Today in History

Today in History

352May 17Liberius began his reign as Catholic Pope replacing Julius I.
884May 17St. Adrian III began his reign as Catholic Pope.
1510May 17Sandro Botticelli (b.1445), Florentine artist born as Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, died.
1525May 17Battle at Zabern: duke of Lutherans beat rebels.
1536May 17Anne Boleyn’s 4 “lovers” were executed.
1540May 17Afghan chief Sher Khan defeated Mongol Emperor Humayun at Kanauj.
1544May 17Scot earl Matthew van Lennox signed a secret treaty with Henry VIII.
1620May 17The 1st merry-go-round was seen at a fair in Philippapolis, Turkey.
1630May 17Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi saw the belts on Jupiter’s surface.
1631May 17Earl Johann Tilly attacked Magdeburg.
1642May 17Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve landed on the Island of Montreal and gave the name Ville-Marie to the town he constructed at the foot of Mont Royal.
1672May 17Frontenac became governor of New France (Canada).
1673May 17Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi.
1681May 17Louis XIV sent an expedition to aid James II in Ireland. As a result, England declared war on France.
1727May 17Catherine I (b.1683), Empress of Russia (1725-27), died.
1733May 17England passed the Molasses Act, putting high tariffs on rum and molasses imported to the colonies from a country other than British possessions.
1742May 17Frederick great (Emperor of Prussia) beat Austrians.
1749May 17Edward Jenner, physician, discoverer of vaccination, was born.
1756May 17After a year and a half of undeclared war Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War and England hoped to conquer Canada. The final defeat of the French came in 1763 with the British victory at the Battle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham.
1803May 17John Hawkins and Richard French patented a reaping machine.
1809May 17The Papal States were annexed by France. Pope Pius VII responded by excommunicating Napoleon.
1814May 17Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden. Norway’s constitution was signed, providing for a limited monarchy.
1836May 17Joseph Norman Lockyer, discovered helium, was born. He founded Nature magazine.
1838May 17Charles-Maurice duke of Talleyrand-Perigord (84), diplomat, revolutionary, bishop and former PM of France (1815), died. In 2006 David Lawday authored “Napoleon’s Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand.”
1845May 17The rubber band was patented.
1849May 17A fire in St. Louis, Mo., destroyed more than 400 buildings and two dozen steamships.
1863May 17Union General Ulysses Grant continued his push towards Vicksburg at the Battle of the Big Black River Bridge in Mississippi.
1864May 17The Battle of Adairsville, Georgia, resulted in a Confederate retreat.
1865May 17The International Telegraph Union, later the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) was set up in Paris to standardize and regulate international radio communications.
1866May 17Erik Alfred Leslie Satie, French composer, was born.
1871May 17Gen. Sherman, Indian fighter, escaped in ambulance from the Comanches.
1875May 17The first Kentucky Derby was run at Louisville; the winner was Aristides.  It later became part of the Triple Crown with the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness.
1876May 17The 7th US Cavalry under Custer left Ft. Lincoln.
1881May 17Frederick Douglass was appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, D.C.
1883May 17Lydia Estes Pinkham, patent-medicine manufacturer, died.
1884May 17Alaska became a US territory.
1900May 17Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (d.1989), Iran’s spiritual and revolutionary leader (1979-89), was born.
1903May 17James “Cool Papa” Bell, baseball player, was born.
1904May 17Jean Gabin, one of France’s most popular film actors, was born in Paris.
1906May 17Opera singer Zinka Milanov was born in Zagreb, Croatia.
1909May 17White firemen on Georgia RR struck to protest the hiring of blacks.
1912May 17Archibald Cox was born. He was the special prosecutor in the Watergate hearings who was fired by President Richard Nixon.
1915May 17The National Baptist Convention was chartered.
1918May 17Birgit Nilsson, operatic soprano (Isolde, Turandot, Elektra, Salome), was born in Karup, Sweden.
1921May 17Pres. Harding opened the 1st Valencia Orange Show via telephone.
