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This Day in History: May 17

What Happened On Your Birthday

What Happend On Today In History

Famous Birthday On May 17

  • 1936 Dennis Hopper

    American actor, director

  • 1866 Erik Satie

    French pianist, composer

  • 1956 Sugar Ray Leonard

    American boxer, actor

  • 1836 Wilhelm Steinitz

    Austrian/American chess player

  • 1946 Udo Lindenberg

    German singer-songwriter, drummer

Deaths On May 17

  • 1829 John Jay

    American jusrist, politician, 1st Chief Justice of the United States

  • 2011 Harmon Killebrew

    American baseball player

  • 1510 Sandro Botticelli

    Italian painter

  • 1996 Johnny "Guitar" Watson

    American singer, guitarist

  • 1875 John C. Breckinridge

    American general, politician, 14th Vice President of the United States

More Events On May 17

1527: Pánfilo de Narváez departs Spain to explore Florida with 600 men – by 1536, only 4 survive

In 1527, Spanish conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez set sail from Spain with 600 men, hoping to establish a colony in Florida. However, the expedition was plagued by disease, hostile native tribes, and harsh weather conditions, and by 1536, only four men survived. Despite the tragic outcome, Narváez’s expedition paved the way for future Spanish exploration and colonization of Florida.

1792: 24 merchants from New York Stock Exchange at 70 Wall Street

On May 17, 1792, a group of 24 New York City merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement under a buttonwood tree on Wall Street, creating what would eventually become the New York Stock Exchange. The agreement established guidelines for trading securities and laid the foundation for the modern stock market.

1803: John Hawkins and Richard French patent the Reaping Machine

John Hawkins and Richard French were granted a patent for the reaping machine, a device used for harvesting crops such as wheat and barley. The reaping machine was an important innovation in agriculture, as it reduced the amount of manual labor required for harvesting and increased the efficiency of farming.

1943: The Royal Air Force Dambusters wreck three German dams

On the night of May 16-17, 1943, the Royal Air Force’s 617 Squadron carried out a daring bombing raid on three German dams using “bouncing bombs” designed by inventor Barnes Wallis. The attack caused significant damage to the dams and disrupted German industrial production, but it came at a high cost: of the 19 aircraft that took part in the raid, eight were shot down, and 53 crew members were killed.

1954: The U.S. Supreme Court declares racially segregated public schools unconstitutional

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The decision paved the way for the desegregation of schools and other public institutions in the United States, although resistance to integration persisted for many years in some areas.

1972: Germany ratifies the Treaty of Warsaw

In 1970, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt signed the Treaty of Warsaw, in which Germany renounced all territorial claims east of the Oder-Neisse line and recognized the post-World War II borders of Poland. The treaty was ratified by the German parliament on May 17, 1972, and helped to normalize relations between West Germany and Poland.

1973: Senate Watergate Committee begins its hearings

The Senate Watergate Committee was established to investigate the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The hearings, which began on May 17, 1973, revealed a web of political corruption and cover-ups that ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.

1990: The WHO deletes homosexuality from its list of mental diseases

In 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders, marking a significant victory for LGBTQ+.

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