On This Day in History June 17

June 17 – Events:

  • 1462 – Vlad III the Impaler attempts to assassinate Mehmed II in The Night Attack, and the latter is forced to retreat from Wallachia.
  • 1497 – Battle of Deptford Bridge – Forces under King Henry VII soundly defeat troops led by Michael An Gof.
  • 1565 – Matsunaga Hisahide assassinates the 13th Ashikaga shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru.
  • 1579 – Sir Francis Drake claims a land he calls Nova Albion (modern California) for England.
  • 1631 – Mumtaz Mahal died during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, then spent more than 20 years to build her tomb, the Taj Mahal.
  • 1773 – Cúcuta, Colombia is founded by Juana Rangel de Cuéllar
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: Battle of Bunker Hill
  • 1789 – In France, the Third Estate declares itself the national assembly.
  • 1839 – In the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kamehameha III issues the Edict of toleration which gives Roman Catholics the freedom to worship in the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaii Catholic Church and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace is later established as a result.
  • 1863 – Battle of Aldie in the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War.
  • 1876 – Indian Wars: Battle of the Rosebud – 1,500 Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse beat back General George Crook’s forces at Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory.
  • 1877 – Indian Wars: Battle of White Bird Canyon – The Nez Perce defeat the US Cavalry at White Bird Canyon in the Idaho Territory.
  • 1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.
  • 1898 – The United States Navy Hospital Corps is established.
  • 1901 – The College Board introduces its first standardized test, the forerunner to the SAT.
  • 1930 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover signs the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act into law.
  • 1932 – Bonus Army: Around a thousand World War I veterans amass at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Senate considers a bill that would give them certain benefits.
  • 1933 – Union Station Massacre: In Kansas City, Missouri, four FBI agents and captured fugitive Frank Nash were gunned down by gangsters attempting to free Nash.
  • 1939 – Last public guillotining in France. Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is guillotined in Versailles outside the prison Saint-Pierre.
  • 1940 – World War II: Operation Ariel begins – Allied troops start to evacuate France, following Germany’s takeover of Paris and most of the nation.
  • 1940 – World War II: Sinking of the RMS Lancastria by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France.
  • 1940 – World War II: The British Army’s 11th Hussars assault and take Fort Capuzzo in Libya, Africa from Italian forces.
  • 1940 – The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fall under the occupation of the Soviet Union.
  • 1944 – Iceland becomes a republic; French troops land on German-held Elba.
  • 1948 – A Douglas DC-6 carrying United Airlines Flight 624 crashes near Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, killing all 43 people on board.
  • 1953 – Workers Uprising: In East Germany, the Soviet Union orders a division of troops into East Berlin to quell a rebellion.
  • 1961 – The New Democratic Party of Canada is founded with the merger of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) and the Canadian Labour Congress.
  • 1963 – The United States Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against allowing the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
  • 1972 – Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee, in an attempt by some members of the Republican party to illegally wiretap the opposition.
  • 1972 – The Vendome Hotel fire kills 9 Boston fire fighters.
  • 1982 – The body of “God’s Banker”, Roberto Calvi is found hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London.
  • 1987 – With the death of the last individual, the Dusky Seaside Sparrow becomes extinct.
  • 1991 – Apartheid: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act, which had required all racial classification of all South Africans at birth.
  • 1992 – A ‘Joint Understanding’ agreement on arms reduction is signed by U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin (this would be later codified in START II).
  • 1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase and a failed attempt at suicide, O.J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

June 17 – Birthdays:

