Today in History: April 17 | HistoryNet

Today in History: April 17

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


April 17

858 Benedict III ends his reign as Catholic Pope.
1492 Christopher Columbus signs a contract with Spain to find a western route to the Indies.
1524 Present-day New York Harbor is discovered by Giovanni da Verrazzano.
1535 Antonio Mendoza is appointed first viceroy of New Spain.
1758 Frances Williams, the first African-American to graduate from a college in the western hemisphere, publishes a collection of Latin poems.
1808 Bayonne Decree by Napoleon Bonaparte of France orders seizure of U.S. ships.
1824 Russia abandons all North American claims south of 54′ 40′.
1861 Virginia becomes the eighth state to secede from the Union.
1864 General Ulysses Grant bans the trading of prisoners.
1865 Mary Surratt is arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.
1875 The game “snooker” is invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.
1895 China and Japan sign peace treaty of Shimonoseki.
1929 Baseball player Babe Ruth and Claire Hodgson, a former member of the Ziegfeld Follies, get married.
1946 The last French troops leave Syria.
1947 Jackie Robinson bunts for his first major league hit.
1961 Some 1,400 Cuban exiles attack the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro.
1964 Jerrie Mock becomes first woman to fly solo around the world.
1969 Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
1970 Apollo 13–originally scheduled to land on the moon–lands back safely on Earth after an accident.
1975 Khmer Rouge forces capture the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh.
1983 In Warsaw, police rout 1,000 Solidarity supporters.
Born on April 17
1622 Henry Vaughan, poet
1676 Frederick I, king of Sweden
1741 Samuel Chase, signer of the Declaration of Independence
1820 Alexander Cartwright, sportsman, developed baseball.
1866 Ernest Henry Starling, British physiologist.
1885 Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Danish writer (Out of Africa).
1894 Nikita S. Khrushchev, Soviet premier (1958-64).
1897 Thornton Wilder, novelist and playwright (Our Town).
1923 Harry Reasoner, American broadcast journalist.
1928 Cynthia Ozick, writer (The Cannibal Galaxy, The Messiah of Stockholm).