Today in History, 17 July: What Happened on this Day – Birthday, Events, Politics, Death & More

Throughout history, significant events have shaped the world we live in today. From political milestones to scientific discoveries, from military conflicts to artistic achievements, these events have left a lasting impact on societies, cultures, and the course of human progress.

This article delves into a wide range of historical events, offering a glimpse into moments that have shaped our world. From the coronation of King Henry IV to the discovery of the Babington Plot, and from the premiere of Handel’s “Water Music” to the recognition of Bill Gates as the world’s richest man, each event provides a unique window into the tapestry of human history.

Historical Events

1054

Holy Roman Emperor Henry III crowned his son Henry IV king

In 1054, Holy Roman Emperor Henry III crowned his son, Henry IV, as king. This event marked the official ascension of Henry IV to the throne, solidifying his position as the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. As the successor to his father, Henry IV faced numerous challenges and conflicts during his reign, including disputes with the papacy, rebellions by powerful nobles, and the Investiture Controversy with the Catholic Church.

1453

Battle of Castillon: French army beats English force under Talbot, turning point of the Hundred Years’ War

The Battle of Castillon, which took place in 1453, was a significant military engagement in the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. It was fought near the town of Castillon-la-Bataille in southwestern France. During the battle, the French army, led by Jean Bureau, defeated the English forces commanded by John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. This victory proved to be a turning point in the war, as it marked the end of English territorial ambitions in France and led to the eventual expulsion of the English from French soil.

1473

Conquest of Nijmegen by Charles the Stout

In 1473, Charles the Stout, also known as Charles the Bold, successfully conquered the city of Nijmegen. Charles was the Duke of Burgundy and a prominent figure in the Burgundian Wars. His conquest of Nijmegen was part of his broader military campaigns aimed at expanding his territorial holdings and consolidating his power in the region. Nijmegen, located in the present-day Netherlands, was a strategic city that provided Charles with greater control over trade routes and strengthened his position in the ongoing conflicts of the time.

1505

Martin Luther becomes a Monk

In 1505, Martin Luther, a German monk and theologian, entered an Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. This decision marked a significant turning point in Luther’s life and eventually led to his pivotal role in the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s monastic life allowed him to devote himself to intense study and contemplation, leading to his eventual theological insights and criticisms of the Catholic Church. His actions and ideas would later spark a major religious and social movement that challenged the authority and practices of the Catholic Church.

1585

Discovery of the Babington Plot

In 1585, the English secret service uncovered the Babington Plot, a conspiracy to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England. Anthony Babington, a Catholic nobleman, and his associates planned to overthrow the Protestant queen and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, who was a Catholic claimant to the English throne. However, the plot was discovered by Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth’s principal secretary and spymaster. The uncovering of the Babington Plot led to the arrest, trial, and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, further heightening the tensions between Catholics and Protestants during the Elizabethan era.

1603

Arrest of Walter Raleigh by King James I

In 1603, English explorer and soldier Sir Walter Raleigh was arrested by forces loyal to King James I of England. Raleigh had been a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I but fell out of favour upon her death and the ascension of James I to the throne. The specific reasons for Raleigh’s arrest were his alleged involvement in a plot against the king and his violation of the terms of a peace treaty with Spain. Raleigh was ultimately convicted and sentenced to death, although his sentence was later commuted to imprisonment. He would remain incarcerated for over a decade before being released to lead a disastrous expedition to South America, after which he was executed.

1762

Ascension of Catherine II as Tsarina of Russia

In 1762, Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great, became the Tsarina of Russia following the murder of her husband, Peter III. Catherine’s rise to power came after a period of political instability in Russia, and her reign marked a period of significant cultural and territorial expansion for the Russian Empire. Catherine is known for her enlightened reforms, modernization efforts, and patronage of the arts. Her reign, which lasted for over three decades, left a lasting impact on Russia’s history and established her as one of the most influential and successful rulers in the country’s history.

1774

Arrival of Captain James Cook in Vanuatu

In 1774, Captain James Cook, the British explorer, navigator, and cartographer, arrived in the New Hebrides, present-day Vanuatu. Cook’s voyage to the Pacific region was part of his larger exploration of uncharted territories and his quest to chart the transit of Venus. During his visit to Vanuatu, Cook and his crew interacted with the local inhabitants, gathered scientific data, and made observations about the flora, fauna, and culture of the region. Cook’s voyages and discoveries played a significant role in expanding European knowledge of the world and had a profound impact on subsequent exploration and colonization efforts.

