On This Day in History February 17

February 17 – Events:

  • 1500 – Battle of Hemmingstedt.
  • 1600 – Philosopher Giordano Bruno is burned alive at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome, charged of heresy.
  • 1621 – Myles Standish is appointed as first commander of Plymouth colony.
  • 1753 – February 17 is followed by March 1 as Sweden moves from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.
  • 1772 – First partition of Poland-Russia & Prussia, joined later by Austria.
  • 1776 – First volume of Gibbon’s “Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire” published.
  • 1801 – An electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr is resolved when Jefferson is elected President of the United States and Burr Vice President by the United States House of Representatives.
  • 1814 – Battle of Mormans.
  • 1819 – The United States House of Representatives passes the Missouri Compromise.
  • 1854 – The British recognizes the independence of the Orange Free State.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley becomes the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, the USS Housatonic.
  • 1865 – American Civil War: Columbia, South Carolina is burned as Confederate forces flee from advancing Union forces.
  • 1867 – The first ship passes through the Suez Canal.
  • 1871 – The victorious Prussian Army parades though Paris, France after the end of the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.
  • 1876 – Sardines first canned (Eastport, Maine).
  • 1897 – National Congress of Parents & Teachers organizes (Washington, DC).
  • 1904 – Madama Butterfly premiers at La Scala in Milan.
  • 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Alice marries in the White House.
  • 1911 – First hydroplane flight to & from a ship, by Glenn Curtiss, San Diego.
  • 1913 – First minimum wage law in US takes effect, in Oregon.
  • 1913 – The Armory Show opens in New York City, displaying works of artists who are to become some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century.
  • 1915 – Edward Stone, first US combatant to die in WW I, is mortally wounded.
  • 1924 – In Miami, Florida, Johnny Weissmuller sets a new world record in the 100-yard freestyle swimming competition with a time of 52-2/5 seconds.
  • 1925 – Harold Ross and Jane Grant found The New Yorker magazine; the debut issue is dated February 21, 1925.
  • 1926 – 75 buried in Sap Gulch, Bingham, Utah avalanche, 40 die.
  • 1931 – First telecast of a sporting event in Japan (baseball).
  • 1933 – The magazine Newsweek is published for the first time.
  • 1933 – The Blaine Act ends Prohibition in the United States.
  • 1936 – The world’s first superhero, The Phantom, makes his first appearance in comics.
  • 1944 – World War II: Battle of Eniwetok Atoll begins. The battle ends in an American victory on February 22.
  • 1944 – World War II: Operation Hailstone begins. U.S. naval air, surface, and submarine attack against Truk (Chuuk), Japan’s main base in the central Pacific, in support of the Eniwetok invasion.
  • 1947 – The Voice of America begins to transmit radio broadcasts into the Soviet Union.
  • 1949 – Chaim Weitzman elected first president of Israel.
  • 1950 – 31 die in a train crash in Rockville Center, NY.
  • 1953 – Baseball star/pilot Ted Williams uninjured as plane shot down in Korea.
  • 1957 – A fire at a home for the elderly in Warrenton, Missouri kills 72 people.
  • 1958 – Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare of Assisi (1193~1253) the patron saint of television.
  • 1958 – Comic strip “B.C.” first appears.
  • 1959 – Project Vanguard: Vanguard 2 – The first weather satellite launched to measure cloud-cover distribution.
  • 1962 – A storm kills more than 300 people in Hamburg, West Germany.
  • 1964 – In Wesberry v. Sanders the Supreme Court of the United States rules that congressional districts have to be approximately equal in population.
  • 1968 – In Springfield, Massachusetts the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opens.
  • 1972 – Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle model exceed those of Ford Model-T.
  • 1974 – Robert K. Preston, a disgruntled U.S. Army private, buzzes the White House with a stolen helicopter.
  • 1979 – China invades Vietnam.
  • 1980 Buddy Baker wins Daytona 500.
  • 1981 – Chrysler reports largest corporate losses in US history.
  • 1985 – First class postage rises from 20 cents to 22 cents.
  • 1987 – Don Mattingly wins highest salary arbitration ($1,975,000 per year)
  • 1992 – A court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin sentences serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to life in prison.
  • 1995 – Colin Ferguson is convicted of six counts of murder for the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings and later receives a 200+ year sentence.
  • 1995 – The Cenepa War between Peru and Ecuador ends on a cease-fire brokered by the UN.
  • 1996 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.
  • 2003 – The London Congestion Charge scheme begins.
  • 2006 – Over 1,000 people perished and buried alive in the town of St. Bernard in Southern Leyte, Philippines mudslide.
  • 2008 – Kosovo declares independence from Serbia.

