On This Day In History August 17

August 17 – Events:

  • 1807 – Robert Fulton’s first American steamboat leaves New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.
  • 1862 – Indian Wars: The Lakota (Sioux) Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as vicious Lakota attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Major General JEB Stuart is assigned command of all the cavalry of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: In Charleston, South Carolina, Union batteries and ships bombard Confederate-held Fort Sumter.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Gainesville – Confederate forces defeat Union troops near Gainesville, Florida.
  • 1883 – The first public performance of the Dominican Republic’s national anthem, Himno Nacional.
  • 1907 – Pike Place Market, the longest continuously-running public farmers market in the US, opened in Seattle.
  • 1914 – World War I: Battle of Stalluponen – The German army of General Hermann von François defeats the Russian force commanded by Pavel Rennenkampf near modern-day Nesterov, Russia.
  • 1918 – Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky is assassinated.
  • 1942 – U.S. Marines raid the Japanese-held Pacific island of Makin (Butaritari).
  • 1943 – World War II: The U.S. Eighth Air Force suffers the loss of 60 bombers on the Schweinfurt- Regensburg mission.
  • 1943 – World War II: The U.S. Seventh Army under General George S. Patton arrive in Messina, Italy, followed several hours later by the British 8th Army under Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, thus completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.
  • 1943 – World War II: First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King begins.
  • 1945 – Indonesian Declaration of Independence.
  • 1945 Animal Farm by George Orwell is first published by Fredric Warburg
  • 1947 – The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan is revealed.
  • 1953 – Addiction: First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in Southern California.
  • 1959 – Quake Lake: Quake Lake was formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Yellowstone earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana.
  • 1960 – Decolonization: Gabon gains independence from France.
  • 1962 – East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming the first victim of the wall.
  • 1969 – Category 5 Hurricane Camille hits the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage.
  • 1970 – Venera Program: Venera 7 launched. It will later become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).
  • 1978 – Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine.
  • 1979 – Two Soviet Aeroflot jetliners collide in mid-air over Ukraine, killing 156.
  • 1980 – Azaria Chamberlain disappears, likely taken by a dingo, leading to what was then the most publicized trial in Australian history.
  • 1982 – The first Compact Discs (CD’s) were released to the public in Germany.
  • 1988 – Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed in a plane crash.
  • 1998 – Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admits before the nation he “misled people” about his relationship.
  • 1999 – A 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes Izmit, Turkey, killing more than 17,000 and injuring 44,000.
  • 2004 – MD5 collision found by Chinese researchers.
  • 2004 – The National Assembly of Serbia unanimously adopts new state symbols for Serbia: Boze Pravde becomes the new anthem and the coat of arms is adopted for the whole country.

August 17 – Birthdays:

