Today in History: August 17 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: August 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.


Today in History
August 17

1743 By the Treaty of Abo, Sweden cedes southeast Finland to Russia, ending Sweden’s failed war with Russia.
1812 Napoleon Bonaparte‘s army defeats the Russians at the Battle of Smolensk during the Russian retreat to Moscow.
1833 The first steam ship to cross the Atlantic entirely on its own power, the Canadian ship Royal William, begins her journey from Nova Scotia to The Isle of Wight.
1863 Union gunboats attack Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, for the first time.
1942 Marine Raiders attack Makin Island in the Gilbert Islands from two submarines.
1943 Allied forces complete the conquest of Sicily.
1944 The mayor of Paris, Pierre Charles Tattinger, meets with the German commander Dietrich von Choltitz to protest the explosives being deployed throughout the city.
1945 Upon hearing confirmation that Japan has surrendered, Sukarno proclaims Indonesia’s independence.
1960 American Francis Gary Powers pleads guilty at his Moscow trial for spying over the Soviet Union in a U-2 plane.
1978 Three Americans complete the first crossing of the Atlantic in a balloon.
1987 93-year-old Rudolf Hess, former Nazi leader and deputy of Adolf Hitler, is found hanged to death in Spandau Prison.
1988 Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq is killed in an airplane crash suspected of being an assassination.
1998 President Bill Clinton admits to the American public that he had affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
1999 A 7.4-magnitude earthquake near Izmit, Turkey kills over 17,000 and injures nearly 45,000.
2005 Israel begins the first forced evacuation of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank, as part of a unilateral disengagement plan.
2012 Moscow’s top court upholds a ban of gay pride events in Russia’s capital city for 100 years.
Born on August 17
1786 Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and politician who died in the defense of the Alamo.
1882 Samuel Goldwyn, American movie mogul who helped start MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer).
1887 Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born black nationalist who advocated the departure of African-Americans back to Africa.
1890 Harry Hopkins, who organized the Works Projects Administration under President Franklin Roosevelt.
1892 Mae West, American actress in burlesque, vaudeville, Broadway and movies.
1923 Larry Rovers, painter and sculptor.
1932 John (Red) Kerr, basketball coach.
1943 Robert DeNiro, American actor, won Oscars for his roles in The Godfather Part II and Raging Bull.
1944 Lawrence Joseph Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation.
1953 Judith Regan, controversial book publisher, editor, talk show host.
1960 Sean Penn, actor, screenwriter, director, political and social activist (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Mystic River).
1965 Robert Manry, copy editor of Cleveland Plain Dealer who sailed solo in a sailboat from Falmouth, Massachusetts, to Falmouth, Cornwall, England.