On This Day in History April 17

April 17 – Events:

  • 69 – After the First Battle of Bedriacum, Vitellius becomes Roman Emperor.
  • 1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. Chaucer scholars have also identified this date (in 1387) as when the book’s pilgrimage to Canterbury starts.
  • 1492 – Spain and Christopher Columbus sign a contract for him to sail to Asia to get spices.
  • 1521 – Martin Luther speaks to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.
  • 1524 – Giovanni da Verrazzano reaches New York harbor.
  • 1555 – After 18 months of siege, Siena surrenders to the Florentine-Imperial army. The Republic of Siena is incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
  • 1797 – Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico in what would be one of the largest invasions to Spanish territories in America.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: Virginia secedes from the Union.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Plymouth begins – Confederate forces attack Plymouth, North Carolina.
  • 1865 – Mary Surratt is arrested as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • 1895 – The Treaty of Shimonoseki between China and Japan is signed. This marks the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, and the defeated Qing Empire is forced to renounce its claims on Korea and to concede the southern portion of the Fengtien province, Taiwan, and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.
  • 1907 – Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than any other day.
  • 1924 – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios is formed from a merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.
  • 1942 – POW French General Henri Giraud escapes from his castle prison in Festung Königstein.
  • 1945 – In Stassfurt, Germany, U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Boris T. Pash seizes half a ton of uranium, in an attempt to foil Soviet Union plans to build an atomic bomb.
  • 1949- At midnight 26 counties officially leave the British Commonwealth. A 21-gun salute on O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushers in the Republic of Ireland.
  • 1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.
  • 1961 – Manos Hadjidakis receives an Academy Award in the best music category, for his Song Never on Sunday from the film of the same name.
  • 1964 – The Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Mustang at the New York World’s Fair.
  • 1964 – Jerrie Mock becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air.
  • 1969 – Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.
  • 1969 – Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek is deposed.
  • 1970 – Apollo program: The ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely.
  • 1971 – People’s Republic of Bangladesh forms, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Mujibnagor.
  • 1973 – Federal Express delivers its first package.
  • 1975 – Cambodian Civil War ends: The Khmer Rouge captures the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrender.
  • 1982 – Patriation of the Canadian constitution in Ottawa by Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.
  • 1984 – Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is killed by gunfire from the Libyan People’s Bureau in London during a small demonstration outside the embassy. Ten others are wounded. The events lead to an 11-day siege of the building.
  • 1986 – Treaty signed, ending Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly.
  • 1991 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 3,000 for the first time ever gaining 17.58 to 3,004.46.

April 17 – Birthdays:

