It happened today – this day in history – November 17

Mick Ferris

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.

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 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 tell the Associated Press: “…people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook”.

1979: Jethro Tull bass player John Glascock died 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.

1991: Singles chart:

  1. Black Or White – Michael Jackson
  2. Dizzy – Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff
  3. Get Ready For This – 2 Unlimited
  4. Activ8 (Come With Me) – Altern8
  5. Is There Anybody Out There? – Bassheads
  6. Rhythm Is A Mystery – K-Klass
  7. If You Were With Me Now – Kylie Minogue and Keith Washington
  8. Killer EP – Seal
  9. Playing With Knives – Bizarre Inc
  10. When A Man Loves A Woman – Michael Bolton
1991: The Commitments

Album chart:

  1. We Can’t Dance – Genesis
  2. Shepherd Moons – Enya
  3. Greatest Hits II – Queen
  4. Real Love – Lisa Stansfield
  5. Discography – Pet Shop Boys
  6. Stars – Simply Red
  7. From Time To Time: The Singles Collection – Paul Young
  8. Simply The Best – Tina Turner
  9. The Commitments – Original Soundtrack
  10. Timeless: The Very Best Of Neil Sedaka – Neil Sedaka

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.

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.

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.

BIRTHDAYS: Gordon Lightfoot, singer-songwriter, 82; Martin Scorsese, director, 78; Bob Gaudio, singer-songwriter/producer (The Four Seasons) 78; Lauren Hutton, actress, 77; Danny Devito, actor/director, 76; Lorne Michaels, creator of SNL, 76; Roland Joffe, director, 75; Martin Barre, guitarist (Jethro Tull) 74; Rod Clements, bassist/violinist (Lindisfarne) 73; Jilly Johnson, former model, 67; Peter Cox, singer-songwriter (Go West) 64; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, actress, 62; Terry Fenwick, footballer, 61; Jonathan Ross, TV host, 60; RuPaul (Charles), drag queen, 60; Daisy Fuentes, US TV host, 54; Sophie Marceau, actress, 54; Rachel McAdams, actress, 42; Zoë Bell, stuntwoman/actress, 42; Tom Ellis, actor, 42; Sarah Harding, singer/actress (Girls Aloud) 39; Nani (Luís Carlos Almeida da Cunha Comm), footballer, 34.

Mick Ferris

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