April 17 This Day In History

What Happened on April 17

CalendarImportant Events

  • 1387 Geoffrey Chaucer‘s “Canterbury Tales” characters begin their pilgrimage to Canterbury (according to scholars)
  • 1492 Christopher Columbus signs a contract with the Spanish monarchs to find the “Indies” with the stated goal of converting people to Catholicism. This promises him 10% of all riches found, and the governorship of any lands encountered.
  • 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki is signed ending the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-95)
  • 1961 1,400 Cuban exiles land in Bay of Pigs in a doomed attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro
  • 1982 Proclamation of the Constitution Act by Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau

More Historical EventsApr 17 in Film & TV

  • 2011 “Game of Thrones“, based on the fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin premieres on HBO

Apr 17 in Music

Apr 17 in Sport

  • 1976 NL greatest comeback: trailing 12-1, Philadelphia Phillies beat Chicago Cubs, 18-16 in 10 innings at Wrigley Field; Mike Schmidt hits 4 consecutive HRs

Do you know this fact about today?Did You Know?

The 8th century St. Cuthbert Gospel, Europe’s oldest intact book, is purchased by the British Library for 9 million pounds

On April 17, 2012Famous Birthdays

More Famous Birthdays

Would you believe this fact about today?Would You Believe?

Modern Snooker invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain, a bored British officer in Jabalpur, India

On April 17, 1875Famous Weddings

  • 1929 Baseball great Babe Ruth (34) marries 2nd wife Claire Merritt Hodgson (31)
  • 1941 American actress Doris Day (19) weds trombonist Albert Jorden
  • 1943 Actress Claire Trevor (34) weds Navy lieutenant Cyclos William Dunsmoore in Tijuana, Mexico

More Weddings & DivorcesFamous Deaths

  • 326 Alexander of Alexandria, Patriarch of Alexandria
  • 485 Proclus, Greek mathematician, dies in Athens [or Apr 14]
  • 617 Donnán of Eigg, Celtic Christian martyr, patron saint of Eigg
  • 818 Bernhard I, King of Italy, dies
  • 858 Benedict III, Italian Pope (855-58), dies
  • 1080 King Harald III of Denmark (b. 1041)
  • 1272 Zita, Italian maid and saint from Lucca, dies at about 59
  • 1297 Willem van Afflighem, Flemish poet and abbot St Truiden, dies at about 86
  • 1427 John IV, Duke of Brabant, dies at 23
  • 1539 George the Bearded, Duke of Saxony (1500-39), dies at 67
  • 1574 Joachim Camerarius [Liebhard Kammerer], German classical scholar, dies at 74
  • 1630 Christian I, ruler of Anhalt-Bernburg (battle of White Mt), dies
  • 1679 John van Kessel, Flemish painter, dies at 53
  • 1680 Kateri Tekakwitha [Lily of the Mohawks], first Native American saint (b. 1656)
  • 1696 Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, French writer (b. 1626)
  • 1711 Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor (1705-11), dies of smallpox at 32
  • 1713 David Hollatz, Pomeranian dogmatician (b. 1648)
  • 1714 Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, German composer, dies at 56
  • 1726 Princess Henriëtte Amalia of Anhalt-Dessau, monarch of Nassau-Dietz, dies at 49
  • 1742 Arvid Horn, Swedish statesman (b. 1664)
  • 1761 Thomas Bayes, English mathematician
  • 1764 Johann Mattheson, German composer, dies at 82

