Today in History – August 17

1585 – A first group of colonists sent by Sir Walter Raleigh under the charge of Ralph Lane landed in the New World to create Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, off the coast of present-day North Carolina.

1597 – Islands Voyage: Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and Sir Walter Raleigh set sail on an expedition to the Azores.

1807 – Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat left New York City for Albany, New York, on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.

1836 – British parliament accepted registration of births, marriages and deaths.

1838 – 138 singing teachers traveled to Boston, MA, to attend the first music convention.

1862 – American Indian Wars: The Dakota War of 1862 began in Minnesota as Dakota warriors attacked white settlements along the Minnesota River.

1862 – American Civil War: Major General J. E. B. Stuart was assigned command of all the cavalry of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

1863 – American Civil War: In Charleston, South Carolina, Union batteries and ships bombarded Confederate-held Fort Sumter.

1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Gainesville: Confederate forces defeated Union troops near Gainesville, Florida.

1896 – Bridget Driscoll became the first recorded case of a pedestrian killed in a collision with a motor car in the United Kingdom.

1915 – Jewish American Leo Frank was lynched in Marietta, Georgia after a 13-year-old girl was murdered.

1915 – A Category 4 hurricane hit Galveston, Texas with winds at 135 miles per hour.

1939 – The Wizard of Oz premiered in New York. Judy Garland became famous for the movie’s song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

1942 – World War II: U.S. Marines raided the Japanese-held Pacific island of Makin.

1943 – World War II: The U.S. Eighth Air Force suffered the loss of 60 bombers on the Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission.

1943 – World War II: The U.S. Seventh Army under General George S. Patton arrived in Messina, Italy, followed several hours later by the British 8th Army under Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, thus completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.

1943 – World War II: First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King began.

1943 – World War II: The Royal Air Force began Operation Hydra, the first air raid of the Operation Crossbow strategic bombing campaign against Germany’s V-weapon program.

1945 – The novella Animal Farm by George Orwell was first published.

1953 – First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous took place, in Southern California.

1955 – Hurricane Diane made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina, which caused major floods and killed more than 184 people.

1958 – Pioneer 0, America’s first attempt at lunar orbit, was launched using the first Thor-Able rocket and fails. Notable as one of the first attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country.

1959 – Quake Lake was formed by the magnitude 7.5 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake near Hebgen Lake in Montana.

1960 – The Beatles began their first engagement away from England.

1962 – Peter Fechter was shot and bled to death while trying to cross the new Berlin Wall.

1969 – Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the U.S. Gulf Coast and killed 256 and caused $1.42 billion in damage.

1969 – After three days, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in New York came to an end.

1970 – Venera program: Venera 7 launched. It became the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).

1970 – Christine McVie joined Fleetwood Mac as the group’s first female member.

1977 – The Soviet icebreaker Arktika became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.

1977 – Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reported that in one day the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland had surpassed the number for any other event in the company’s history.

1978 – Double Eagle II became first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it landed in Miserey, France near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle, Maine.

1983 – Prince’s song “Delirious” was released.

1984 – The first night of his Breaking Hearts Tour, Elton John announced that he was retiring from touring.

1984 – Motley Crue gave its performance debut at the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington, England.

1985 – The 1985–86 Hormel strike began in Austin, Minnesota.

1986 – Rick Allen (Def Leppard) played his first concert with his band since losing his left arm in a car accident.

1986 – 42 people were beaten or stabbed at a Run D.M.C. concert in Long Beach, CA.

1995 – Security guards carried Courtney Love offstage after she began fighting with Hole fans because they weren’t cheering loud enough during the last night of the Lollapalooza tour in Mountain View, CA.

1998 – Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admitted in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; later that same day he admitted before the nation that he “misled people” about the relationship.

1998 – Carlos Santana received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2008 – American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.


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