17th March In History

The various dates of a calendar play an important part in our lives. The day our parents got married or the sad demise of one of our ancestors gives us reasons to remember a particular date. However if someone asks us about the important historical events that occurred on the March 17th most of us would be absolutely clueless about the importance of this day. Maybe a handful of people who are enthusiastic about history would be able to cite certain events, but most of us would be blank. If we glance through the pages of our history books, we will be zapped by the significance of so many dates, that we tend to ignore. The 17th of March is filled with so many events, which give an insight of how vast world history is. Ranging from Dalai Lama’s famous journey to significant developments in the fields of literature and sports, many interesting facts are associated with this date. Read on to be amazed at the unexpected turns and twists of the events which not only entertain but also provide us with a roadmap for the future.


HISTORICAL EVENTS ON 17th March



1001

Politics

Butuan Tributary Mission To China

According to the famous Chinese record known as ‘Song Shih’, the first statesman of Butuan ( a city in Philippines), arrived in China on 17th March, 1001, to discuss the political status of his country. His requests to the Imperial Court was ultimately accepted, thus making his trip a fruitful one.


1337

Politics

Edward, The Black Prince Of England Was Crowned As The First ‘Duke Of Cornwall’

Also known as ‘The Black Prince’, Edward of Woodstock was crowned as the first ‘Duke of Cornwall’ on this day. This title conferred on Edward, is customarily bestowed upon the kin of the British sovereign.


1776

Politics

Evacuation Day Celebrated

On this day, the British troops were forced to leave the Boston region of the United States. So relieved were the Americans on the departure of the British, that the residents of Suffolk County and other cities, including Boston, declared March 17 as a public holiday.


1780

Politics

George Washington’s Act Of Solidarity

On 17th March, George Washington declared a holiday to appreciate the team spirit his Irish troops displayed during their fight for freedom. This day is remembered in the books of history as, ‘The Saint Patrick’s Day Encampment of 1780’ because it coincides with the festival, St. Patrick’s Day.


1861

Politics

Kingdom Of Italy Was Established

The Kingdom of Italy came into existence during the administration of Victor Emmanuel II, the ruler of Sardinia. Years later, Italy made news for its fascist style of governance.


1917

Politics

The French Government Was In A Turmoil

During World War I, the French military force went through a drastic change, resulting in the resignation of the military leader Joseph Joffre, who was replaced by Robert Nivelle. A number of cabinet ministers rebelled against the appointment of Nivelle, forcing the Prime Minister Aristide Briand to step down from power on 17th March, 1917.


1921

Politics

Poland Embraces The March Constitution

The ‘March Constitution’ was enforced by the authorities in Poland on 17th March, 1921. Like the constitution of any other democracy, this one too ruled out any kind of discrimination based on religious or racial grounds.


1948

Politics

Treaty Of Brussels Pledged

The treaty was a mutual agreement between the Euopean states of Belgium, the Netherlands,Luxembourg, France, as well as the United Kingdom. The agreement was aimed to provide a greater level of security and defence to western Europe.


1957

Politics

‘Douglas C-47’ Crash Killed The 7th President Of The Philippines

Ramon Magsaysay, who was at the peak of his political career by becoming the 7th president of Philippines, boarded the ‘Douglas C-47’ on March 17, 1957. The plane met with an accident which took the life of this promising leader and also killed 24 other high profile military and government officials, as well as well-known journalists.


1959

Politics

Dalai Lama Flees To India

Undoubtedly, the greatest spritual icon of Tibet, Dalai Lama, walked for a period of 15 days over the Himalayan terrains, to escape the wrath of the angry Chinese army. The pontiff fled his motherland along with 20 other men on March 17th and a fortnight later entered India through the Khenzimana Pass.


1995

Politics

Execution Of Flor Contemplacion

Flor was a domestic worker from Philipines, who was officially sentenced to death on this day by the Singapore government on the charge of murdering a 3-year-old child and her nanny. Contemplacion’s death sentence strained the political relationship between Singapore and Philippines.


1969

Politics

First Prime Minister Of Israel

Golda Meir is remembered as the only lady Prime Minister of Israel who took over the reins of this state on 17th March. She was also known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of her nation.


1990

Politics

Moscow Rubbishes Lithuania's Demand For Freedom

Lithuania is known for fighting hard for its independence from the Soviet Union. On this day, Lithuania declared that it would continue to strive for its independence and refused to comply with the Soviet Union’s request to hold its horses.