1791

Champ de Mars Massacre

The Champ de Mars Massacre occurred on July 17, 1791, during the French Revolution. Members of the French National Guard, under the command of General Lafayette, opened fire on a crowd of radical Jacobins who had gathered at the Champ de Mars in Paris to sign a petition for the removal of King Louis XVI. The crowd consisted mainly of supporters of the Cordeliers Club and other radical factions. The massacre resulted in the deaths of dozens, possibly up to 50 people, and marked a significant escalation of violence during the revolutionary period. The event underscored the deep divisions within French society and highlighted the growing tensions between different factions vying for power and influence.

1816

Discovery of the Raft of the Medusa Survivors

In 1816, the French naval frigate “Méduse” wrecked off the coast of Senegal, resulting in the tragic ordeal of its survivors. Thirteen days after the shipwreck, the French vessel “L’Argus” accidentally discovered a makeshift raft adrift in the Atlantic Ocean. The raft held the remnants of the original 151 survivors, with only 15 individuals remaining alive. The survivors had endured a harrowing experience marked by cannibalism, murder, and suicide. This event became widely known through Théodore Géricault’s famous painting “The Raft of the Medusa,” which depicted the survivors’ desperation and the horrors they had endured. The painting became a symbol of human suffering and the failings of authority.

1850

First Photograph of a Star by Harvard Observatory

In 1850, the Harvard Observatory took the first photograph of a star. This groundbreaking achievement in astronomical photography was made possible by the collaboration between Harvard astronomers and the pioneer of astrophotography, John William Draper. The photograph captured the star Vega, one of the brightest stars visible in the night sky. This milestone in scientific observation marked a significant advancement in the study of astronomy and laid the foundation for future advancements in astronomical photography and the understanding of celestial objects.

1862

John Hunt Morgan’s Raid reaches Cynthiana, Kentucky

In 1862, during the American Civil War, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan led a raid into Union territory, which became known as Morgan’s Raid. The raid was aimed at disrupting Union supply lines, diverting Union troops from other theatres of war, and rallying Confederate sympathizers. On July 17, 1862, Morgan’s forces reached Cynthiana, Kentucky, where they clashed with Union troops. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory, but Morgan’s Raid was ultimately unsuccessful in achieving its strategic objectives. The raid, however, demonstrated the audacity and mobility of Confederate forces and had a psychological impact on Union morale.

1866

The capture of Austrian Fort Lissa by the Italian fleet

In 1866, during the Austro-Prussian War, the Italian fleet, under the command of Admiral Count Carlo Pellion di Persano, captured the Austrian-held Fort Lissa (now Vis, Croatia) in the Adriatic Sea. The fort was a strategic stronghold that guarded the entrance to the Adriatic and posed a threat to Italian naval operations. The successful capture of Fort Lissa by the Italian fleet marked a significant victory for Italy in the conflict and bolstered its position in the region. The event showcased the growing naval power of Italy and furthered its aspirations for territorial expansion.

1867

Establishment of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine

In 1867, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine became the first dental school established in the United States. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the dental school aimed to provide a comprehensive education in dentistry and advance the field through research and innovation. The establishment of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine marked a significant milestone in the professionalization of dentistry and the recognition of oral health as a distinct branch of medicine. It laid the foundation for the development of dental education and dental science in the United States.

1890

Cecil Rhodes becomes Premier of Cape Colony

In 1890, Cecil Rhodes, a British businessman, mining magnate, and politician, became the Premier of the Cape Colony in southern Africa. Rhodes was a prominent figure in the British Empire’s expansion and colonization of Africa, particularly in regions rich in natural resources like diamonds and gold. His premiership marked a period of increased British influence in the Cape Colony and set the stage for further territorial acquisitions and political developments in the region. Rhodes’ actions and policies have been the subject of debate and controversy due to their implications for indigenous populations and his role in establishing the system of apartheid in South Africa.

1898

Spain declares war against the United States

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, Spain declared war against the United States. The conflict arose from tensions between the two nations over Spain’s colonial possessions, particularly in the Caribbean and the Pacific. The war was triggered by the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbour and subsequent calls for intervention to support Cuban independence. Spain’s declaration of war marked a significant escalation of hostilities and set the stage for a series of military engagements between the two countries, including the Battle of Manila Bay and the Battle of Santiago de Cuba. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris, which resulted in Spain relinquishing control over several of its colonial territories, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, to the United States.