1924May 17In Santa Cruz, Ca., the Giant Dipper roller coaster opened to the public. It was built by local resident Arthur Looff. It cost $50,000 and took 47 days to construct. It was declared a Historic Landmark in 1987.
1926May 17Chiang Kai-shek was made supreme war lord and “generalissimo” in Canton.
1929May 17Edsel Ford cut the first sod of Ford’s new British manufacturing plant in the Dagenham marshes. The first cars at Dagenham were produced in October, 1931. This was Ford’s first expansion outside the US.
1930May 17Herbert Croly (b.1869), American liberal political author, died. His books included “The Promise of American Life” (1909).
1932May 17Congress changed the name “Porto Rico” to “Puerto Rico”.
1936May 17Dennis Hopper, actor (True Grit, Blue Velvet, Easy Rider), was born in Kansas.
1938May 17Congress passed the Vinson Naval Act, providing for a strengthened US Navy.
1939May 17Britain’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived in Quebec on the first visit to Canada by reigning British sovereigns.
1940May 17Germany occupied Brussels, Belgium, and began the invasion of France.
1942May 17Dutch SS vowed loyalty to Hitler.
1944May 17D. du Toit (Harvard College Observatory, Boyden station, Bloemfontein, South Africa) discovered the comet, 66P/du Toit, on a photograph.
1946May 17President Truman seized control of the nation’s railroads, delaying ”” but not preventing ”” a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.
1948May 17The Soviet Union recognized the new state of Israel.
1949May 17The British House of Commons adopted the Ireland Bill that recognized the independence of the Republic of Ireland, but affirmed the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.
1954May 17In Romania Monsignor Vladimir Ghika (b.1873) died in Jilava Communist prison. He had been born into a family of Moldovan nobles in Constantinople and spent decades traveling around the world helping the sick and the poor. On Aug 31, 2013, he was beatified.
1956May 17Sugar Ray [Charles] Leonard, boxer (Olympics-gold-76) was born in Willington, SC.
1960May 17Connecticut executed Joseph “Mad Dog” Taborsky in the electric chair for a series of murders and robberies.
1961May 17Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to exchange prisoners captured in the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion for 500 bulldozers.
1964May 17In San Francisco thousands gathered in Golden Gate park to rally against a proposal for a Panhandle Freeway.
1966May 17A North Vietnamese interview with US Adm. Jeremiah Denton (1924-2014) was broadcast on US TV. He had been shot down over North Vietnam in 1965. Denton used his eyes to blink out T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse code. This was the first confirmation that American POWs were being tortured.
1968May 17In Maryland the Catonsville Nine including Daniel and Phillip Berrigan (1921-2002), a Catholic priest, took hundreds of files from the draft board at the Knights of Columbus building and set them on fire with gasoline and soap chips.
1970May 17Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002), Norwegian anthropologist, left Morocco aboard Ra II, a papyrus reed boat, and sailed 3,270 nautical miles across the Atlantic to Barbados in 57 days
1971May 17The musical “Godspell,” by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak, premiered off-Broadway.
1973May 17The US Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal and the role of Pres. Nixon.
1974May 17LA police and FBI agents engaged in a gun battle with SLA members in a bungalow. The house caught fire and 6 bodies were recovered that included Cinque and William Wolfe. Patty Hearst was not there.
1975May 17NBC paid $5M for rights to show “Gone with the Wind” one time. The film aired over 2 nights in November, 1976.
1977May 17Menachem Begin’s Likud-party won election in Israel.
1978May 17Women were included in the White House honor guard for the first time as President Carter welcomed Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda.
1980May 17Rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.
1981May 17SF celebrated “Tillie Olsen Day.” Her books included “Yonnondio” (1974), and “Silences,” a study of blocked creativity. In 2001 she received the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award.
