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



1969 – The U.S. Air Force closed its Project “Blue Book” by concluding that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.

546 – Gothic War: The Ostrogoths of King Totila conquer Rome by bribing the Byzantine garrison.

920 – Romanos I is crowned co-emperor of the underage Emperor Constantine VII.

942 – Assassination of William I of Normandy.

1206 – Crusader Wallon de Sarton presents Bishop of Amiens Richard de Gerberoy with purported skull of John the Baptist, stolen from Constantinople (Amiens cathedral later built to house it)

1398 – Tamerlane captures and sacks Delhi, defeating Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud’s armies by setting camels loaded with hay alight and charging them at the Sultan’s armored elephants

1531 – Pope Clement VII publishes papal bull “Cum ad nihil magis”, introduces the Inquisition into Portugal at Evora, Coimbra and Lisbon.

1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII

1577 – Francis Drake sets sail from Plymouth, England, on a secret mission to explore the Pacific Coast of the Americas for English Queen Elizabeth I.

1637 – Shimabara Rebellion: Japanese peasants led by Amakusa Shiro rise against daimyo Matsukura Shigeharu.

1718 – France, Britain and Austria declare war on Spain (War of the Quadruple Alliance 1718–1720)

1777 – France recognized American independence.

1790 – Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone also known as the Stone of the Five Eras, the sculpture was excavated in Mexico City.

1791 – A traffic regulation in New York City established the first street to go “One Way.”

1798 – First impeachment trial against a US senator (Wm Blount, TN) begins

1807 – The Milan Decree issued by Napoleon reiterates the paper blockade against British trade with the Continent

1821 – Kentucky abolishes debtors prisons

1843 – Henry Cole, founder of London’s V&A Museum, commissions printing of the 1st Christmas card

1862 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

1875 – Violent bread riots in Montreal

1895 – Anti-Saloon League of America formed, Washington, DC

1903 – The first successful gasoline-powered airplane flight took place near Kitty Hawk, NC. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight.

1914 – Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv by Turkish authorities

1925 – Col. William “Billy” Mitchell was convicted of insubordination at his court-martial.

1939 – The German pocket battleship Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, bringing the World War II Battle of the Rio de la Plata off Uruguay to an end.

1941 – German troops led by Erwin Rommel begin retreating in North Africa

1944 – The U.S. Army announced the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast which ensured that Japanese-Americans were released from detention camps.

1953 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to approve RCA’s color television specifications.

1957 – The United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

1961 – Disgruntled employee set fire to a circus tent in Niteroi Brazil

1965 – Largest newspaper-Sunday New York Times at 946 pages

1967 – Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria and was presumed drowned.

1969 – Project Blue Book: The USAF closes its study of UFOs, stating that sightings were generated as a result of “A mild form of mass hysteria, Individuals who fabricate such reports to perpetrate a hoax or seek publicity, psychopathological persons, and misidentification of various conventional objects.”

1970 – Polish 1970 protests: In Gdynia, soldiers fire at workers emerging from trains, killing dozens

1973 – Thirty-one people were killed at Rome airport when Arab guerillas hijacked a German airliner.

1975 – Lynette Fromme was sentenced to life in prison for her attempt on the life of U.S. President Ford.

1976 – WTCG-TV, Atlanta, GA, changed its call letters to WTBS, and was uplinked via satellite. The station became the first commercial TV station to cover the entire U.S.

1978 – OPEC decided to raise oil prices by 14.5% by the end of 1979.

1979 – Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally beaten after a police chase in Miami, FL. Four white police officers were later acquitted of charges stemming from McDuffie’s death.

1981 – Brigadier General James L. Dozier is abducted by the Red Brigade in Verona, Italy.

1983 – The IRA bombs Harrods Department Store in London, killing six people

1986 – Richard Kuklinski, a suspect in several murders, is arrested by undercover agents at a truck stop off the New Jersey Turnpike, marking the culmination of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms’ “Operation Iceman.”

1989 – Romanian Revolution: Protests continue in Timioara with rioters breaking into the Romanian Communist Party’s District Committee building and attempting to set it on fire.

1992 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement.

1992 – Israel deported over 400 Palestinians to Lebanese territory in an unprecedented mass expulsion of suspected militants.

1996 – Peruvian guerrillas took hundreds of people hostage at the Japanese embassy in Lima. The siege ended on April 22, 1997, with a commando raid that resulted in the deaths of all the rebels, two commandos and one hostage.

1997 – U.S. President Clinton signed the No Electronic Theft Act. The act removed protection from individuals who claimed that they took no direct financial gains from stealing copyrighted works and downloading them from the Internet.

1998 – U.S. House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston admitted he’d had extramarital affairs.

2002 – U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the Pentagon to have ready for use within two years a system for protecting American territory, troops and allies from ballistic missile attacks.

2004 – U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law the largest overhaul of U.S. intelligence gathering in 50 years. The bill aimed to tighten borders and aviation security. It also created a federal counterterrorism center and a new intelligence director.

2007 – Republic of Lakotah asserts independence from the United States

2010 – The Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire as a protest against the economic conditions in Tunisia. He died 18 days after at the age of 26. His protest and death were a catalyst for the Tunisian revolution and similar revolutions and protests around the Arab world.

2012 – 17 people are killed and 70 are injured by a blast in a market in the Khyber Agency, Pakistan

2017 – Terrorist suicide attack on a Methodist church in Quetta, Pakistan kills nine

2018 – Astronomers identify furtherest object in the solar system as 2018 VG18 (nicknamed Farout), 120 x further from the sun than earth

2019 – Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf sentenced to death in absentia for high treason

2020 – More than 300 school boys rescued after they were kidnapped from their school in Katsina state, northern Nigeria

2021 – Discovery of the first true millipede (Eumillipes persephone) with 1,000 legs found down a drill hole in Western Australia published in “Scientific Reports”

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


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