1906

Election of Clement Armand Fallières as President of France

In 1906, Clement Armand Fallières was elected as the President of France. Fallières, a prominent politician and member of the Republican Party, succeeded Émile Loubet as the country’s head of state. However, during Fallières’ presidency, power was largely held by Prime Minister Georges Clémenceau, who exerted significant influence over domestic and foreign policy. Fallières’ presidency coincided with a period of social and political tensions in France, including labour strikes and political scandals. While Fallières’ role was primarily ceremonial, his presidency reflected the political landscape of France during the early 20th century.

1917

Royal Proclamation renaming the British Royal Family to Windsor

In 1917, King George V of the United Kingdom issued a royal proclamation that changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German-sounding House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the House of Windsor. The decision came amid heightened anti-German sentiment during World War I. The royal family’s German heritage, specifically the king’s German ancestry and the fact that the family had originally been known as the House of Hanover, led to concerns about public perception and loyalty. The name change aimed to align the royal family more closely with British national identity and distance it from its Germanic roots.

1918

Execution of the Romanovs

In 1918, the Romanov royal family of Russia, including Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra, their five children, and several of their retainers, were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad in the basement of Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Siberia. The execution marked a significant event in the Russian Revolution and the rise of Soviet Russia. The killing of the Romanovs symbolized the end of the Romanov dynasty’s centuries-long rule and marked a turning point in Russian history. The execution of the royal family became a tragic and controversial event that has had a lasting impact on Russia’s collective memory and the perception of the Bolshevik regime.

1936

Right-wing Uprising led by Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola

In 1936, right-wing Spanish generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola led a military uprising against the Second Spanish Republic, which marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. The uprising aimed to overthrow the Republican government and establish a nationalist, authoritarian regime in Spain. The conflict, which lasted until 1939, was characterized by intense political and ideological divisions within Spanish society, with Republicans and Nationalists fighting for control of the country. The Spanish Civil War had far-reaching consequences and became a precursor to World War II, as it served as a testing ground for new military strategies and political ideologies.

1944

Port Chicago Disaster

The Port Chicago Disaster occurred on July 17, 1944, during World War II. An explosion rocked the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, resulting in the deaths of 322 people, nearly 400 injuries, and the destruction of three ships and a pier. The explosion was caused by the mishandling and unsafe loading of munitions aboard the ships. The disaster highlighted issues of racial segregation and discrimination within the U.S. military, as the majority of the victims were African American sailors who had been assigned to the dangerous loading operations. The conditions surrounding the disaster later inspired the Port Chicago Mutiny, a significant event in the civil rights movement.

1945

Potsdam Conference

The Potsdam Conference, held from July 17 to August 2, 1945, was a meeting between the leaders of the Allied powers after the end of World War II in Europe. U.S. President Harry Truman, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (later replaced by Clement Attlee) gathered in Potsdam, Germany, to discuss the administration of defeated Germany, the implementation of war reparations, the division of Europe, and other post-war issues. The conference resulted in several agreements and declarations that shaped the post-war world order, including the recognition of the Soviet Union’s influence in Eastern Europe, the establishment of the Nuremberg Trials to prosecute war criminals, and the demand for Japan’s unconditional surrender.

1948

Operation Little Vittles by Gail Halvorsen

In 1948, during the Berlin Blockade, US Air Force pilot Gail Halvorsen encountered children at Templehof Airport in Berlin. Moved by their circumstances and the lack of supplies, Halvorsen decided to drop candy attached to small parachutes from his plane as a gesture of goodwill and support. This act of kindness became known as “Operation Little Vittles” and soon gained attention and support from other pilots and civilians involved in the Berlin Airlift. The candy drops helped lift the spirits of the children and became a symbol of hope during a challenging period in post-war Germany. Halvorsen’s actions exemplified the humanitarian efforts made during the Berlin Blockade and showcased the positive impact of international cooperation.

