August 17 in history

986  A Byzantine army was destroyed in the Battle of Gates of Trajan by the Bulgarians under the Comitopuli Samuel and Aron.

1786 – Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and soldier, was born (d. 1836).

1807  Robert Fulton‘s first American steamboat left New York City for Albany, New York on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.

1839 The NZ Company’s sailing ship Tory dropped anchor in Queen Charlotte Sound to pick up fresh water, food and wood before proceeding to Port Nicholson (Wellington Harbour).

NZ Company ship Tory arrives

1862  Indian Wars: The Lakota (Sioux) Dakota War of 1862 began as Lakota warriors attacked white settlements along the Minnesota River.

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

1883  The first public performance of the Dominican Republic’s national anthem, Himno Nacional.

1893  Mae West, American actress, was born (d. 1980).

1904 Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician, was born  (d. 1984).

1907  Pike Place Market, the longest continuously-running public farmers market in the US, opened in Seattle.

1908  Fantasmagorie, the first animated cartoon, realized by Émile Cohl, was shown in Paris.

1914  Battle of Stalluponen – The German army of General Hermann von François defeated the Russian force commanded by Pavel Rennenkampf near modern-day Nesterov, Russia.

1915  Jewish American Leo Frank was lynched for the alleged murder of a 13-year-old girl in Marietta, Georgia.

1918  Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky was assassinated.

1920  Maureen O’Hara, Irish actress, was born.

1942 – A total of 118 New Zealand prisoners of war died when the Italian transport ship Nino Bixio was torpedoed by a British submarine in the Mediterranean.

1943 Robert De Niro, American actor, was born.

1943  The U.S. Eighth Air Force suffered the loss of 60 bombers on the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission.

1943 : 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 L. Montgomery, completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.

1943 First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King began.

1944 Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, billionaire, was born.

1945  Indonesian Declaration of Independence.

1946 Martha Coolidge, American film director, was born.

1947 The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan was revealed.

1953   First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in Southern California.

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

1959  Kind of Blue by Miles Davis the much acclaimed and highly influential best selling jazz recording of all time, was released.

1960  Gabon gained independence from France.

1960 Sean Penn, American actor and director, was born.

1962  Gilby Clarke, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1962  East German border guards killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming one of the first victims of the wall.

1969  Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage.

1970  Venera 7 launched.

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

1979 Two Soviet Aeroflot jetliners collide in mid-air over Ukraine, killing 156

1980  Azaria Chamberlain disappeared, taken by a dingo.

1982  The first Compact Discs (CDs) were released to the public in Germany.

1988  Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed in a plane crash.

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

1999 A 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck İzmit, Turkey, killing more than 17,000 and injuring 44,000.

2004  The National Assembly of Serbia unanimously adopted new state symbols: Boze Pravde becomes the new anthem and the coat of arms was adopted for the whole country.

2005 The first forced evacuation of settlers, as part of the Israel unilateral disengagement plan, starts.

2005  Over 500 bombs were set off by terrorists at 300 locations in 63 out of the 64 districts of Bangladesh.

2008  By winning the Men’s 4x100m medley relay, Michael Phelps became the first Olympian to win eight gold medals in the same Olympics.

2009 – An accident at the Sayano–Shushenskaya Dam in Khakassia, Russia, killed 75 and shut down the hydroelectric power station, leading to widespread power failure in the local area.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia

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