June 17 is the 168th day of the year (169th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 197 days remaining until the end of the year.
801 – Drogo of Metz born (d. 855)
1244 – Following the Disputation of Paris, twenty-four carriage loads of Jewish religious manuscripts were burnt in Paris.
1462 – Vlad III the Impaler attempts to assassinate Mehmed II (The Night Attack) forcing him to retreat from Wallachia.
1571 – Thomas Mun born, English writer on economics (d. 1641)
1579 – Sir Francis Drake claims a land he calls Nova Albion (modern California) for England.
1673 – French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reach the Mississippi River and become the first Europeans to make a detailed account of its course.
1767 – Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sights Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the island.
1771 – Daskalogiannis dies, Greek rebel leader (b. 1722)
1775 – American Revolutionary War: Colonists inflict heavy casualties on British forces while losing the Battle of Bunker Hill.
1839 – In the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kamehameha III issues the edict of toleration which gives Roman Catholics the freedom to worship in the Hawaiian Islands. The Hawaii Catholic Church and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace are established as a result.
1843 – The Wairau Affray, the first serious clash of arms between Māori and British settlers in the New Zealand Wars, takes place.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Aldie in the Gettysburg Campaign.
1876 – American Indian Wars: Battle of the Rosebud: One thousand five hundred Sioux and Cheyenne led by Crazy Horse beat back General George Crook’s forces at Rosebud Creek in Montana Territory.
1877 – American Indian Wars: Battle of White Bird Canyon: The Nez Perce defeat the U.S. Cavalry at White Bird Canyon in the Idaho Territory.
1882 – Igor Stravinsky born, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1971)
1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor.
1898 – The United States Navy Hospital Corps is established.
1898 – M. C. Escher born, Dutch illustrator (d. 1972)
1900 – Boxer Rebellion: Allied Western and Japanese forces capture the Taku Forts in Tianjin, China.
1901 – The College Board introduces its first standardized test, the forerunner to the SAT.
1915 – David “Stringbean” Akeman born, American singer and banjo player (d. 1973)
1930 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover signs the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act into law.
1932 – Bonus Army: Around a thousand World War I veterans amass at the United States Capitol as the U.S. Senate considers a bill that would give them certain benefits.
1933 – Union Station massacre: In Kansas City, Missouri, four FBI agents and captured fugitive Frank Nash are gunned down by gangsters attempting to free Nash.
1933 – Harry Browne born, American soldier and politician (d. 2006)
1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is guillotined in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison.
1940 – World War II: RMS Lancastria is attacked and sunk by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France. At least 3,000 are killed in Britain’s worst maritime disaster.
1940 – World War II: The British Army’s 11th Hussars assault and take Fort Capuzzo in Libya, Africa from Italian forces.
1940 – The three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania fall under the occupation of the Soviet Union.
1943 – Newt Gingrich born, American historian and politician, 58th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
1943 – Barry Manilow born, American singer-songwriter and producer
1944 – Iceland declares independence from Denmark and becomes a republic.
1945 – Tommy Franks born, American general
1947 – George S. Clinton born, American composer and songwriter
1951 – Joe Piscopo born, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter
1953 – East Germany Workers Uprising: In East Germany, the Soviet Union orders a division of troops into East Berlin to quell a rebellion.
1958 – Bobby Farrelly born, American director, producer, and screenwriter
1960 – The Nez Perce tribe is awarded $4 million for 7 million acres (28,000 km2) of land undervalued at four cents/acre in the 1863 treaty.
1963 – Greg Kinnear born, American actor, television presenter, and producer
1967 – The People’s Republic of China announces a successful test of its first thermonuclear weapon.
1972 – Watergate scandal: Five White House operatives are arrested for burgling the offices of the Democratic National Committee, in an attempt by some members of the Republican party to illegally wiretap the opposition.
1980 – Venus Williams born, American tennis player
1986 – Kate Smith dies, American singer (b. 1907)
1987 – Kendrick Lamar born, American rapper
1991 – Apartheid: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act which required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.
1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
2012 – Rodney King dies, American victim of police brutality (b. 1965)
2015 – Nine people are killed in a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
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