It happened today – this day in history – October 17

79: Mt. Vesuvius erupts, burying the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae, killing thousands.

1346: King David II of Scotland is captured by Edward III at Calais and imprisoned in the Tower of London for 11 years.

1483: Tomas de Torquemada is appointed inquisitor-general of the Spanish Inquisition.

1651: The future Charles II flees England.

1660: The men who signed the death warrant of Charles I are hung, drawn and quartered.

1662: Charles II sells Dunkirk to France for £320,000.

1740: Ivan VI becomes Tsar of Russia.

1777: British General John Burgoyne surrenders at Saratoga during the American Revolutionary War.

1800: The Dutch colony of Curacao is transferred to Britain.

1806: Former leader of the Haitian Revolution, Emperor Jacques I, is assassinated.

1825: The first opera by Franz Listz, “Don Sanche” premieres in Paris.

1831: Premiere of Felix Mendelssohn’s first Piano concerto in G.

1849: Death of composer Frederic Chopin aged 39.

1854: French and British forces bombard Sevastopol for the first time during the Crimean War.

1855: The Bessemer steel making process is patented.

1860: Willie Park Sr wins the first British Open golf tournament at Prestwick.

1871: Britain annexes Griqualand, South Africa. On the same day, US President Ulysses S Grant suspends habeas corpus in parts of South Carolina during prosecutions against the Ku Klux Klan.

1888: Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first moving pictures).

1894: Ohio national guardsmen kill three assailants trying to lynch a black man.

1907: Gugliemo Marconi’s company begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service between Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and Clifden, Ireland.

1912: Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declare war on Turkey.

1917: The first British bombing of Germany.

1918: Yugoslavia proclaims itself a republic.

1922: Scottish workers begin a hunger march from Glasgow to London.

1933: Albert Einstein arrives in the US as a refugee from Nazi Germany.

1941: The USS Kearney becomes the first US destroyer torpedoed in World War II, while the country is still officially neutral.

1945: Actress Ava Gardner marries bandleader Artie Shaw in Hollywood.

1951: The Egyptian army fires on British troops.

1957: The Queen and Prince Philip visit The White House. On the same day, French author Albert Camus is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1960: The US and Britain sign an accord for nuclear submarine bases.

1961: French police kill more than 200 Algerian protestors during a riot in Paris. On the same day, the New York Museum of Modern Art hangs Le Bateau by Henri Matisse upside down. It stays that way until someone realises the error on December 3.


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1962: In between their lunchtime and night shows at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, The Beatles travel to Granada TV Centre in Manchester to make their television debut on the local magazine program People and Places.

1963: The Beatles record I Want to Hold Your Hand at EMI Studios in Abbey Road, London.

1964: Irina Press of the Soviet Union wins the gold medal in the women’s pentathlon at the Tokyo Olympics.

1967: The musical “Hair” premieres on Broadway.

1971: Approximately 16,000 households withhold rent and rates for council houses as part of a campaign of civil disobedience against internment organised by the Social Democratic and Labour Party in Northern Ireland.

Singles chart:

  1. Maggie May – Rod Stewart
  2. Witch Queen Of New Orleans – Redbone
  3. Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum – Middle Of The Road
  4. You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor
  5. Simple Game – The Four Tops
  6. Freedom Come, Freedom Go – The Fortunes
  7. For All We Know – Shirley Bassey
  8. Did You Ever – Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood
  9. Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me – The Tams
  10. Sultana – Titanic
1971: T.Rex – Electric Warrior

Album chart:

  1. Every Picture Tells A Story – Rod Stewart
  2. Motown Chartbusters Volume 6 – Various Artists
  3. Hot Hits 7 – Various Artists
  4. Electric Warrior – T. Rex
  5. Tapestry – Carole King
  6. Top Of The Pops Volume 19
  7. Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon – James Taylor
  8. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  9. Fireball – Deep Purple
  10. Teaser And The Firecat – Cat Stevens

1973: OPEC oil ministers use oil as an economic weapon in the Arab-Israeli War, mandating a cut in exports and recommending an embargo against unfriendly states. On the same day, England fail to qualify for the World Cup after a draw against Poland at Wembley.

1975: The UN passes a resolution saying “Zionism is a form of racism”.

1977: West German commandos storm a hijacked Lufthansa in Mogadishu, Somalia freeing all 86 hostages and killing three of four hijackers.

1978: Public pressure leads ministers to reduce the number of grey seals to be culled in Scotland by 2,300 to 2,000.

1979: Mother Teresa of Calcutta is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1980: The Queen makes the first state visit to the Vatican by a British monarch.

1981: Nelson Piquet driving for Brabham finishes fifth in the season ending Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas to clinch his first Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

1987: US First Lady Nancy Reagan undergoes a modified radical mastectomy.

1989: A powerful earthquake rocks San Francisco killing nine people and injuring hundreds.

1991: Singer Tennessee Ernie Ford died of liver failure aged 72.

1995: Sting’s former accountant Keith Moore was sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty of embezzling £6 million from the singer’s 108 bank accounts.

1999: Heartbreak Hotel lyricist Thomas Durden dies aged 79.

2000: Four people are killed when a high speed passenger train derails in Hatfield.

2002: Derek Bell instrumentalist in Irish folk group The Chieftains dies of cardiac arrest in Phoenix, Arizona.

2007: The Dalai Lama receives the United States Congressional Gold Medal.

2008: Iran’s attempt to create the world’s largest sandwich (1,500 metres) fails when crowds eat it before it can be measured. On the same day, Four Tops singer Levi Stubbs died at his Detroit home, aged 72.

2012: Tens of thousands protest against austerity measures in Greece. On the same day, actress Sylvia Kristel dies aged 60.

2015: Football manager Howard Kendall dies aged 69.

2018: Canada legalizes the sale of recreational cannabis, the second country after Uruguay.

2019: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces a new Brexit deal with the EU.

2020: Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party wins the New Zealand general election by a landslide.

BIRTHDAYS: Michael Eavis, farmer/Glastonbury Festival founder, 86; George Wendt, actor, 73; Sir Cameron Mackintosh, stage producer, 65; Michael McKean, actor/musician (Spinal Tap/The Left Banke) 74; George Wendt, actor, 73; Dolph Lundgren, actor, 62; Mike Judge, animator, 59; Gregg Wallace, TV presenter, 57; Mark Gatiss, actor/writer, 55; Ziggy Marley, musician, 53; Graeme Le Saux, footballer, 53; Ernie Els, golfer, 52; Eminem (Marshall Mathers) rapper, 49; Wyclef Jean, rapper (The Fugees) 49; Matthew Macfadyen, actor, 47; Chris Kirkpatrick, singer, (NSYNC) 44; Kimi Raikkonen, racing driver, 42; Felicity Jones, actress, 38; Sophy Ridge, journalist, 37; Max Irons, actor, 36; Dwight Gayle, footballer, 32..