On February 17:
1500 The Battle of Hemmingstedt.
1600 The philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome for heresy.
1801 An electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr was resolved when Jefferson was elected President of the United States and Burr Vice President by the United States House of Representatives.
1809 Miami University was chartered by the State of Ohio.
1814 The Battle of Mormans.
1819 The United States House of Representatives passed the Missouri Compromise.
The Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery in the Unorganized territory of the Great Plains (dark green) and permitted it in Missouri (yellow) and the Arkansas Territory (lower blue area).
1848 Louisa Lawson, Australian suffragist and writer, was born.
1854 The United Kingdom recognised the independence of the Orange Free State.
1864 Banjo Paterson, Australian poet, was born.
1864 The H. L. Hunley became the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, the USS Housatonic.
1867 The first ship passed through the Suez Canal.
1873 The editor of the Daily Southern Cross, David Luckie, published a hoax report of a Russian invasion of Auckland by the cruiser Kaskowiski (cask of whisky).
1877 Isabelle Eberhardt, Swiss explorer and writer, was born.
1904 Madama Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini received its premiere at La Scala in Milan.
1913 The Armory Show opened in New York City, displaying works of artists who are to become some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century.
1917 Guillermo González Camarena, Mexican inventor (colour television), was born.
1924 Johnny Weissmuller set a new world record in the 100-yard freestyle swimming competition with a time of 52-2/5 seconds.
1924 Margaret Truman, American novelist (, was born.
1925 Harold Ross and Jane Grant founded The New Yorker magazine.
2004 cover with dandy Eustace Tilley, created by Rea Irvin. Eustace Tilley debuted on the first cover and reappears on anniversary issues
1925 Ron Goodwin, English composer and conductor, was born.
1929 Patricia Routledge, English actress, was born.
1930 Ruth Rendell, English writer, was born.
1933 Newsweek magazine was published for the first time.
1933 – The Blaine Act ended Prohibition in the United States.
1934 Barry Humphries, Australian actor and comedian, was born.
1940 Gene Pitney, American singer, was born.
1945 Brenda Fricker, Irish actress, was born.
1947 The Voice of America began to transmit radio broadcasts to the Soviet Union.
1958 Pope Pius XII declared Saint Clare of Assisi (1193~1253) the patron saint of television.
1959 Vanguard 2 – The first weather satellite was launched to measure cloud-cover distribution.
1962 A storm killed more than 300 people in Hamburg.
1963 Michael Jordan, American basketball player, was born.
1964 Gabonese president Leon M’ba was toppled by a coup and his archrival, Jean-Hilaire Aubame, was installed in his place.
1965 The Ranger 8 probe launched on its mission to photograph the Mare Tranquillitatis region of the Moon in preparation for the manned Apollo missions.
1972 Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle model exceeded those of Ford Model-T.
1978 A Provisional IRA incendiary bomb was detonated at the La Mon restaurant, near Belfast, killing 12 and seriously injuring 30.
1979 The Sino-Vietnamese War started.
1995 – The Cenepa War between Peru and Ecuador ends on a cease-fire brokered by the UN.
1996 World champion Garry Kasparov beat the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.
1996 – NASA’s Discovery Programme started as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifted off on the first mission ever to orbit and land upon an asteroid, 433 Eros.
2003 The London Congestion Charge scheme began.
2006 A massive mudslide occurred in Southern Leyte, Philippines; the official death toll was 1,126.
2008 Kosovo declared independence.
Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia