It happened today – this day in history – July 17

1203: The siege of Constantinople begins during the fourth crusade.

1585: English secret service discovers Anthony Babington’s murder plot against Queen Elizabeth I.

1603: Explorer Sir Walter Raleigh is arrested by forces of James I.

1717: George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music” premieres on the river Thames in London.

1762: Catherine II becomes tsarina of Russia following the murder of Peter III.

1793: Charlotte Corday, French revolutionary who murdered Jean-Paul Marat in a bath, is guillotined at 24.

1841: Satirical magazine “Punch” is first published.

1845: Former Prime Minister Earl Charles Grey dies aged 81.

1858: Recovery of the bell of HMS Lutine from ship’s wreck is hung from a rostrum in Lloyd’s of London’s underwriting room.

1863: Māori forces are defeated by British troops at Koheroa, Waikato, in the New Zealand Wars between Maori tribes and British colonials.

1890: Cecil Rhodes becomes Premier of Cape Colony.

1898: Spaniards surrender to US forces at Santiago de Cuba in the Spanish American War.

1903: Death of artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler aged 69.

1917: A Royal proclamation by King George V changes the name of the British Royal family from German Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.

1918: The Romanov royal family and several of their retainers are executed by a Bolshevik firing squad in the basement of Ipatiev House, in Yekaterinburg, Siberia.

1927: Nicolas Frantz of Luxembourg claims the first of two consecutive Tout de France titles.

1929: The USSR breaks off diplomatic relations with China.

1933: After successfully crossing the Atlantic, the Lithuanian research aircraft Lituanica crashes in Germany under mysterious circumstances.

1936: Spanish generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola lead a right-wing uprising, starting the Spanish Civil War.

1943: The RAF bombs the German rocket base at Peenemunde.

1948: The Israeli army captures Nazareth.

1954: Construction of Disneyland commences at Anaheim, California.

1955: Disneyland televises its grand opening.

1959: Billie Holiday

1958: King Hussein declares himself head of Jordan/Iraqi federation.

1959: Singer Billie Holiday dies in a New York hospital from cirrhosis of the liver aged 43 while under arrest for heroin possession with police stationed at the door to her room.

1960: The Tour de France is won by Gastone Nencini of Italy.

1967: Jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane dies from liver cancer aged 40.


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1972: A bomb, believed to have been planted by French separatists, explodes under a van carrying the Rolling Stones’ equipment in Montreal. On the same day, the first two women begin training as FBI agents at Quantico.

1973: Military coup in Afghanistan; King Mohammad Zahir Shah flees.

1974: An IRA bomb explodes at the Tower of London, killing one and injuring 41 including eight children.

1975: Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 make 1st US/USSR link-up in space. On the same day, four British soldiers are killed by a Provisional IRA remote-controlled bomb near Forkill, County Armagh, in the first major breach of a February truce. Also, Ringo Starr and first wife Maureen divorce.

1976: The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Montreal is marred by the withdrawal of 25 African countries protesting at New Zealand’s sporting links with South Africa. More would withdraw over the coming days.

1977: Singles chart:

  1. I Feel Love – Donna Summer
  2. So You Win Again – Hot Chocolate
  3. Ma Baker – Boney M
  4. Fanfare For The Common Man – Emerson Lake and Palmer
  5. Angelo – Brotherhood of Man
  6. Baby Don;t Change Your Mind – Gladys Knight and the Pips
  7. Pretty Vacant – The Sex Pistols
  8. Sam – Olivia Newton John
  9. Oh Lori – Alessi
  10. Slow Down – John Miles
1977: ABBA – Arrival

Album chart:

  1. The Johnny Mathis Collection – Johnny Mathis
  2. A Star Is Born – Original Soundtrack
  3. I Remember Yesterday – Donna Summer
  4. The Muppet Show – The Muppets
  5. Stranglers IV (Rattus Norvegicus) – The Stranglers
  6. Best Of – The Mamas and Papas
  7. Love At The Greek – Neil Diamond
  8. Hotel California – The Eagles
  9. Arrival – ABBA
  10. Exodus – Bob Markey & The Wailers

1979: Left-wing Sandinista rebels take control of Nicaragua after 46 years of dictatorial rule by the Somoza family. On the .same day, Sebastian Coe runs a world record mile in Oslo (3:49).

1981: The Humber Estuary Bridge opens. On the same day, Israeli bombers destroy PLO/al-Fatah headquarters in Beirut.

1983: Tom Watson wins his fifth British Open at Royal Birkdale.

1984: Pierre Mauroy resigns as Prime Minister of France.

1987: Iran and France break off diplomatic relations.

1992: The Slovak parliament declares independence from Czechoslovakia, beginning the so-called Velvet Divorce.

1994: In the first World Cup final to be decided on a penalty shoot-out, Brazil beat Italy at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, US.

1995: Robbie Williams leaves Take That.

1996: Former Animals bassist and manager of Jimi Hendrix and Slade, Chas Chandler, dies aged 57. On the same day, a Paris-bound Boeing 747 explodes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing all 230 on board.

1998: Russia buries Tsar Nicholas II and his family, 80 years after they were executed.

2004: Half of the 4,500 people in the audience walk out of a Linda Ronstadt show at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas after the singer dedicated an encore of the Eagles song Desperado to filmmaker Michael Moore and urged the crowd to see his film Fahrenheit 9/11.

2005: Tiger Woods wins the British Open at St Andrews. On the same day, former Conservative Prime Minister, Edward Heath dies aged 89.

2009: Jakarta double bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels kills nine people.

2011: Japan beats US, 3-1 on penalties (2-2 after extra time) to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany.

2013: U2 singer Bono receives France’s highest cultural honour for his contribution to music and commitment to humanitarian causes when he was presented with the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti in Paris.

2014: Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is shot down over Eastern Ukraine by a Buk surface-to-air missile launched from pro-Russian separatist-controlled territory, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.

2015: Racing drives Jules Bianchi dies from injuries sustained during an accident at the 2014 Japanese F1 GP, at 25.

2019: The World Health Organization declares the DR Congo Ebola outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”. On the same day, Mexican drug lord Joachim El Chapo Guzman is sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years. Also, Bulgaria announces 5 million people, virtually every adult, has had their personal information exposed after the national tax agency is hacked.

BIRTHDAYS: Donald Sutherland, actor, 87; Alun (Alan) Armstrong, actor, 76; Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 75; Wolfgang Flur, musician (Kraftwerk), 75; Geezer (Terence) Butler, bassist/lyricist (Black Sabbath) 73; David Hasselhoff, actor, 70; Angela Merkel, German chancellor, 68; Fern Britton, TV presenter, 65; Heather Langenkamp, actress, 58; Alex Winter, actor/director, 57; Darren Day, actor/singer, 54; Jason Clarke, actor, 53; Jaap Stam, Dutch footballer, 50; Carey Hart, freestyle motocross racer, 47; Konnie Huq (Brooker), TV presenter, 47; Luke Bryan, country artist, 46; Gino (Gennaro) D’Acampo, TV chef, 46; Natasha Hamilton, singer (Atomic Kitten) 40; Brooke Kinsella, actress, 39; Tom Fletcher, guitar/vocals/songwriter (McFly) 37; Billie Lourd, actress, 30; Benjamin Mendy, French footballer, 28; Victor Lindelof, Swedish footballer, 28.

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