On This Day in History January 17

January 17 – Events:

  • 38 BC – Octavian marries Livia Drusilla.
  • 1287 – King Alfonso III of Aragon invades Minorca.
  • 1377 – Pope Gregory XI moves the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon.
  • 1524 – Beginning of Giovanni da Verrazzano’s voyage to find a passage to China.
  • 1562 – France recognizes the Huguenots under the Edict of Saint-Germain.
  • 1595 – Henry IV of France declares war on Spain.
  • 1605 – First publication of Don Quixote.
  • 1648 – England’s Long Parliament passes the Vote of No Addresses, breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War.
  • 1773 – Captain James Cook and his crew become the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle.
  • 1781 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Cowpens – Continental troops under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan defeat British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at the battle in South Carolina.
  • 1799 – Maltese patriot Dun Mikiel Xerri, along with a number of other patriots were executed.
  • 1852 – The United Kingdom recognizes the independence of the Boer colonies of the Transvaal.
  • 1861 – Flush toilet patented by Thomas Crapper.
  • 1873 – First Battle of the Stronghold in the United States Modoc War.
  • 1885 – A British force defeats a large Dervish army at the Battle of Abu Klea in the Sudan.
  • 1893 – The Citizen’s Committee of Public Safety, led by Lorrin A. Thurston overthrows the government of Queen Liliuokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
  • 1899 – The United States takes possession of Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1904 – Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard receives its premiere performance at the Moscow Art Theatre.
  • 1912 – Sir Robert Falcon Scott (Scott of the Antarctic) reaches the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.
  • 1913 – Raymond Poincaré is elected President of France.
  • 1916 – Professional Golfer Association (PGA) formed in New York.
  • 1917 – The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
  • 1929 – Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.
  • 1941 – Kuomintang forces under orders from Chiang Kai-Shek open fire at communist forces, resuming the Chinese Civil War after World War II.
  • 1945 – Soviet forces capture the almost completely destroyed Polish city of Warsaw.
  • 1945 – The Nazis begin the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as Soviet forces close in.
  • 1945 – Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg disappears in Hungary while in Soviet custody.
  • 1946 – The UN Security Council holds its first session.
  • 1949 – The Goldbergs, the first sitcom on American television, first airs.
  • 1950 – The Great Brinks Robbery – 11 thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car Company’s offices in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1954 – Jacques Cousteau’s first network telecast airs on “Omnibus” (CBS).
  • 1955 – Submarine Nautilus begins first nuclear-powered test voyage
  • 1961 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers a televised farewell address to the nation three days before leaving office, in which he warns against the accumulation of power by the “military-industrial complex.”
  • 1971 – Super Bowl V: Baltimore Colts-16, Dallas Cowboys-13.
  • 1973 – Ferdinand Marcos becomes “President for Life” of the Philippines.
  • 1977 – Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by a firing squad in Utah, ending a ten-year moratorium on Capital punishment in the United States.
  • 1982 – “Cold Sunday” in the United States would see temperatures fall to their lowest levels in over 100 years in numerous cities.
  • 1984 – Supreme Court rules (5-4) private use of home VCRs to tape TV programs for later viewing does not violate federal copyright laws.
  • 1985 – British Telecom announces the retirement of the United Kingdom’s red telephone boxes.
  • 1987 – BBC Breakfast Time launched at 6:30am on BBC One. BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Cornwall launched on the same day.
  • 1989 – Stockton massacre: Patrick Purdy opens fire with an assault rifle at the Cleveland Elementary School playground, killing five children and wounding 29 others and one teacher before taking his own life.
  • 1991 – Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begins early in the morning. Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles into Israel in an unsuccessful bid to provoke Israeli retaliation.
  • 1991 – Harald V becomes King of Norway on the death of his father, Olav V.
  • 1994 – 1994 Northridge Earthquake: A magnitude 6.7 earthquake hits Northridge, California.
  • 1995 – The Great Hanshin earthquake: A magnitude 7.3 earthquake hits near Kobe, Japan, causing extensive property damage and killing 6,434 people.
  • 1996 – The Czech Republic applies for membership of the European Union.
  • 1997 – A Delta 2 carrying a GPS2R satellite explodes 13 seconds after launch, dropping 250 tons of burning rocket remains around the launch pad.
  • 1998 – Paula Jones accuses President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.
  • 2001 – President Bill Clinton posthumously raises Captain Meriwether Lewis’ rank from Lieutenant to Captain.
  • 2002 – Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.
  • 2007 – The Doomsday Clock is set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea nuclear testing.

