]
Henri Poincare
(1854-1912)
Mathematician and Philosopher [ French ]
Janet Lane-Claypon
(1877-1967)
Physician [ British ]
Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Economist and Philosopher [ Scottish ]
Billie Holiday
(1915-1959)
Musician [ American ]
Ty Cobb
(1886-1961)
American Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder [ American ]
Nicholas II
(1868-1918)
[ Russian ]
Dorothea Dix
(1802-1887)
Social Reformer [ American ]
Peter III of Russia
(1728-1762)
Emperor of Russia [ Russian ]
Alexandra Feodorovna
(1872-1918)
Saint [ German ]
James Abbott McNeill Whistler
(1834-1903)
Painter [ American ]
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia
(1901-1918)
Daughter of Tsar Nicholas II [ Russian ]
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