July 17 1793
In return for attempting to obviate civil war, Charlotte Corday is publicly executed. Four days prior, she had assassinated influential French radical Jean-Paul Marat by stabbing him in the bathtub. Immediately after slicing it off, the executioner lifts Corday’s head out of the guillotine’s basket and slaps it on both cheeks.
July 17 1917
Britain’s King George V issues a royal proclamation changing his family’s surname from Hanover to Windsor. Thus, everyone is fooled into believing that a bunch of inbred krauts are really English. Which is convenient, because England just so happens to be at war with Germany.
July 17 1918
With counter-revolutionary forces advancing steadily on the city, the Bolsheviks holding captive Czar Nicholas II invite him and his family into the basement for a portrait. The Romanovs and their servants, expecting a photography session, wind up on the business end of a firing squad. Their bodies are dragged outside and buried in an unmarked mass grave.
July 17 1936
General Francisco Franco seizes control of the Canary Islands, signaling the start of the three-year Spanish Civil War.
July 17 1944
At 10:18 pm, the merchant ship SS E.A. Bryan, packed with 4,606 tons of ammunition, suddenly explodes at the Port Chicago naval base north of Oakland, California. The apocalyptic blast breaks windows in San Francisco, 48 miles away, and the seismic shock is felt as far as Boulder City, Nevada. All 320 personnel on duty, most of them negro ordnance loaders, are killed instantly.
July 17 1952
David Hasselhoff’s birthday! Yay for David! Yay for Germany! (credits: Revenge of the Cheerleaders)
July 17 1955
Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California. In the words of Walt Disney, “That place is my baby, and I would prostitute myself for it.”
July 17 1968
Premiere of the drug-induced, Big Blue Meanie-infested cartoon Beatle film Yellow Submarine, at the London Pavilion.
July 17 1992
Axl Rose is arrested for assault in St Louis, Missouri.
July 17 1996
TWA flight 800 explodes off Long Island NY, killing 230 passengers. The explosion, whose cause was not terrorist related, is used as an excuse by the FBI to ask for restrictions on civil liberties.