Today in History – November 17

1278 – 680 Jews arrested (293 hanged) in England for counterfeiting coins.

1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen “Bloody” Mary I of England died and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh went on trial for treason.

1777 – Articles of Confederation (United States) were submitted to the states for ratification.

1798 – Beginning of a 5 day New England Blizzard that covered thousands of houses and killed hundreds.

1800 – The United States Congress held its first session in Washington, D.C.

1810 – Sweden declares war on its ally the United Kingdom to begin the Anglo-Swedish War, although no fighting ever took place.

1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer became the first American to see Antarctica. (The Palmer Peninsula is later named after him.)

1855 – David Livingstone became the first European to see Victoria Falls, in what is now Zambia and Zimbabwe.

1856 – American Old West: On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army established Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.

1858 – The city of Denver, Colorado was founded.

1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Knoxville began: Confederate forces led by General James Longstreet placed Knoxville, Tennessee, under siege.

1863 – Abraham Lincoln began the first draft of his Gettysburg Address.

1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, was arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.

1939 – Nine Czech students were executed as a response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal. All Czech universities were shut down and more than 1,200 students were sent to concentration camps. Since this event, International Students’ Day is celebrated in many countries, especially in the Czech Republic.

1947 – The Screen Actors Guild implemented an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

1947 – American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain observed the basic principles of the transistor, a key element for the electronics revolution of the 20th century.

1957 – Vickers Viscount G-AOHP of British European Airways crashed at Ballerup after the failure of three engines on approach to Copenhagen Airport. The cause is a malfunction of the anti-icing system on the aircraft. There were no fatalities.

1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson told the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”

1970 – Luna programme: The Soviet Union landed Lunokhod 1 on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on the Moon. This was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world and was released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft.

1970 – Douglas Engelbart received the patent for the first computer mouse.

1973 – Watergate scandal: In Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon told 400 Associated Press managing editors “I am not a crook.”

1980 – John Lennon released “Double Fantasy” album in UK.

1986 – The flight crew of Japan Airlines Flight 1628 were involved in a UFO sighting incident while flying over Alaska.

1987 – The Madonna compilation album “You Can Dance” was released.

1993 – United States House of Representatives passed a resolution to establish the North American Free Trade Agreement.

2003 – Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure as the governor of California began.

2003 – Britney Spears, at 21 years old, became the youngest singer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2004 – Kmart Corp. announced that it was buying Sears, Roebuck and Co. for $11 billion USD and naming the newly merged company Sears Holdings Corporation.

2008 – “Twilight”, based on the book by Stephenie Meyer, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, premiered in Los Angeles.

2013 – A rare late-season tornado outbreak struck the Midwest. Illinois and Indiana were most affected with tornado reports as far north as lower Michigan. In all, around six dozen tornadoes touched down in approximately an 11-hour time period, including seven EF3 and two EF4 tornadoes.

2015 – Actor Charlie Sheen confirmed that he is HIV-positive.

2019 – The first known case of COVID-19 was traced to a 55-year-old man who had visited a market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.


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