On This Day

Historical Events on January 17

  • 1287 King Alfonso III of Aragon invades Minorca
  • 1377 Pope Gregory XI moves the Papacy back to Rome from Avignon
  • 1501 Cesare Borgia returns in triumph to Rome from Romagna

Voyage of Discovery

1524 Beginning of Giovanni da Verrazzano's voyage to find a passage to China

  • 1536 Francois Rabelais absolved of apostasy by Pope Paul III

Historic Event

1562 French regent Catherine de' Medici issues the Edict of St Germain recognizing Huguenots in France

Declaration of War

1595 King Henry IV of France declares war on Spain

  • 1601 France gains Bresse, Bugey, Valromey & Gex in treaty with Spain
  • 1656 Brandenburg & Sweden sign Treaty of Königsberg
  • 1718 Avalanche destroys every building in Leukerbad, Switzerland; kills 53
  • 1746 Battle of Falkirk Muir, the Jacobites under Charles Stuart defeat Hanoverian forces
  • 1757 German Diet declares war on Prussia

Historic Discovery

1773 Captain James Cook becomes 1st to cross Antarctic Circle (66° 33' S)

  • 1775 9 old women burnt as witches for causing bad harvests in Kalisk, Poland
  • 1775 Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play "The Rivals" premieres in London
  • 1779 Captain James Cook's last notation in Discovery's ship's log
  • 1799 Maltese patriot Dun Mikiel Xerri, along with a number of other patriots, is executed

New Settlement

1821 Mexico permits Moses Austin and 300 US families to settle in Texas, after his death leaves to son Stephen

  • 1827 Duke of Wellington appointed British supreme commander
  • 1832 Johannes van den Bosch appointed governor general of Dutch East Indies
  • 1852 British recognize independence of Transvaal (in South Africa)
  • 1862 -Jan 22nd) BBT Ft Henry, Tennessee by USS Lexington
  • 1863 Civil War skirmish near Newtown, Virginia

Battle of Interest

1864 General James Longstreet's command ends heavy fighting at Dandridgem, Tennessee

  • 1871 1st cable car patented, by Andrew Smith Hallidie in the US (begins service in 1873)
  • 1873 A group of Modoc warriors defeats the United States Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold, a part of the Modoc War
  • 1874 Armed Democrats seize Texas government ending Radical Reconstruction
  • 1882 1st Dutch female physician Aletta Jacobs opens her office
  • 1885 Battle of Abu Klea (Battle of Abu Tulayh), Sudan: British Desert Column defeat Mahdist forces: 76 British and 1,100 Mahdists killed
  • 1893 -17°F (-27°C), Millsboro, Delaware (state record)
  • 1893 Queen Liliuokalani is deposed by an American coup, Kingdom of Hawaii becomes a republic
  • 1893 Franco-Russian Alliance is signed
  • 1895 French president Casimir-Perier resigns; Félix Faure installed.
  • 1899 US takes possession of Wake Island in the Pacific

Theater Premiere

1904 Anton Chekhov's play "Cherry Orchard" opens at Moscow Art Theater

  • 1905 Punchboards patented by Charles Brewer & C G Scannell, Chicago

Assassination Attempt

1911 Failed assassination attempt on French Prime Minister Aristide Briand in the French Assembly

  • 1911 Percy Mackaye's "Scarecrow" premieres in NYC
  • 1913 Raymond Poincaré elected president of France

Theater Premiere

1914 Gerhart Hauptmann's play "Der Bogen des Odysseus" premieres in Berlin

  • 1915 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek's Hospital in Amsterdam opens
  • 1915 Russia occupies Bukovina & Western Ukraine

Victory in Battle

1915 Battle of Sarikamish ends with a Russian victory over Ottoman forces led by Enver Pasha with loss of over 30,000 men of the Turkish Third Army during Caucasus Campaign

  • 1916 Rodman Wanamaker organises a lunch to discuss forming a golfers association (later the PGA) at the Taplow Club, Martinique Hotel, New York City
  • 1917 US pays Denmark $25 million for Virgin Islands (or 3/21)
  • 1920 Paul Deschanel elected President of France
  • 1920 First day of prohibition of alcohol comes into effect in the US as a result of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution
  • 1923 Belgian Working people Party protest against occupied Ruhrgebied
  • 1923 Origin of Brown lunation numbers
  • 1928 1st fully automatic photographic film developing machine patented
  • 1929 Popeye makes 1st appearance, in comic strip "Thimble Theater"

Sports History

1933 Australian cricket batting champion Don Bradman takes only his 2nd Test wicket; bowls England's Walter Hammond for 85 during 338-run 3rd Test defeat in Adelaide