  • 1239 – King Edward I of England (d. 1307)
  • 1603 – Joseph of Cupertino, Italian saint (d. 1663)
  • 1682 – King Charles XII of Sweden (d. 1718)
  • 1691 – Giovanni Paolo Pannini, Italian painter and architect (d. 1765)
  • 1693 – Johann Georg Walch, German theologian (d. 1775)
  • 1704 – John Kay, English inventor (d. 1780)
  • 1714 – Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, German philosopher (d. 1762)
  • 1714 – César-François Cassini de Thury, French astronomer (d. 1784)
  • 1718 – George Howard, British field marshal (d. 1796)
  • 1742 – William Hooper, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (d. 1790)
  • 1808 – Henrik Wergeland, Norwegian author (d. 1845)
  • 1810 – Ferdinand Freiligrath, German writer (d. 1876)
  • 1811 – Jón Sigurðsson, Icelandic independence fighter (d. 1879)
  • 1818 – Charles Gounod, French composer (d. 1893)
  • 1818 – Sophie of Württemberg, queen of the Netherlands (d. 1877)
  • 1832 – Sir William Crookes, English physicist and chemist (d. 1919)
  • 1839 – Fr. Arthur Tooth SSC, Anglican Clergyman prosecuted for ritualist activities (d. 1931)
  • 1858 – Ebenezer Sumner Draper, 44 Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1914)
  • 1861 – Pete Browning, American baseball player (d. 1905)
  • 1861 – Omar Bundy, U.S. army general and soldier (d. 1940
  • 1867 – John Robert Gregg, inventor of shorthand system (d. 1948)
  • 1867 – Henry Lawson, Australian poet (d. 1922)
  • 1880 – Carl Van Vechten, American writer and photographer (d. 1964)
  • 1881 – Tommy Burns, Canadian boxer (d. 1955)
  • 1882 – Igor Stravinsky, Russian composer (d. 1971)
  • 1888 – Heinz Guderian, German General (d. 1954)
  • 1898 – M.C. Escher, Dutch artist (d. 1972)
  • 1898 – Carl Hermann, German physicist (d. 1961)
  • 1900 – Martin Bormann, Nazi official (d. 1945)
  • 1902 – Sammy Fain, American popular music composer (d. 1989)
  • 1902 – Alec Hurwood, Australian cricketer (d. 1982)
  • 1903 – Ruth Wakefield, inventor of the Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie (d. 1977)
  • 1904 – Ralph Bellamy, American actor (d. 1991)
  • 1907 – Charles Eames, American designer and architect (d. 1978)
  • 1909 – Elmer Lee Andersen, Governor of Minnesota (d. 2004)
  • 1909 – Ralph E. Winters, Canadian film editor (d. 2004)
  • 1910 – Red Foley, American musician (d. 1968)
  • 1910 – George Hees, Canadian politician (d. 1996)
  • 1914 – John Hersey, American author (d. 1993)
  • 1915 – Karl Targownik, Hungarian psychiatrist (d. 1996)
  • 1915 – David “Stringbean” Akeman, American banjo player and actor (d. 1973)
  • 1917 – Atle Selberg, Norwegian mathematician (d. 2007)
  • 1918 – Ajahn Chah, Buddhist meditation master (d. 1992)
  • 1920 – Jacob H. Gilbert, American politician (d. 1981)
  • 1920 – François Jacob, French biologist, Nobel laureate
  • 1923 – Elroy ‘Crazylegs’ Hirsch, American football player (d. 2004)
  • 1927 – Martin Böttcher, German conductor
  • 1929 – Tigran Petrosian, Armenian chess player (d. 1984)
  • 1930 – Brian Statham, English cricketer (d. 2000)
  • 1933 – Harry Browne, American free-market libertarian writer, politician, and investment analyst (d. 2006)
  • 1933 – Christian Ferras, French violinist (d. 1982)
  • 1933 – Maurice Stokes, American basketball player (d. 1970)
  • 1936 – Ken Loach, British film director
  • 1940 – George Akerlof, American economist, Nobel laureate
  • 1942 – Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian IAEA director, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • 1943 – Newt Gingrich, American politician
  • 1943 – Barry Manilow, American musician
  • 1945 – Frank Ashmore, American actor
  • 1945 – Tommy Franks, American General
  • 1945 – Ken Livingstone, English politician
  • 1945 – Eddy Merckx, Belgian cyclist
  • 1946 – Peter Rosei, Austrian writer
  • 1947 – Paul Young, English singer and percussionist (d. 2000)
  • 1947 – Christopher Allport, American actor (d. 2008)
  • 1948 – Dave Concepción, Venezuelan baseball player
  • 1948 – Aurelio López, Mexican baseball player (d. 1992)
  • 1949 – Snakefinger, British-born musician (d. 1987)
  • 1951 – Joe Piscopo, American actor
  • 1952 – Mike Milbury, American ice hockey player, coach and executive
  • 1957 – Phil Chevron, Irish musician (The Pogues, The Radiators From Space)
  • 1957 – Martin Dillon, American opera singer (d. 2005)
  • 1957 – Jon Gries, American actor
  • 1957 – Jack Wouterse, Dutch actor
  • 1958 – Jello Biafra, American musician and activist
  • 1958 – Bobby Farrelly, American film director
  • 1958 – Sam Hamad, Syrian-born Canadian politician
  • 1958 – Derek Lee Ragin, American countertenor
  • 1960 – Thomas Haden Church, American actor
  • 1962 – Michael Monroe, Finnish singer (Hanoi Rocks)
  • 1963 – Greg Kinnear, American actor
  • 1964 – Michael Gross, German swimmer
  • 1964 – Rinaldo Capello, Italian racing driver
  • 1964 – Erin Murphy, American actress
  • 1965 – Dermontti Dawson, American football player
  • 1966 – Jason Patric, American actor
  • 1967 – Eric Stefani, American musician
  • 1968 – Minoru Suzuki, Japanese professional wrestler
  • 1969 – Paul Tergat, Kenyan athlete
  • 1970 – Jason Hanson, American football player
  • 1970 – Sasha Sokol, Mexican singer and actress
  • 1970 – Will Forte, American writer, actor and comedian
  • 1970 – Stéphane Fiset, French Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1970 – Michael Showalter, American comedian
  • 1971 – Paulina Rubio, Mexican singer
  • 1971 – Mildred Fox, Irish politician
  • 1973 – Krayzie Bone, American rapper (Bone Thugs-N-Harmony)
  • 1973 – Leander Paes, Indian tennis player
  • 1973 – Christian Claudio, Puerto Rican Business Consultant
  • 1974 – Evangelia Psarra, Greek archer
  • 1975 – Joshua Leonard, American actor
  • 1975 – Chloe Jones, American actress (d. 2005)
  • 1977 – Mark Tauscher, American football player
  • 1977 – Branko Tomovic, Serbian actor
  • 1977 – Roger Manganelli, American bassist (Less Than Jake)
  • 1978 – Kumiko Aso, Japanese actress
  • 1978 – Isabelle Delobel, French European ice dancer
  • 1979 – Nick Rimando, American soccer player
  • 1980 – Kimeru, Japanese singer
  • 1980 – Venus Williams, American tennis player
  • 1981 – Amrita Rao, Indian model and actress
  • 1981 – Kyle Boller, American football quarterback
  • 1981 – Shane Watson, Australian cricket all-rounder
  • 1983 – Lee Ryan, British singer (Blue)
  • 1983 – Kazunari Ninomiya, Japanese singer and actor
  • 1983 – Connie Fisher, English stage actress
  • 1984 – John Gallagher Jr. American stage actor
  • 1985 – Marcos Baghdatis, Cypriot professional tennis player
  • 1985 – Rafael Sóbis, Brazilian footballer

