October 17th in History

This day in history

October 17 is the 290th day of the year (291st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 75 days remaining until the end of the year.



General events on October 17th

In 1456, The University of Greifswald is established, making it the second oldest university in northern Europe (also for a period the oldest in Sweden, and Prussia).

In 1860, First The Open Championship (referred to in North America as the British Open).

In 1919, RCA is incorporated as the Radio Corporation of America.

In 1933, Albert Einstein flees Nazi Germany and moves to the United States.

In 1956, Donald Byrne and Bobby Fischer play a famous chess game called The Game of the Century. Fischer beat Byrne and wins a Brilliancy prize.

In 1964, Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies opens the artificial Lake Burley Griffin in the middle of the capital Canberra.

In 1965, The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair closes after a two year run. More than 51 million people had attended the two-year event.

In 1979, Mother Teresa awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 2014, Police in the Seattle suburb of Auburn said Thursday that they believe they have found the body of missing actress Misty Upham, known for her roles in “August: Osage County,” “Frozen River” and “Django Unchained.” A woman’s body was found in a ravine near the White River around 1 p.m. Thursday, police spokesman Steve Stocker said. Items with Upham’s name on them were found nearby. Officials were waiting for the medical examiner to make a positive identification and determine the cause of death, Stocker said. A family friend found the body while a group of friends and family were searching in the area. The 32-year-old Native American actress was reported missing by her family Oct. 6, a day after they told police she was suicidal.


Government and Politics on October 17th

In 1558, Poczta Polska, the Polish postal service, is founded.

In 1662, Charles II of England sells Dunkirk to France for 40,000 pounds.

In 1800, Britain takes control of the Dutch colony of Curaçao.

In 1905, The October Manifesto issued by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia

In 1945, A massive number of people, headed by CGT, gather in the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina to demand Juan Peron‘s release. It calls “el día de la lealtad peronista” (peronista loyalty day)

In 1966, Botswana and Lesotho join the United Nations.

In 1973, OPEC starts an oil embargo against a number of western countries, considered to have helped Israel in its war against Syria.

In 1979, The Department of Education Organization Act is signed into law creating the US Department of Education and US Department of Health and Human Services.

In 1980, As part of the Holy See – United Kingdom relations a British monarch makes the first state visit to the Vatican


War, Crime and Disaster events on October 17th

In 456, Battle of Placentia: Ricimer, supported by Majorian (comes domesticorum), defeats the Roman usurper Avitus near Piacenza (Northern Italy) .

In 1091, London Tornado of 1091: A tornado thought to be of strength T8/F4 strikes the heart of London.

In 1346, Battle of Neville’s Cross: King David II of Scotland is captured by Edward III of England near Durham, and imprisoned in the Tower of London for eleven years.

In 1448, Second Battle of Kosovo, where the mainly Hungarian army led by John Hunyadi is defeated by an Ottoman army led by Sultan Murad II.

In 1660, Nine regicides, the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I, are hanged, drawn and quartered.

In 1777, American Revolutionary War: British General John Burgoyne surrenders his army at Saratoga, New York.

In 1781, American Revolutionary War: British General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrenders at the Siege of Yorktown.

In 1806, Former leader of the Haitian Revolution, Emperor Jacques I of Haiti is assassinated after an oppressive rule.

The manor house of Toten Hall - 1813.gifIn 1814, London Beer Flood occurs in London, killing nine. The London Beer Flood happened on 16 October 1814 in the parish of St. Giles, London, England. At the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road,a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 L) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect. As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 L) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, trapping teenage employee Eleanor Cooper under the rubble. I know what you’re thinking… why couldn’t that happen today!

In 1861, 19 people are killed in the Cullin-La-Ringo massacre, the deadliest massacre of Europeans by aborigines in Australian history.

In 1912,  Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declare war on the Ottoman Empire, joining Montenegro in the First Balkan War.

In 1917, First British bombing of Germany in World War I.

In 1931, Al Capone convicted of income tax evasion.

In 1941, For the first time in World War II, a German submarine attacks an American ship.

In 1941, German troops execute the male population of the villages Kerdyllia in Serres, Greece.