January 17 – Birthdays:

  • 1463 – Friedrich III, Elector of Saxony (d. 1525)
  • 1484 – George Spalatin, German reformer (d. 1545)
  • 1501 – Leonhart Fuchs, German physician and botanist (d. 1566)
  • 1504 – Pope Pius V (d. 1572)
  • 1560 – Gaspard Bauhin, Swiss botanist (d. 1624)
  • 1600 – Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Spanish playwright (d. 1681)
  • 1612 – Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron, English Civil War general (d. 1671)
  • 1666 – Antonio Maria Valsalva, Italian anatomist (d. 1723)
  • 1686 – Archibald Bower, Scottish historian (d. 1766)
  • 1706 – Benjamin Franklin American statesman (d. 1790)
  • 1712 – John Stanley, English composer (d. 1786)
  • 1719 – William Vernon, American merchant (d. 1806)
  • 1732 – Stanislaw II August Poniatowski, King and Grand Duke of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (d. 1798)
  • 1734 – François-Joseph Gossec, Belgian composer (d. 1829)
  • 1761 – James Hall, Scottish geologist (d. 1832)
  • 1789 – August Neander, German theologian (d. 1850)
  • 1814 – ‘Mrs Henry Wood’, English novelist (d. 1887)
  • 1820 – Anne Brontë, British author (d. 1849)
  • 1828 – Eduard Remenyi, Hungarian violinist (d. 1898)
  • 1828 – Lewis A. Grant, American Civil War general (d. 1918)
  • 1831 – Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria (d. 1903)
  • 1832 – Henry Martyn Baird, American educationalist (d. 1906)
  • 1834 – August Weismann, German biologist (d. 1914)
  • 1850 – Aleksandr Taneyev, Russian composer (d. 1918)
  • 1851 – A. B. Frost, American illustrator (d. 1928)
  • 1853 – Alva Belmont, American socialite (d. 1933)
  • 1857 – Eugene Augustin Lauste, French inventor (d. 1935)
  • 1857 – Wilhelm Kienzl, Austrian composer (d. 1941)
  • 1858 – Tomás Carrasquilla, Colombian writer (d. 1940)
  • 1860 – Douglas Hyde, President of Ireland (d. 1949)
  • 1863 – David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1945)
  • 1863 – Constantin Stanislavski, Russian theatre practitioner (d. 1938)
  • 1865 – Gen Sir Charles Fergusson, Governor-General of New Zealand (d. 1951)
  • 1867 – Carl Laemmle, German-born film executive (d. 1939)
  • 1871 – David Earl Beatty British admiral (d. 1936)
  • 1871 – Nicolae Iorga, Romanian writer (d. 1940)
  • 1875 – Florencio Sánchez, Uruguayan dramatist (d. 1910)
  • 1877 – May Gibbs, Australian children’s author (d. 1969)
  • 1880 – Mack Sennett, Canadian film director (d. 1960)
  • 1881 – Antoni Lomnicki, Polish mathematician (d. 1941)
  • 1882 – Noah Beery, Sr., American actor (d. 1946)
  • 1883 – Sir Compton Mackenzie, Scottish novelist (d. 1972)
  • 1886 – Ronald Firbank, British novelist (d. 1926)
  • 1886 – Glenn L. Martin, American aviation pioneer (d. 1955)
  • 1897 – Marcel Petiot, French mass murderer (d. 1946)
  • 1899 – Al Capone, American gangster (d. 1947)
  • 1899 – Nevil Shute, English author (d. 1960)
  • 1901 – Aron Gurwitsch, Lithuanian-born philosopher (d. 1973)
  • 1903 – Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Assamese poet, playwright, film maker (d. 1953)
  • 1905 – Guillermo Stábile, Argentine footballer (d. 1966)
  • 1905 – Peggy Gilbert, American jazz saxophonist and bandleader (d. 2007)
  • 1905 – Ray Cunningham, American baseball player (d. 2005)
  • 1907 – Henk Badings, Dutch composer (d. 1987)
  • 1908 – Cus D’Amato, American boxing manager (d. 1985)