1992

Politics

Suicide Bombing Attack On Israeli Embassy

On 17th March, a merciless suicide bomber attacked the Embassy of Israel, located at Buenos Aires, Argentina. This terrible encounter claimed the lives of 29 people and left about 242 others grievously injured. It is remembered as one of the most horrifying attacks on an official building.


2004

Politics

Kosovo Shattered Due To Internal Brawls

The conflict over territorial issues between Kosovo Albanian and the Kosovo Serb groups started on this day. The brawl resulted in around 22 casualties and left approximately 300 injured.


2008

Politics

Eliot Spitzer’s Resignation

This governor of New York was forced to resign on this day, when a dark secret of his life was discovered. His recurrent visits to prostitutes was unacceptable, which resulted in Spitzer being asked to step down from his designation in 2008.


45 BC

Wars

Battle Of Munda Started

This Battle of Munda commenced on 17th March and the clash ended the Roman civil war between the armies of Julius Caesar and Pompey. The former won the battle and hence with public support, he was designated to hold the position of the Roman dictator.


1452

Wars

Battle Of Los Alporchones Started

This bloody battle was fought between the armies of the ‘Emirate of Granada’ and Kingdoms of Castile and Murcia. A lot of soldiers belonging to the army of Granada lost their lives and more than 400 were captured, which resulted in Castile’s victory.


1860

Wars

First Taranaki War

This was a battle in which the people belonging to the Māori community fought tooth and nail with the New Zealand government for a stretch of land in dispute. The war went on for precisely one year and 1 day, ending on the 18th march 1861, with neither the government nor the land owners reaching mutually acceptable terms.


1863

Wars

Battle Of Kelly's Ford

A drastic change happened during the American Civil War in 1863, when the Union army, resisted the advances of the Confederate troops. On this day, the Union General William Averell marched with 3000 men to Kelly’s Ford, where he was met by fierce resistance from the Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee. Although the day was not won by either, the encounter left 78 Federal and 133 Confederate soldiers dead.


1939

Wars

Battle Of Nanchang

This battle between the National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army is considered to be one of the bloodiest clashes in history. The Japanese army won this gruesome war which claimed the lives of around 24,000 and left 51,328 severely wounded.


1942

Wars

The First Nazi German Camp That Killed About 500,000 Jews

Bełżec was the first death camp built by the Nazis with an aim to support ‘Operation Reinhard’. The motive of this operation was to execute around 6 million Jews.


1988

Wars

Battle Of Afabet

This gruesome battle is remembered as a milestone in the Eritrean War of Independence that was fought between the Ethiopian government and Eritrean separatists. This war, which lasted for only 3 days (March 17th to March 20th), took away the lives of approximately 1000 soldiers.


1800

Disasters & Natural Calamities

British Warship Burns Down Completely

‘HMS Queen Charlotte’, one of the largest warships in Britain, which was burnt down to ashes at 6 AM on this fateful day 1800. If records are to be believed, the fire was unintentional and started when some hay inadvertently fell on a match container.


1906

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Taiwan Quake Kills About 1200

Taiwan was rocked by a devastating earthquake on this day which claimed the lives of about 1,200 people. The damage it caused, financially and emotionally, to millions of people, had left the nation scarred for a long time.


1945

Disasters & Natural Calamities

‘Ludendorff Bridge’ Collapses 10 Days After Being Conquered

Also known as the ‘Bridge at Remagen’, this bridge, built over the River Rhine in Germany collapsed on this day, just 10 days after being captured by the U.S armed forces. The bridge was never reconstructed and instead museums as well as art galleries have been built on the banks situated on either sides of the broken bridge.


1963

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Volcano In Mount Agung Caused 1500 Deaths

A massive volcano erupted on this day, on Mount Agung, Bali, which killed more than 1500 people and destroyed a number of villages. Approximately thousand people lost their lives due to this disaster.


1968

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Dugway Sheep Episode That Killed 6000 Animals

Also known as the ‘Skull Valley sheep kill’, on this inauspicious day of 1968, it was discovered that around 6000 sheep lost their lives. Though there is no confirmed proof as to how it happened, most of the sources say that it was due to the testing of chemical weapons carried out by the army.


1988

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Boeing 727 Jetliner Crashes, Killing 143

‘Avianca Flight 410’, a ‘Boeing’ aircraft, encountered an ill-fate on this day, when it crashed into the El Espartillo Mountain. This fateful incident resulted in the deaths of 143 passengers.


2000

Disasters & Natural Calamities

Several Members Of The Ugandan Society Burnt To Death

About 500 members belonging to the Ugandan religious outfit ‘Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God’ lost their lives in a devastating fire tragedy. There is no clear evidence about the cause of this petrifying event.


