January 17 is the 17th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 348 days remaining (349 in leap years)
- 1562 - France recognized the Huguenots under the Edict of St. Germain .
- 1648 - England's Long Parliament passes the Vote of No Address , breaking off negotiations with King Charles I and thereby setting the scene for the second phase of the English Civil War.
- 1746 - Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie", defeats a Hanoverian army at Falkirk in his ultimately unsuccessful campaign to recover the throne for the Jacobite dynasty.
- 1773 - Captain James Cook becomes the first explorer to cross the Antarctic Circle.
- 1781 - Continental troops under Brigadier General Daniel Morgan defeat British forces under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina.
- 1819 - Simón Bolívar proclaims the Republic of Colombia.
- 1852 - United Kingdom recognizes the independence of the Boer colonies of the Transvaal.
- 1873 - First Battle of the Stronghold in the US Modoc War.
- 1885 - A British force defeats a large Dervish army at the Battle of Abu Klea in the Sudan.
- 1893 - American sugar planters led by the Citizen's Committee of Public Safety overthrow the government of Queen Liliuokalani of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
- 1899 - The United States takes possession of Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean.
- 1912 - Robert Falcon Scott reaches the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.
- 1916 - The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) is formed.
- 1917 - The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
- 1929 - Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, first appeared in a newspaper comic strip.
- 1945 - Soviet forces capture the almost completely destroyed Polish city of Warsaw.
- 1945 - The Nazis begin the evacuation of the Auschwitz concentration camp as Soviet forces close in.
- 1945 - Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg disappears in Hungary while in Soviet custody.
- 1946 - The UN Security Council holds its first session.
- 1949 - The Goldbergs, the first sitcom on American television, airs.
- 1950 - The Great Brinks Robbery - 11 thieves steal more than $2 million from an armored car in Boston, Massachusetts.
- 1966 - Simon and Garfunkel release their second album, Sounds of Silence, on Columbia Records.
- 1966 - A B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 jet tanker over Spain, dropping three 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs near the town of Palomares and another one into the sea.
- 1966 - Carl Brashear, the first African American United States Navy diver, is involved in an accident on a routine mission which amputates his leg.
- 1973 - Ferdinand Marcos becomes "President for Life" of the Philippines.
- 1975 - Bob Dylan releases Blood on the Tracks, often considered one of his best albums.
- 1977 - Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by a firing squad in Utah, ending a ten-year moratorium on the death penalty in the United States.
- 1982 - "Cold Sunday" in the United States sees temperatures fall to their lowest levels in over 100 years in numerous cities.
- 1985 - British Telecom announces the retirement of Britain's famous red telephone boxes.
- 1991 - Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm begin early in the morning. Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles into Israel in an unsuccessful bid to provoke Israeli retaliation.
- 1991 - Harald V becomes King of Norway on the death of his father, Olav V.
- 1992 - Punk rock band Green Day releases their second full-length album, Kerplunk.
- 1994 - A magnitude 6.7 earthquake occurs in Northridge, California see 1994_Northridge_Earthquake
- 1995 - A magnitude 7.3 earthquake called "the Great Hanshin earthquake" occurrs near Kobe, Japan, causing extensive property damage and killing 6,433 people.
- 1996 - The Czech Republic applies for membership of the European Union.
- 1998 - Paula Jones accuses President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.
- 2002 - Mount Nyiragongo erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, displacing an estimated 400,000 people.
