On This Day in History for December 17

Events in History

Events 1 - 100 of 155

  • 283 St Gaius begins his reign as Catholic Pope
  • 546 Gothic War (535-554): The Ostrogoths of King Totila conquer Rome by bribing the Byzantine garrison.
  • 920 Romanos I is crowned as co-emperor of the underage Emperor Constantine VII.
  • 942 Assassination of William I Longsword, 2nd Duke of Normandy.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1398 Timur (Tamerlane) captures and sacks Delhi, defeating Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud's armies which include elephants

Turkic Conqueror Tamerlane
Turkic Conqueror
  • 1526 Ferdinand of Austria chosen as King of Bohemia
  • 1526 Pope Clemens VII publishes degree Cum ad zero - forms Inquisition
  • 1531 Pope Clement VII establishes a parallel body to the Inquisition in Lisbon, Portugal

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1538 Pope Paul II excommunicates King Henry VIII of England

King of England Henry VIII
King of England
Henry VIII
  • 1572 Spanish army begins fires in Haarlem Netherlands
  • 1586 Go-Yōzei becomes 107th Emperor of Japan
  • 1587 The Earl of Leicester's army leaves Netherlands
  • 1637 Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rise against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu
  • 1638 French and Swedish troops occupy Breisach on the Rhine
  • 1718 France, Britain and Austria declare war on Spain (War of the Quadruple Alliance 1718–1720)
  • 1728 Congregation Shearith Israel of New York purchases a lot on Mill Street in lower Manhattan to build the city's first synagogue
  • 1777 France recognizes independence of British colonies in America
  • 1777 George Washington's army returns to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
  • 1788 Russian army of Grigory Potemkin occupies Ocharov
  • 1790 Aztec calendar stone discovered in Mexico City
  • 1791 NYC traffic regulation creates 1st 1-way street
  • 1792 Opening of 1st legislative assembly of Lower Canada in Quebec city
  • 1798 1st impeachment trial against a US senator (William Blount, Tennessee) begins
  • 1807 France issues the Milan Decree, which confirms the Continental System.
  • 1819 Congress of Angostura establishes Colombia's independence from Spain
  • 1821 Kentucky abolishes debtors' prisons

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1832 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin sails in Strait Le Maire

Naturalist Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1845 German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt arrives in Port Essington after a nearly 4,800 km (3,000 mi) overland journey to explore Australia's Northern Territory

Explorer and Naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt
Explorer and Naturalist
Ludwig Leichhardt
  • 1852 1st Hawaiian cavalry organized
  • 1860 Anaheim Township created in Los Angeles County

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1862 General Ulysses S. Grant issues order #11, expelling Jews from Tennessee

Union General and US President Ulysses S. Grant
Union General and US President
Ulysses S. Grant
  • 1875 Violent bread riots in Montreal
  • 1885 France declares Madagascar a protectorate
  • 1887 Georges Feydeau's "Tailleur Pour Dames" premieres in Paris
  • 1892 Tchaikovski's ballet "Casse-noisette" premieres in St Petersburg
  • 1893 Russia ratifies Double Alliance with France
  • 1895 Anti-Saloon League of America formed, Washington, D.C.
  • 1895 George Brownell patents a machine to make paper twine (Mass)
  • 1900 1st prize of 100,000 francs offered for communications with extraterrestrials. Martians excluded-considered too easy
  • 1900 New Ellis Island Immigration station completed costing $1.5 million
  • 1900 Pope Leo XIII closes the 'Holy Door' of St Peter's in Rome, ending the Jubilee Year of 1900
  • 1902 Frank Wedekind's "Der Erdgeist" premieres in Berlin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1903 The Wright Brothers make the first sustained motorized aircraft flight at 10:35 AM, piloted by Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

  • 1907 Ugyen Wangchuck became 1st hereditary king of Bhutan
  • 1908 In Turkey the new parliament convenes with reformist Young Turks as the majority
  • 1909 Leopold II, king of Belgium, died in Laeken after a reign of exactly 44 years
  • 1914 Austrian troops beat Russians in Limanova Poland
  • 1914 Great Britain declares Egypt a protectorate
  • 1914 Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv by Turkish authorities
  • 1918 A conference of workers' and soldiers' councils take control of German government in Berlin, until elections in January selects new national assembly
  • 1919 Austrian parliament approves 8-hour working day