  • 1278 – Michael IX Palaeologus, co-ruling Eastern Roman Emperor (d. 1320)
  • 1573 – Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria (d. 1651)
  • 1586 – John Ford, English dramatist
  • 1598 – Giovanni Riccioli, Italian astronomer (d. 1671)
  • 1620 – Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame (d. 1700)
  • 1622 – Henry Vaughan, Welsh poet (d. 1695)
  • 1710 – Henry Erskine, 10th Earl of Buchan, British Freemason (d. 1767)
  • 1734 – Taksin, King of Thailand (d. 1782)
  • 1741 – Samuel Chase, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (d. 1811)
  • 1750 – François de Neufchâteau, French statesman and intellectual figure (d. 1828)
  • 1794 – Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, German botanist (d. 1868)
  • 1798 – Étienne Bobillier, French mathematician (d. 1840)
  • 1816 – Thomas Hazlehurst, English Methodist chapel builder (d. 1876)
  • 1833 – Jean-Baptiste Accolay, Belgian composer (d. 1900)
  • 1837 – J.P. Morgan, American financier (d. 1913)
  • 1842 – Maurice Rouvier, French statesman (d. 1911)
  • 1849 – William R. Day, American diplomat and Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (d. 1923)
  • 1863 – Augustus Edward Hough Love, English mathematician (d. 1940)
  • 1863 – Constantine P. Cavafy, Greek poet (d. 1933)
  • 1865 – Ursula Julia Ledochowska, Polish-Austrian Catholic saint (d. 1939)
  • 1866 – Ernest Starling, British physiologist (d. 1927)
  • 1882 – Artur Schnabel, Polish pianist (d. 1951)
  • 1885 – Isak Dinesen(Karen Blixen), Danish author (d. 1962)
  • 1890 – Art Acord, American actor and rodeo rider (d. 1931)
  • 1894 – Nikita Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union (d. 1971)
  • 1896 – Señor Wences, Spanish ventriloquist (d. 1999)
  • 1897 – Thornton Wilder, American dramatist (d. 1975)
  • 1902 – Jaime Torres Bodet, Mexican politician (d. 1974)
  • 1903 – Gregor Piatigorsky, Russian cellist (d. 1976)
  • 1903 – Morgan Taylor, American athlete (d. 1975)
  • 1906 – Sidney R. Garfield, American physician (d. 1984)
  • 1909 – Alain Poher, French politician (d. 1996)
  • 1914 – George W. Davis, American art director (d. 1984)
  • 1915 – Joe Foss, American soldier and politician (d. 2003)
  • 1916 – Helenio Herrera, French footballer player and manager (d. 1997)
  • 1917 – Bill Clements, American politician
  • 1918 – William Holden, American actor (d. 1981)
  • 1919 – Gilles Lamontagne, French Canadian politician
  • 1919 – Chavela Vargas, Costa Rican-Mexican singer
  • 1923 – Lindsay Anderson, English film director (d. 1994)
  • 1923 – Harry Reasoner, American journalist (d. 1991)
  • 1923 – Solly Hemus, American baseball player
  • 1926 – Gerry McNeil, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 2004)
  • 1928 – Cynthia Ozick, American writer
  • 1929 – James Last, German band leader
  • 1929 – Peggy McKercher, 11th Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan)
  • 1930 – Chris Barber, British jazz band leader
  • 1934 – Don Kirshner, American composer
  • 1935 – Theo Angelopoulos, Greek film director
  • 1937 – Ferdinand Piëch, Austrian-German automotive engineer and executive
  • 1938 – Ben Barnes, American politician
  • 1940 – Billy Fury, British singer (d. 1983)
  • 1940 – John McCririck, English television horse racing pundit
  • 1940 – Anja Silja, German soprano
  • 1942 – David Bradley, British actor
  • 1946 – Georges J.F. Kohler, German biologist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (d. 1995)
  • 1947 – Linda Martin, Irish singer
  • 1948 – Jan Hammer, Czech composer
  • 1950 – L. Scott Caldwell, American actress
  • 1950 – Bruce McNall, American former NHL team owner
  • 1951 – Olivia Hussey, Argentine-born actress
  • 1951 – Börje Salming, Swedish ice hockey player
  • 1952 – Željko Ražnatovic, Serbian warlord (d. 2000)
  • 1954 – Riccardo Patrese, Italian race car driver
  • 1954 – Rowdy Roddy Piper, Canadian professional wrestler
  • 1954 – Michael Sembello, American musician
  • 1955 – Pete Shelley, British musician
  • 1957 – Nick Hornby, English author
  • 1957 – Afrika Bambaataa (born Kevin Donovan), American DJ
  • 1959 – Sean Bean, English actor
  • 1961 – Boomer Esiason, American football player
  • 1963 – Joel Murray, American actor
  • 1964 – Maynard James Keenan, American singer (Tool and A Perfect Circle)
  • 1964 – Ken Daneyko, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1964 – Lela Rochon, American actress
  • 1965 – William Mapother, American actor
  • 1966 – Vikram, Indian actor
  • 1967 – Marquis Grissom, American baseball player
  • 1967 – Kimberly Elise, American actress
  • 1967 – Henry Ian Cusick, Peruvian-born Scottish actor
  • 1967 – Liz Phair, American musician/songwriter
  • 1970 – Redman, American rapper
  • 1972 – Gary Bennett, American baseball player
  • 1972 – Tony Boselli, American football player
  • 1972 – Jennifer Garner, American actress
  • 1972 – Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lankan cricketer
  • 1972 – Jarkko Wiss, Finnish Footballer
  • 1972 – Terran Sandwith, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1972 – Claire Sweeney, English actress
  • 1973 – Brett Maher, Australian basketballer
  • 1974 – Victoria Beckham, English singer
  • 1974 – Mikael Åkerfeldt, Swedish guitarist and singer (Opeth)
  • 1975 – Gabriel Soto, Mexican actor
  • 1975 – Travis Roy, American hockey player
  • 1977 – Chad Hedrick, American speed skater
  • 1977 – Sizzla, Jamaican dancehall artist
  • 1977 – Phil Jamieson, lead singer for alternative rock band Grinspoon
  • 1978 – Lindsay Hartley, American actress
  • 1978 – Jason White, Scottish rugby player
  • 1979 – Siddharth Narayan, Indian actor
  • 1980 – Curtis Woodhouse, English footballer/boxer
  • 1981 – Hanna Pakarinen, Finnish singer
  • 1981 – Ryan Raburn, American baseball player
  • 1982 – Lee Jun Ki, South Korean actor and model
  • 1982 – Brad Boyes, Canadian hockey player
  • 1983 – Stanislav Chistov, Russian hockey player.
  • 1983 – Roberto Jimenez, Peruvian soccer player.
  • 1985 – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, French tennis player
  • 1990 – Jonathan Brown, Welsh footballer
  • 1996 – Dee Dee Davis, American actress