Person of interestBenjamin Franklin

1790 Benjamin Franklin, US Founding Father, inventor, ambassador and writer (Poor Richards Almanac), dies at 84

United States Founding Father Benjamin Franklin
United States Founding Father
Benjamin Franklin
  • 1799 Richard Jupp, English architect (East India House) (b. 1728)
  • 1835 William Henry Ireland, English forger (Shakespearean manuscripts), dies
  • 1837 Edouard viscount de Walckiers, South Netherland banker and politician, dies at 78
  • 1838 Johanna Schopenhauer, German writer and mother of Arthur Schopenhauer, dies at 71
  • 1840 Hannah Webster Foster, American author (The Coquette; or, The History of Eliza Wharton), dies at 81
  • 1843 Samuel Morey, American inventor (early internal combustion engines and was a pioneer in steamships), dies at 80
  • 1854 Gottlob Wiedebein, German composer, dies at 74
  • 1863 Daniel Smith Donelson, Confederate general and cousin of Andrew Jackson, dies at 61
  • 1870 Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, Duchess of Berry, Italian princess of the House of Bourbon, dies at 71
  • 1873 Semyon Stepanovich Gulak-Artemovsky, Ukrainian born Russian composer, dies at 60
  • 1882 George Jennings, English sanitary engineer (invented first public flush toilets), dies at 71
  • 1891 Jules Eugene Abraham Alary, Italian born French composer, dies at 77