  • 1920 British Empire receives League of Nations mandate over Nauru
  • 1920 Japan receives League of Nations mandate over Pacific islands
  • 1920 South Africa receives League of Nations mandate over SW Africa
  • 1922 Last British troops leave Irish Free State
  • 1923 Greek king George II overthrown by army/republic
  • 1924 1st US diesel electric locomotive enters service, Bronx, NY
  • 1925 Colonel William "Billy" Mitchell court-martialed for insubordination
  • 1925 Soviet Union & Turkey sign non-aggresion pact

Victory in battleVictory in Battle

1925 Sultan Abdulaziz Ibn Saud conquers Jeddah, the last major stand of the Hashemites against the Saudis

Founder of Saudi Arabia Ibn Saud
Founder of Saudi Arabia
Ibn Saud
  • 1926 German Marx government falls due to cooperation with red army
  • 1926 KYA-AM in San Francisco CA begins radio transmissions
  • 1926 Lithuanian military state under gen Augustine Woldemaras
  • 1926 Antanas Smetona assumes power in Lithuania as the ‎1926 coup d'état‎ is successful
  • 1927 US submarine S-4 sinks after collision killing all 34 aboard
  • 1927 Victoria score 793 against Queensland, Bill Ponsford 437
  • 1928 John McGraw backs NL President John Heydler's designated hitter idea
  • 1932 Cards trade Jim Bottomley to Reds for Estel Crabtree & Ownie Carroll
  • 1933 Spain's 2nd government of Lerroux forms
  • 1935 First flight of the Douglas DC-3 (C-47 Skytrain/Dakota) airplane.
  • 1938 Discovery of nuclear fission using uranium by Otto Hahn and his assistant Fritz Strassmann
  • 1938 Utrecht Central Station destroyed by fire
  • 1939 German pocket battleship Graf Spee scuttled by its crew off Uruguay
  • 1940 British troops occupy Sollum, Egypt
  • 1941 Dutch & Australian troops land on Portuguese Timor
  • 1941 German submarine U-31 sunk

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1941 German troops led by Erwin Rommel begin retreating in North Africa

German WWII Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
German WWII Field Marshal
Erwin Rommel
  • 1941 World War II: Beginning of the Siege of Sebastopol.
  • 1942 Allies in London sentence German war criminals
  • 1943 Transport 63 departs with French Jews to nazi-Germany
  • 1944 San Franciso M-Ocean View streetcar resumes service & is extended to Market St
  • 1944 US Army announces end of excluding Japanese-Americans from West Coast, detainees released
  • 1944 US destroyers sink in storm off Philippines, 790 killed
  • 1946 US V-2 rocket reaches 183 km, White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico
  • 1947 NY struck by a blizzard, resulting with 27" of snow

1stHistoric Invention

1947 British industrial company BTH receives a patent for holography, invented by Dennis Gabor in their development lab

Physicist and Electrical Engineer Dennis Gabor
Physicist and Electrical Engineer
Dennis Gabor
  • 1949 Burma recognizes People's Republic of China
  • 1951 Dutch Communist Party members forbidden to be civil servants
  • 1953 US Federal Communications Commission approves RCA's black & white-compatible color TV specifications
  • 1954 1st fully automated railroad freight yard (Gary, Indiana)
  • 1957 US successfully test-fires Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile
  • 1959 "On The Beach" is 1st film to premiere on both sides of Iron Curtain
  • 1960 Pablo Casals' oratorio "El Pesebrio" premieres
  • 1961 India seizes Goa & 2 other Portuguese colonies
  • 1961 Niteroi Circus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil catches fire; 323 die after disgruntled employee sets fire to the tent
  • 1962 Current constitution of Monaco promulgated
  • 1963 Tsjoi Doo Sun forms government in South Korea
  • 1963 West & East Berlin sign accord about travel rules
  • 1965 British government proclaims ends oil-embargo against Rhodesia
  • 1965 David Levy begins his search for comets