June 17 – Deaths:

  • 1025 – Boleslaw I the Brave, first king of Poland
  • 1091 – Dirk V, Count of Holland (b. 1052)
  • 1285 – Yekuno Amlak, Emperor of Ethiopia and restorer of the Solomonic dynasty
  • 1463 – Princess Catherine of Portugal, writer (b. 1436)
  • 1565 – Ashikaga Yoshiteru, Japanese shogun (b. 1536)
  • 1694 – Philip Cardinal Howard, English Catholic Cardinal (b. 1629)
  • 1696 – John III Sobieski, King of Poland (b. 1629)
  • 1719 – Joseph Addison, English politician and writer (b. 1672)
  • 1734 – Claude-Louis-Hector de Villars, Marshal of France (b. 1653)
  • 1740 – Sir William Wyndham, English politician (b. 1687)
  • 1762 – Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, French writer (b. 1674)
  • 1775 – Major John Pitcairn, British marine (killed in battle) (b. 1722)
  • 1797 – Agha Muhammad Khan, Shah of Persia (b. 1742)
  • 1813 – Charles Middleton, 1st Baron Barham, English sailor and politician (b. 1726)
  • 1821 – Martín Miguel de Güemes Argentine military leader (b. 1785)
  • 1858 – Rani Lakshmibai, queen of Jhansi in North India, one of the leading figures of the Indian rebellion of 1857 (b. 1828)
  • 1898 – Edward Burne-Jones, English artist (b. 1833)
  • 1904 – Nikolai Ivanovich Bobrikov, Russian politician, Governor-General of Finland (assassinated) (b. 1839)
  • 1939 – Allen Sothoron, American baseball player (b. 1893)
  • 1940 – Arthur Harden, English chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1865)
  • 1942 – Charles Fitzpatrick, Canadian politician (b. 1853)
  • 1952 – Jack Parsons, American rocket-fuel pioneer and renegade occultist (b. 1914)
  • 1956 – Paul Rostock, German doctor (b. 1892)
  • 1956 – Bob Sweikert, American racing driver (b. 1926)
  • 1957 – Dorothy Richardson, English writer (b. 1873)
  • 1961 – Jeff Chandler, American actor (b. 1918)
  • 1968 – José Nasazzi, Uruguayan footballer (b. 1901)
  • 1974 – Pamela Britton, American actress (b. 1923)
  • 1979 – Duffy Lewis, baseball player (b. 1888)
  • 1981 – Richard O’Connor, British general (b. 1889)
  • 1981 – Zerna Sharp, American writer and educator (Dick and Jane) (b. 1889)
  • 1982 – Roberto Calvi, Italian banker (b. 1920)
  • 1983 – Peter Mennin, American composer and teacher (b. 1923)
  • 1986 – Kate Smith, American singer (God Bless America) (b. 1907)
  • 1987 – Dick Howser, American baseball player and manager (b. 1936)
  • 1996 – Thomas Kuhn, American philosopher of science (b. 1922)
  • 2001 – Donald J. Cram, American chemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1919)
  • 2002 – Willie Davenport, American athlete (b. 1943)
  • 2002 – Fritz Walter, German footballer (b. 1920)
  • 2004 – Gerry McNeil, Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1926)
  • 2005 – Karl Mueller, American bassist (Soul Asylum) (b. 1962)
  • 2005 – Sam Loeb, comic book writer (b. 1988)
  • 2006 – Cláudio Besserman Vianna, aka “Bussunda”, Brazilian comedian (b. 1962)
  • 2007 – Gianfranco Ferrè, Italian fashion designer (b. 1944)

June 17 – Holidays:

  • Iceland’s national day, celebrating independence from Denmark in 1944.
  • Liturgical feasts:
    • Saint Albert Chmielowski
    • Saint Gondulf
    • Saint Hervé patron of the blind
    • Saint Hypatius of Bithynia
    • Saint Manuel
    • Saint Rainier
    • Saint Alena of Dilbeek (d. 640)
    • Saint Botolph, Abbot (d. ca. 680)
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