Today in History: July 17

The statue of Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine, Fla., shown Dec. 23, 1964, stands on a spot near which he is supposed to have landed in 1513, when he named the land Florida and claimed it for Spain. The city, founded in 1565, is planning elaborate celebration of its 400 anniversary this year. But with a history of strife and storm, it fears a repetition of non-violent civil rights demonstrations of last summer which were met by violence by white racists. (AP Photo/Jim Kerlin)
In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States. In this photo, the statue of Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine, Florida, is shown on Dec. 23, 1964, and it stands on a spot near which he is supposed to have landed in 1513, when he named the land Florida and claimed it for Spain. (AP Photo/Jim Kerlin) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jim Kerlin)
On this day in 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

Czar Nicholas II, seated second from left, Czarina Alexandra, center rear, and  their family are shown in this undated photo.  Bottom row left to right, Princess Olga, Czar Nicholas II, Princess Anastasia, Prince Alexei and Princess Tatiana.  Top row letf to right, Princess Maria and Princess Alexandra. (AP Photo)
In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks. Czar Nicholas II, seated second from left, Czarina Alexandra, center rear, and their family are shown in this undated photo. Bottom row left to right, Princess Olga, Czar Nicholas II, Princess Anastasia, Prince Alexei and Princess Tatiana. Top row letf to right, Princess Maria and Princess Alexandra. (AP Photo) (AP)
FILE - In this Sunday, July 17, 1955 file photo, children sprint across a drawbridge and into a castle that marks the entrance to Fantasyland at the opening of Walt Disney's Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Fantasyland had been closed until late in the day. (AP Photo)
In 1955, Disneyland had its opening day in Anaheim, California. In this Sunday, July 17, 1955 file photo, children sprint across a drawbridge and into a castle that marks the entrance to Fantasyland at the opening of Walt Disney’s Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Fantasyland had been closed until late in the day. (AP Photo) (AP)
In 1975, three American astronauts blasted off aboard an Apollo spaceship hours after two Soviet cosmonauts were launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a mission that included a linkup of the two ships in orbit. The Saturn IB rocket lifts off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 15, 1975, carrying Thomas P. Stafford, Vance D. Brand, Donald K. Slayton in an Apollo capsule. (Courtesy NASA)
In 1975, an Apollo spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first superpower link-up of its kind. The Saturn IB rocket lifts off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 15, 1975, carrying Stafford, Brand and Slayton in an Apollo capsule. (Courtesy NASA) (Courtesy NASA)
The recovered wreckage of TWA Flight 800 stands reassembled at the National Transportation Safety Board Training Academy in Chantilly, Va., July 16, 2008, where it is used for training new investigators. The Boeing 747 crashed into the Atlantic after passing over Long Island Sound and Long Island, New York in 1996, after a flammable mixture of fuel and oxygenated air caused a catastrophic explosion.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Europe-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board. In this image, the recovered wreckage of TWA Flight 800 stands reassembled at the National Transportation Safety Board Training Academy in Chantilly, Va., July 16, 2008, where it was used for training new investigators. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/J. Scott Applewhite)
Debbie White and her daughter, Kimberly, shop at the F.W. Woolworth store in downtown Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, July 17, 1997. The store, across the street from the statehouse, has been a convenience to Columbus workers and shoppers. Woolworth Corp. announced Thursday that it will close its remaining 400 U.S. stores after 117 years. (AP Photo/Chris Kasson)
In 1997, Woolworth Corp. announced it was closing its 400 remaining five-and-dime stores across the country, ending 117 years in business. Debbie White and her daughter, Kimberly, shop at the F.W. Woolworth store in downtown Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, July 17, 1997. The store, across the street from the statehouse, has been a convenience to Columbus workers and shoppers. Woolworth Corp. announced Thursday that it will close its remaining 400 U.S. stores after 117 years. (AP Photo/Chris Kasson) (Associated Press/CHRIS KASSON)
A relative of an Australian victim of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 touches a memorial that was unveiled outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Friday, July 17, 2015. Tearful relatives of several Australians who were flying on the Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over eastern Ukraine a year ago gathered for a memorial service Friday that included the unveiling of a plaque set in soil from the place where they died.(AP Photo/David Gray, Pool)
In 2014, all 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine. This photo shows a memorial that was unveiled outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. (AP Photo/David Gray, Pool) (AP)
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The statue of Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine, Fla., shown Dec. 23, 1964, stands on a spot near which he is supposed to have landed in 1513, when he named the land Florida and claimed it for Spain. The city, founded in 1565, is planning elaborate celebration of its 400 anniversary this year. But with a history of strife and storm, it fears a repetition of non-violent civil rights demonstrations of last summer which were met by violence by white racists. (AP Photo/Jim Kerlin)
On this day in 1918, Russia's Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