1952

Appointment of Ghavam Sultaneh as Premier by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

In 1952, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Persia (now Iran) appointed Ghavam Sultaneh as the country’s premier. Ghavam Sultaneh, a prominent politician and diplomat, played a significant role in Iranian politics during the early years of Pahlavi’s reign. His appointment reflected the Shah’s efforts to modernize and reform Iran, as well as his desire to consolidate power and establish a stable government. However, Ghavam Sultaneh’s tenure as prime minister was marked by political and economic challenges, and he would be replaced by other figures in subsequent years as Iran underwent further transformations.

1959

Discovery of Zinjanthropus boisei Skull by Mary Leakey

In 1959, paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey made a significant scientific discovery when she uncovered the partial skull of a new species of early human ancestor in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. The skull, initially named Zinjanthropus boisei and later renamed Paranthropus boisei, provided crucial insights into the evolution of early humans and their adaptation to different environments. The discovery played a pivotal role in expanding our understanding of human origins and contributed to ongoing research on the evolutionary history of Homo species.

1964

Nelson Mandela was awarded the Joliot Curie Gold Medal for Peace

In 1964, Nelson Mandela, the leader of the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, was awarded the Joliot Curie Gold Medal for Peace. The medal, named after French scientists Frédéric Joliot and Irène Joliot-Curie, recognized Mandela’s tireless efforts in advocating for racial equality, justice, and peace in South Africa. Mandela, who had been recently sentenced to life imprisonment for his anti-apartheid activities, became an international symbol of resistance against racial oppression and a prominent figure in the global fight for human rights.

1975

Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 make the first US/USSR linkup in space

In 1975, the American spacecraft Apollo 18 and the Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 19 successfully docked in space, marking the first joint mission and linkup between the United States and the Soviet Union. The mission, known as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, aimed to showcase international cooperation in space exploration and foster a thawing of tensions during the Cold War. The joint mission included various scientific experiments, sharing technical expertise, and symbolic gestures of goodwill between the American and Soviet crews. The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project paved the way for future international collaborations in space exploration and set an important precedent for future diplomatic efforts.

1976

Indonesian annexation of East Timor

In 1976, Indonesian President Suharto declared the annexation of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony that had declared independence but was invaded by Indonesia in 1975. The annexation was met with international condemnation and marked the beginning of a brutal and controversial period in East Timor’s history, marked by widespread human rights abuses and prolonged armed resistance against Indonesian rule. The annexation remained a contentious issue for decades until East Timor finally gained independence in 2002.

1995

Bill Gates recognized as the world’s richest man

In 1995, Forbes Magazine announced that Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, had become the world’s richest person, with a net worth of $12.9 billion. Gates’ immense wealth was a result of the success and dominance of Microsoft in the personal computer industry. He became a symbol of the rapid rise of the technology sector and the potential for immense wealth creation through entrepreneurship and innovation. Gates’ position as the world’s richest man further solidified his influence and philanthropic endeavours in the years that followed.

1998

Burial of Tsar Nicholas II and Family in Russia

In 1998, the remains of Tsar Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, and his family were finally buried in Russia, 80 years after their execution by the Bolsheviks. The burial took place in St. Petersburg, where the remains of the royal family were interred in the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, the traditional resting place for Russian monarchs. The ceremony marked a significant moment in Russian history, as it represented a symbolic closure to the tragic fate of the Romanov dynasty and the beginning of a process of historical reckoning and commemoration of their legacy.

2015

Discovery of the cause of sleeping sickness in Northern Kazakhstan

In 2015, scientists solved the mystery of a sleeping sickness outbreak that had affected two villages in northern Kazakhstan. The investigation revealed that the increase in carbon monoxide levels in the villages was caused by uranium mining activities in the area. The mining process released radioactive gases, including radon, which led to elevated carbon monoxide levels. This discovery allowed health officials to take appropriate measures to mitigate the health risks and address the situation in the affected communities. The incident highlighted the importance of identifying and addressing the environmental and health consequences of industrial activities.

Art Music And Films

1717

Water Music

On July 17, 1717, George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music” premiered repeatedly on a barge cruising the River Thames in London. The “Water Music” is a collection of orchestral suites composed by Handel. It was originally performed for King George I of England during a royal outing on the River Thames. The music was specifically composed to be played outdoors and featured a lively and celebratory character. The premiere of “Water Music” marked a significant moment in the history of Baroque music and became one of Handel’s most famous compositions.

