This Day in History - May 17

May 17

1444 – Painter Sandro Botticelli is born

1510 – Italian painter Sandro Botticelli dies

1527 – Panfilo de Narvaez departs Spain to explore Florida with 600 men. By 1536, only four survive

1540 – Afghan chief Sher Khan defeats Mongul Emperor Humayun at Kanauj

1630 – Italian Jesuit Niccolo Zucchi sees the belts on Jupiter’s surface

1681 – Louis XIV sends an expedition to aid James II in Ireland, leading England to declare war on France

1749 – Physician Edward Jenner is born

1756 – Britain declares war on France

1769 – George Washington criticizes “taxation without representation”

1792 – Merchants from New York Stock Exchange at 70 Wall Street

1803 – John Hawkins and Richard French patent the Reaping Machine

1814 – Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden

1827 – Future President Andrew Johnson marries Eliza McCardle

1829 – 1st Chief Justice of the US, John Jay, dies

1836 – Chess player Wilhelm Steinitz is born

1836 – British astronomer and discoverer of helium, Joseph Norman Lockyer is born

1863 – Union General Ulysses Grant continues his push towards Vicksburg at the Battle of the Big Black River Bridge

1866 – French composer Erik Alfred Leslie Satie is born

1873 – Writer Dorothy Richardson is born

1873 – Author Henri Barbusse is born

1875 – The first Kentucky Derby is run in Louisville

1875 – 14th Vice President of the US, John C. Breckinridge dies

1881 – Frederick Douglass is appointed recorder of deeds for Washington, DC

1885 – The Apache chief Geronimo flees an Arizona reservation, panicking Arizona settlers. Geronimo raided settlements for supplies and remained elusive until September of 1886, when he surrendered. He was relocated to Florida and imprisoned for two years. When freed, he and his family moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma where he would spend the rest of his days

1900 – Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is born

1903 – Baseball player, James “Cool Papa” Bell is born

1912 – Special prosecutor in the Watergate hearings, fired by President Richard Nixon, Archibald Cox

1936 – Actor and director Dennis Hopper is born

1940 – Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium and begins the invasion of France

1943 – The crew of the Memphis Belle, becomes the first B-17 crew to complete 25 missions over Europe during WWII

1943 – The Royal Air Force use revolutionary bouncing bombs to wreck three German dams

1946 – German singer, songwriter and drummer Udo Lindenberg is born

1954 – The US Supreme Court unanimously rules for school integration in Brown v. Board of Education

1956 – Boxer and actor Sugar Ray Leonard is born

1961 – Fidel Castro offers to exchange Bay of Pigs prisoners for 500 bulldozers

1965 – After an outcry from parents, the FBI launches a formal investigation into the supposedly pornographic lyrics of the Richard Berry song, “Louie, Louie.” The FBI concludes the lyrics to be officially unintelligible

1970 – Norwegian ethnologist Thor Heyerdahl set out from Morocco across the Atlantic Ocean in Ra II, a papyrus sailing craft modeled after ancient Egyptian sailing vessels, crossing 4,000 miles of Ocean to Barbados in 57 days

1972 – South Vietnamese reinforcements arrive near An Loc

1972 – Germany ratifies the Treaty of Warsaw

1973 – The Senate Watergate Committee begins its hearings

1974 – In Los Angeles, California, the LAPD fire an estimated 1,200 rounds of ammunition into a tiny Compton home where six members of the Symbionese Liberation Army terrorist group were hiding out. Teargas containers started a fire in the home, but the group’s members continued firing back until they had died. The SLA garnered worldwide attention for kidnapping Patricia Hearst of the wealthy Hearst publishing empire

1983 – The New York Islanders win their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup

1987 – In the Persian Gulf, the American guided missile frigate USS Stark is struck by 2 Exocet missiles, fired by an Iraqi aircraft. Only one detonates, but 37 sailors are killed and 21 wounded

1990 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meets with Lithuanian Prime Minister Kazimiera Prunskiene to settle differences arising from Lithuania’s recent proclamation of independence from the Soviet Union

1990 – The World Health Organization deletes homosexuality from its list of mental diseases

1994 – A fire sparked by an overheated refrigerator motor in an overcrowded Honduras prison kills 103

1996 – Singer and guitarist Johnny “Guitar” Watson dies

1999 – Ehud Barak becomes Prime Minister of Israel

2000 – The final episode of Fox Television’s Beverly Hills, 90210 airs

2004 – The first legal same-sex marriage is performed at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts

2005 – Toyota Motor Company announces its plan to produce a gasoline-electric hybrid version of the Camry sedan, becoming Toyota’s first hybrid to be manufactured in the US

2011 – Baseball player Harmon Killebrew dies

2012 – Singer and songwriter Donna Summer dies

2014 – The center-right Hindu Nationalist Party, the BJP, wins the election in India

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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