Bridge on the River Kwai - tourist plaza.JPG

The bridge over the Mae Klong River (Kwai Yai River)

In 1943, Burma Railway (Burma-Thailand Railway) is completed. The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, the Burma–Siam Railway, the Thailand–Burma Railway and similar names, was a 415-kilometre (258 mi) railway between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma, built by the Empire of Japan in 1943 to support its forces in the Burma campaign of World War II. This railway completed the rail link between Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon). The line was closed in 1947, but the section between Nong Pla Duk and Nam Tok was reopened ten years later in 1957. Forced labour was used in its construction. More than 180,000—possibly many more—Southeast Asian civilian labourers (Romusha) and 60,000 Alliedprisoners of war (POWs) worked on the railway. Javanese, Malayan Tamils of Indian origin, Burmese, Chinese, Thai and other Southeast Asians, forcibly drafted by the Imperial Japanese Army to work on the railway, died in its construction. 12,621 Allied POWs died during the construction. The dead POWs included 6,904 British personnel, 2,802 Australians, 2,782 Dutch, and 133 Americans. After the end of World War II, 111 Japanese military officials were tried for war crimes because of their brutalization of POWs during the construction of the railway, with 32 of these sentenced to death.

In 1943, The Holocaust: Sobibor extermination camp is closed.

In 1945, Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens becomes Prime Minister of Greece between the pull-out of the German occupation force in 1944 and the return of King Georgios II to Greece.

In 1961, Scores of Algerian protesters (some claim up to 400) are massacred by the Paris police at the instigation of former Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon, then chief of the Prefecture of Police.

In 1966, A fire at a building in New York City kills 12 firefighters, the fire department‘s deadliest day until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In 1970, Montreal, Quebec: Quebec Vice-Premier and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte murdered by members of the FLQ terrorist group.

In 1977, German Autumn: Four days after it is hijacked, Lufthansa Flight 181 lands in Mogadishu, Somalia, where a team of German GSG 9 commandos later rescues all remaining hostages on board.

In 1989, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 on the Richter scale) hits the San Francisco Bay Area and causes 57 deaths directly (and 6 indirectly).

In 1992, Having gone to the wrong house for a Halloween party, Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori is shot and killed by the homeowner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In 1994, Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov is assassinated while investigating corruption in the armed forces.

In 2000, Train crash at Hatfield, north of London, leading to collapse of Railtrack.

In 2001, Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi became the first Israeli minister to be assassinated in a terrorist attack.


Royalty and Religious events on October 17th

In 539 BCCyrus the Great marches into the city of Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost 70 years of exile. Cyrus allows the Jews to return to Yehud Medinata and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.

In 1610, French king Louis XIII is crowned in Rheims.


Human Achievement and Science events on October 17th

In 1604, Kepler’s Star: German astronomer Johannes Kepler observes a supernova in the constellation Ophiuchus.

In 1888, Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).

In 1907, Guglielmo Marconi‘s company begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service between Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada and Clifden, Ireland.

In 1956, The first commercial nuclear power station is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Sellafield,in Cumbria, England.

In 2003, The pinnacle is fitted on the roof of Taipei 101, a 101-floor skyscraper in Taipei, allowing it to surpass the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur by 56 metres (184 ft) and become the world’s tallest highrise.


Arts and Prose events on October 17th

In 1771, Premiere in Milan of the opera Ascanio in Alba, composed by Wolfgang Mozart, age 15.

In 1849, Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (b. 1810) dies. the cause of his death have since been a matter of discussion. His death certificate gave the cause as tuberculosis, and his physician, Jean Cruveilhier, was then the leading French authority on this disease. Other possibilities have been advanced including cystic fibrosis, cirrhosis and alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency. However, the attribution of tuberculosis as principal cause of death has not been disproved. Permission for DNA testing, which could put the matter to rest, has been denied by the Polish government. He was a Polish composer of paternal French descent and a virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era, who wrote primarily for the solo piano. He gained and has maintained renown worldwide as one of the leading musicians of his era, whose “poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation.”[1] Chopin was born in what was then the Duchy of Warsaw, and grew up in Warsaw, which after 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising.

At the age of 21 he settled in Paris. Thereafter, during the last 18 years of his life, he gave only some 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon. He supported himself by selling his compositions and teaching piano, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his musical contemporaries, including Robert Schumann. In 1835 he obtained French citizenship. After a failed engagement to Maria Wodzińska, from 1837 to 1847 he maintained an often troubled relationship with the French writer George Sand. A brief and unhappy visit to Majorca with Sand in 1838–39 was one of his most productive periods of composition. In his last years, he was financially supported by his admirer Jane Stirling, who also arranged for him to visit Scotland in 1848. Through most of his life, Chopin suffered from poor health.

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