Person of interestAlexander Mackenzie

1892 Alexander Mackenzie, 2nd Prime Minister of Canada, dies of a stroke at 70

2nd Prime Minister of Canada Alexander Mackenzie
2nd Prime Minister of Canada
Alexander Mackenzie
  • 1899 Hans Balatka, Moravian-American conductor (Milwaukee Musikverein; Chicago Oratorio Society), author (Condensed History of Music), and composer, dies at 74
  • 1902 Francis of Assisi of Bourbon, King Consort of Spain (b. 1822)
  • 1910 Ignacio Mariscal, Mexican lawyer and diplomat (Secretary of Foreign Affairs), dies at 80
  • 1930 Alexander Golovin, Russian painter (b. 1863)
  • 1932 Patrick Geddes, Scottish biologist and town planner who coined the term conurbation, dies at 77
  • 1936 Charles Ruys de Beerenbrouck, Dutch PM (1918-23, 29-33), dies at 62
  • 1937 Yi Sang, Korean author and poet (Dying Words, Wings, Child’s Bone), dies of tuberculosis in a Japanese prison camp at 26
  • 1941 Al Bowlly, South African-British dance band vocalist (“Midnight, The Stars, And You”), and bandleader, dies in a German bombing raid of London at 43
  • 1942 Jean Baptiste Perrin, French physicist, (1926 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovery of sedimentation equilibrium), dies at 71
  • 1944 Jack Hearne, English cricket spin bowler (12 Tests, 49 wickets; England’s first hat-trick vs Australia 1899), dies at 76
  • 1945 Hannie Schaft, Dutch communist resistance fighter known as the “Girl with red hair”, executed at 24
  • 1945 Ion Pillat, Romania poet and senator (Umbra timpului), dies at 54
  • 1945 Walter Model, German fieldmarshal, commits suicide at 54
  • 1946 John Iddon, cricketer (car accident 5 Tests for Eng 1934-35), dies
  • 1948 Johan Paul van Limburg Stirum, Dutch diplomat (Governor General of the Dutch East Indies) and aristocrat, dies at 75
  • 1948 Percy Sherwell, South African cricketer (South African captain in 13 Tests 1905-11), dies at 67
  • 1954 Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, Romanian communist activist and sociologist, dies at 53
  • 1960 Eddie Cochran, American rock vocalist and guitarist (“Summertime Blues”; “C’Mon Everybody”), dies in a English taxi-car crash at 21
  • 1962 Louise Fazenda, dies of cerebral hemorrhage at 66
  • 1967 Henry “Red” Allen, American jazz trumpeter, dies of pancreatic cancer at 59
  • 1967 Giorgio Cesana, Italian coxswain (Olympic gold 1906), dies at 75
  • 1968 Margaret Seddon, American actress (Mr Deeds Goes to Town), dies at 95
  • 1970 Sergei U S Aleksi, patriarch of Russian-Orthodox church, dies at 92
  • 1971 Roberto Lupi, Italian composer, dies at 62
  • 1971 Carmen Lombardo, Canadian musician, dies at 67
  • 1974 Frank McGee, American news anchor (NBC Evening News), dies of cancer at 52
  • 1974 Herbert Elwell, American composer (Happy Hypocrite), dies at 75
  • 1974 Vinnie Taylor, rocker (Canned Heat), dies of a drug overdose
  • 1975 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Indian philosopher and leader, Second President of India (1962-67), dies at 86
  • 1976 Jean-Jacques Gailliard, Belgian painter, dies at 85
  • 1976 Henrik Dam, Danish biochemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1895)
  • 1977 Marjorie Gateson, actress (One Man’s Family), dies at 86
  • 1977 William Cardinal Conway, Northern Irish clergyman (b. 1913)
  • 1983 Felix Pappalardi, American rock music producer, songwriter, vocalist, and bassist (Mountain – “Mississippi Queen”), shot and killed by his wife, Gail, at 43
  • 1983 Mark W Clark, US general (WWII), dies at 87
  • 1984 Claude Provost, French Canadian ice hockey player (b. 1933)
  • 1984 Mark W. Clark, American general, dies at 87
  • 1985 Ilona Bodden, writer, dies
  • 1986 Bessie Head, Botswana writer (When Rain Clouds Gather, Maru, A Question of Power), dies at 49
  • 1987 Carlton “Carly” Barrett, Jamaican reggae drummer (The Upsetters; Bob Marley & Wailers), murdered at 36
  • 1987 Dick Shawn [Richard Schulefand], American character actor and comedian (The Producers – “L.S.D.”; Maid to Order), suffers a fatal heart attack on stage in San Diego on stage at 57
  • 1987 Cecil Harmsworth King, owner of Mirror Group Newspapers (b. 1901)
  • 1987 Willie Donnell Smith, American fashion designer (WilliWear), dies of pneumonia at 39
  • 1987 Cornelius Van Til, Dutch philosopher and Christian apologist, dies at 91
  • 1988 Eva Novak, American actress (Medicine Man), dies of pneumonia at 90
  • 1988 Louise Nevelson, American sculptor (featured at the 31st Venice Biennale), dies of brain tumor at 88
  • 1989 Charles Lampkin, dies
  • 1990 Ralph David Abernathy, US civil rights leader, dies
  • 1991 Jack Yellen, American poet (Sons o’ Fun), dies at 97
  • 1992 Hank Penny, country music singer, dies at 73 of heart failure
  • 1993 Turgut Özal, president of Turkey (1989-93), dies at 65
  • 1994 Peter Hacker, American journalist/actor (NBC, Broadcast News), dies at 69
  • 1995 Anton Murray, South African cricket all-rounder (10 Tests; 1 x 100; 18 wickets), dies at 72
  • 1995 Nancy Mayhew Youngman, English painter and educationalist, dies at 88
  • 1995 Frank E. Resnik, American business executive (Philip Morris USA), dies at 66
  • 1996 Eva Jones, German poet and novelist (Taboo), dies at 82
  • 1996 Jose Luis Lopez Aranguren, philosopher, dies at 86
  • 1997 Chaim Herzog, 6th President of Israel (1983-93), dies at 78
  • 1997 Allan Francovich, American documentarian

Person of interestLinda McCartney

1998 Linda McCartney [née Eastman], American photographermusician (Wings) and wife of Paul McCartney, dies of breast cancer at 56

