This day in history (Sunday, July 17)

Staff Writer

1762 – Catherine II becomes tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia.
1771 – Bloody Falls massacre: Chipewyan chief Matonabbee, traveling as the guide to Samuel Hearne on his Arctic overland journey, massacres a group of unsuspecting Inuit.
1791 – Members of the French National Guard under the command of General Lafayette open fire on a crowd of radical Jacobins at the Champ de Mars, Paris, during the French Revolution, killing as many as 50 people.
1794 – The 16 Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne are executed ten days prior to the end of the French Revolution's Reign of Terror.
1856 – The Great Train Wreck of 1856 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, kills over 60 people.
1867 – Harvard School of Dental Medicine is established in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the first dental school in the U.S. that is affiliated with a university.
1896 – Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, the Indian sage, at age 16, spontaneously initiates a process of self-enquiry that culminates within a few minutes in his own permanent awakening.
1899 – NEC Corporation is organized as the first Japanese joint venture with foreign capital.
1902 – Willis Carrier creates the first air conditioner in Buffalo, New York.
1917 – King George V issues a Proclamation stating that the male line descendants of the British Royal Family will bear the surname Windsor.
1918 – Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his immediate family and retainers are executed by Bolshevik Chekists at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
1918 – The RMS Carpathia, the ship that rescued the 705 survivors from the RMS Titanic, is sunk off Ireland by the German SM U-55; five lives are lost.
1932 – Altona Bloody Sunday: A riot between the Nazi Party paramilitary forces, the SS and SA, and the German Communist Party ensues.
1933 – After successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Lithuanian research aircraft Lituanica crashes in Europe under mysterious circumstances.
1936 – Spanish Civil War: An Armed Forces rebellion against the recently elected leftist Popular Front government of Spain starts the civil war.
1938 – Douglas Corrigan takes off from Brooklyn to fly the "wrong way" to Ireland and becomes known as "Wrong Way" Corrigan.
1944 – Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California, killing 320.
1944 – World War II: Napalm incendiary bombs are dropped for the first time by American P-38 pilots on a fuel depot at Coutances, near Saint-Lô, France.
1945 – World War II: The main three leaders of the Allied nations, Winston Churchill, Harry S. Truman and Joseph Stalin, meet in the German city of Potsdam to decide the future of a defeated Germany.
1948 – The South Korean constitution is proclaimed.
1953 – The largest number of United States midshipman casualties in a single event results from an aircraft crash in Florida killing 44.
1955 – Disneyland is dedicated and opened by Walt Disney in Anaheim, California.
1962 – Nuclear weapons testing: The "Small Boy" test shot Little Feller I becomes the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada National Security Site.
1968 – A revolution occurs in Iraq when Abdul Rahman Arif is overthrown and the Ba'ath Party is installed as the governing power in Iraq with Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr as the new Iraqi President.
1973 – King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan is deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan while in Italy undergoing eye surgery.
1975 – Apollo–Soyuz Test Project: An American Apollo and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft dock with each other in orbit marking the first such link-up between spacecraft from the two nations.
1976 – East Timor is annexed, and becomes the 27th province of Indonesia.
1976 – The opening of the Summer Olympics in Montreal is marred by 25 African teams boycotting the New Zealand team.
1979 – Nicaraguan dictator General Anastasio Somoza Debayle resigns and flees to Miami, Florida.
1981 – The opening of the Humber Bridge by Queen Elizabeth II in England.
1981 – A structural failure leads to the collapse of a walkway at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, Missouri killing 114 people and injuring more than 200.
1984 – The national drinking age in the United States was changed from 18 to 21.
1985 – Founding of the EUREKA Network by former head of states François Mitterrand (France) and Helmut Kohl (Germany).
1989 – First flight of the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber.
1989 – Holy See–Poland relations are restored.
1996 – TWA Flight 800: Off the coast of Long Island, New York, a Paris-bound TWA Boeing 747 explodes, killing all 230 on board.
1996 – The Community of Portuguese Language Countries is founded.
1998 – The 7.0 Mw Papua New Guinea earthquake triggers a tsunami that destroys ten villages in Papua New Guinea, killing up to 2,700 people, and leaving several thousand injured.
1998 – A diplomatic conference adopts the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, establishing a permanent international court to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.
2001 – Concorde is brought back in to service nearly a year after the July 2000 crash.
2006 – The 7.7 Mw Pangandaran tsunami earthquake severely affects the Indonesian island of Java, killing 668 people, and leaving more than 9,000 injured.
2007 – TAM Airlines Flight 3054, an Airbus A320, crashes into a warehouse after landing too fast and missing the end of the São Paulo–Congonhas Airport runway, killing 199 people.
2009 – Two suicide bombers detonate themselves at two separate hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia.
2014 – Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a Boeing 777, crashes near the border of Ukraine and Russia after being shot down. All 298 people on board are killed.
2014 – A French regional train on the Pau-Bayonne line crashes into a high-speed train near the town of Denguin, resulting in at least 25 injuries.
2015 – At least 120 people are killed and 130 injured by a suicide bombing in Diyala Province, Iraq.

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