  • 1934 Electric Home & Farm Authority incorporated

Contract of Interest

1934 NY Giants reward NL MVP pitcher Carl Hubbell with a huge $18,000 contract

  • 1937 LPGA Titleholders Championship Women's Golf, Augusta CC: Patty Berg wins inaugural event by 3 strokes ahead of Dorothy Kirby
  • 1938 Supreme Soviet elects Michail Kalinin as presidium chairman

Historic Event

1938 Joseph P. Kennedy becomes the 44th United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom

  • 1939 Ed Barrow is elected Yankee president succeeding deceased J Ruppert

Historic Event

1941 Chiang Kai-shek disbands the Communist New Fourth Army after the New Fourth Army incident at Maolin, Anhui Province between the nationalist and communist armies leaves many dead

  • 1943 Tin Can Drive Day in the US, salvage collected for the war effort
  • 1944 British corvette HMS Violet sinks U-641 in Atlantic Ocean

Historic Event

1945 Auschwitz concentration camp begins evacuation

  • 1945 Gilbert Dodds, record miler (4:05.3), retires to do gospel work
  • 1945 Soviet army enters the devastated city of Warsaw and clears German resistance
  • 1945 Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis, arrested by Soviet secret police in Hungary
  • 1946 United Nations Security Council holds its 1st meeting
  • 1947 Ammunition factory explodes in Muiden, Netherlands, 16 die
  • 1948 Netherlands & Indonesia agree to a cease-fire
  • 1948 Trial of 11 US Communist party members begins in NYC
  • 1949 Radio series "The Goldbergs" by Gertrude Berg premieres on US TV on CBS
  • 1950 "Alive & Kicking" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 46 performances
  • 1950 The Great Brinks Robbery - 11 men rob $1.2M cash & $1.5M securities from armored car company Brink's offices in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1951 China refuses ceases-fire in Korea
  • 1952 1952 NFL Draft: Bill Wade QB University of Vanderbilt #1 pick by Los Angeles Rams

Australian Open Women's Tennis

1953 Australian Championships Women's Tennis: In an all-American final Maureen Connolly wins 1st leg of her Grand Slam; beats Julia Sampson 6-3, 6-2

Australian Men's Tennis Open

1953 Australian Championships Men's Tennis: In an all-Australian final Ken Rosewall wins his first Grand Slam title; beats Mervyn Rose 6-0, 6-3, 6-4

Television Debut

1954 Jacques Cousteau's 1st network telecast airs on "Omnibus" (CBS)

NFL Pro Bowl

1954 4th NFL Pro Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: Eastern Conference beats Western Conference, 20-9; MVP: Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles, LB

  • 1955 US Submarine Nautilus begins 1st nuclear-powered test voyage
  • 1957 9-county commission recommends creation of BART
  • 1959 "Say, Darling" closes at ANTA Theater NYC after 332 performances

NFL Pro Bowl

1960 10th NFL Pro Bowl, LA Memorial Coliseum: Western Conference beats Eastern Conference, 38-21; MVPs: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore Colts, QB; Eugene Lipscomb, Baltimore Colts, DL

  • 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".

NBA All-Star Game

1961 11th NBA All-Star Game, Onondaga County Coliseum, Syracuse, NY: West beats East, 153-131; MVP: Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals, PG; at 22, youngest player to receive All-Star MVP honours, 23 points & 14 assists

Historic Event

1962 NASA civilian pilot Neil Armstrong takes X-15 to 40,690m

  • 1962 Roy Harris' 8th Symphony, premieres in San Francisco
  • 1963 Joe Walker takes X-15 to altitude of 82 km
  • 1966 B-52/KC-135 tankers crash near Spanish coast at Palomares, 7 die

Historic Event

1966 Martin Luther King Jr. opens campaign in Chicago

  • 1969 Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 5 lands
  • 1970 357 baseball players are available in the free-agent draft
  • 1970 9th AFL All Star Game, Astrodome, Houston: Western Division beats Eastern Division, 26-3; MVP: John Hadl, LA Chargers, QB
  • 1970 John M Burgess installed as bishop of Protestant Episcopals (Mass)

Sports History

1970 Sporting News names Willie Mays as Player of the Decade for the 1960s

  • 1971 Super Bowl V, Miami Orange Bowl, Miami, FL: Baltimore Colts beat Dallas Cowboys, 16-13; MVP: Chuck Howley, Dallas, LB
  • 1971 At a party conference in Dublin, Sinn Féin end their 65 year abstentionist policy and agree that any elected representative could take their seat at the Dáil
  • 1972 Section of Memphis' Highway 51 South renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard
  • 1972 Seven men who were held as internees escape from the prison ship HMS Maidstone in Belfast Lough, North Ireland
  • 1972 "My Hang-Up Is You" single released by Freddie Hart (Billboard Song of the Year 1972)
  • 1973 City of Amsterdam decides to support Hanoi
  • 1973 New Philippine constitution names Marcos president for life
  • 1974 Styne, Comdem & Green's musical "Lorelei" premieres in NYC