Musician, Activist and Photographer Linda McCartney
Musician, Activist and Photographer
Linda McCartney
  • 2003 Robert Atkins, American dietician (b. 1930)
  • 2003 John Paul Getty Jr., American-born British oil magnate and billionaire (Getty Oil), dies of a chest infection at 70
  • 2003 Earl King, American R&B and blues guitarists, singer, and songwriter (“Come On”; “Big Chief”), dies from diabetes-related complications at 69
  • 2003 Yiannis Latsis, Greek shipping tycoon, dies at 92
  • 2004 Edmond Pidoux, Swiss writer (L’histoire de Jonas), dies at 95
  • 2004 Soundarya, Indian actress (b. 1971)
  • 2004 [Andrew] Bruce Boa, Canadian actor (The Empire Strikes Back), dies of cancer at 73
  • 2005 James Archibald Houston, Canadian author and filmmaker (Tikta’Liktak), dies at 83
  • 2006 Henderson Forsythe, American actor (As the World Turns, Crisis at Central High), dies at 88
  • 2006 Jean Bernard, French physician and haematologist, dies at 98
  • 2007 Kitty Carlisle, American actress and television personality, dies at 96
  • 2008 Aimé Césaire, French Martinican poet and politician, dies at 94
  • 2008 Daniel “Danny” Federici, American rocker and musician (E Street Band), dies of melanoma at 58
  • 2009 Honoré Desmond Sharrer, American artist (Tribute to the American Working People), dies aged 88
  • 2009 Martin Garrod, British Commandant General Royal Marines, dies at 73
  • 2011 Eric Gross, Austrian-Australian composer (b. 1926)
  • 2011 Nikos Papazoglou, Greek singer and songwriter (b. 1948)
  • 2011 AJ Perez, Filipino teen actor (b. 1993)
  • 2011 Michael Sarrazin, Canadian actor (Seduction, They Shoot Horses Don’t They), dies at 70
  • 2012 Dimitris Mitropanos, Greek singer, dies from a heart attack at 64
  • 2013 Bi Kidude, Tanzanian Taarab singer, dies at c. 100
  • 2013 Deanna Durbin [Edna Mae Durbin], Canadian actress and vocalist (Every Sunday, Three Smart Girls, 100 Men & a Girl), dies at 91

Person of interestGabriel García Márquez

2014 Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist (1982 Nobel Prize in Literature), dies of pneumonia at 87

Colombian Writer Gabriel García Márquez
Colombian Writer
Gabriel García Márquez

Person of interestDoris Roberts

2016 Doris Roberts, American actress (Everybody Loves Raymond), dies at 90

Actress Doris Roberts
Doris Roberts

Person of interestBarbara Bush

2018 Barbara Bush, First Lady of the US (1989-93) and wife of George H. W. Bush, dies following long illness at 92

US First Lady Barbara Bush
US First Lady
Barbara Bush
  • 2019 Alan García, President of Peru (Peruvian Aprista Party: 1985-90, 2006-11), commits suicide by shooting himself as police try to arrest him on corruption charges at 69
  • 2020 Norman Hunter, English soccer defender (28 caps; Leeds United, Bristol City, Barnsley; FIFA World Cup 1966), dies from COVID-19 at 76
  • 2020 Carlos Contreras, Chilean soccer defender (30 caps; Universidad de Chile), dies at 81
  • 2020 Bobby Winkles, American College Baseball Hall of Fame coach (Arizona State University) and manager (California Angels, Oakland A’s), dies at 90
  • 2020 Raymond Van Gestel, Belgian soccer winger (5 caps; Lyra) and athlete (Belgian long jump champion), dies at 90
  • 2020 Arlene Saunders, American soprano, dies of COVID-19 complications at 89
  • 2020 Matthew Seligman, British studio and touring new wave rock bassist (Robyn Hitchcock; Thompson Twins; Thomas Dolby), dies from Covid-19 complications at 64

More Famous Deaths

1964 – U.S.A. Ford Mustang Unveiled1964 : The Ford Motor Co. unveiled its new Mustang model at the New York World’s Fair on This Day 1964. The Mustang was championed by Ford Division general manager Lee Iacocca, with a suggested retail price of $2,368. The car was a great success and sold over one million cars in its first 18 months. Find More What happened in 1964

1927 – Airship Race From New York to Paris1927 : An airship race scheduled today from New York to Paris has been forced to reschedule due to injuries and problems with an engine on one of the airships.

