This Day In History, July 17th

What happened on this day in history: The Romanov family is executed in 1918, Disneyland opens in 1955, and more.

1763: John Jacob Astor Is Born

John Jacob Astor is born in Waldorf, Germany. One of the wealthiest people of his era, Astor later emigrated from Germany to the United States, where he made his fortune in the fur trade. He left $400,000 — about $13 million today — upon his death to build the Astor Library in New York City, which was later consolidated with other libraries into New York Public Library.

Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 68: The Titanic, Part 4: Heroism And Despair In The Ship’s Final Moments, also available on Apple and Spotify.

1918: The Romanov Family Is Executed

Today In History July 17

Public DomainThe Romanov family in 1913, five years before they were executed.

Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed by Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Having forced Nicholas out of power, Bolshevik guards roused the Romanov family that night and brought them down to the cellar. There, armed men killed Nicholas, Alexandra, and their five children.

1955: Disneyland Opens In California

Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California. The brainchild of Walt Disney, the amusement park opened to great fanfare, with thousands of people descending to explore it on opening day. Since then, Disneyland has become a popular destination, with an estimated 18 million visitors a year.

1967: The Iconic ‘Kiss Of Life’ Photo Is Taken

Kiss Of Life Photo

Rocco Morabito/Jacksonville JournalThe famous “Kiss of Life” photo shows a daring, in-air rescue.

A photographer for the Jacksonville Journal snaps the iconic “Kiss of Life” photo in Florida. The photographer, Rocco Morabito, witnessed the dramatic, in-air rescue of one lineman, Randall Champion, by his co-worker and friend, J.D. Thompson. Morabito’s photo later won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize.

1981: Cannibal Killer Issei Sagawa Is Arrested

Issei Sagawa is arrested for the murder of Renée Hartevelt in Paris. After inviting the young woman to his place to study, Issei shot her in the head. Then, he proceeded to cut up her body and eat her. He later placed her body parts in suitcases and abandoned them around Paris.

Issei Sagawa Arrest

Francis Apesteguy/Getty ImagesIssei Sagawa being led out of his apartment following his arrest in Paris on July 17, 1981.

Police would catch up to Issei after local taxi drivers gave them a description. He was promptly arrested and sent to a mental hospital, but a loophole allowed Issei to return to his native Japan where he became a free man. He still walks the streets today.