Birthdays in History

  • 1239 Kujo Yoritsugu, Japanese Shogun (d. 1256)
  • 1267 Emperor Go-Uda of Japan (d. 1324)
  • 1554 Ernst of Bayern, prince/bishop of Liege/archbishop of Cologne
  • 1619 Prince Rupert of the Rhine, soldier/chemist/engraver/mathematician, commander in the English Civil War and first Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, (d. 1682)
  • 1632 Anthony Wood, English antiqurian (d. 1695)
  • 1685 Thomas Tickell, English writer (d. 1740)
  • 1706 Gabrielle Chôtelet [La belle Emilie], French writer (Voltaire)
  • 1734 William Floyd, US soldier/signer (Declaration of Independence)
  • 1734 Maria I of Portugal, Portuguese queen (d. 1816)
  • 1778 Hunphry Davy, English chemist (discovered some elements)
  • 1796 Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Canadian novelist (d. 1865)
  • 1797 Joseph Henry, American scientist/inventor/pioneer of electromagnetism
  • 1800 Gergely Czuczor, Hung/Czech poet/translator (Great Hung dictionary)
  • 1807 John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet (Snow-bound)
  • 1819 Samuel Jones, Major General (Confederate Army), (d. 1887)
  • 1820 Frederick Tracy Dent, American General (Union Army), born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1892)
  • 1821 Frederick West Lander, American poet and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Salem, Massachusetts (d. 1862)
  • 1824 John Kerr, System physicist (electro-visually Kerr-effect)
  • 1824 Manning Ferguson Force, American lawyer, judge and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 1899)
  • 1824 Thomas Starr King, NY, Unitarian clergyman (Christianity & Humanity)
  • 1830 Jules de Goncourt, French novelist (Germinie), wrote with his brother Edmond de Goncourt, born in Paris (d. 1870)
  • 1833 James Thadeus Holtzclaw, Brigadier General (Confederate Army), (d. 1893)
  • 1835 Alexander E Agassiz, American businessman/biologist/geology
  • 1842 Marius Sophus Lie, Norwegian mathematician (continous groups)
  • 1847 Émile Faguet, French writer and critic (d. 1916)
  • 1853 Émile Roux, French physician (d. 1933)
  • 1859 Paul César Helleu, French artist (d. 1927)
  • 1873 Ford Madox Ford, English novelist/editor (Inheritors)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1874 Mackenzie King, 10th Prime Minister of Canada (1921-30, 1935-48), born in Berlin, Ontario (d. 1950)

10th Prime Minister of Canada Mackenzie King
10th Prime Minister of Canada
Mackenzie King
  • 1881 Johannes CB "Jan" Sluyters, Dutch painter
  • 1887 Josef Lada, Czech painter (d. 1957)
  • 1887 Hermine Reuss, Empress of Germany and Duchess of Bohemia (d. 1947)
  • 1893 Erwin Piscator, German stage director (Der Stellvertreter)
  • 1894 Hans Henny Jahnn, writer
  • 1894 Hans [Henry] Kramers, Dutch theoretical physicist (quantum mechanics)
  • 1894 Willem Schermerhorn, Neth premier (1945-46)
  • 1894 David Butler, director (April in Paris, Calamity Jane), born in San Francisco, California
  • 1900 Mary Cartwright, English mathematician (d. 1998)
  • 1902 Albert Drach, Austrian-Jewish writer, born in Vienna (d. 1995)
  • 1903 Erskine P Caldwell, author (Tobacco Road, God's Little Acre)
  • 1904 Paul Cadmus, etcher/painter (Sailors & Floozies), born in NYC, New York
  • 1905 Simo Häyhä, Finnish sniper (d. 2002)
  • 1905 Érico Lopes Veríssimo, Brazilian writer (d. 1975)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1908 Willard Frank Libby, American chemist (carbon-14 "atomic clock" - Nobel 1960), born in Grand Valley, Colorado (d. 1980)

Chemist Willard Libby
Willard Libby
  • 1916 Antoine G T "Toon" Hermans, Dutch entertainer/poet (Kolderliedjes)
  • 1916 Penelope Fitzgerald, English writer (d. 2000)
  • 1920 Kenneth E. Iverson, Canadian computer scientist (d. 2004)
  • 1922 Alan Voorhees, American engineer and urban planner (d. 2005)
  • 1923 Jaroslav Pelikan, American historian (d. 2006)
  • 1926 Jeremy Brooks, English writer (Jampot Smith), born in Southampton (d. 1994)
  • 1928 Marilyn Beck, newspaper columnist
  • 1928 Eli Beeding, Sherman, TX, Air Force Captain and rocket test pilot, (d. 2013)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1929 William Safire, American political columnist (NY Times) and speech writer (Nixon), born in NYC, New York (d. 2009)