1814

A Voyage to Terra Australis

In 1814, Matthew Flinders, an English navigator and cartographer, published “A Voyage to Terra Australis.” The book detailed his circumnavigation of Australia between 1801 and 1803, during which he became the first to use the name “Australia” to refer to the continent. Flinders’ voyage was instrumental in mapping and exploring the coastlines of Australia, and his book provided valuable scientific and geographical information about the continent. Tragically, Flinders died just one day after the publication of his book, never having the chance to witness its impact and significance in shaping the understanding of Australia.

1816

The Raft of the Medusa

In 1816, the French frigate “Méduse” ran aground off the coast of Senegal, resulting in a tragic shipwreck. The survivors, totalling 151 people, were left stranded on a makeshift raft. After 13 days at sea, only 15 of them remained alive, with the rest succumbing to cannibalism, murder, or suicide. This harrowing event caught the attention of the public and inspired Théodore Géricault, a French Romantic painter, to create his famous painting “The Raft of the Medusa.” The artwork depicted the survivors’ desperate struggle for survival and served as a powerful critique of the French government’s negligence and corruption. Géricault’s painting became an icon of French Romanticism and a symbol of human suffering and resilience.

1841

Publication of “Punch” Magazine

On July 17, 1841, the British humorous and satirical magazine “Punch” was first published. The magazine, founded by Henry Mayhew and Mark Lemon, aimed to provide humorous commentary on current events, politics, and society. “Punch” featured cartoons, jokes, satirical articles, and social critiques, and it quickly gained popularity for its sharp wit and clever humour. Over the years, “Punch” became an important cultural institution in Britain and played a significant role in shaping public opinion. It remained in publication for more than 160 years before ceasing production in 2002.

1956

“High Society” 

On July 17, 1956, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) released the film “High Society.” The movie is a musical reworking of the play “The Philadelphia Story” and is set in Newport, Rhode Island. Directed by Charles Walters, “High Society” starred Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. The film tells the story of a wealthy socialite preparing for her wedding while torn between two suitors. “High Society” features popular songs by Cole Porter, including “True Love” and “You’re Sensational.” The movie was a commercial success and received positive reviews for its cast performances and musical numbers.

1958

“Five Finger Exercise” 

In 1958, Peter Shaffer’s musical “Five Finger Exercise” premiered in London. The play, written by Shaffer, combined elements of drama and psychological tension. “Five Finger Exercise” explores themes of family dynamics, generational conflicts, and personal identity. The premiere production was directed by John Gielgud and featured a cast that included Eric Porter, Jessica Tandy, and Richard Gale. The play received critical acclaim for its powerful performances and thought-provoking exploration of human relationships.

1966

North by Northwest” 

On July 17, 1959, Alfred Hitchcock’s film “North by Northwest” premiered in Los Angeles. The movie, a suspenseful thriller, starred Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. It tells the story of an innocent man who becomes entangled in a web of espionage and mistaken identity. “North by Northwest” is renowned for its gripping plot, stylish direction, and iconic set pieces, including the famous chase scene on Mount Rushmore. The film received critical acclaim and has since become regarded as one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces.

1966

It’s a Bird… It’s A Plane…It’s Superman 

On July 17, 1966, the musical “It’s a Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Superman” closed at the Alvin Theatre in New York City after 129 performances. The musical, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Lee Adams, was based on the comic book character Superman. It followed the superhero’s adventures as he battled evil forces in Metropolis. Despite its catchy songs and energetic performances, “It’s a Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Superman” received mixed reviews and struggled to find a broad audience. However, the show has gained a cult following over the years and is remembered for its lighthearted take on the iconic superhero.

1974

John Lennon ordered to leave the US

In 1974, John Lennon, the renowned musician and former member of The Beatles, was ordered to leave the United States within 60 days due to a 1968 marijuana charge in the United Kingdom. Despite the order, Lennon fought a legal battle to remain in the United States, citing political motivations behind the deportation efforts. Ultimately, he was granted permanent residency in 1976, marking a significant victory for Lennon and his supporters. The incident highlighted Lennon’s activism, his influence on popular culture, and the intersection of politics and music.

1998

Release of “The Mask of Zorro” 

On July 17, 1998, the film “The Mask of Zorro” was released. Directed by Martin Campbell, the movie is an action-adventure film that stars Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Anthony Hopkins. “The Mask of Zorro” follows the story of a masked vigilante in Spanish California who fights for justice and defends the oppressed. The film received positive reviews for its swashbuckling action, charismatic performances, and thrilling storyline. It was a commercial success and revitalized interest in the iconic character of Zorro.

