July 17 in History


Staff member
Jun 3, 2003
Jul 17 1793

In return for attempting to obviate civil war, Charlotte Corday is publicly executed. Four days prior, she had assassinated influential French radical Jean-Paul Marat by stabbing him in the bathtub. Immediately after slicing it off, the executioner lifts Corday's head out of the guillotine's basket and slaps it on both cheeks.

Jul 17 1917

Britain's King George V issues a royal proclamation changing his family's surname from Hanover to Windsor. Thus, everyone is fooled into believing that a bunch of inbred krauts are really English. Which is convenient, because England just so happens to be at war with Germany.

Jul 17 1918

With counter-revolutionary forces advancing steadily on the city, the Bolsheviks holding captive Czar Nicholas II invite him and his family into the basement for a portrait. The Romanovs and their servants, expecting a photography session, wind up on the business end of a firing squad. Their bodies are dragged outside and buried in an unmarked mass grave.

Jul 17 1936

General Francisco Franco seizes control of the Canary Islands, signaling the start of the three-year Spanish Civil War.

Jul 17 1944

At 10:18 pm, the merchant ship SS E.A. Bryan, packed with 4,606 tons of ammunition, suddenly explodes at the Port Chicago naval base north of Oakland, California. The apocalyptic blast breaks windows in San Francisco, 48 miles away, and the seismic shock is felt as far as Boulder City, Nevada. All 320 personnel on duty, most of them negro ordnance loaders, are killed instantly.

Jul 17 1952

David Hasselhoff's birthday! Yay for David! Yay for Germany! (credits: Revenge of the Cheerleaders)

Jul 17 1955

Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California. In the words of Walt Disney, "That place is my baby, and I would prostitute myself for it."

Jul 17 1968

Premiere of the drug-induced, Big Blue Meanie-infested cartoon Beatle film Yellow SuBathmatearine, at the London Pavilion.

Jul 17 1992

Axl Rose is arrested for assault in St Louis, Missouri.

Jul 17 1996

TWA flight 800 explodes off Long Island NY, killing 230 passengers. The explosion, whose cause was not terrorist related, is used as an excuse by the FBI to ask for restrictions on civil liberties.