Album Release

1974 Asylum Records releases "Court and Spark", Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell's 6th studio album; features the songs "Help Me" and "Free Man In Paris", it becomes her biggest seller

#1 in the Charts

1976 "I Write the Songs" cover by Barry Manilow hits #1

  • 1976 Hermes rocket launched by European Space Agency
  • 1976 Blondie release their debut single "X Offender" written by Debbie Harry and Gary Valentine
  • 1977 KC releases Tommy Davis, ends an 18-year career with 10 teams
  • 1977 NFL Pro Bowl, Seattle Kingdome: AFC beats NFC, 24-14; MVP: Mel Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers, CB
  • 1977 Zaire president Mobutu visits Belgium
  • 1977 Gary Gilmore is executed by firing squad in the Utah state prison, convicted of murder
  • 1979 USSR performs underground nuclear test
  • 1980 NASA launches Fltsatcom-3
  • 1980 Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb prematurely detonates on a passenger train near Belfast, kills three and injuring five (including the bombers)
  • 1980 Roger Sessions' 9th Symphony, his last, premieres in Syracuse, New York with Christopher Keene conducting the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra

Historic Event

1981 President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos ends martial law

  • 1982 "Cold Sunday" in the United States would see temperatures fall to their lowest levels in over 100 years in numerous cities

Sports History

1982 Czech tennis star Ivan Lendl scores a 6–7, 2–6, 7–6, 6–2, 6–4 win over American Vitas Gerulaitis to claim his first of 5 ATP Masters Grand Prix titles at Madison Square Garden, NYC

  • 1983 10th American Music Awards: John Cougar, Rick Springfield, and Olivia Newton-John win

Historic Event

1983 Alabama Governor George Wallace, becomes governor for a record 4th time

  • 1983 Nigeria expels 2 million illegal aliens, mostly Ghanaians
  • 1984 Supreme Court rules (5-4) that private use of home VCRs to tape TV programs for later viewing does not violate federal copyright laws
  • 1985 Azharuddin scores second Test century in second Test (v England)
  • 1986 Tim Witherspoon beats defending champion Tony Tubbs by majority decision in 15 rounds at The Omni, Atlanta for WBA heavyweight boxing title
  • 1986 2nd Sundance Film Festival: "Smooth Talk" wins Grand Jury Prize Dramatic

Historic Event

1987 US President Reagan signs secret order permitting covert sale of arms to Iran

Historic Event

1987 General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Hu Yaobang is forced to resign, amid demonstrations for greater democracy

  • 1988 "Teddy & Alice" closes at Minskoff Theater NYC after 77 performances
  • 1988 Leslie Manigay elected President of Haiti

AFC Championship

1988 AFC Championship, Mile High Stadium, Denver: Denver Broncos beat Cleveland Browns, 38-33; features infamous "The Fumble", Browns' Earnest Byner at Denver 3-yard line with 1:12 remaining

  • 1988 NFC Championship, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.: Washington Redskins beat Minnesota Vikings, 17-10
  • 1989 Al Arbour wins his 600th NHL game as coach
  • 1989 Gunman opens fire in California schoolyard; 5 students slain, 30 wounded
  • 1989 Murden & Metz are 1st women to reach South Pole overland (on skis)
  • 1989 Phoenix Suns cancel game at Miami Heat, due to racial unrest in Miami
  • 1990 Dave Stewart signs record $3,500,000 per year Oak A's contract

Hall of Fame

1990 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Hank Ballard; Bobby Darin; The Four Seasons; The Four Tops; The Kinks; The Platters; Simon and Garfunkel; The Who; Louis Armstrong; Charlie Christian; Ma Rainey; Gerry Goffin and Carole King; and Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland

  • 1991 Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles on Israel
  • 1991 Mountie Jacques Rougeau beats Hart for WWF intercontinental title
  • 1991 Andy Van Hellemond sets NHL record for most games worked by a referee when he appears in his 1,173rd regular season encounter as the St. Louis Blues host the Montreal Canadiens
  • 1991 Harald V becomes King of Norway on the death of his father, Olav V
  • 1991 Operation Desert Storm begins, with US-led coalition forces bombing Iraq, during the Gulf War
  • 1992 Sarah Ferguson attends dinner of Everglades club (club excludes Jews)
  • 1993 14th ACE Cable Awards: Bravo! wins the Golden CableACE for its dedication to films, cultural arts and performing arts programming
  • 1993 Russian Irina Privalova cycles world record 300m indoor (35.45")
  • 1993 AFC Championship, Joe Robbie Stadium, Miami: Buffalo Bills beat Miami Dolphins, 29-10
  • 1993 NFC Championship, Candlestick Park, SF: Dallas Cowboys beat San Francisco 49ers, 30-20
  • 1994 6.6 Earthquake hits Los Angeles killing 60, $30B in damage