April 17 – Deaths:

  • 326 – Alexander of Alexandria, Patriarch of Alexandria
  • 485 – Proclus, Greek philosopher (b. 412)
  • 617 – Donnán of Eigg, Celtic Christian martyr, patron saint of Eigg
  • 1080 – King Harald III of Denmark (b. 1041)
  • 1427 – John IV, Duke of Brabant (b. 1403)
  • 1539 – George, Duke of Saxony (b. 1471)
  • 1574 – Joachim Camerarius, German classical scholar (b. 1500)
  • 1680 – Kateri Tekakwitha, first American Indian to receive beatification (b. 1656)
  • 1695 – Sor Juana, Mexican writer
  • 1696 – Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, French writer (b. 1626)
  • 1711 – Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1678)
  • 1713 – David Hollatz, Pomeranian dogmatician (b. 1648)
  • 1742 – Arvid Horn, Swedish statesman (b. 1664)
  • 1761 – Thomas Bayes, English mathematician
  • 1764 – Johann Mattheson, German composer (b. 1681)
  • 1790 – Benjamin Franklin, American inventor, diplomat, and printer (b. 1706)
  • 1799 – Richard Jupp, English architect (b. 1728)
  • 1843 – Samuel Morey, American inventor (b. 1762)
  • 1873 – Fyodor Petrovich Tolstoy, Russian painter (b. 1783)
  • 1882 – George Jennings Sanitary engineer (b. 1810)
  • 1892 – Alexander Mackenzie, 2nd Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1822)
  • 1902 – Francis of Assisi of Bourbon, King Consort of Spain (b. 1822)
  • 1930 – Alexander Golovin, Russian painter (b. 1863)
  • 1936 – Charles Ruijs de Beerenbrouck, Dutch prime minister (b. 1873)
  • 1937 – Yi Sang, Korean Poet (b. 1910)
  • 1941 – Al Bowlly, British dance band vocalist (b. 1899)
  • 1942 – Jean Perrin, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1870)
  • 1944 – J.T. Hearne, English cricketer (b. 1867)
  • 1954 – Lucretiu Patrascanu, Romanian communist activist (b. 1900)
  • 1960 – Eddie Cochran, American musician (b. 1938)
  • 1967 – Red Allen, American jazz trumpeter (b. 1908)
  • 1975 – Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Indian philosopher (b. 1888)
  • 1976 – Henrik Dam, Danish biochemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1895)
  • 1977 – William Cardinal Conway, Northern Irish clergyman (b. 1913)
  • 1983 – Felix Pappalardi, American musician and recording producer (b. 1939) (Mountain)
  • 1984 – Claude Provost, French Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1933)
  • 1987 – Cecil Harmsworth King, owner of Mirror Group Newspapers (b. 1901)
  • 1988 – Louise Nevelson, American sculptor (b. 1900)
  • 1990 – Ralph Abernathy, American civil rights activist (b. 1936)
  • 1993 – Turgut Ozal, 8th president of Turkey (b. 1927)
  • 1994 – Roger Wolcott Sperry, American neurobiologist, Nobel laureate (b. 1913)
  • 1995 – Frank E. Resnik, American business executive (b. 1928)
  • 1997 – Allan Francovich, American documentarian
  • 1997 – Piet Hein, Danish scientist and poet (b. 1905)
  • 1998 – Linda McCartney, wife of Paul McCartney (b. 1941)
  • 2003 – Robert Atkins, American dietician (b. 1930)
  • 2003 – Paul Getty, American-born philanthropist (b. 1932)
  • 2003 – Earl King, American musician and songwriter (b. 1934)
  • 2003 – Yiannis Latsis, Greek shipping tycoon (b. 1910)
  • 2004 – Edmond Pidoux, Swiss writer (b. 1908)
  • 2004 – Soundarya, Indian actress (b. 1971)
  • 2007 – Kitty Carlisle, American actress and television personality (b. 1910)

April 17 – Holidays:

  • World Hemophilia Day
  • Liturgical Feast day of the following Catholic saints:

o   Pope Anicetus (died 166)

o   Saint Stephen Harding (d. 1134)

o   Simeon Barsabae and companions

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