1984May 17A federal bailout of $4.5 billion kept the Continental Illinois Bank afloat. The 7th biggest US bank’s loss of half its funds overnight led to America’s return to strict capital requirements. Fed chairman Paul Volcker lent $8 billion through the discount window and endorsed the bailout of uninsured depositors. CIB was later sold to BankAmerica.
1987May 17An Iraqi warplane attacked the US Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf and 37 American sailors were killed. Iraq and the United States called the attack a mistake
1988May 17The US Commerce Department reported that a record level of export sales gave the US its lowest monthly trade deficit in three years in March 1988, totaling $9.7 billion.
1989May 17Robert Webber (b.1924), actor (Nuts, SOB, Assassin, 10), died in California.
1990May 17The effective date for pension rights for both men and women as ruled by a European court in 1994.
1991May 17The Commerce Department reported the US trade deficit had narrowed sharply in March 1991 to $4.05 billion, the lowest level in nearly eight years.
1992May 17Pro-democracy protests began in Thailand; in four days of clashes with troops, 44 people reportedly were killed, although activists charged that hundreds died.
1993May 17President Clinton visited the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the birthplace of the atomic bomb to promote a five-year, $20 billion defense-conversion plan.
1994May 17The U.N. Security Council approved a peacekeeping force and an arms embargo for violence-racked Rwanda. By June, 1994, 800,000 died there despite the presence of a small UN mission
1995May 17The US Senate ethics committee concluded that Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) had to face a full-scale Senate investigation of charges that included making improper advances toward women.
1996May 17D. Pipes reviewed “The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years” by Bernard Lewis.
1997May 17Silver Charm won the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. However, he failed to win the Belmont Stakes.
1998May 17New York Yankees pitcher David Wells became the 13th player in modern major league baseball history to throw a perfect game as he retired all 27 batters he faced in a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
1999May 17The US announced a 400,000 ton food aid donation to North Korea, as inspectors flew in to check on nuclear weapons development.
2000May 17In the Dominican Republic Hipolito Mejia, the populist opposition leader, was on the verge of winning the election with enough votes to avoid a runoff. Danilo Medina of the incumbent Liberation party had 24.9% and Joaquin Balaguer had 24.6% for the Social Christian Reformist Party.
2001May 17The US pledged $43 million in aid to Afghanistan.
2002May 17Former President Jimmy Carter ended a historic visit to Cuba sharply at odds with the Bush administration over how to deal with Fidel Castro, saying limits on tourism and trade often hurt Americans more than Cubans.
2003May 17Funny Cide ran away from the field in the Preakness, two weeks after winning the Kentucky Derby. However, Funny Cide came up short at the Belmont Stakes, finishing third.
2004May 17Transsexuals were cleared to compete in the Olympics for the first time.
2005May 17The US Department of Homeland Security said it detained Luis Posada Carriles, after the longtime Castro opponent granted interviews to TV stations and The Miami Herald for the first time since surfacing in the United States two months ago.
2006May 17Pres. Bush signed tax cut legislation that substantially increased taxes on American working abroad in a provision that Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley included under Section 911 of the tax code.
2007May 17President Bush and retiring British PM Tony Blair held a joint news conference at the White House, during which Blair allowed not a single regret about the Iraq war alliance.
2008May 17This was the official release date by the US Mint for the Adams dollar coin, the 6th of its presidential dollar series.
2009May 17In Indiana Pres. Obama addressed a graduation ceremony at Notre Dame Univ. and called for “open hearts, open minds and fair-minded words” in the pursuit of “common ground” regarding the issue of abortion rights.
2010May 17The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that teenagers may not be locked up for life without chance of parole if they haven’t killed anyone.
2011May 17Pres. Obama met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. They discussed the sweeping political and social changes in the Middle East.
2012May 17The US Obama administration announced that it would ease the ban on investments in Myanmar.
2013May 17A federal judge in Arkansas granted a request to temporarily block enforcement of a new state law that bans most abortions 12 weeks into a pregnancy.
2014May 17Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the first state law to allow terminally ill patients to access experimental medications before federal approval.
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Source: Timelines of History

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