What Happened on March 17

Significant Events

  • 432 Saint Patrick, aged about 16 is captured by Irish pirates from his home in Great Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland (traditional date)
  • 1521 Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Philippines
  • 1861 Italy is unified into a single kingdom under Victor Emmanuel II following the campaigns led by Giuseppe Garibaldi
  • 1905 Albert Einstein finishes his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics
  • 1939 Battle of Nanchang between the Kuomintang and the Japanese breaks out (Sino-Japanese War 1937-1945)
  • 1942 Bełżec Concentration Camp opens with the transport of 30,000 Lublin Polish Jews
More Historical Events

March 17 in Film & TV

  • 1960 One of the first French New Wave films, "Breathless", directed by Jean-Luc Godard, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg is released in France

March 17 in Music

  • 1968 Bee Gees make their US TV debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" performing "To Love Somebody" and "Words"

March 17 in Sport

  • 1908 Tommy Burns KOs Jem Roche in 88 seconds in the quickest world heavyweight boxing title fight

Did You Know?

John Philip Holland achieves successful test run for the first modern submarine off Staten Island, submerging for 1 hour 40 minutes

On March 17, 1898


Would You Believe?

Rubber band patented by Stephen Perry of London

On March 17, 1845

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