February 17 – Birthdays:

  • 1490 – Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, Constable of France (d. 1527)
  • 1519 – Francis, Duke of Guise, French soldier and politician (d. 1563)
  • 1524 – Charles of Guise, French cardinal (d. 1574)
  • 1581 – Fausto Poli, Italian Catholic priest (d. 1653)
  • 1646 – Pierre Le Pesant, sieur de Boisguilbert, French economist (d. 1714)
  • 1653 – Arcangelo Corelli, Italian composer (d. 1713)
  • 1718 – Matthew Tilghman, American Continental Congressman (d. 1790)
  • 1723 – Tobias Mayer, German astronomer (d. 1762)
  • 1752 – Friedrich Maximilian Klinger, German writer (d. 1831)
  • 1754 – Nicolas Baudin, French explorer (d. 1803)
  • 1781 – René Laënnec, French physician (d. 1826)
  • 1792 – Karl Ernst von Baer, German biologist (d. 1876)
  • 1796 – Philipp Franz von Siebold, German physician (d. 1866)
  • 1820 – Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau, Catholic cardinal (d. 1898)
  • 1820 – Henri Vieuxtemps, Belgian composer (d. 1881)
  • 1821 – Lola Montez, Irish dancer (d. 1861)
  • 1836 – Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Spanish poet (d. 1870)
  • 1844 – Aaron Montgomery Ward, American department store founder (d. 1913)
  • 1848 – Louisa Lawson, Australian suffragist and writer (d. 1920)
  • 1854 – Friedrich Alfred Krupp, German industrialist (d. 1902)
  • 1861 – Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany (d. 1922)
  • 1862 – Mori Ogai, Japanese novelist and poet (d. 1922)
  • 1863 – Fyodor Sologub, Russian symbolist novelist and poet (d. 1927)
  • 1864 – Jozef Murgaš, Slovak inventor (d. 1929)
  • 1864 – Banjo Paterson, Australian poet (d. 1941)
  • 1874 – Thomas J. Watson, American computer manufacturer (d. 1956)
  • 1877 – Isabelle Eberhardt, Swiss explorer and writer (d. 1904)
  • 1877 – André Maginot, French politician (d. 1932)
  • 1885 – Steve Evans, American baseball player (d. 1943)
  • 1887 – Leevi Madetoja, Finnish composer (d. 1947)
  • 1888 – Otto Stern, German physicist, Nobel Prize Laureate (d. 1969)
  • 1908 – Red Barber, American baseball announcer (d. 1992)
  • 1908 – Bo Yibo, Chinese politician (d. 2005)
  • 1910 – Arthur Hunnicutt, American actor (d. 1979)
  • 1910 – Marc Lawrence, American actor (d. 2005)
  • 1911 – Oskar Seidlin, Silesian-born American literary scholar (d. 1984)
  • 1912 – Andre Norton, American author (d. 2005)
  • 1914 – Arthur Kennedy, American actor (d. 1990)
  • 1914 – Wayne Morris, American actor (d. 1959)
  • 1916 – Raf Vallone, Italian actor (d. 2002)
  • 1916 – Alexander Obolensky, Russian prince and famed Rugby Union footballer who played for England.(d. 1940)
  • 1917 – Abdur Rahman Badawi, Egyptian philosopher (d. 2002)
  • 1917 – Guillermo González Camarena, Mexican inventor (d. 1965)
  • 1919 – Kathleen Freeman, American actress (d. 2001)
  • 1920 – Ivo Caprino, Norwegian animated film director
  • 1922 – Enrico Banducci, American nightclub owner (d. 2007)
  • 1922 – Tommy Edwards, American singer (d. 1969)
  • 1922 – Marshall Teague, American race car driver (d. 1959)
  • 1924 – Margaret Truman, American novelist (d. 2008)
  • 1925 – Ron Goodwin, English composer and conductor (d. 2003)
  • 1925 – Hal Holbrook, American actor
  • 1928 – Marta Romero, Puerto Rican actress & singer
  • 1929 – Paul Meger, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1929 – Chaim Potok, American author (d. 2002)
  • 1929 – Patricia Routledge, English actress
  • 1930 – Roger Craig, American baseball player and manager
  • 1930 – Ruth Rendell, English writer
  • 1932 – Buck Trent, American banjo player
  • 1933 – Bobby Lewis, American singer
  • 1933 – Craig L. Thomas, American politician (d. 2007)
  • 1934 – Alan Bates, English actor (d. 2003)
  • 1934 – Barry Humphries, Australian actor and comedian
  • 1935 – Christina Pickles, UK-born American actress
  • 1936 – Jim Brown, American football player
