This Day in History - January 17

January 17


1468 – Albanian lord Skanderbeg dies


1504 – Pope Pius V is born


1601 – The Treaty of Lyons ends war between Savoy and France


1706 – Statesman, diplomat, scientist and inventor who helped draft the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin, is born


1746 – The young pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, defeats government forces at the Battle of Falkirk in Scotland


1773 – Captain James Cook becomes the first person to cross the Antarctic Circle


1781 – The Patriots rout the Redcoats and Loyalists at the Battle of Cowpens


1806 – The grandson of Thomas Jefferson and the first child born in the White House, James Madison Randolph, is born


1819 – Simon Bolivar, the “liberator,” proclaims Columbia a republic


1820 – Author Anne Bronte is born


1945 – Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, disappears in Hungary while in Soviet custody


1950 – Eleven men steal $2.7 million from the Brinks Armored Car depot in Boston, Massachusetts, the largest robbery in US history up to that time.  The men nearly pulled off the perfect crime-leaving virtually no clues and not hurting anyone.  They agreed to allow the statute of limitations run out before touching the money and were days within reaching their goal when Joseph “Specs” O’Keefe, drew attention to the gang by writing letters about it while serving a prison sentence for another burglary.  The group sent a hit man to kill O’Keefe, but he was detained before completion.  A wounded O’Keefe, made a deal with the FBI to testify against the others.  Eight were given life sentences and two died before trial.  Only a small part of the money was ever recovered and the rest is fabled to be hidden in the hills north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota


1852 – The British recognize the independence of the Transvaal Board, at the Sand River Convention


1860 – Russian playwright and short story writer Anton Chekhov is born


1863 – British Prime Minister David Lloyd George is born


1865 – Union General William Sherman’s army is reined in at Savannah, Georgia, waiting to march into the Carolinas


1873 – Modoc warriors defeat the US Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold, a part of the Modoc War


1893 – Queen Liliuokalani, the Hawaiian monarch, is overthrown by a group of American sugar planters led by Sanford Ballard Dole


1893 – President Rutherford B. Hayes dies


1899 – US Chicago mobster known as “Scarface,” Al Capone is born


1912 – Captain Robert Scott reaches the South Pole


1916 – The Professional Golfers Association is formed at a meeting at the Taplow Club in New York City


1922 – Actress Betty White is born


1927 – American actress and singer Eartha Kitt is born


1936 – Romanian author Mateiu Caragiale dies


1939 – The Reich issues an order forbidding Jews to practice as dentists, veterinarians or chemists


1941 – Kuomintang forces under orders from Chiang Kai-shek open fire at communist forces resuming the Chinese Civil War


1942 – US boxer and the only to be a three-time heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) is born


1944 – Operation Panther is launched as the Allies invade Cassino, Italy


1945 – The Red Army occupies Warsaw


1946 – The first meeting of the UN takes place


1953 – The Chevrolet Corvette makes its debut at the General Motors Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City


1961 – President Dwight Eisenhower warns the American people to watch out for what he calls the “military-industrial complex” that has developed in the post-World War II years, during his farewell address to the nation


1961 – Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of the Congo, is murdered.  An independent commission concluded that her murder received support from the CIA and the Belgian government


1962 – Actor and producer Jim Carrey is born


1963 – Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev visits the Berlin Wall


1964 – Wife of US President Barack Obama, Michelle Robinson Obama is born


1966 – A B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 jet tanker over Spain’s Mediterranean coast, dropping three hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares and one in the sea.  The KC-135 exploded upon impact, killing all four crew members.  Four of the seven crew members in the B-52 parachuted to safety, but the explosive material in two of the bombs that fell exploded upon impact, forming craters and spreading radioactive plutonium over the fields of Palomares.  A third bomb was recovered mostly intact in a dry riverbed, but the fourth was recovered on April 7th, at sea, mostly intact.  The US settled over 500 claims resulting from damages caused by the radiation


1971 – South Vietnamese forces, along with US air support, raid a Communist prisoner of war camp in Cambodia.  The prisoners were gone, but they were able to capture 30 enemy soldiers without casualty


1972 – President Richard Nixon warns South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu by letter, that his refusal to sign peace agreements would render it impossible for the US to continue assistance to South Vietnam


1977 – Gary Gilmore becomes the first person to be executed in the US since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 when he was shot to death by firing squad in Utah for the double murder of an elderly couple


1985 – A jury in New Jersey ruled that terminally ill patients have the right to starve themselves


1991 – Operation Desert Storm is launched in Iraq


1994 – A 6.7 magnitude earthquake strikes Los Angeles, California, killing 54 people and causing billions in damages one of the most damaging in US history


1994 – Former Arkansas state clerk, Paula Jones, files suit against President Bill Clinton, asking for $700,000.  Jones claimed Clinton sexually harassed her and then defamed her when she went public with her accusations.  Clinton became the first sitting US President to testify as a defendant in a criminal or civil suit


1995 – The Great Hanshin earthquake takes place in Kobe, Japan, killing 6,434


2001 – Governor Gray Davis declares a state of emergency concerning California’s electricity crisis


2008 – American chess player Bobby Fischer dies

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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