Home Today's History Lesson TODAY’S HISTORY LESSON: APRIL 17



1986 – The world’s longest war ends without a single shot having been fired- The state of war between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly had been extended for a total of 335 years by the lack of a peace treaty. Some historians doubt that war had ever been declared.

0069 – After the First Battle of Bedriacum, Vitellius becomes Roman Emperor.”

1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. Chaucer scholars have also identified this date (in 1387) as when the book’s pilgrimage to Canterbury starts.

1492 – Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies.

1521 – Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

1524 – New York Harbor was discovered by Giovanni Verrazano.

1534 – Thomas More confined in the Tower of London

1555 – After 18 months of siege, Siena surrenders to the Florentine-Imperial army. The Republic of Siena is incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

1610 – English explorer Henry Hudson departs London, England aboard Discovery on his fourth, final and fatal voyage to discover a north west passage to the Pacific

1621 – Lord Chancellor of England Francis Bacon is charged with 23 counts of bribery and corruption by a parliamentary committee on the administration of the law

1629 – Horses were first imported into the colonies by the American Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1704 – John Campbell published what would eventually become the first successful American newspaper. It was known as the Boston “News-Letter.”

1711 – Charles VI becomes Holy Roman Emperor after the death of his brother Joseph I

1797 – Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico in what would be one of the largest invasions to Spanish territories in America.

1808 – Bayonne Decree by Napoleon I of France ordered the seizure of U.S. ships.

1810 – Pineapple cheese was patented by Lewis M. Norton.

1824 – Russia abandoned all North American claims south of 54′ 40′.

1860 – New Yorkers learned of a new law that required fire escapes to be provided for tenement houses.

1861 – Virginia became the eighth state to secede from the Union.

1864 – U.S. Civil War General Grant banned the trading of prisoners.

1865 – Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.

1875 – The game “snooker” was invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.

1895 – China and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It was the end of the first Sino-Japanese War. In the treaty China ceded Taiwan to Japan.

1905 – US Supreme Court judges maximum work day unconstitutional in Lochner v. New York by declaring the “right to free contract” implicit in the due process clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution

1907 – Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than any other day.

1917 – A bill in Congress to establish Daylight Saving Time was defeated. It was passed a couple of months later.

1932 – Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia ends slavery

1941 – The office of Price Administration was established in the U.S. to handle rationing.

1942 – POW French General Henri Giraud escapes from his castle prison in Festung Knigstein.

1945 – In Stassfurt, Germany, U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Boris T. Pash seizes half a ton of uranium, in an attempt to foil Soviet Union plans to build an atomic bomb

1946 – The last French troops left Syria.

1947 – Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) performed a bunt for his first major league hit.

1961 – About 1,400 U.S.-supported Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. It was an unsuccessful attack.

1964 – The Ford Motor Company unveiled its new Mustang model.

1967 – The U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali’s request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army.

1969 – In Los Angeles, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

1970 – Apollo 13 returned to Earth safely after an on-board accident with an oxygen tank.

1975 – Khmer Rouge forces capture the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. It was the end of the five-year war.

1978 – Mir Akbar Khyber’s assassination triggers a communist coup in Afghanistan

1983 – In Warsaw, police routed 1,000 Solidarity supporters.

1984 – In London, demonstrators outside the Libyan Embassy were fired upon from someone inside. Eleven people were injured and an English Police woman was killed.

1985 – In Lebanon, the cabinet resigned as Shiites took W. Beirut.

1986 – Treaty signed, ending Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years’ War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly.

1987 – In Sri Lanka, Tamil guerrillas killed 122 people in a road ambush.

1989 – In Poland, courts gave Solidarity legal status.

1993 – A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King. Two other officers were acquitted.

1996 – Erik and Lyle Menendez were sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing their parents.

1999 – In India, the government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee collapsed after losing a vote of confidence.

2001 – A letter between Gale Norton and Jeb Bush is released, stating that the Bush administration has decided to go ahead with plans to auction 6 million acres of potentially oil-and-gas-rich seabed in the Gulf of Mexico

2002 – Four Canadian Forces soldiers are killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire from two United States Air Force F-16s, the first deaths in a combat zone for Canada since the Korean War

2013 – 15 people are killed and 100 are injured after a fertilizer plant explodes in West, Texas

2015 – Marianne Winkler finds “message in a bottle” on the shore of the German island of Amrum; it had been dropped in the North Sea by British marine scientist George Parker Bidder on November 30th, 1906, making its length of time spent adrift 108 years, 138 days

2018 – Protests across India at the rape and murder of an 8-year old Muslim girl in Kathua, Bengalu

2019 – 10 babies with “bubble boy disease” cured using a gene therapy made from HIV at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, according to new study

2022 – Alex Jones’ companies including website Infowars, file for bankruptcy in the US after losing defamation suits filed by families of the Sandy Hook Massacre (which he called a hoax)

2023 – New Research shows the Great Pacific Garbage Patch now has coast creatures living and breeding in it, including jellyfish, sponges and worms raising concerns about the spread of invasive species

REFERENCE: history.net, onthisday.com, thepeopleshistory.com, timeanddate.com, scopesys.com, on-this-day.com