- 1463 - Friedrich III, Saxon elector (d. 1525)
- 1504 - Pope Pius V (d. 1572)
- 1560 - Gaspard Bauhin, Swiss botanist (d. 1624)
- 1706 - Benjamin Franklin American writer, inventor, publisher, and ambassador (d. 1790)
- 1761 - James Hall, Scottish geologist
- 1763 - John Jacob Astor, American entrepreneur (d. 1848)
- 1820 - Anne Brontë, British author (d. 1849)
- 1832 - Henry Martyn Baird, American historian and educationalist (d. 1906)
- 1860 - Douglas Hyde, President of Ireland
- 1863 - David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1945)
- 1867 - Carl Laemmle, film executive (d. 1939)
- 1871 - David Earl Beatty British admiral (d. 1936)
- 1880 - Mack Sennett, director, producer (d. 1960)
- 1899 - Al Capone, American gangster (d. 1947)
- 1899 - Nevil Shute, author (d. 1960)
- 1914 - William Stafford, poet and essayist (d. 1993)
- 1921 - Antonio Prohias, cartoonist (d. 1998)
- 1922 - Nicholas Katzenbach, American politician
- 1922 - Betty White, actress
- 1922 - Luis Echeverría Álvarez, President of Mexico
- 1925 - Robert Cormier, American author (d. 2000)
- 1926 - Moira Shearer, actress, dancer
- 1926 - Newton N. Minow, journalist
- 1927 - Eartha Kitt, actress, singer
- 1928 - Jean Barraqué, French composer (d. 1973)
- 1928 - Vidal Sassoon, cosmetologist
- 1929 - Jacques Plante, ice hockey star (d. 1986)
- 1931 - James Earl Jones, actor
- 1931 - Douglas Wilder, Governor of Virginia
- 1931 - Don Zimmer, baseball coach
- 1933 - Dalida, French singer (d. 1987)
- 1933 - Shari Lewis, puppeteer (d. 1998)
- 1933 - Sheree North , American actress
- 1933 - Ray Dolby, inventor
- 1937 - Troy Donahue , American actor
- 1939 - Maury Povich, talk show host
- 1940 - Kipchoge Keino, Kenyan runner
- 1942 - Muhammad Ali, American boxer
- 1942 - Ulf Hoelscher , violinist
- 1942 - Cus D'Amato, boxing manager (d. 1985)
- 1942 - Nancy Parsons , Amnerican actress (d. 2001)
- 1943 - René Préval, former President of Haiti
- 1944 - Françoise Hardy, French singer
- 1948 - Davíð Oddsson, Prime Minister of Iceland
- 1948 - Mick Taylor, British musician (The Rolling Stones)
- 1949 - Andy Kaufman, comedian (d. 1984)
- 1952 - Darrell Porter, basketball player (d. 2002)
- 1952 - Larry Fortensky , husband of Elizabeth Taylor
- 1955 - Steve Earle, musician
- 1956 - Paul Young, English musician
- 1957 - Suzanne Danielle, English actress
- 1959 - Susanna Hoffs, American musician (The Bangles)
- 1962 - Jim Carrey, American actor, comedian
- 1966 - Shabba Ranks, singer
- 1968 - Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, Dutch writer
- 1969 - Lukas Moodysson, film director
- 1970 - Jeremy Roenick, American NHL star
- 1970 - James Wattana, Thai snooker player
- 1971 - Kid Rock, singer
- 1972 - Ken Hirai,Japanese singer-songwriter
- 1974 - Ladan and Laleh Bijani, Iranian conjoined twin sisters (d. 2003)
- 1980 - Zooey Deschanel, American actress
- 1982 - Dwyane Wade, NBA basketball player
- 1982 - Amanda Wilkinson , Canadian country music singer
- 395 - Theodosius I, Roman Emperor
- 1229 - Albert of Buxhoeveden (b. 1165)
- 1468 - Skanderbeg, Albanian leader against the Ottoman Empire
- 1617 - Faust Vrancic, Croatian inventor Parachute (b. 1551)
- 1751 - Tomaso Albinoni, Italian composer (b. 1671)
- 1826 - Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, composer
- 1861 - Lola Montez, adventurer (b. 1821)
- 1874 - Chang and Eng Bunker, Siamese twins (b. 1811)
- 1886 - Amilcare Ponchielli, Italian composer (b. 1834)
- 1893 - Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States (b. 1822)
- 1961 - Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (b. 1925)
- 1964 - T.H. White, author (b. 1906)
- 1967 - Evelyn Nesbit, actress, also known as "The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing" (b. 1884)
- 1970 - Billy Stewart , American singer
- 1972 - Betty Smith, American writer, singer
- 1977 - Gary Gilmore, murderer (executed by firing squad) (b. 1940)
- 1983 - Doodles Weaver, American actor
- 1991 - King Olav V of Norway (b. 1903)
- 1991 - Amber Hagerman, murder victim
- 1993 - Albert Hourani, historian (b. 1915)
- 1994 - Helen Stephens, American sprinter
- 1996 - Amber Hagerman, kidnapping, murder victim (b. 1986)
- 1996 - Barbara Jordan, politician (b. 1936)
- 1997 - Clyde Tombaugh, astronomer (b. 1906)
- 2001 - Laurent-Desire Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (b. 1939)
- 2001 - Gregory Corso, American poet
- 2002 - Camilo Jose Cela, Spanish author, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1989 (b. 1916)
- 2003 - Richard Crenna, American actor (b. 1927)
- 2004 - Czeslaw Niemen, Polish musician (b. 1939)
- 2004 - Rafael Churumba Cordero, mayor of Ponce, Puerto Rico (b. 1942)
- 2004 - Ray Stark, publicist, actor's agent, produced Funny Girl in 1968 (b. 1915)
- 2005 - Charlie Bell, former CEO of McDonald's (b. 1960)
- 2005 - Virginia Mayo, United States actress, notably in the 1940s and 1950s (b. 1920)
- 2005 - Albert Schatz, microbiologist, discoverer of streptomycin (b. 1920)
- 2005 - Zhao Ziyang, reformist Premier of the People's Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (b. 1917)
Holidays and observances
January 16 - January 18 - December 17 - February 17 -- listing of all days
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