Film & TV History

1994 Actress Elizabeth Taylor released from the hospital after hip treatment

Sports History

1994 Patrick Ewing becomes first New York player to reach the 15,000-point mark in his NBA career; scores a game-high 34 points in the Knicks' 106-94 win over visiting Minnesota

  • 1995 "Carousel" closes at Beaumont Theater NYC after 322 performances
  • 1995 7.2 earthquake destroys Kobe, Japan and kills 5,372
  • 1995 Australia beat Australia A 2-0 to win cricket's World Series Cup
  • 1995 LA Rams announce that they are moving to St Louis
  • 1996 The Czech Republic applies for membership of the European Union.
  • 1996 Iraq agrees to talks concerning a UN plan to allow for the Iraqi sale of $1 billion of oil; proceeds from the sale would be used for humanitarian purposes

Sports History

1996 Detroit center Steve Yzerman scores his 500th career NHL goal as the Red Wings beat Colorado, 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena and joins Gordie Howe as the only players to score 500 goals for Detroit

Hall of Fame

1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: David Bowie; Jefferson Airplane; Little Willie John; Gladys Knight and the Pips; Pink Floyd; The Shirelles; The Velvet Underground; Pete Seeger; and Tom Donahue

Sports History

1997 NBA suspends Dennis Rodman indefinitely for kicking cameraman

Historic Event

1998 US President Bill Clinton faces sexual harassment charges from Paula Jones

  • 1999 AFC Championship, Mile High Stadium, Denver: Denver Broncos beat New York Jets, 23-10; features infamous "The Miss", Vikings' PK Gary Anderson misses field goal late 4th quarter
  • 1999 NFC Championship, Metrodome, Minneapolis: Atlanta Falcons beat Minnesota Vikings, 30-27 (OT)

Music Awards

2000 27th American Music Awards: Shania Twain & Will Smith win

Historic Expedition

2001 President Bill Clinton posthumously raises William Clark's rank from Lieutenant to Captain, and gave the titles of Honorary Sergeant to Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman who served as guide, and York, a person enslaved by William Clark, who assisted the expedition party

  • 2001 OPEC agrees at a meeting of ministers in Vienna, to reduce members' oil production quotas by 1.5 million barrels per day
  • 2002 Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.

Film Awards

2003 8th Critics' Choice Movie Awards: Chicago Best Picture

  • 2007 Doomsday Clock set to five minutes to midnight in response to North Korea's 1st nuclear test
  • 2010 A dragon boat from Chung Ling High School capsizes and collides with a tugboat amid strong currents in Penang, Malaysia, killing 6 people and injuring 12
  • 2011 "Sure Thing" single released by Miguel (Billboard Song of the Year 2011)

NBA Record

2012 LeBron James becomes youngest player in NBA history to record 20,000 career points during the Miami Heat's 92-75 victory over Golden State; James, 28 years, 17 days, passes Kobe Bryant, 29 years, 122 days

  • 2013 106 people are massacred by Syrian army forces in Homs
  • 2013 33 people are killed by a series of bombs across Iraq
  • 2013 4 people are killed and over 2,000 are evacuated after a massive flood hits Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 2013 8 people are killed in a plane crash in Chiapas, Mexico
  • 2013 Japan unveils plans to build the world’s largest wind farm near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
  • 2014 21 people are killed in a suicide bombing in a restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan
  • 2015 American boxer Deontay Wilder wins the WBC heavyweight championship by unanimous decision over Bermane Stiverne at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas; Wilder first American to hold a heavyweight title since Shannon Briggs in 2007

Historic Event

2016 Fourth Democratic presidential candidates debate: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders clash over healthcare and gun control in Charleston, South Carolina

Historic Event

2017 US President Barack Obama commutes WikiLeaks discloser Chelsea Manning's prison sentence from 35 to 7 years

  • 2017 Nigerian military mistakenly bomb refugee camp killing more than 70 in Rann, Borno state
  • 2019 China executes Cai Dongjia, the country's "godfather of crystal meth" from Boshe, Guangdong
  • 2019 Indian spiritual leader Ram Rahim Singh and two aides sentenced to life in prison for murdering journalist who exposed sexual abuse at the sect
  • 2019 Car bomb in Bogota, Colombia, outside the National Police Academy kills at least 8 and injures 41
  • 2021 Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is arrested immediately on his return to Russia after recovering from nerve-agent poisoning [1]