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Today in History

July 17, 2021 GMT

Today in History

Today is Saturday, July 17, the 198th day of 2021. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 17, 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower link-up of its kind.

On this date:

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 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 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.

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In 1945, following Nazi Germany’s surrender, President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.

In 1962, the United States conducted its last atmospheric nuclear test to date, detonating a 20-kiloton device, codenamed Little Feller I, at the Nevada Test Site.

In 1967, after seven dates, Jimi Hendrix quit as the opening act for the Monkees following a concert at Forest Hills Stadium in New York. (Although greatly admired by the Monkees, Hendrix had received a less than enthusiastic reception from their fans.)

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, Eric Garner, a Black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by New York City police officers; a video of the takedown showed Garner repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” (Garner’s family received $5.9 million from the city in 2015 to settle a wrongful death claim.) All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists denied responsibility.

Ten years ago: Japan won the Women’s World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, stunning the United States 3-1 in a penalty shootout after coming from behind twice in a 2-2 tie. Darren Clarke gave Northern Ireland another major championship, winning the British Open by three strokes over Americans Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

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Five years ago: Three Baton Rouge law enforcement officers investigating a report of a man with an assault rifle were killed, less than two weeks after a Black man was shot and killed by police in the city in a confrontation that sparked nightly protests that reverberated nationwide. (The gunman was killed by tactical officers.)

One year ago: Civil rights icon John Lewis, whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, died at the age of 80. Militarized federal agents deployed by President Donald Trump to Portland, Oregon, again fired tear gas to break up crowds of protesters as the city’s mayor demanded that the agents be removed. Oregon’s attorney general sued the Department of Homeland Security and the Marshals Service, alleging that unidentified federal agents had grabbed people off the streets of Portland with no warrant or explanation. Teams of military medics were deployed in Texas and California to help hospitals swamped with coronavirus patients. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she was receiving chemotherapy for a recurrence of cancer, but that she had no plans to retire. (Ginsburg died in September 2020; she was succeeded by Amy Coney Barrett.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Donald Sutherland is 86. Sportscaster Verne Lundquist is 81. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 74. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler is 72. Actor Lucie Arnaz is 70. Actor David Hasselhoff is 69. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 69. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is 67. Television producer Mark Burnett is 61. Actor Nancy Giles is 61. Singer Regina Belle is 58. Country singer Craig Morgan is 57. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 55. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 54. Actor Andre Royo is 53. Actor Bitty Schram is 53. Actor Jason Clarke is 52. Movie director F. Gary Gray is 52. Rapper Sole’ is 48. Country singer Luke Bryan is 45. Actor Eric Winter is 45. Actor Mike Vogel is 42. Actor Tom Cullen is 36. Actor Brando Eaton is 35. R&B singer Jeremih (jehr-uh-MY’) is 34. Actor Summer Bishil is 33. Actor Billie Lourd is 29. Actor Leo Howard is 24.