2013

Bono honoured as a Commandeur of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres

In 2013, Bono, the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, was honoured as a Commandeur of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an order of merit awarded by the French government to individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts and literature. Bono’s recognition as a Commandeur highlighted his impact as a musician, songwriter, and philanthropist. It acknowledged his artistic achievements and his efforts to address social and humanitarian issues through his music and activism.

2015

Release of Marvel’s “Ant-Man” 

On July 17, 2015, Marvel Studios released the film “Ant-Man.” Directed by Peyton Reed, the movie is based on the Marvel Comics character Ant-Man and stars Paul Rudd in the titular role. “Ant-Man,” tells the story of a master thief who gains the ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength. The film blends elements of superhero action, comedy, and heist genres. “Ant-Man” received positive reviews for its humour, visual effects, and Rudd’s performance. It became a commercial success and contributed to the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe.

2016:

Recognition of Le Corbusier by UNESCO

In 2016, 17 works by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list as an “Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement.” Le Corbusier, whose real name was Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, was a pioneering figure in modern architecture and urban planning. His works, including buildings such as Villa Savoye, Notre Dame du Haut, and the Capitol Complex in Chandigarh, India, revolutionized architectural principles and had a profound influence on the development of modern architecture. The recognition by UNESCO highlighted Le Corbusier’s significant contributions to the architectural legacy of the 20th century.

Notable Birthdays

Year

Name

Occupation

Birth Year

Death Year

Nationality

Place of Birth

Explanation

1763

John Jacob Astor

Businessman

1763

1848

German-American

Walldorf, Electoral Palatinate, Holy Roman Empire (now part of Germany)

John Jacob Astor, a German-American businessman and investor, was born in Walldorf, Electoral Palatinate, Holy Roman Empire (now part of Germany). He became the first multi-millionaire in the United States and played a significant role in the economic development of New York City and the expansion of the American fur trade.

1889

Erle Stanley Gardner

Writer, Lawyer

1889

1970

American

Malden, Massachusetts, USA

Erle Stanley Gardner, an American detective fiction writer and lawyer, was born in Malden, Massachusetts. He is best known as the creator of the iconic fictional lawyer Perry Mason and wrote numerous novels and stories in the detective and mystery genres, becoming one of the most successful authors in the field.

1899

James Cagney

Actor, Dancer

1899

1986

American

New York City, USA

James Cagney, an American actor and dancer, was born in New York City. He is considered one of the greatest performers in the history of American cinema and appeared in critically acclaimed films such as “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Cagney’s dynamic screen presence and versatility left a lasting impact on Hollywood.

1915

Habib Rajab

Trader, Collector

1915

1973

South African

Durban, South Africa

Habib Rajab, a South African trader and collector of oriental art, was born in Durban, South Africa. He fought against the takeover of the Grey Street complex by white traders during apartheid and advocated for the rights of Indian traders. Rajab’s contributions to social justice and cultural preservation made him an important figure in South African history.

1917

Kenan Evren

Soldier, Politician

1917

2015

Turkish

Alaşehir, Manisa Province, Turkey

Kenan Evren, a Turkish soldier and politician, was born in Alaşehir, Manisa Province, Turkey. He served as the President of Turkey from 1982 to 1989 and implemented political and economic reforms. However, his regime faced criticism for its authoritarian measures and human rights violations.

1917

Phyllis Diller

Comedienne, Actress

1917

2012

American

Lima, Ohio, USA

Phyllis Diller, an American comedienne and actress, was born in Lima, Ohio. She was one of the first female stand-up comedians to achieve widespread popularity in the United States. Known for her unique style and rapid-fire delivery, Diller paved the way for future generations of female comedians.

1920

Gordon Gould

Physicist, Inventor

1920

2005

American

New York City, USA

Gordon Gould, an American physicist and inventor, was born in New York City. He is credited with inventing the laser, a revolutionary technology that has had significant applications in various fields. Gould’s work on optical amplification and stimulated emission laid the foundation for the development of lasers.

1921

Toni Stone

Baseball player

1921

1996

American

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Toni Stone, an American baseball player, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. She became the first woman to play in men’s Negro League baseball and overcame numerous challenges and discrimination. Stone’s achievements paved the way for future female players in professional baseball.

