Today in History: August 17

Today in History: August 17

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August 16 August 18

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 ban of gay pride events in Russia's capital city for 100 years.