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July 17, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, July 17, the 198th day of 2013. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 17, 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

On this date:

  • In 1763, American entrepreneur John Jacob Astor was born in Walldorf in present-day Germany.
  • In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
  • In 1862, during the Civil War, Congress approved the Second Confiscation Act, which declared that all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines were to be set free.
  • 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 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.
  • In 1955, Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim, Calif.
  • In 1962, the United States conducted its last atmospheric nuclear test to date, detonating a 20-kiloton device, code-named Little Feller I, at the Nevada Test Site.
  • 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, N.Y., shortly after leaving John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people aboard.
  • In 1998, Nicholas II, last of the Romanov czars, was formally buried in Russia 80 years after he and his family were slain by the Bolsheviks.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair forcefully defended their decision to topple Saddam Hussein during a joint White House news conference. In a speech to the U.S. Congress, Blair said even if they were proven wrong about Iraq's weapons capabilities, "We will have destroyed a threat that at its least is responsible for inhuman carnage and suffering." Democrats Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich apologized to the NAACP for bypassing a presidential forum.

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