American Political Columnist & Presidential Speechwriter William Safire
American Political Columnist & Presidential Speechwriter
William Safire

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1930 Bob Guccione, American publisher (Penthouse, Omni), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2010)

Publisher Bob Guccione
Bob Guccione
  • 1931 Yvonne Keuls, [Bamberg], Dutch writer (Jan Rap & Co)
  • 1933 Paul Snoek, [Edm Schietekat], Belgian poet
  • 1936 Frank Martinus Arion, [F Efraim M], Antilles, writer (Double Play)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1936 Pope Francis [Jorge Mario Bergoglio], Catholic Pope (2013-) 1st Jesuit pope, 1st from the Americas and 1st non-European pope since Syrian Gregory III in 741, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Pope Francis
  • 1937 Kerry Packer, Australian businessman (d. 2005)
  • 1937 John Kennedy Toole, American novelist (d. 1969)
  • 1937 Calvin Waller, US Army general (d. 1996)
  • 1939 Charles V. Bush, African-American pioneer (1st African-American US Air Force Academy Graduate and US Supreme Court Page), (d. 2012)
  • 1940 Kåre Valebrokk, Norwegian journalist

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1942 Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian military leader and politician (President of Nigeria 2015-), born in Daura, Katsina State

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari
President of Nigeria
Muhammadu Buhari
  • 1944 Jack L[aurence] Chalker, American sci-fi author (Saga of Well World)
  • 1945 Chris Matthews, American journalist
  • 1945 Jacqueline Wilson, English author
  • 1946 Simon Bates, British disk jockey and radio presenter (BBC Radio 1, Classic FM), born in Birmingham, England
  • 1947 Marilyn Hassett, LA Ca
  • 1950 Laurence F. Johnson, American educator
  • 1952 Hans Alders, Dutch minister of environment (PvdA)
  • 1966 Kristiina Ojuland, Estonian politician
  • 1966 Christopher A. Wray, American lawyer, F.B.I. Director (2017-), born in New York City
  • 1968 Andrey Golovatiuk, Russian politician
  • 1969 Chuck Liddell, American mixed martial artist
  • 1970 Benedictine, [St Bernard]; becomes heaviest known dog (137 kg)
  • 1974 Duff Goldman, American chef
  • 1980 Eli Pariser, American political activist (MoveOn.org)
  • 1982 Craig Kielburger, Canadian labour activist
  • 1982 Ryan Moats, National Football League runningback
  • 1985 Ryuichi Ogata, member of Japanese boy band w-inds.
  • 1987 Chelsea [born Bradley] Manning, US soldier who released WikiLeaks, born in Crescent, Oklahoma
  • 2007 James Windsor, Viscount Severn, son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Weddings in History

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1600 Marriage of Henry IV of France and Marie de' Medici

HeartWedding of Interest

1915 Journalist Benito Mussolini marries Rachele Guidi in Treviglio Lombardy

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini
Italian Dictator
Benito Mussolini

HeartWedding of Interest

1918 Philippine Senator (and later 2nd President) Manuel L. Quezon (40) weds first cousin Aurora Aragon (30) in Hong Kong

2nd President of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon
2nd President of the Philippines
Manuel L. Quezon

HeartWedding of Interest

1955 Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (47) weds Cecilia Suyat

First Black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
First Black Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1985 Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong (33) weds Temasek Holdings CEO Ho Ching

Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong
Prime Minister of Singapore
Lee Hsien Loong

Deaths in History

  • 535 Emperor Ankan of Japan (b. 466)
  • 695 Begga, ancestress of the Carolingians/saint, dies [or 693]
  • 1187 Gregory VIII, [Alberto de Morra], Italian Pope (1187), dies
  • 1195 Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut (b. 1150)
  • 1213 Jean de Matha, French saint, dies at 53
  • 1273 Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, Persian poet, scholar and mystic dies aged 65 or 66
  • 1471 Isabella of Portugal, duchess of Burgundy, dies
  • 1663 Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba (b. 1583)
  • 1679 Don Juan, ruler of Spain, dies
  • 1711 Arnold Moonen, vicar/literature (Defeated German Spraekkunst), dies
  • 1721 Richard Lumley, 1st Earl of Scarbrough, English statesman (b. 1640)
  • 1751 Kilian I von Dientzenhofer, Czech master builder, dies at 62

