Today is Thursday, July 17, the 198th day of 2014. There are 167 days left in the year.
On July 17, 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.
On this date:
In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.
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 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 1954, the two-day inaugural Newport Jazz Festival, billed as “The First American Jazz Festival,” opened in Rhode Island; among the performers the first night was Billie Holiday, who died in New York on this date in 1959 at age 44.
In 1955, Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim.
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 1974, Baseball Hall of Famer Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean, 64, died in Reno, Nevada.
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, New York, 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: Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia submitted his resignation to Yasser Arafat, who rejected it the next day. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger mockingly used the term “girlie men” during a rally as he claimed Democrats were delaying the state budget by catering to special interests.
Five years ago: Former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite died in New York at 92. Bombs ripped through two luxury hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, killing seven victims and wounding at least 50 more. The space shuttle Endeavour arrived at the international space station to deliver the third and final component of a billion-dollar Japanese lab. Gordon Waller, of the pop duo Peter and Gordon, died in Norwich, Connecticut, at 64.
One year ago: In a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on domestic spying, members of Congress said they’d never intended to allow the National Security Agency to build a database of every phone call in America, while top Obama administration officials countered that the once-secret program was legal and necessary to keep America safe.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Donald Sutherland is 79. Actress-singer Diahann Carroll is 79. Comedian Tim Brooke-Taylor is 74. Rock musician Spencer Davis is 72. Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is 67. Rock musician Terry “Geezer” Butler is 65. Actress Lucie Arnaz is 63. Actor David Hasselhoff is 62. Rock musician Fran Smith Jr. (The Hooters) is 62. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is 60. Television producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” ”The Apprentice”) is 54. Actress Nancy Giles is 54. Singer Regina Belle is 51. Rock musician Kim Shattuck is 51. Country singer Craig Morgan is 50. Rock musician Lou Barlow is 48. Contemporary Christian singer Susan Ashton is 47. Actor Andre Royo is 46. Actress Bitty Schram is 46. Actor Jason Clarke is 45. Singer JC (PM Dawn) is 43. Rapper Sole’ is 41. Country singer Luke Bryan is 38. Actor Eric Winter is 38. Hockey player Marc Savard is 37. Actor Mike Vogel is 35. Actor Tom Cullen (“Downton Abbey”) is 29. Actor Brando Eaton is 28. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jeremih is 27. Actress Summer Bishil is 26.
Thought for today: “Dreams have as much influence as actions.” — Stephane Mallarme, French essayist and poet (1842-1898).