April 17


1492 - Christopher Columbus signed a contract with Spain to find a passage to Asia and the Indies.

1521 - Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

1524 - New York Harbor was discovered by Giovanni Verrazano.

1535 - Antonio Mendoza was appointed first viceroy of New Spain.

1629 - Horses were first imported into the colonies by the American Massachusetts Bay Colony.

1704 - John Campbell published what would eventually become the first successful American newspaper. It was known as the Boston "News-Letter."

1758 - Frances Williams published a collection of Latin poems. He was the first African-American to graduate from a college in the western hemisphere.

1808 - Bayonne Decree by Napoleon I of France ordered the seizure of U.S. ships.

1810 - Pineapple cheese was patented by Lewis M. Norton.

1824 - Russia abandoned all North American claims south of 54' 40'.

1860 - New Yorkers learned of a new law that required fire escapes to be provided for tenement houses.

1861 - Virginia became the eighth state to secede from the Union.

1864 - U.S. Civil War General Grant banned the trading of prisoners.

1865 - Mary Surratt was arrested as a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination.

1875 - The game "snooker" was invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain.

1895 - China and Japan signed the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It was the end of the first Sino-Japanese War. In the treaty China ceded Taiwan to Japan.

1916 - The American Academy of Arts and Letters obtained a charter from the U.S. Congress.

1917 - A bill in Congress to establish Daylight Saving Time was defeated. It was passed a couple of months later.

1935 - "Lights Out" debuted on NBC Radio. It ran until 1952.

1941 - Igor Sikorsky accomplished the first successful helicopter lift-off from water near Stratford, CT.

1941 - The office of Price Administration was established in the U.S. to handle rationing.

1946 - The last French troops left Syria.

1947 - Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn Dodgers) performed a bunt for his first major league hit.

1961 - About 1,400 U.S.-supported Cuban exiles invaded Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. It was an unsuccessful attack.

1964 - Jerrie Mock became first woman to fly an airplane solo around the world.

1964 - The Ford Motor Company unveiled its new Mustang model.

1967 - "The Joey Bishop Show" debuted on ABC-TV.

1967 - The U.S. Supreme Court barred Muhammad Ali's request to be blocked from induction into the U.S. Army.

1969 - In Los Angeles, Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of assassinating U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

1969 - Czechoslovak Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubcek was deposed.

1970 - Apollo 13 returned to Earth safely after an on-board accident with an oxygen tank.

1975 - Khmer Rouge forces capture the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. It was the end of the five-year war.

1983 - In Warsaw, police routed 1,000 Solidarity supporters.

1983 - In New York, a transit strike that began on March 7 ended.

19840 - In London, demonstrators outside the Libyan Embassy were fired upon from someone inside. Eleven people were injured and an English Police woman was killed.

1985 - The U.S. Postal Service unveiled its new 22-cent, "LOVE" stamp.

1985 - In Lebanon, the cabinet resigned as Shiites took W. Beirut.

1987 - In Sri Lanka, Tamil guerrillas killed 122 people in a road ambush.

1989 - In Poland, courts gave Solidarity legal status.

1993 - A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King. Two other officers were acquitted.

1996 - Erik and Lyle Menendez were sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing their parents.

1999 - In India, the government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee collapsed after losing a vote of confidence.

2002 - At the National Maritime Museum in London, the exhibit "Skin Deep - A History of Tattooing" opened.

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