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.
1969   Hurricane Camille hits the US Gulf Coast, killing 256 and causing $1.421 billion in damages.
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.