1871

Sports

National Association Of Professional Baseball Players Was Founded

Established on 17th March and abbreviated as ‘NAPBBP’, this group was the first professional baseball union. The exceptionally popular ‘Chicago Cubs’ and ‘Atlanta Braves’ have their roots attached to this association, which has produced phenomenal baseball players.


1939

Sports

First Ever ‘NCAA’ Tournament Was Held

The famous ‘NCAA Men's Division I’ Basketball tournament started on this day in 1939 and ended 10 days later in the ‘Northwestern University’ campus. 8 teams had participated in this competition and the ‘Oregon Webfoots’ bagged the trophy.


1963

Sports

Bob Cousy Day At Boston Garden

When people Boston Garden had gathered at to bid this outstanding basketball player a final good bye, someone from the crowd shouted ‘We love ya, Cooz!’. It was a moment that will be remembered in the history of basketball for ages to come. The day is remembered by his fans as ‘Bob Cousy Day’.


2001

Sports

Michael Jordan’s Acquisition Of ‘Charlotte Hornets’

The ‘NBA’ Board of Governors accepted the legendary sportsperson Michael Jordan’s plea to purchase the basketball team ‘Charlotte Hornets’ on this day. Thus, adding another feather to this eminent personality’s cap.


1926

Literature & Entertainment

‘The Girl Friend’ Successful Stint Begins

This musical comedy was performed for the first time at the Vanderbilt Theatre on March 17th, 1926 and its popularity resulted in 301 more shows. It became immensely popular and was critically acclaimed by people all over the world.


1941

Literature & Entertainment

‘National Gallery Of Art’ Inaugurated By Franklin D. Roosevelt

This gallery, located in Washington, D.C is known for its incredible collection of art works. These include the creations of renowned artists like Paul Mellon, Samuel Henry Kress and Leonardo da Vinci among other prominent artists. It was inaugurated by the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, on 17th March.


1958

Literature & Entertainment

The Peppy Song ‘Tequila’ Shatters All Records

This song, penned and composed by the band ‘The Champs’, was recorded on at the ‘Gold Star Studios’. Very soon, it secured the number one position on the Billboard pop chart. Surprisingly, it was the only hit melody credited to the ‘The Champs’, which till date is remembered as a milestone in the field of music.


1973

Literature & Entertainment

‘Burst Of Joy’ Claimed By Slava Veder

The prestigious Pulitzer Prize was given to a photographer named Slava Vader, also fondly known as ‘Sal’, for capturing a precious family moment on camera. This award-winning photograph was clicked in California, where Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, a prisoner of the Vietnam War, reunited with his family.


2000

Literature & Entertainment

Julia Roberts’ Iconic Work Releases Across Movie Halls

In the movie ‘Erin Brockovich’, this spectacular actress essayed the role of an environmental activist, which she portrayed quite well. This movie not only helped her fetch the ‘Academy Award for Best Actress’, but its success also prompted Roberts to hike her fee to a whopping $20 million.


461

Trivia

‘Saint Patrick's Day’ Celebrated For The First Time

Saint Patrick, the most prominent priest of Ireland, died on 17 March and this day is fondly remembered ‘Saint Patrick’s Day’ or the ‘Feast of Saint Patrick’. This day marks the beginning of Christianity in Ireland, and is celebrated with great pomp and show.


1845

Trivia

Rubber Band Patented

The Rubber Band which has the amazing property of expanding and contracting is a ring of rubber made by a process called vulcanizing. A man named Stephen Perry was credited a patent for this great invention on 17th March, 1845.


1905

Trivia

Franklin Roosevelt Ties The Knot With His Cousin Eleanor Roosevelt

The 32nd President of the United States of America, Franklin Roosevelt married his distant relative Eleanor Roosevelt on 17th March, 1905. Even though their marriage soured after 13 years, Eleanor advised Franklin on political matters.


1921

Trivia

The First Birth Control Clinic Comes Into Existence In London

Britain’s first Birth Control Clinic was opened on 17th March, 1921 by Dr. Marie Stopes and her second husband Humphrey Verdon Roe at 61, Marlborough Road, North London. This great woman, who worked towards the eradication of this dreaded disease, but was also the first female professor at the ‘University Of Manchester’.


1947

Trivia

‘XB-45 Tornado’ Took Off For The First Time

This popular North American Jet Bomber, which was extensively used in defense operations, took off for the first time on 17th March, 1947. An interesting fact about ‘XB-45 Tornado’ is that it could be re-fuelled by another aircraft while continuing to fly and didn’t necessarily have to land for this purpose.


