Today In History - Thursday, April 17th


The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ends.

Police Constable Yvonne Fletcher is killed by gunfire from the Libyan People's Bureau in London during a small demonstration outside the embassy. Ten others are wounded. The events lead to an 11-day siege of the building.

Patriation of the Canadian constitution in Ottawa by Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada.

The Cambodian Civil War ends. The Khmer Rouge captures the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrender.

German counter-terrorist unit GSG 9 founded.

The People's Republic of Bangladesh forms, under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Mujibnagor.
Sierra Leone becomes a republic.

Apollo program: The ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely.

Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.
Czechoslovakian Communist Party chairman Alexander Dubček is deposed.

The Ford Motor Company unveils the Ford Mustang at the New York World's Fair.
Jerrie Mock becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air.
Shea Stadium opens.

Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

At midnight 26 counties officially leave the British Commonwealth. A 21-gun salute on O'Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushers in the Republic of Ireland.

POW French General Henri Giraud escapes from his castle prison in Festung Königstein.

World War II: The Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrenders to Germany.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios is formed from a merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company.

The Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than any other day.

The Supreme Court of the United States decides ''Lochner v. New York'' which held that the "right to free contract" was implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Treaty of Shimonoseki between China and Japan is signed. This marks the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, and the defeated Qing Empire is forced to renounce its claims on Korea and to concede the southern portion of the Fengtien province, Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan.

Mary Surratt is arrested as a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

American Civil War: Battle of Plymouth begins – Confederate forces attack Plymouth, North Carolina.

American Civil War: Virginia secedes from the United States.

Sir Ralph Abercromby attacks San Juan, Puerto Rico in what would be one of the largest invasions to Spanish territories in America.

After 18 months of siege, Siena surrenders to the Florentine-Imperial army. The Republic of Siena is incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Giovanni da Verrazzano reaches New York harbor.

Martin Luther speaks to the assembly at the Diet of Worms, refusing to recant his teachings.

Spain and Christopher Columbus sign a contract for him to sail to Asia to get spices.

Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. Chaucer scholars have also identified this date (in 1387) as when the book's pilgrimage to Canterbury starts.

After the First Battle of Bedriacum, Vitellius becomes Roman Emperor.