It happened today – this day in history – February 17

1461: Wars of the Roses: Second Battle of St Albans – Lancastrian army defeats Yorkists and recaptures King Henry VI

1598: Boris Godunov chosen as Tsar of Russia.

1621: Myles Standish is elected as the first commander of the Plymouth Colony.

1776: First volume of Edward Gibbon’s seminal work “The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire” published.

1801: US House of Representatives breaks electoral college tie and chooses Thomas Jefferson as President over Aaron Burr.

1854: Britain recognises the independence of the Orange Free State (South Africa).

1859: Guiseppe Verdi’s opera “Un Ballo in maschera” premieres in Napoli.

1865: Columbia, South Carolina, burns down during the American Civil War.

1880: Alexander II of Russia survives an assassination attempt.

1902: A general strike in Barcelona and nearby towns leads to government-troop reprisals that leave 40 dead.

1904: Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madama Butterfly” premieres in Milan.

1909: Death of Apache chief Geronimo aged 79.

1924: Swimmer and future film ‘Tarzan’ Johnny Weissmuller, sets 100m world freestyle record of 57.4s at Miami.

1933: The US Senate accepts The Blaine Act: ending prohibition.

1936: The world’s first superhero, The Phantom, a cartoon strip by Lee Falk, makes his first appearance in comics.

1938: First public experimental demonstration of Baird colour TV in London.

1941: Joe Louis KO’s Gus Dorazio in Round 2 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1944: The Battle of Eniwetok begins with US forces landing on Canna and Camelia islets.

1949: Chaim Weitzman is elected president of Israel.

1959: Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes survives an air crash near London in which 12 people die.

1967: The Beatles begin recording Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, St John’s Wood.

1969: Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash record Girl From The North Country at CBS Studios in Nashville for an album which is never released. The song appears on Dylan’s next release Nashville Skyline. On the same day, Golda Meir is sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Israel.

1972: Parliament votes to join the Common Market. On the same day, President Richard Nixon leaves Washington on a groundbreaking visit to China.


1974: 49 people die in a stampede for seats at a soccer match in Cairo. On the same day, a disgruntled US Army private, buzzes the White House with a stolen helicopter.

1978: Eleven civilians and one RUC officer are killed and 30 wounded by a Provisional IRA incendiary bomb at the La Mon Restaurant near Belfast.

1979: China sends hundreds of troops into Vietnam.

1982: Death of jazz pianist/composer Thelonious Monk aged 64.

1986: Libyan bombers attack N’djamena Airport in Chad.

1987: A group of Tamils seeking asylum in Britain protest at Heathrow airport by removing their clothes as they are about to be deported.

1988: US Lt Col William Higgins is kidnapped in south Lebanon by terrorists and later killed.

1995: A Federal judge allows lawsuit claiming US tobacco makers knew nicotine was addictive & manipulated its levels to keep customers hooked.

1998: NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft overtakes Pioneer 10 to become the farthest object from earth in space.

2002: Joan Collins marries theatre company manager Percy Gibson at Claridge’s Hotel, London.

Singles chart:

  1. Hero – Enrique Iglesias
  2. You – S Club 7
  3. Point Of View – DB Boulevard
  4. What About Us – Brandy
  5. Get The Party Started – Pink
  6. A Mind Of Its Own – Victoria Beckham
  7. Hey Baby – No Doubt
  8. Addicted To Bass – Puretone
  9. Moi Lolita – Alizee
  10. Always On Time – Ja Rule ft Ashanti
2002: Kylie Minogue – Fever

Album chart:

  1. Escape – Enrique Iglesias
  2. Legacy: The Greateest Hits Collection – Boyz II Men
  3. Just Enough Education To Prrform – Stereophonics
  4. Swing When You’re Winning – Robbie Williams
  5. Pain Is Love – Ja Rule
  6. A Fine Romance: The Love Songs Of – Frank Sinatra
  7. World Of Our Own – Westlife
  8. Fever – Kylie Minogue
  9. No Angel – Dido
  10. Silver Side Up – Nickelback

2003: The congestion charge begins in London.

2005: A 1965 Fender Stratocaster guitar belonging to Jimi Hendrix sells for £100,000 at an auction in London.

2008: Kosovo declares independence from Serbia.

2012: President of Germany, Christian Wulff, resigns over a corruption scandal.

2013: 37 people are killed and 130 injured in a series of Baghdad car bombings. On the same day, country singer Mindy McCready dies aged 37 from a self inflicted gunshot wound and actor Richard Briers dies aged 79.

2014: Bob Casale of Devo dies of heart failure in Los Angeles.

2018: Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold wins her second consecutive Olympic women’s skeleton gold medal in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

2019: Thousands of Haitians protest in the streets of Port-au-Prince against government corruption and inflation.

2020: Amazon boss Jeff Bezos pledges $10 billion to help fight climate change.

2022: 28,000 women apply for 30 jobs driving trains when they are advertised for women in Saudi Arabia for the first time.

Denise Richards (Photo: © Glenn Francis,

BIRTHDAYS: John Leyton, actor/singer, 88; Julia McKenzie, actress, 83; Brenda Fricker, actress, 79; Rene Russo, actress, 70; Lou Diamond Phillips (Upchurch), actor, 62; Michael Jordan, basketball legend, 61; Michael Bay, director, 59; Dominic Purcell, actor, 54; Denise Richards, actress, 53; Billie Joe Armstrong, singer-songwriter (Green Day) 52; Lucy Davis, actress, 51; Jerry O’Connell, actor, 50; Rory Kinnear, actor, 46; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor, 43; Paris Hilton, celebrity, 43; Daniel Merriweather, singer, 42; Ed Sheeran, singer-songwriter, 33; Bonnie Wright, actress, 33.