1932 – U.S.A. Lynching1932 : A mob of western Kansas Farmers today went back to old fashioned justice when they lynched a man who admitted killing an 8 year old girl by overpowering the sheriff and hanging the man from a tree in Kansas.

1940 – U.S.A. World War II1940 : Anglo-French purchasing mission announced the purchase of huge quantities of the latest aircraft including Douglas Bombers and Curtiss Pursuit Ships from American Companies.

1950 – Soviet Union Shoot Down US Plane1950 : America accuses the Reds of shooting down a US Plane over the Baltic Sea in an unprovoked attack.

1951 – England Submarine Lost1951 : The crew of the British submarine “Affray” is feared dead after going missing off the south coast of England. Two months later, the Affray was found in 300 ft of water 46 miles south of Portland.

1961 – Cuba Bay of Pigs1961 : A group of 1,500 Cuban exiles supported by the US government invaded the Bay of Pigs on the southern coast of Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. The invasion failed miserably and by April 21st all had been killed or captured. One year earlier the CIA had recommended to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Administration to recruit, support, equip and train Cuban exiles for action against the new government of Fidel Castro. Following the change to the new U.S. President John F. Kennedy in February who was also advised the operation would be a success, the operation was continued. Cuba was tipped off by senior KGB agents and intelligence forces arrested more than 100,000 Cubans who they suspected would be allies of the expected invading force, ensuring that the invading forces would be cut off from support.

1962 – Worldwide Oral Polio Vaccine1962 : Around the world after the approval by Governments of the Oral Polio Vaccine developed by Albert Sabin. Schools, Health Clinics and Doctors were preparing to administer the Polio Vaccine to children who had not received the injected Salk vaccine . Polio had been increasing at an alarming rate prior to the development of the Salk vaccine and in 1952 alone over 58,000 cases of Polio occurred in the United States.

1969 – U.S.A. Robert Kennedy Assassin1969 : The assassin of Robert Kennedy Sirhan B. Sirhan was found guilty of first degree murder for assassinating Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the brother of slain President John F. Kennedy.

1969 – Northern Ireland Bernadette Devlin1969 : Bernadette Devlin, becomes Britain’s youngest ever female MP and the third youngest MP ever.

1970 – U.S.A. Apollo 131970 : Apollo 13, the U.S. lunar spacecraft that suffered oxygen tank No. 2 blowing up in the spacecraft on its journey to the moon, safely returns to Earth landing in the Pacific Ocean.

1973 – Egypt Syria / Israel War1973 : Egypt has warned it may get involved in the Syria Israel War and warned it may fight alongside the Syrians if the Golan Heights becomes threatened.

1984 – UK WPC Yvonne Fletcher1984 : WPC Yvonne Fletcher a London police officer is shot and killed while helping control a small demonstration outside the Libyan People’s Bureau Embassy in central London. The police can not enter The Libyan building as it has diplomatic immunity but the building is surrounded by armed police officers. Meanwhile Libyan soldiers have now surrounded Britain’s embassy in Tripoli trapping the 18 diplomats inside. Following the breakdown of diplomatic relations between the two countries British Diplomats leave Libya and the Libyan diplomats leave England including the person who had killed Yvonne Fletcher. Diplomatic relations with Libya are restored after 15 years in 1999 after the Libyan Government admitted it bore “general responsibility” for WPC Fletcher’s death. ( It is also believed that when the killer returned to Libya he was immediately executed but this can not be confirmed ).

1985 – U.S.A. Organ Donation1985 : The US Government has announced a campaign to increase awareness of Organ Donation hoping to make the donation of organs as widespread as the giving of blood this follows similar campaigns from other countries around the world as organ transplants become more common.

1986 – Lebanon John McCarthy1986 : John McCarthy, a British TV journalist, is abducted on his way to the airport in the war-torn capital of Lebanon, Beirut. On August 8th 1991 having spent more than five years held captive by militant group Islamic Jihad, John McCarthy is released making him Britain’s longest-held hostage in Lebanon.

