It happened today – this day in history – November 17

1511: England, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire sign the Treaty of Westminster, an anti-French covenant.

1555: William of Orange becomes a member of the Council of State.

1558: Elizabeth I ascends to the English throne and the Church of England is re-established.

1603: Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason.

1659: The Peace of the Pyrenees is signed between France and Spain.

1720: Pirate Calico Jack (John Rackham) is executed at Port Royal.

1755: Birth of Louis XVIII, the first post-revolutionary King of France.

1795: Napoleon’s forces beat the Austrians in Italy at the Battle of Arcole.

1812: The Battle of Krasnoi during Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.

1839: Guiseppe Verdi’s opera “Oberte Conti Di” premieres in Milan.

1855: David Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now Zambia and Zimbabwe.

1869: Englishman James Moore wins the first bicycle race – 13km from Paris to Rouen. On the same day, the Suez Canal opens linking the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

1873: The rival cities of Buda and Pest unite to form the capital of Hungary.

1877: Russia launches a surprise night attack that overruns Turkish forces at Kars, Armenia.

1884: Police arrest boxer John L Sullivan in the second round of a fight for “cruelty”.

1885: With Russian support, the Serbian Army invades Bulgaria.

1888: Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony premieres in St Petersburg.

1894: Serial killer H H Holmes is arrested in Boston after being tracked there from Philadelphia by members of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

1903: Dahomey (Benin) becomes a French protectorate.

1905: The Eulsa Treaty is signed between Japan and Korea.

1913: The first ship sails through the Panama Canal.

1917: French sculptor Auguste Rodin dies aged 77.

1918: German troops leave Brussels.

1922: The last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI, is exiled to Malta.

1929: Nikolai Bukharin is expelled from the Soviet Politburo amidst a power struggle with Joseph Stalin.

1932: The German government of von Papen resigns.

1933: Release of the Marx brothers satirical comedy film “Duck Soup”.

1945: A new world air speed record of 606 mph is set by H J Wilson of the RAF.


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1948: The House of Commons votes to nationalise the steel industry.

1953: Twenty Italian sailors die following a collision between two boats in the English Channel.

1963: John Weightman the headmaster of a Surrey grammar school, bans pupils from having Beatle haircuts saying, “this ridiculous style brings out the worst in boys physically. It makes them look like morons.”

1967: Surveyor 6 becomes the first man-made object to lift off from the Moon.

1968: Alexandros Panagoulis is condemned to death for attempting to assassinate Greek dictator George Papadopoulos.

1970: Stephanie Rahn becomes the first topless page 3 girl in The Sun newspaper. On the same day, Douglas Engelbart receives the patent for the first computer mouse.

1973: US President Richard Nixon tells the Associated Press: “…people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook”.

1974: Singles chart:

  1. Gonna Make You A Star – David Essex
  2. Killer Queen – Queen
  3. You’re The First, The Last, My Everything – Barry White
  4. (Hey There) Lonely Girl – Eddie Holman
  5. Everything I Own – Ken Boothe
  6. Pepper Box – The Peppers
  7. No Honestly – Lynsey De Paul
  8. Juke Box Jive – The Rubettes
  9. Let’s Put It All Together – The Stylistics
  10. All Of Me Loves All Of You – The Bay City Rollers
1974: David Bowie – David Live

Album chart:

  1. Greatest Hits – Elton John
  2. Rollin’ – The Bay City Rollers
  3. David Live – David Bowie
  4. Can’t Get Enough – Barry White
  5. Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield
  6. Sheer Heart Attack – Queen
  7. David Essex – David Essex
  8. Smiler – Rod Stewart
  9. Propaganda – Sparks
  10. The Singles 1969-1973 – The Carpenters

1979: Jethro Tull bass player John Glascock dies at the age of 28, as a result of a congenital heart defect.

1986: The head of the Renault car company, Georges Besse, is assassinated outside his home in Paris by two members of anti-capitalist group, Action Directe.

1989: Riot police arrest hundreds of people taking part in the biggest show of public dissent in Czechoslovakia for 21 years.

1992: At the end of a long battle to claim royalties Jimmy Merchant and Herman Santiago of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, received an estimated $4 million in back payments from the song ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’.

1993: General Sani Abacha leads a military coup against Ernest Shonekan’s transitional administration and returns the Nigerian government to military control. On the same day, with England needing a massive goal tally against San Marino in Bologna to qualify for the Word Cup finals, San Marino score in just eight seconds. Although England eventually win 7-1 the margin isn’t big enough and they fail to make it to the ’94 finals.

1995: Singer-songwriter and founding member of Lindisfarne, Alan Hull dies of a heart attack aged 50.

1997: More than 60 people die in an attack on a group of foreign tourists visiting a temple at Luxor in Egypt.

1998: Football legend Geoff Hurst is knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

2003: John Allen Muhammad, ex-soldier who served in the Gulf War is found guilty of at least one of the Washington sniper killings in October 2002. On the same day, soul singer Arthur Conley dies of intestinal cancer at the age of 57 and country music legend Don Gibson dies of natural causes aged 75.

2006: Hungarian football legend Ferenc Puskás dies aged 79.

2010: Patti Smith wins the National Book Award for her memoir ‘Just Kids’.

2011: Sheriff’s deputies in South Los Angeles charged 61-year-old Bonnie Pointer of The Pointer Sisters with possessing rock cocaine after the car she was driving in was pulled over for a mechanical malfunction.

2013: Novelist Doris Lessing dies aged 94.

2014: Soul singer Jimmy Ruffin died aged 78.

2015: Actor Charlie Sheen confirms that he is HIV-positive. On the same day, Ireland’s first same-sex wedding takes place.

2019: Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khameni labels protesters “thugs” after unrest over petrol prices brought Tehran to a standstill day before.

BIRTHDAYS: Gordon Lightfoot, singer-songwriter, 83; Martin Scorsese, director, 79; Bob Gaudio, singer-songwriter/producer (The Four Seasons) 79; Lauren Hutton, actress, 78; Danny Devito, actor/director, 77; Lorne Michaels, creator of SNL, 77; Roland Joffe, director, 76; Martin Barre, guitarist (Jethro Tull) 75; Rod Clements, bassist/violinist (Lindisfarne) 74; Jilly Johnson, former model, 68; Peter Cox, singer-songwriter (Go West) 65; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, actress, 63; Terry Fenwick, footballer, 62; Jonathan Ross, TV host, 61; RuPaul (Charles), drag queen, 61; Daisy Fuentes, US TV host, 55; Sophie Marceau, actress, 55; David Ramsey, actor, 50; Rachel McAdams, actress, 43; Zoë Bell, stuntwoman/actress, 43; Tom Ellis, actor, 43; Nani (Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha Comm), footballer, 35; Rose Ayling-Ellis, actress, 27.