- 656 Ali ibn Abu Talib chosen kalief of Islam
- 1579 Sir Francis Drake lands on coast of California at Drakes Bay, names it "New Albion"
- 1631 Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, then spends more than 20 years building her tomb, the Taj Mahal
- 1856 Republican Party opens its 1st national convention in Philadelphia
"Things Fall Apart" by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe published by Heinemann - considered most widely read book in African literature
On June 17, 1958
Last public guillotining in France. Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is guillotined in Versailles outside the prison Saint-Pierre
On June 17, 1939