  • 1939 – John Leyton, British singer
  • 1939 – Mary Ann Mobley, American actress and beauty queen
  • 1940 – Gene Pitney, American singer (d. 2006)
  • 1941 – Julia McKenzie, English actress and theatre director
  • 1942 – Huey P. Newton, American political activist (d. 1989)
  • 1944 – Karl Jenkins, Welsh composer
  • 1945 – Zina Bethune, American actress
  • 1945 – Brenda Fricker, Irish actress
  • 1946 – Dodie Stevens, American singer
  • 1948 – José José, Mexican singer and actor
  • 1948 – Rick Majerus, American basketball coach
  • 1949 – Fred Frith, English musician and composer
  • 1952 – Karin Janz, East German gymnast
  • 1953 – Norman Pace, British actor and comic
  • 1954 – Rene Russo, American actress
  • 1955 – Mo Yan, Chinese novelist
  • 1956 – Richard Karn, American actor
  • 1957 – Loreena McKennitt, Canadian musician
  • 1959 – Aryeh Deri, Israeli rabbi and politician
  • 1959 – Neil Lomax, American football player
  • 1962 – Samuel Bayer, American music video director
  • 1962 – Alison Hargreaves, British mountaineer (d. 1995)
  • 1962 – Tyrone “Ty” Jones, American screenwriter
  • 1962 – David McComb, Australian musician (The Triffids) (d. 1999)
  • 1962 – Lou Diamond Phillips, American actor
  • 1963 – Michael Jordan, American basketball player
  • 1963 – Larry the Cable Guy, American comedian
  • 1964 – Buster Olney, American sports columnist
  • 1965 – MichaelBay, American film director
  • 1966 – Ioannis Kalitzakis, Greek footballer
  • 1966 – Quorthon, Swedish musician (Bathory) (d. 2004)
  • 1966 – Luc Robitaille, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1966 – Michael Lepond, American musician
  • 1967 – Chanté Moore, American singer
  • 1968 – Bryan Cox, National Football League player
  • 1969 – Tuesday Knight, American actress
  • 1970 – Tim Mahoney, American musician (311)
  • 1970 – Tommy Moe, American Olympic skier
  • 1970 – Dominic Purcell, English-born actor
  • 1971 – Martyn Bennett, Canadian composer (d. 2005)
  • 1971 – Jeremy Edwards, British actor
  • 1971 – Denise Richards, American actress
  • 1972 – Billie Joe Armstrong, American musician (Green Day)
  • 1972 – Philippe Candeloro, French figure skater
  • 1972 – Taylor Hawkins, American musician (Foo Fighters)
  • 1972 – Valeria Mazza, Argentinian model
  • 1972 – Yuki Isoya, Japanese singer (formerly Judy and Mary)
  • 1973 – SaRenna Lee, American pornographic actress
  • 1974 – Kaoru, Japanese musician
  • 1974 – Jerry O’Connell, American actor
  • 1974 – Bryan White, American singer
  • 1975 – Wish Bone, American rapper
  • 1975 – Harisu, South Korean singer, model and actress
  • 1975 – Todd Harvey, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1975 – Vaclav Prospal, Czech ice hockey player
  • 1976 – Kelly Carlson, American actress
  • 1976 – Scott Williamson, American baseball player
  • 1978 – Jacob Wetterling, American kidnapping victim
  • 1979 – Josh Willingham, American baseball player
  • 1980 – Al Harrington, American basketball player
  • 1980 – Jason Ritter, American actor
  • 1981 – Lupe Fiasco, American rapper
  • 1981 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, American actor
  • 1981 – Paris Hilton, American actress and heiress
  • 1982 – Adriano, Brazilian footballer
  • 1982 – Brian Bruney, American baseball player
  • 1983 – Gérald Cid, French footballer
  • 1983 – Marios Kaperonis, Greek boxer
  • 1984 – Jimmy Jacobs, American professional wrestler
  • 1984 – Kenta Kamakari, Japanese actor and seiyuu
  • 1984 – AB de Villiers, South African cricketer
  • 1985 – Anne Curtis, Filipino actress and commercial model
  • 1986 – Joey O’Brien, Irish footballer
  • 1988 – Natascha Kampusch, Austrian kidnapping victim
  • 1991 – Bonnie Wright, British actress
  • 1992 – Meaghan Jette Martin, American child actress and singer
  • 1996 – Sasha Pieterse, South African child actress

