Today In History, 17 February

Historical Events On This Day

  • In 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque conquered the city of Goa in India without much resistance.
  • In 1600, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive at Campo de’ Fiori in Rome for charges of heresy by the Roman Inquisition.
  • In 1739, the Battle of Vasai began between the Marathas and the Portuguese.
  • In 1815, the Treaty of Ghent between the United States and the United Kingdom to end the War of 1812 was ratified.
  • In 1843, the British won the Battle of Miani and acquired the Sindh province in Pakistan.
  • In 1864, during the American Civil War, the H. L. Hunley became the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, the USS Housatonic.
  • In 1867, the first ship passed through the Suez Canal.
  • In 1944, the key World War II battle of Eniwetok began with US forces landing on Canna and Camelia islets in the Pacific.
  • In 1972, the British Parliament voted to join the European Common Market.
  • In 1979, China invaded Vietnam over its growing ties with the Soviet Union and interference in Khmer Rouge-ruled Cambodia.
  • In 1992, American serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms for multiple brutal murders.
  • In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
  • In 2017, the discovery of a new, mostly underwater continent, Zealandia, in the South Pacific was announced.

Sports Events Today

  • In 1996, Russian chess star Garry Kasparov defeated the computer Deep Blue 4-2.
  • In 2016, Nike ended its endorsement deal with Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao over his homophobic comments.

Art and Culture Events Today

  • In 1904, Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” premiered at La Scala in Milan, becoming one of the most frequently performed operas ever.
  • In 1913, the Armory Show opened to the public in New York City, displaying the works of artists who later became some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century.
  • In 1936, the world’s first superhero, The Phantom, made his debut in Lee Falk’s cartoon strip comics.

Notable Deaths On This Day

Sr NoDeath YearPersonality
11673Moliere, French playwright, actor and poet considered to be one of the greatest writers in French language and world literature
21856Heinrich Heine, German poet, writer and literary critic
31883Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Indian revolutionary and independence activist who was one of the first to pick up arms against the British and even gained control of Pune for a few days
41890Christopher Latham Sholes, American inventor responsible for creating the QWERTY keyboard and co-inventing the typewriter
51982Thelonius Monk, American jazz pianist and composer
61986Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Indian philosopher, speaker, writer and spiritual teacher
72016Andrzej Zulawski, Polish filmmaker known for his arthouse hits like Possession and The Devil

Famous Birthdays On This Day

Sr NoBirth YearPersonality
11792Budhu Bhagat, Indian freedom fighter who engaged in guerilla warfare against the British and led the Koi and Larka rebellions in Chhotanagpur
21929Alejandro Jodorowsky, Chilean-French filmmaker and artist known for his unconventional avant-garde films like The Holy Mountain and El Topo
31942Huey P. Newton, African-American civil rights activist who led and co-founded the Black Panther Party
41955Mo Yan, Chinese novelist and Nobel laureate
51963Michael Jordan, American basketball star who is considered the greatest and most popular player in the history of basketball
61970Dominic Purcell, English-Australian actor known for his central role in the popular American television series Prison Break
71971Denise Richards, American actress, model and television personality who played the bond girl in the film The World ins Not Enough
81972Billie Joe Armstrong, American musician and co-founder of the rock band Green Day
91984AB de Villiers, South African cricketer and former captain known for his agile fielding and explosive batting
101988Vasyl Lomachenko, Ukrainian boxer who is one of the most accomplished amateur boxer with a shocking 396-1 amateur record and a 17-2 pro record
111991Ed Sheeran, English singer-songwriter who is among the best-selling and most beloved artists of the decade and is known for his songs “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”
 1991Jeremy Allen White, American actor who rose to fame in 2022 with his terrific performance in the cooking TV show The Bear