Czar Nicholas II, seated second from left, Czarina Alexandra, center rear, and  their family are shown in this undated photo.  Bottom row left to right, Princess Olga, Czar Nicholas II, Princess Anastasia, Prince Alexei and Princess Tatiana.  Top row letf to right, Princess Maria and Princess Alexandra. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Sunday, July 17, 1955 file photo, children sprint across a drawbridge and into a castle that marks the entrance to Fantasyland at the opening of Walt Disney's Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. Fantasyland had been closed until late in the day. (AP Photo)
In 1975, three American astronauts blasted off aboard an Apollo spaceship hours after two Soviet cosmonauts were launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a mission that included a linkup of the two ships in orbit. The Saturn IB rocket lifts off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 15, 1975, carrying Thomas P. Stafford, Vance D. Brand, Donald K. Slayton in an Apollo capsule. (Courtesy NASA)
The recovered wreckage of TWA Flight 800 stands reassembled at the National Transportation Safety Board Training Academy in Chantilly, Va., July 16, 2008, where it is used for training new investigators. The Boeing 747 crashed into the Atlantic after passing over Long Island Sound and Long Island, New York in 1996, after a flammable mixture of fuel and oxygenated air caused a catastrophic explosion.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Debbie White and her daughter, Kimberly, shop at the F.W. Woolworth store in downtown Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, July 17, 1997. The store, across the street from the statehouse, has been a convenience to Columbus workers and shoppers. Woolworth Corp. announced Thursday that it will close its remaining 400 U.S. stores after 117 years. (AP Photo/Chris Kasson)
A relative of an Australian victim of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 touches a memorial that was unveiled outside Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, Friday, July 17, 2015. Tearful relatives of several Australians who were flying on the Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over eastern Ukraine a year ago gathered for a memorial service Friday that included the unveiling of a plaque set in soil from the place where they died.(AP Photo/David Gray, Pool)

Today is Wednesday, July 17, the 198th day of 2019. There are 167 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800, a Europe-bound Boeing 747, exploded and crashed off Long Island, New York, shortly after departing John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 230 people on board.

On this date:

In 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

In 1862, during the Civil War, Congress approved the Second Confiscation Act, which declared that all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines were to be set free.

In 1918, Russia’s Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by the Bolsheviks.

In 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 in California.

In 1945, following Nazi Germany’s surrender, President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill began meeting at Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II.

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, California.

In 1961, Baseball Hall-of-Famer Ty Cobb died in Atlanta at age 74.

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 1997, Woolworth Corp. announced it was closing its 400 remaining five-and-dime stores across the country, ending 117 years in business.

Ten 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.

Five years ago: Eric Garner, an unarmed black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by New York City police officers; a video of the takedown showed Garner repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe.” (Garner’s family received $5.9 million from the city in 2015 to settle a wrongful death claim.) All 298 passengers and crew aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine; both Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian separatists denied responsibility. Broadway performer Elaine Stritch, 89, died in Birmingham, Michigan.

One year ago: Amid criticism from within his own party, President Donald Trump said he had simply misspoken when he said during his summit with Vladimir Putin that he saw no reason to believe Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. Former President Barack Obama, speaking in South Africa, denounced Trump’s policies without mentioning his name; Obama took aim at the “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment,” and decried leaders who are caught lying and “just double down and lie some more.” Alex Bregman and George Springer hit back-to-back homers in the 10th inning, and the American League beat the National League 8-6 in an All-Star Game that included a record 10 home runs.

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