February 17 – Deaths:

  • 364 – Jovian, Roman Emperor
  • 440 – Mesrop Mashtots
  • 1339 – Otto, Duke of Austria (b. 1301)
  • 1371 – Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria
  • 1596 – Friedrich Sylburg, German classical scholar (b. 1536)
  • 1600 – Giordano Bruno, Italian philosopher (burned at the stake) (b. 1548)
  • 1609 – Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (b. 1549)
  • 1624 – Juan de Mariana, Spanish historian (b. 1536)
  • 1659 – Abel Servien, French diplomat (b. 1593)
  • 1673 – Molière, French playwright (b. 1622)
  • 1680 – Denzil Holles, 1st Baron Holles, English statesman and writer (b. 1599)
  • 1680 – Jan Swammerdam, Dutch biologist (b. 1637)
  • 1715 – Antoine Galland, French archaeologist (b. 1646)
  • 1732 – Louis Marchand, French organist and harpsichordist (b. 1669)
  • 1768 – Arthur Onslow, English politician (b. 1691)
  • 1780 – Andreas Felix von Oefele, German historian and librarian (b. 1706)
  • 1841 – Ferdinando Carulli, Italian guitarist (b. 1770)
  • 1854 – John Martin, English painter (b. 1789)
  • 1856 – Heinrich Heine, German writer (b. 1797)
  • 1874 – Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet, Belgian mathematician (b. 1796)
  • 1883 – Napoleon Coste, French guitarist and composer (b. 1806)
  • 1883 – Vasudeo Balwant Phadke, Indian revolutionary (b. 1845)
  • 1890 – Christopher Sholes, American inventor (b. 1819)
  • 1909 – Geronimo, Apache leader (b. 1829)
  • 1912 – Edgar Evans, Welsh naval officer (b. 1876)
  • 1919 – Wilfrid Laurier, 7th Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1841)
  • 1934 – King Albert I of Belgium (b. 1875)
  • 1934 – Siegbert Tarrasch, German chess player (b. 1862)
  • 1939 – Willy Hess, German violinist (b. 1859)
  • 1943 – Armand J. Piron, American jazz violinist and composer (b. 1888)
  • 1943 – Konstantin Bogaevsky, Russian painter (b. 1872)
  • 1958 – Hugh McCrae, Australian writer (b. 1876)
  • 1961 – Nita Naldi, American actress (b. 1897)
  • 1962 – Bruno Walter, German conductor (b. 1876)
  • 1970 – Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Israeli writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1888)
  • 1970 – Alfred Newman, American film composer (b. 1901)
  • 1977 – Janani Luwum, Ugandan Archbishop (b. 1922)
  • 1982 – Nestor Chylak, American baseball umpire (b. 1922)
  • 1982 – Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist (b. 1917)
  • 1982 – Lee Strasberg, Austrian-born actor (b. 1901)
  • 1989 – Lefty Gomez, American baseball player (b. 1908)
  • 1990 – Erik Rhodes, American actor (b. 1906)
  • 1990 – Hap Day, Canadian ice hockey player and manager (b. 1901)
  • 1994 – Randy Shilts, American author and activist (b. 1951)
  • 1996 – Hervé Bazin, French writer (b. 1911)
  • 1998 – Ernst Jünger, German author (b. 1895)
  • 1998 – Bob Merrill, American composer and lyricist (b. 1921)
  • 2001 – Bob Geary, Canadian football player and manager (b. 1933)
  • 2004 – José López Portillo, President of Mexico (b. 1920)
  • 2005 – Dan O’Herlihy, Irish actor (b. 1919)
  • 2005 – Omar Sivori, Argentine footballer (b. 1935)
  • 2006 – Ray Barretto, Puerto Rican musician (b. 1929)
  • 2006 – Bill Cowsill, American singer (The Cowsills) (b. 1948)
  • 2007 – Jurga Ivanauskaite, Lithuanian writer (b. 1961)
  • 2007 – Mike Awesome, American professional wrestler (b. 1965)
  • 2007 – Dermot O’Reilly, Irish-born Canadian musician, producer and songwriter (b. 1943)
  • 2007 – Maurice Papon, French Nazi collaborator (b. 1910)

February 17 – Holidays:

  • Roman Empire – Quirinalia in honor of Quirinus.
  • Ancient Latvia – Tanis Diena observed.
  • Seven Founders of the Servite Order
  • Saint Alexis Falconieri (d. 1310)
  • Saint Constabilis
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