Today in History: April 17 | HistoryNet MENU

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   A paramilitary force of Cuban exiles from the United States, financed and trained by the CIA, land at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting dictator Fidel Castro. They are quickly defeated, and the survivors are imprisoned by the Cuban military. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
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).