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1830 Simón Bolívar, South American revolutionary and president (Colombia), dies at 47 in Santa Marta, Colombia

Military and Political Leader Simón Bolívar
Military and Political Leader
Simón Bolívar
  • 1833 Kaspar Hauser, German son of grand duke Karel of Bathe, murdered at 21
  • 1847 Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, second wife of Napoleon (b. 1791)
  • 1860 Désirée Clary, Queen of Sweden and Norway (b. 1777)
  • 1881 Lewis H Morgan, US ethnologist (Iroquois-indians), dies at 62
  • 1891 Msiri, ruler of the Garanganze Kingdom, Congo (Katanga), dies in battle against Belgian funded expedition
  • 1891 Omer Bodson, Belgian captain, dies in battle against Msiri, ruler of Garanganze Kingdom in the Congo
  • 1893 Levinus T Keuchenius, Dutch min of Colonies (1888-90), dies at 71
  • 1899 Frederick "Freddy" Roberts, son of British field marshal, dies in battle

Person of interestPerson of Interest

1907 William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, Irish-Scottish mathematical physicist (Kelvin Scale) and engineer (transatlantic telegraph), dies of a chill at 83

Mathematical Physicist and Engineer William Thomson
Mathematical Physicist and Engineer
William Thomson
  • 1917 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, 1st qualified woman physician in Britain, first woman mayor (Aldeburgh), dies at 81
  • 1933 Hans Vaihinger, German philosopher (Side-Studies), dies at 81
  • 1933 Thubten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama, dies at 57
  • 1937 Gerard Vissering, banker/president of Dutch Bank, dies at 72
  • 1940 Alicia Boole Stott, Irish mathematician (b. 1860)
  • 1944 Pieter A. Roodenburgh, student and resistance fighter, dies at 26
  • 1946 Constance [Clara] Garnett, Russian-English translator, dies at 84
  • 1957 Dorothy Sayers, [Atherton Fleming], author (Whose body), dies at 64
  • 1961 Marion Perkins, sculptor (Man of Sorrow), dies at 53
  • 1964 Victor Franz Hess, Austrian-born physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1883)
  • 1967 Harold Holt, Australian premier (1966-67), drowns at 59
  • 1967 [Francis] Barry Byrne, American architect, dies at 83
  • 1969 Arturo da Costa e Silva, President of Brazil (1967-69), dies at 67
  • 1973 Charles G Abbot, US astronomer (Sun Constant), dies at 101
  • 1982 Leonid B Kogan, Russian violist, dies at 58
  • 1982 Homer S. Ferguson, American politician (b. 1889)
  • 1985 Otto Gotsche, writer, dies
  • 1986 Ron Kass, record co pres (MGM), dies at 52 of cancer
  • 1987 Bernard Cardinal Alfrink, archbishop of Utrecht Neth, dies at 87
  • 1987 Marguerite Yourcenard, author (Memoirs of Hadrien), dies at 84
  • 1987 Marguerite Yourcenar, Belgian novelist (b. 1903)
  • 1991 John Blatnik, (Rep-Minnesota, 1947-75), dies at 80
  • 1995 Lila Clark Knapp, publisher, dies at 63
  • 1996 Elizabeth Hill, teacher of Salvonic languages, dies at 96
  • 1996 Michael Saunders, barrister, dies at 22
  • 1996 Stanko Todorov, Bulgarian communist politician, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (1971-81), dies at 76
  • 1997 Reginald Victor Jones, scientist, dies at 86
  • 2003 Brian Lee, father of Wikipedia user, James Lee (b. 1948)
  • 2004 Tom Wesselmann, American collage artist (b. 1931)
  • 2005 Jack Anderson, American journalist (b. 1922)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

2011 Kim Jong-il, supreme leader of North Korea (DPRK) 1994-2011, dies of a suspected heart attack at 70

Supreme Leader and Dictator of North Korea Kim Jong-il
Supreme Leader and Dictator of North Korea
Kim Jong-il
  • 2012 Daniel K. Inouye, American politician, dies from respiratory complications at 88
  • 2014 Fritz Rudolf Fries, German writer and informant, dies at 79
  • 2016 Henry Heimlich, American surgeon and inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, dies at 96