It happened today – this day in history – August 17

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1483: The date on which the two young princes, the uncrowned Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York, are believed to have been murdered in the Tower of London.

1786: Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier, was born in Limestone, Tennessee.

1892: Mae West, actress, was born in Brooklyn. A hat-check girl once said of her jewellery: “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds.” “Goodness”, replied West, “had nothing to do with it.”

1896: Gold was discovered at Bonanza Creek on the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory. This led to the great gold rush of 1898 when the settlement of Dawson would grow into a city of some 25,000 inhabitants.

1896: The first pedestrian to be knocked down and killed by a motor vehicle in Britain was Mrs Bridget Driscoll of Croydon. The car was travelling at 4mph – the lady apparently froze in panic at the oncoming vehicle.

1938: Henry Armstrong won the lightweight boxing title and became the only man in the ring’s history to hold three world titles at different weights at the same time.

1939: The film The Wizard Of Oz, starring Judy Garland, opened in New York.

1978: The first transatlantic balloon crossing was successfully completed when the huge black and silver balloon Double Eagle II sank gracefully to the ground in a wheat field in Normandy.

1983: Ira Gershwin, lyricist to his brother George, died. Together they penned some of the world’s greatest popular songs.

1987: Former senior Nazi Rudolf Hess committed suicide in Spandau Prison at the age of 93.

ON THIS DAY LAST YEAR: Barcelona marked the first anniversary of terror attacks that killed 16 people, against a backdrop of division over the Catalan region’s pursuit of independence from Spain.

BIRTHDAYS: Robert De Niro, actor, 76; Nelson Piquet, former racing driver, 67; Kevin Rowland, rock singer, 66; Robin Cousins, former skater/Olympic gold medallist, 62; Belinda Carlisle, singer, 61; Sean Penn, actor and film director, 59; Maria McKee, singer, 55; Jim Courier, former tennis player, 49; Thierry Henry, former footballer, 42; Claire Richards, singer, 42.

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