1947

Camilla Parker Bowles

Duchess of Cornwall

1947

British

London, England

Camilla Parker Bowles, born in London, England, is the Duchess of Cornwall and the wife of King Charles III. She has been actively involved in charitable activities and played a significant role in supporting the British royal family. Her marriage to Prince Charles marked a milestone in the modern history of the British monarchy.

1952

David Hasselhoff

Actor, Singer

1952

American

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

David Hasselhoff, an American actor, singer, and television personality, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He gained international fame for his roles in “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch” and achieved success as a singer. Hasselhoff’s work made him a pop culture icon in the 1980s and 1990s.

1954

Angela Merkel

Politician

1954

German

Hamburg, West Germany

Angela Merkel, born in Hamburg, West Germany, is a German politician who served as the Chancellor of Germany from 2005 to 2021. She is known for her pragmatic approach and leadership in European politics. Merkel’s tenure faced significant challenges and marked her as one of the most influential women in modern history.

1963

Matti Nykänen

Ski jumper

1963

2019

Finnish

Jyväskylä, Finland

Matti Nykänen, a Finnish ski jumper, was born in Jyväskylä, Finland. He achieved great success in the sport, winning four Olympic gold medals. Nykänen’s dominance on the ski jumping hill made him a national hero in Finland and one of the greatest athletes in the country’s history.

ALSO CHECK| Today in History, 15 July: What Happened on this Day – Birthday, Events, Politics, Death & More

ALSO CHECK| Today in History, 16 July: What Happened on this Day – Birthday, Events, Politics, Death & More

Notable Deaths

1790

Adam Smith

Adam Smith, born on June 16, 1723, in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, was a Scottish economist and moral philosopher. He is best known for his influential book “The Wealth of Nations,” which laid the foundation for modern economics. Smith’s work emphasized the importance of free markets, division of labor, and self-interest as drivers of economic prosperity. He argued that individuals pursuing their own self-interest would unintentionally promote the well-being of society as a whole through the operation of what he called the “invisible hand.” Smith’s ideas had a profound impact on the development of capitalism and the understanding of economic systems.

1845

Charles Grey

Charles Grey, born on March 13, 1764, was the 2nd Earl Grey and served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1830 to 1834. He was a prominent figure in the Whig Party and played a crucial role in the passage of the Reform Act of 1832, which expanded voting rights and reformed the electoral system in the United Kingdom. Grey’s government also focused on other important reforms, such as the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. His tenure as Prime Minister is often referred to as the Grey Ministry. After his political career, Grey remained influential within the Whig Party and continued to advocate for liberal reforms.

1887

Dorothea Dix

Dorothea Dix, born on April 4, 1802, in Hampden, Maine, was an American nurse, social reformer, and educator. She dedicated her life to improving the treatment and conditions of individuals with mental illness. Dix was instrumental in creating the first American mental asylums and played a crucial role in advocating for the establishment of state hospitals for the mentally ill. Her efforts led to significant reforms in the United States mental health system and helped change public attitudes toward mental illness. Dix’s work as a pioneer in mental health care laid the foundation for modern psychiatric care and treatment.

1918

Alexei Nikolaevich

Alexei Nikolaevich, born on August 12, 1904, in Peterhof, Russia, was the last Tsarevich of Russia and the son of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. He was the heir to the Russian throne and the youngest member of the Romanov family. Tragically, at the age of 13, Alexei and his family were captured by Bolshevik forces during the Russian Revolution. They were held under house arrest and eventually executed by a firing squad in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Siberia, on July 17, 1918. The execution marked the end of the Romanov dynasty and the beginning of a new era in Russian history.

1918

Anastasia Nikolaevna, 

Anastasia Nikolaevna, born on June 18, 1901, in Peterhof, Russia, was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. She was a Russian Grand Duchess and a member of the Romanov family. Like her brother Alexei, Anastasia was captured and held under house arrest by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Tragically, at the age of 17, she was executed along with her family in the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Siberia, on July 17, 1918. The execution marked the end of the Romanov dynasty and the tragic fate of the Russian imperial family.

1918

Nicholas II

Nicholas II, born on May 18, 1868, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, was the last Tsar of Russia. He ascended to the throne in 1894 and ruled until his abdication in 1917 during the Russian Revolution. Nicholas II faced numerous challenges during his reign, including social unrest, political upheaval, and military setbacks. The Russian Revolution of 1917 eventually led to his capture and subsequent execution by a Bolshevik firing squad in Yekaterinburg, Siberia, on July 17, 1918. The execution marked the end of the Romanov dynasty and the beginning of a new era in Russian history.