  • 1473 – Richard, Duke of York (d. 1483?)
  • 1562 – Hans Leo Hassler (baptized), German composer (d. 1612)
  • 1578 – Francesco Albani, Italian painter (d. 1660)
  • 1601 – Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician (d. 1665)
  • 1629 – King John III of Poland (d. 1696)
  • 1768 – Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, French general (d. 1800)
  • 1786 – Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and soldier (d. 1836)
  • 1786 – Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, mother of Queen Victoria (d. 1861)
  • 1794 – Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, German priest (d. 1849)
  • 1828 – Jules Bernard Luys, French neurologist (d. 1897)
  • 1844 – Menelek II of Ethiopia (d. 1913)
  • 1863 – Gene Stratton-Porter, American author and naturalist (d. 1924)
  • 1866 – Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, 6th Nizam of Hyderabad (d. 1911)
  • 1866 – Julia Marlowe, English actress (d. 1950)
  • 1873 – John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (d. 1946)
  • 1882 – Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood producer (d. 1974)
  • 1887 – Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born Black rights activist (d. 1940)
  • 1887 – Charles I of Austria (d. 1922)
  • 1888 – Monty Woolley, American actor (d. 1963)
  • 1890 – Harry Hopkins, 8th United States Secretary of Commerce (d. 1946)
  • 1890 – Stefan Bastyr, Polish aviator (d. 1920)
  • 1893 – Mae West, American actress (d. 1980)
  • 1896 – Leslie Groves, American military engineer (d. 1970)
  • 1904 – Leopold Nowak, Austrian musicologist (d. 1991)
  • 1904 – Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician (d. 1984)
  • 1909 – Larry Clinton, American trumpeter and bandleader (d. 1985)
  • 1911 – Mikhail Botvinnik, Russian chess player (d. 1995)
  • 1913 – W. Mark Felt, American Watergate informant
  • 1913 – Rudy York, American baseball player (d. 1970)
  • 1913 – Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Argentine racing driver (d. 1989)
  • 1914 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (d. 1988)
  • 1919 – Georgia Gibbs, American singer (d. 2006)
  • 1920 – Maureen O’Hara, Irish actress
  • 1921 – Geoffrey Rudolph Elton, British historian (d. 1994)
  • 1926 – Jiang Zemin, Chinese politician
  • 1926 – George Melly, British singer (d. 2007)
  • 1926 – Jean Poiret, French actor, director and screenwriter (d. 1992)
  • 1929 – Francis Gary Powers, American U-2 pilot (d. 1977)
  • 1930 – Glenn Corbett, American actor (d. 1993)
  • 1930 – Ted Hughes, English poet (d. 1998)
  • 1932 – V. S. Naipaul, West Indian writer, Nobel Laureate
  • 1933 – Eugene F. Kranz, American NASA executive
  • 1933 – Mark Dinning, American singer (d. 1986)
  • 1935 – Oleg Tabakov, Russian actor
  • 1936 – Floyd Red Crow Westerman, Native American musician-actor (d. 2007)
  • 1938 – Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian Muslim cleric
  • 1938 – Theodoros Pangalos, Greek politician
  • 1939 – Luther Allison, American musician
  • 1939 – Anthony Valentine, British actor
  • 1940 – Eduardo Mignogna, Argentinian film director (d. 2006)
  • 1941 – Jean Pierre Lefebvre, French Canadian film director
  • 1941 – Boog Powell, American baseball player
  • 1943 – Robert De Niro, American actor
  • 1943 – Dave “Snaker” Ray, American musician (d. 2002)
  • 1944 – Lawrence Joseph Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, Billionaire
  • 1946 – Martha Coolidge, American film director
  • 1947 – Gary Talley, American guitarist (Box Tops)
  • 1947 – Sylvia Nasar, German-born American economist and author
  • 1948 – Rod MacDonald, American musician
  • 1949 – Sib Hashian, American drummer (Boston)
  • 1951 – Robert Joy, Canadian actor
  • 1951 – Alan Minter, British boxer
  • 1952 – Nelson Piquet, Brazilian race car driver
  • 1952 – Dr. Mario Theissen, German F1 team principal (BMW Sauber)
  • 1952 – Guillermo Vilas, Argentinian tennis player
  • 1953 – Judith Regan, American book publisher
  • 1953 – Kevin Rowland, English musician (Dexys Midnight Runners)
  • 1954 – Eric Johnson, American guitarist
  • 1955 – Richard Hilton, American heir
  • 1956 – Gail Berman, American film executive
  • 1956 – Álvaro Pino, Spanish cyclist
  • 1957 – Robin Cousins, British figure skater
  • 1958 – Belinda Carlisle, American singer
  • 1958 – Kirk Stevens, Canadian snooker player
  • 1959 – David Koresh, American cult leader (d. 1993)
  • 1959 – Jonathan Franzen, American author
  • 1960 – Sean Penn, American actor and director
  • 1960 – Stephan Eicher, Swiss singer
  • 1962 – Gilby Clarke, American musician (Guns N’ Roses)
  • 1963 – S. Shankar, Indian film director.
  • 1964 – Colin James, Canadian musician
  • 1966 – Maysa Leak, American Jazz Singer
  • 1966 – Rodney Mullen, American skateboarder
  • 1966 – Don Sweeney, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1967 – Kevin Max, American singer (dc_talk)
  • 1968 – Ed McCaffrey, American football player
  • 1968 – Helen McCrory, English actress
  • 1969 – Christian Laettner, American basketball player
  • 1969 – Donnie Wahlberg, American actor and singer
  • 1970 – Jim Courier, American tennis player
  • 1970 – Rupert Degas, English actor and voice artist
  • 1970 – Oyvind Leonhardsen, Norwegian footballer
  • 1971 – Jorge Posada, Puerto Rican baseball player
  • 1971 – Uhm Jung-hwa, South Korean singer and actress
  • 1972 – Habibul Bashar, Bangladeshi cricketer
  • 1972 – Ken Ryker, American pornographic actor
  • 1974 – Tony Hajjar, Lebanese drummer (At the Drive-In, Sparta)
  • 1974 – Nicola Kraus, American novelist
  • 1975 – Giuliana DePandi, Italian-born American television personality
  • 1975 – Ilhan Mansiz, Turkish footballer
  • 1976 – Scott Halberstadt, American actor
  • 1977 – Thierry Henry, French footballer
  • 1977 – Tarja Turunen, Finnish singer
  • 1977 – William Gallas, French footballer
  • 1978 – Vibeke Stene, Norwegian singer (Tristania)
  • 1978 – Karena Lam, Hong Kong actress
  • 1979 – Antwaan Randle El, American football player
  • 1979 – Marcus Patric, British actor
  • 1980 – Lene Marlin, Norwegian singer
  • 1980 – Keith Dabengwa, Zimbabwean cricketer
  • 1980 – Jan Kromkamp, Dutch footballer
  • 1982 – Melissa Anderson, American professional wrestler
  • 1982 – Phil Jagielka, English footballer
  • 1983 – Dustin Pedroia, American baseball player
  • 1984 – Dee Brown, American basketball player
  • 1985 – Yu Aoi, Japanese actress
  • 1986 – Rudy Gay, American basketball player
  • 1986 – Tyrus Thomas, American basketball player
  • 1988 – Erika Toda, Japanese actress
  • 1990 – Rachel Hurd-Wood, British actress
  • 1990 – Colin Bates, American actor
  • 1996 – Ella Cruz, Filipina actress