1991 – U.S.A. Dow Jones1991 : The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,000 for the first time.

1993 – U.S.A. Rodney King Beating1993 : Two former police officers are convicted by a federal jury in Los Angeles of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King.

1999 – England Nail Bomb1999 : A nail bomb outside a busy supermarket in Brixton, south London, has injured dozens. This was the fist in a series of bombs planted by a right-wing extremist David Copeland, 22, who was captured after a nail bomb in a central London pub killed three people.

2006 – Israel Suicide Bomber2006 : A Palestinian suicide bomber strikes a Tel Aviv restaurant during Passover, killing nine people.

2007 – World A new Tolkien book released2007 : The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien has been released in North America and Europe. The book has been developed by Christopher Tolkien over twelve years, and is taken from the unfinished material written by his father. It includes new color plates and black and white illustrations. Houghton Mifflin has acquired U.S. rights to publish the book, which is Tolkien’s first work since 1977’s posthumous Silmarillion. HarperCollins U.K. had acquired the project from The Tolkien Estate in a world rights deal. The Children of Húrin was started in 1918.

2010 – George Washington Library Fee2010 : George Washington is said to have racked up $300,000 in late fees for failing to return two books to a Manhattan library. The first President had borrowed them from the New York Society Library on E. 79th St. in 1789 and never returned them. “We’re not actively pursuing the overdue fines,” the head librarian said. “But we would be very happy if we were able to get the books back.” Washington’s deed had gone unnoticed for almost 150 years, and only discovered in 1934, when an old and dusty ledger was discovered in the library’s basement.

2010 – Suicide Bombers Attack Kacha Pukha Camp2010 : Suicide Bombers Attack Kacha Pukha camp a center for those displaced during the war, leaves 50 dead and many more injured the suicide bombers were members of the Sunni militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

2012 – Tokyo Governor to Buy Disputed Islands2012 : Shintaro Ishihara, the governor of Tokyo, has stated that he plans to use public funds to buy a group of disputed islands. The Senkaku islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan and are rich in resources. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that any action by Japan to buy the islands would be “illegal and invalid” as China had “indisputable sovereignty” over them.

2013 – Gay Marriage Legalized in New Zealand2013 : New Zealand’s parliament voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in the country, the first in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. Same-sex civil unions had already been legal in the country since 2005.

2013 – Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion2013 : A huge explosion of ammonium nitrate occurred at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas near Waco, killing at least fifteen people and injuring another one-hundred and sixty people. Over one-hundred buildings were damaged or destroyed.

2014 – Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dies2014 : Gabriel Garcia Marquez a Spanish-language author from Colombia died at the age of 87 in Mexico. Marquez had won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 and had penned such famous novels as “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera.”

Born This Day In History 17th April

Celebrating Birthdays Today
Victoria Beckham
Born: Victoria Caroline Adams 17th April 1974 Harlow, Essex, England
Known For : Victoria Beckham formerly Victoria Adams but much better known as Posh Spice of the Spice Girls an English all girl pop group who had a number of hits but the best known and most successful was their first single “Wannabe” . The group split up and ended in 2000. Victoria married the English footballer David Beckham in July 1999. They have now moved to the Beverly Hills, California, United States ( 2007 ) together with their three children where David Beckham plays for the soccer team LA Galaxy. Victoria has pursued a career in fashion and Television appearing on a number of TV shows including being a guest judge for the fourth season finale of Project Runway.

Sean Bean
Born: Shaun Mark Bean 17th April 1969 Sheffield, England
Known For : Sean Bean is best known for his portrayal of Boromir in The Lord of the Rings but has also appeared in many other movies including James Bond’s adversary Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye and Captain Rich in Flightplan . Prior to his going into the movies he was a stage actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company touring in well known Shakespeare plays including Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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