  • 1911 – George Joseph Stigler, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1991)
  • 1914 – William Stafford, American poet and essayist (d. 1993)
  • 1914 – Anacleto Angelini, Chilean businessman (d. 2007)
  • 1914 – Irving Brecher, American Screenwriter
  • 1917 – M. G. Ramachandran, Indian politician, actor (d. 1987)
  • 1917 – Ramón Cardemil, Chilean huaso (d. 2007)
  • 1918 – Keith Joseph, British politician (d. 1994)
  • 1921 – Antonio Prohias, Cuban cartoonist (d. 1998)
  • 1922 – Luis Echeverría Álvarez, President of Mexico
  • 1922 – Nicholas Katzenbach, American politician
  • 1922 – Betty White, American actress
  • 1923 – Carol Raye, Australian actress
  • 1925 – Robert Cormier, American author (d. 2000)
  • 1925 – Abdul Kardar, Pakistani cricketer
  • 1926 – Newton N. Minow, American lawyer and statesman
  • 1926 – Moira Shearer, Scottish actress (d. 2006)
  • 1927 – Dr Tom Dooley, American humanitarian (d. 1961)
  • 1927 – Norman Kaye, Australian actor and musician (d. 2007)
  • 1927 – Eartha Kitt, American actress and singer
  • 1928 – Jean Barraqué, French composer (d. 1973)
  • 1928 – Vidal Sassoon, English cosmetologist
  • 1929 – Jacques Plante, Canadian ice hockey player (d. 1986)
  • 1930 – Eddie LeBaron, American football player
  • 1931 – James Earl Jones, American actor
  • 1931 – L. Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of Virginia
  • 1931 – Don Zimmer, American baseball coach
  • 1932 – Sheree North, American actress (d. 2005)
  • 1933 – Dalida, French singer (d. 1987)
  • 1933 – Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, French UN High Commissioner for Refugees (d. 2003)
  • 1933 – Shari Lewis, American ventriloquist (d. 1998)
  • 1935 – Ruth Ann Minner, Governor of Delaware
  • 1939 – Maury Povich, American talk show host
  • 1940 – Kipchoge Keino, Kenyan runner
  • 1941 – Dame Gillian Weir, New Zealand organist
  • 1942 – Muhammad Ali, American boxer
  • 1942 – Ita Buttrose, Australian journalist and businesswoman
  • 1942 – Ulf Hoelscher, German violinist
  • 1942 – Nancy Parsons, American actress (d. 2001)
  • 1943 – René Préval, President of Haiti
  • 1943 – Geoffrey Deuel, American actor
  • 1943 – Chris Montez, American singer
  • 1944 – Françoise Hardy, French singer
  • 1945 – Javed Akhtar, Indian lyricist, poet and scriptwriter
  • 1946 – Michèle Deslauriers, Quebec actress
  • 1948 – Davíð Oddsson, former Prime Minister of Iceland
  • 1948 – Jim Ladd, American freeform (radio format) Disc Jockey
  • 1948 – Anne Queffélec, French pianist
  • 1949 – Mick Taylor, British musician (The Rolling Stones)
  • 1949 – Andy Kaufman, American comedian (d. 1984)
  • 1952 – Darrell Porter, American baseball player (d. 2002)
  • 1952 – Larry Fortensky, seventh husband of Elizabeth Taylor
  • 1952 – Ryuichi Sakamoto, Japanese musician
  • 1954 – Susan Kiefel, Australian lawyer and judge
  • 1954 – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., American lawyer and environmental activist
  • 1955 – Steve Earle, American musician
  • 1956 – Paul Young, English musician
  • 1957 – Keith Chegwin, English television presenter
  • 1957 – Steve Harvey, American actor, comedian and radio personality
  • 1959 – Susanna Hoffs, American musician
  • 1959 – Momoe Yamaguchi, Japanese singer and actress
  • 1960 – John Crawford, American musician