August 17 – Deaths:

  • 1153 – Eustace IV of Boulogne, son of Stephen of England (b. 1130)
  • 1304 – Emperor Go-Fukakusa of Japan (b. 1243)
  • 1510 – Edmund Dudley, English statesman (b. 1462)
  • 1657 – Robert Blake, British admiral (b. 1599)
  • 1673 – Regnier de Graaf, Dutch physician and anatomist (b. 1641)
  • 1676 – Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen, German novelist (b. 1621)
  • 1720 – Anne Lefèvre, French scholar (b. 1654)
  • 1723 – Joseph Bingham, English scholar (b. 1668)
  • 1768 – Vasily Kirillovich Trediakovsky, Russian poet (b. 1703)
  • 1785 – Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of the Colony and the state of Connecticut (b. 1710)
  • 1786 – King Frederick II of Prussia (b. 1712)
  • 1834 – Husein Gradašcevic, Bosnian rebel leader (b. 1802)
  • 1850 – Don José de San Martín, Argentine general (b. 1778)
  • 1861 – Alcée Louis la Branche, American Politician (b. 1806)
  • 1875 – Wilhelm Bleek, German linguist (b. 1827)
  • 1880 – Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist (b. 1810)
  • 1896 – Bridget Driscoll, world’s first automobile fatality
  • 1901 – Edmond Audran, French composer (b. 1842)
  • 1903 – Hans Gude, Norwegian romanticist landscape painter (b. 1825)
  • 1918 – Moisei Uritsky, Russian revolutionary (b. 1873)
  • 1920 – Ray Chapman, American baseball player (b. 1891)
  • 1925 – Ioan Slavici, Transylvanian writer of Romanian origin (b. 1848)
  • 1940 – Billy Fiske, American aviator and Olympic athlete (b. 1911)
  • 1954 – Billy Murray, American recording artist (b. 1877)
  • 1962 – Peter Fechter trying to cross the Berlin Wall (b. 1944)
  • 1969 – Otto Stern, German physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1888)
  • 1970 – Rattana Pestonji, Thai filmmaker (b. 1908)
  • 1971 – Wilhelm List, German field marshal (b. 1880)
  • 1973 – Jean Barraqué, French composer (b. 1928)
  • 1973 – Paul Williams, American singer (The Temptations) (b. 1939)
  • 1973 – Conrad Aiken, American author (b. 1889)
  • 1979 – Vivian Vance, American actress (b. 1909)
  • 1983 – Ira Gershwin, American lyricist (b. 1896)
  • 1987 – Rudolf Hess, Nazi deputy (b. 1894)
  • 1988 – Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, 6th President of Pakistan (b. 1924)
  • 1988 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (b. 1914)
  • 1988 – Victoria Shaw, Australian-born American actress (b. 1935)
  • 1990 – Pearl Bailey, American singer and actress (b. 1918)
  • 1992 – Al Parker, American adult film actor (b. 1952)
  • 1993 – Feng Kang, Chinese mathematician (b. 1920)
  • 1994 – Luigi Chinetti, Italian-American race car driver and team owner (NART; b. 1901)
  • 1994 – Jack Sharkey, American boxer (b. 1902)
  • 1995 – Howard Koch, American screenwriter (b. 1902)
  • 1995 – Ted Whitten, Australian rules footballer (b. 1933)
  • 2004 – Thea Astley, Australian writer (b. 1925)
  • 2004 – Gérard Souzay, French baritone (b. 1918)
  • 2005 – John Bahcall, American astrophysicist (b. 1934)
  • 2007 – Bill Deedes, British journalist and politician (b. 1913)
  • 2007 – Eddie Griffin, American basketball player (b. 1982)

August 17 – Holidays:

  • Independence Day – observance in Indonesia.
  • Slovenia: Slovenians in Prekmurje Incorporated into the Mother Nation Day
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