#TodayInHistory – July 174 min read
July 17 – Some important events on this day.
180 👉🏼 6 inhabitants of Carthage, North Africa executed for being Christians. Earliest record of Christianity in this part of the world.
1203 👉🏼 Siege of Constantinople begins during the fourth Crusade, Crusaders aboad a Venetian fleet attack the city
1549 👉🏼 Jews are expelled from Ghent, Belgium
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
1775 👉🏼 1st military hospital approved
1816 👉🏼 “L’Argus” accidentally discovers raft holding survivors from wrecked French frigate “Méduse.” After 13 days at sea only 15 of 151 remain, the rest having been cannibalised, murdered, or committed suicide. This event was made famous by Théodore Gericault’s painting “The Raft of the Medusa”
1861 👉🏼 US Congress authorizes paper money
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.
By July 1918, Russia was engulfed in a hellish civil war which would cost millions of lives and damage a country already reeling from the devastation of World War I. Swept away in this hellfire was the old Tsarist monarchy, last headed by Nicholas II.
Nicholas had abdicated in 1917 as the Russian Revolution swept through the nation. Since then he had been a prisoner of successive governments, first the Provisional Government and then the administration run by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
The Romanovs were shipped from place to place, eventually coming to Yekaterinburg in April, in the Urals, an area known for its hard Communist sympathies. As the White Russian forces grew closer, Lenin and his associates ordered the murder of the family to prevent them falling into anti-communist hands.
On the night of 16/17 July 1918, Nicholas, his wife Alexandra and their children Alexei, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia as well as several of their staff were executed in the basement of Ipatiev House. Their bodies were removed, mutilated and burned before being buried in a forest.
The remains of the family were discovered in stages – all except Alexei and Anastasia in 1979, and the bodies of the remaining children in 2007. Before the discovery of their bodies, rumors spread that some had survived, particularly Anastasia who would posthumously become the most famous of the Tsar’s children.
1919 👉🏼 Finland adopts constitution
1935 👉🏼 “Variety” publishes famous headline “Sticks Nix Hick Pix”
1936 👉🏼 Spanish generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola lead a right-wing uprising, starting the Spanish Civil War
1945 👉🏼 Potsdam Conference: Harry Truman, Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill hold 1st post-World War II meeting.
Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and later Clement Attlee and US President Harry Truman gathered in Potsdam, Germany to decide how to administer punishment to the defeated Nazi Germany.
Germany had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier, on 8 May.
The goals of the conference also included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaty issues and countering the effects of the war.
1948 👉🏼 US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen encounters children in at Templehof Airport in Berlin during the Berlin Blockade, giving him the idea to drop candy in ‘Operation Little Vittles’.
One of the first major crises of the nascent Cold War, the Berlin Blockade tested the resolve of the Western alliance to protect the small non-communist enclave of West Berlin.
When the Soviets blockaded the city in 1948, the Western alliance resolved to break the Soviet operation by airlifting in the supplies that the West Berliners needed.
Pilot Gail Halvorsen of the US Air Force noticed a crowd of children at Berlin airport when he dropped off supplies. When he handed out candy, he was so impressed by their gratitude that he promised to return with more candy. Thus began Operation Little Vittles. More than twenty tons of candy were dropped on Berlin, some of it sent by children all around the United States.
Eventually, the Soviets relented, realizing that the airlift had ended up supplying more than had initially come by rail and land before the blockade.
1955 👉🏼 Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 18 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.
1976 👉🏼 21st modern Olympic games opens in Montreal: 25 African teams (later rising to 33 nations) boycott the games due to New Zealand playing rugby in apartheid South Africa
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.