1950

Trivia

‘Californium’ Finds A Place In The Periodic Table

The intellectual Scientists working at the ‘University of California, Berkeley’ proudly announced the discovery of the 6thtrans-uranium element of the periodic table. Known as Californium, it is the 98th element of the periodic table, written as ‘Cf’.


1958

Trivia

The First Solar Powered Satellite Was Launched

‘Vanguard 1’, launched on this day, was not only the first solar powered satellite but also the only manmade spacecraft, which is still in space. It is believed that the spacecraft could communicate with the U.S Navy till 1964, and has been untraceable ever since.


1966

Trivia

‘DSV Alvin’ Found A Missing American Hydrogen Bomb

An American aircraft named ‘B-52’, carrying a 1.45-megaton hydrogen bomb, crashed on the 17th of March, 1966. Fortunately a US Navy submarine, ‘DSV Alvin’, found the bomb which was located at a depth of 910 meters, and on 7th April brought it out in one piece.


1985

Trivia

Richard Ramirez- The Serial Killer Killed 2 People On This Day

It was this horrendous day when Ramirez, also known as the ‘The Night Stalker’ brutally attacked a 22-year-old lady by shooting her right on the face. She escaped the bullet, but one misfortunate girl, who was sharing the room with her, got shot by Ramirez, and died on the spot. An hour later he shot another girl by mercilessly dragging her out of her vehicle. These 2 murders which occurred on the same day earned him a lot of notoriety.


2001

Trivia

The ‘Eden Project’ Opens

The ‘Eden Project’, situated near St. Austell in Cornwall, United Kingdom, has massive domes made of plastic filled with air and supported by steel structures. The construction of this phenomenal structure, took about 2 and a half years to finish and it opened on March 17th 2001.


2013

Trivia

Biggest Meteorite Observed Till Date Crashes Into The Moon

A 40-kg meteorite which was about 0.3-0.4 meters wide collided with the moon on March 17th, 2013. It is believed to be the largest meteorite to come in contact with the moon till date.


People Born This Day

Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet De La Guerre
(1665-1729)
Composer [ French ]
William Gibson
(1948-)
Speculative Fiction Writer [ Canadian ]
Rob Lowe
(1964-)
[ American ]
Alexander McQueen
(1969-2010)
Fashion designer [ British ]
Alfred Newman
(1901-1970)
[ American ]
Mark White
(1940-)
Former Governor of Texas [ American ]
Nat King Cole
(1919-1965)
Vocalist, Pianist [ American ]
Kurt Russell
(1951-)
[ American ]
Gottlieb Daimler
(1834-1900)
Engineer [ German ]
John Wayne Gacy
(1942-1994)
Serial Killer [ American ]
Humayun
(1508-1556)
Mughal Emperor [ Indian ]
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
(1920-1975)
First Prime Minister of Bangladesh [ Bangladeshi ]
Saina Nehwal
(1990-)
Indian Badminton Star [ Indian ]
Rudolf Nureyev
(1938-1993)
Ballet Dancer & Choreographer [ Austrian ]
Walter Rudolf Hess
(1881-1973)
Physiologist [ Swiss ]
Olesya Rulin
(1986-)
Actress [ Russian ]
Rob Kardashian
(1987-)
Reality Star [ American ]


People Died This Day

Edmond Dédé
(1827-1905)
Violinist and Orchestra Conductor [ American ]
Christian Doppler
(1803-1853)
Mathematician & Physicist [ Austrian ]
Fred Allen
(1894-1956)
[ American ]
Louis Kahn
(1901-1974)
Architect [ American ]
Marcus Aurelius
(0121-0180)
Roman Emperor [ Ancient Roman ]
Anna Jameson
(1794-1860)
Writer, Women Rights Activist [ British ]
Daniel Bernoulli
(1700-1782)
Mathematician [ Swiss ]
Austen Chamberlain
(1863-1937)
Politician [ British ]
Rana Sanga
(1484-1527)
Ruler of Mewar [ Indian ]
Ramon Magsaysay
(1907-1957)
7th President of the Philippines [ Filipino ]
Irène Joliot-Curie
(1897-1956)
Chemist [ French ]
John Demjanjuk
(1920-2012)
War Criminal [ Ukrainian ]
Haldan Keffer Hartline
(1903-1983)
Physiologist [ American ]
Helen Hayes
(1900-1993)
Actress [ American ]
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