  • 1960 – Chili Davis, Jamaican-born American baseball player
  • 1960 – Chatchai Plengpanich, Thai actor
  • 1961 – Brian Helgeland, American writer and film director
  • 1962 – Jim Carrey, Canadian actor and comedian
  • 1962 – Sebastian Junger, American journalist and author
  • 1963 – Kai Hansen, German singer and guitarist (Gamma Ray)
  • 1964 – Andy Rourke, English bass guitarist (The Smiths)
  • 1964 – Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama
  • 1965 – Sylvain Turgeon, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1965 – Nikos Nioplias, Greek footballer
  • 1966 – Stephin Merritt, American singer and songwriter (The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, The Gothic Archies)
  • 1966 – Joshua Malina, American actor
  • 1966 – Shabba Ranks, Jamaican singer
  • 1967 – Richard Hawley, English singer, guitarist and songwriter (Pulp, The Longpigs)
  • 1967 – Filippo Raciti, Italian police officer (d. 2007)
  • 1967 – Song Kang-ho, South Korean actor
  • 1968 – Craig Strong, American actor & voice actor
  • 1968 – Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Dutch writer
  • 1968 – Svetlana Masterkova, Russian athlete
  • 1969 – Lukas Moodysson, Swedish film writer and director
  • 1969 – Naveen Andrews, British actor
  • 1969 – Tijs Verwest, (DJ Tiësto) Dutch DJ
  • 1970 – Jeremy Roenick, American ice hockey player
  • 1970 – Genndy Tartakovsky, Russian-born animator
  • 1970 – James Wattana, Thai snooker player
  • 1971 – Kid Rock, American singer
  • 1971 – Richard Burns, English rally driver (d. 2005)
  • 1971 – Leonardo Ciampa, Italian-American musician
  • 1971 – Youki Kudoh, Japanese actress
  • 1971 – Sylvie Testud, French actress
  • 1971 – Ann Wolfe, female boxer
  • 1972 – Ken Hirai, Japanese singer and songwriter
  • 1972 – Benno Fürmann, German actor
  • 1972 – Lil Jon, American rapper/producer
  • 1973 – Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Mexican footballer
  • 1973 – Liz Ellis, Australian netball captain
  • 1973 – Aaron Ward, Canadian ice hockey player 1974 – Yang Chen, Chinese footballer
  • 1974 – Derrick Mason, American football player
  • 1974 – Vesko Kountchev, Bulgarian musician
  • 1975 – Tom Jenkinson, English musician (Squarepusher)
  • 1975 – Freddy Rodriguez, Puerto Rican-American actor
  • 1975 – Rami Yacoub, Swedish songwriter/producer
  • 1977 – Kevin Fertig, American professional wrestler
  • 1977 – Leigh Whannell, Australian screenwriter/actor
  • 1980 – Zooey Deschanel, American actress
  • 1980 – Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Ukrainian ballroom dancer
  • 1980 – Kimberly Spicer, American model
  • 1980 – Gareth McLearnon, Northern Irish flautist
  • 1981 – Warren Feeney, Northern Irish footballer
  • 1981 – Scott Mechlowicz, American actor
  • 1981 – Ray J, American R&B singer
  • 1982 – Dwyane Wade, American basketball player
  • 1982 – Amanda Wilkinson, Canadian singer
  • 1982 – Alex Varkatzas, American Singer (Atreyu)
  • 1983 – Alvaro Arbeloa, Spanish Footballer
  • 1983 – Johannes Herber, German basketball player
  • 1983 – Andrea Lowell, American Model
  • 1983 – Rick Kelly, Australian racing driver
  • 1985 – Simone Simons, Dutch singer (Epica)
  • 1985 – Riyu Kosaka, Japanese singer BeForU
  • 1985 – Kang-In, South Korean singer/dancer/actor/MC/DJ(Super Junior)
  • 1994 – Ryan O’Grady, Eating Machine