1946

Draža Mihailović

Draža Mihailović, born on April 27, 1893, in Ivanjica, Serbia, was a Serbian military officer and the leader of the Chetnik movement during World War II. Mihailović fought against both Axis occupation forces and communist guerrillas during the war. However, after the war, he was accused of collaboration with the occupying forces and war crimes. In 1946, he was captured, tried, and subsequently executed at the age of 53. Mihailović’s legacy remains a subject of controversy and debate in the context of Serbian history and the events of World War II.

1958

Henri Farman

Henri Farman, born on May 26, 1874, in Paris, France, was a British-French aviator and aircraft designer. He was a pioneering figure in aviation and made significant contributions to the development of early aircraft. Farman set several aviation records during his career, including the first officially recognized flight of one kilometre in a closed circuit. He also played a crucial role in the evolution of aviation technology and design. Farman’s contributions to the field of aviation helped pave the way for future advancements in flight.

1959

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday, born on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Known for her distinctive vocal style and emotional performances, Holiday became one of the most influential and revered jazz musicians of her time. She recorded numerous iconic songs, including “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child.” Holiday’s career was marked by personal struggles, including drug addiction and a turbulent personal life. Tragically, she passed away at the age of 44 due to complications from cirrhosis of the liver. Her contributions to jazz music and her powerful voice continue to resonate and inspire musicians to this day.

1961

Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb, born on December 18, 1886, in Narrows, Georgia, was an American Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder. Considered one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, Cobb achieved numerous accolades during his career. He won the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 1911, earned the Triple Crown in 1909, and became a 12-time American League batting champion. Cobb played the majority of his career with the Detroit Tigers and also served as the team’s manager from 1921 to 1926. He passed away at the age of 74 due to cancer. Cobb’s impact on the game of baseball, both on and off the field, is widely recognized and celebrated.

2001

Katharine Graham

Katharine Graham, born on June 16, 1917, in New York City, was an American newspaper publisher and the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She led The Washington Post during one of its most significant periods, including its coverage of the Watergate scandal. Under her leadership, The Washington Post played a vital role in investigative journalism, contributing to the exposure and eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. Graham’s dedication to journalism and her role as a trailblazer for women in the business world have made her an influential figure in American media history. She passed away at the age of 84 after a fall.

2005

Edward Heath

Edward Heath, born on July 9, 1916, in Broadstairs, Kent, England, was a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974. Heath was a member of the Conservative Party and implemented several notable reforms during his tenure, including the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), now known as the European Union. He faced significant challenges during his time as Prime Minister, including economic difficulties and labour strikes. Heath passed away at the age of 89 due to cancer. His political career and contributions to British politics continue to be a subject of discussion and analysis.

2009

Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite, born on November 4, 1916, in Saint Joseph, Missouri, was an American broadcast journalist and news anchor. He was the anchor of the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981 and became known as “the most trusted man in America.” Cronkite reported on numerous significant events, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Apollo moon landing, and the Vietnam War. His authoritative voice and journalistic integrity made him a respected figure in the field of broadcast journalism. Cronkite passed away at the age of 92 due to cerebrovascular disease, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the world of news reporting.

2020

John Lewis

John Lewis, born on February 21, 1940, in Troy, Alabama, was an American politician and prominent civil rights leader. He was one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement and played a crucial role in the fight for racial equality and justice in the United States. Lewis was instrumental in organizing and participating in key events, including the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery marches. He served as a U.S. Representative from Georgia for over three decades, representing Georgia’s 5th congressional district. Lewis passed away at the age of 80 due to pancreatic cancer, leaving behind a legacy of courage, perseverance, and dedication to the cause of civil rights.

From the rise and fall of empires to the triumphs and tragedies of individuals, historical events serve as signposts in our collective memory. They remind us of our shared past, inspire us to learn from the lessons of history, and continue to shape our present and future.

By exploring these events, we gain a deeper understanding of the complexities, achievements, and struggles that have shaped our world. As we reflect on these significant moments, we gain a greater appreciation for the rich tapestry of human history and the profound impact that each event can have on the course of civilization.

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Categories: Optical Illusion
Source: pagasa.edu.vn

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