January 17 – Deaths:

  • 395 – Theodosius I, Roman Emperor
  • 1229 – Albert of Buxhoeveden, German soldier
  • 1369 – King Peter I of Cyprus (murdered) (b. 1328)
  • 1468 – Skanderbeg, Albanian leader (b. 1405)
  • 1598 – Fyodor I Tsar of Russia (b. 1557)
  • 1617 – Faust Vrancic, Croatian inventor (b. 1551)
  • 1654 – Paulus Potter, Dutch painter (b. 1625)
  • 1705 – John Ray, English naturalist (b. 1627)
  • 1718 – Captain Benjamin Church, Plymouth Colony settler and military leader
  • 1737 – Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, German architect (b. 1662)
  • 1738 – Jean-François Dandrieu, French composer (b. 1682)
  • 1751 – Tomaso Albinoni, Italian composer (b. 1671)
  • 1826 – Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, Spanish composer (b. 1806)
  • 1834 – Giovanni Aldini, Italian physicist (b. 1762)
  • 1861 – Lola Montez, Irish-born adventurer (b. 1821)
  • 1863 – Horace Vernet, French painter (b. 1789)
  • 1869 – Aleksandr Dargomyzhsky, Russian composer (b. 1813)
  • 1874 – Chang and Eng Bunker, Siamese twins (b. 1811)
  • 1884 – Hermann Schlegel, German ornithologist (b. 1804)
  • 1887 – William Giblin, Premier of Tasmania (b. 1840)
  • 1891 – George Bancroft, U.S. historian (b. 1800)
  • 1893 – Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States (b. 1822)
  • 1903 – Ignaz Wechselmann, Hungarian architect and philanthropist (b. 1828)
  • 1908 – Ferdinand IV Grand Duke of Tuscany (b. 1835)
  • 1909 – Sir Francis Smith, Premier of Tasmania (b. 1819
  • 1911 – Sir Francis Galton, English polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist (b. 1822)
  • 1927 – Juliette Gordon Low, American founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA (b. 1860)
  • 1931 – Grand Duke Peter Nikolaevich of Russia, son of Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolaevich (b. 1864)
  • 1932 – Albert Jacka, VC, Australian soldier (b. 1893)
  • 1933 – Louis Comfort Tiffany, American artist and designer (b. 1848)
  • 1942 – Walther von Reichenau, German field marshal (b. 1884)
  • 1947 – Pyotr Krasnov, Russian counter-revolutionary (b. 1869)
  • 1947 – Jean-Marie-Rodrigue Villeneuve, French Archbishop of Quebec (b. 1883)
  • 1961 – Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (b. 1925)
  • 1964 – T.H. White, English author (b. 1906)
  • 1967 – Evelyn Nesbit, American actress (b. 1884)
  • 1970 – Simon Kovar, Russian-American bassoonist (b. 1890)
  • 1970 – Billy Stewart, American singer (b. 1937)
  • 1972 – Betty Smith, American writer and singer (b. 1896)
  • 1977 – Gary Gilmore, American murderer (b. 1940)
  • 1981 – Loukas Panourgias, Greek footballer (b. 1899)
  • 1983 – Doodles Weaver, American actor (b. 1911)
  • 1987 – Hugo Fregonese, Argentine film director (b. 1908)
  • 1991 – King Olav V of Norway (b. 1903)
  • 1993 – Albert Hourani, English historian (b. 1915)
  • 1994 – Helen Stephens, American runner (b. 1918)
  • 1994 – Yevgeny Ivanov, Soviet spy involved in the Profumo affair (b. 1926)
  • 1996 – Amber Hagerman, American namesake of the Amber Alert system (b. 1986)
  • 1996 – Barbara Jordan, American politician (b. 1936)
  • 1996 – Mostafa Sid Ahmed, Sudanese singer (b. 1953)
  • 1997 – Clyde Tombaugh, American astronomer (b. 1906)
  • 1997 – Bert Kelly, Australian politician (b. 1912)
  • 1998 – Junior Kimbrough, American bluesman (b. 1930)
  • 2000 – Philip Jones, British trumpeter (b. 1928)
  • 2001 – Gregory Corso, American poet (b. 1930)
  • 2002 – Bishop Karas, First Coptic Bishop of St. Antony Monastery (b. 1955)
  • 2002 – Camilo Jose Cela, Spanish writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1916)
  • 2003 – Richard Crenna, American actor (b. 1926)
  • 2003 – Balint Vazsonyi, Hingarian pianist (b. 1936)
  • 2004 – Harry Brecheen, American baseball player (b. 1914)
  • 2004 – Czeslaw Niemen, Polish musician (b. 1939)
  • 2004 – Ray Stark, American stage and film producer (b. 1915)
  • 2004 – Noble Willingham, American actor (b. 1931)
  • 2005 – Charlie Bell, Australian fast food executive (b. 1960)
  • 2005 – Virginia Mayo, American actress (b. 1920)
  • 2005 – Albert Schatz, American microbiologist (b. 1920)
  • 2005 – Zhao Ziyang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China (b. 1919)
  • 2006 – Clarence Ray Allen, American murderer, death by lethal injection administered at San Quentin prison (b. 1930)
  • 2006 – Pierre Grondin, French Canadian cardiac surgeon (b. 1925)
  • 2007 – Art Buchwald, American humorist (b. 1925)
  • 2007 – Yevhen Kushnaryov, Ukrainian politician (b. 1951)
  • 2008 – Bobby Fischer, American chess player (b. 1943)
  • 2008 – Ernie Holmes, American football player (b. 1948)
  • 2008 – Allan Melvin, American actor (b. 1923)

January 17 – Holidays:

  • Ancient Latvia – Zirgu Diena observed
  • Religious observances:
    • Catholicism – Feast day of the following saints:
      • Anthony
      • Amelbert
      • Sulpitius the Pious
      • Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic Church: Venerable Anthony the Great

 

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