Today in History, 17 September: What Happened on this Day

September 17 is the 260th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar; 105 days remain until the end of the year. Numerous remarkable occurrences, both big and small, have shaped our world today. From historical milestones and scientific discoveries to cultural moments and notable birthdays, this day has a rich tapestry of stories to uncover.

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On This Day In History- Events

Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa Elevates Austria to a Duchy


In the year 1156, Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa issued the ‘Privilegium Minus’ decree, a pivotal proclamation that bestowed the elevated status of a duchy upon Austria.

Byzantine Empire’s Last Attempt to Reclaim Anatolia from Seljuk Turks


In the year 1176, the Battle of Myriokephalon marked the final endeavour by the Byzantine Empire to recapture central Anatolia from the Seljuk Turks, ultimately signifying the end of their territorial ambitions.

Commencement of the Invasion of Canada in the American Revolutionary War


On this day in 1775, the American Revolutionary War commenced with the Siege of Fort St. Jean, marking the beginning of the invasion of Canada as part of the broader conflict.

Signing of the United States Constitution


On this significant day in 1787, the United States Constitution was formally signed in Philadelphia, a foundational moment in American history that established the nation’s fundamental principles.

William Herschel’s Observation of Saturn’s Satellite, Mimas


In the year 1789, the distinguished astronomer William Herschel made a historic discovery when he observed Mimas, one of Saturn’s satellites, expanding our understanding of the celestial bodies within our solar system.

Conclusion of Peace Between Sweden and Russia in the Finnish War


In 1809, the Finnish War culminated in a peace agreement between Sweden and Russia, marked by the Treaty of Fredrikshamn, which ceded the territory that would eventually become Finland to the Russian Empire.

Harriet Tubman’s Escape from Slavery


In the year 1849, the remarkable Harriet Tubman took her first courageous steps to escape slavery in Maryland, accompanied by her two brothers, marking the beginning of her extraordinary journey to freedom.

Proclamation of Joshua Abraham Norton as Emperor Norton I of the United States


On this remarkable day in 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton, a resident of San Francisco, boldly proclaimed himself Emperor Norton I, reigning as the Emperor of the United States of America, a notable event in the city’s history.

The Allegheny Arsenal Explosion during the American Civil War


Amid the American Civil War in 1862, the Allegheny Arsenal explosion occurred, marking the most devastating civilian disaster of the war, a tragic incident that left a lasting impact.

Filipino Victory over American Forces in the Philippine–American War


In 1900, during the Philippine–American War, Filipino forces led by Juan Cailles achieved a significant victory by defeating American forces under the command of Colonel Benjamin F. Cheatham Jr. at Mabitac.

Battle of Blood River Port: Boer Victory over British Forces


In 1901, the Battle of Blood River Port witnessed the triumph of Boer commandos, led by Louis Botha, as they defeated a British Mounted Infantry force commanded by Major Hubert Gough, marking a pivotal moment in the conflict.

The First Airplane Fatality in the Wright Flyer Crash


In 1908, tragedy struck as the Wright Flyer, piloted by Orville Wright with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as a passenger, crashed, resulting in the unfortunate demise of Selfridge, who became the first fatality in aviation history.

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The Red Baron’s First Aerial Victory in WWI


Amid World War I in 1916, the renowned WWI flying ace, The Red Baron of the German Luftstreitkräfte, secured his first aerial combat victory near Cambrai, France, marking the beginning of his legendary career.

Commencement of the Soviet Invasion of Poland in World War II


The year 1939 marked a pivotal moment in World War II when the Soviet Union initiated its invasion of Poland, setting the stage for significant developments in the global conflict.

Allied Attack on German Forces in the Battle of San Marino


In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces launched a determined attack against German forces in the Battle of San Marino, representing a crucial engagement in the ongoing war effort.

The Integration of Hyderabad State into the Indian Union


In 1948, the Nizam of Hyderabad relinquished his sovereignty over Hyderabad State, formally joining the Indian Union, a momentous event in the political integration of India.

Inauguration of the World’s First Retractable Roof Stadium


On this day in 1961, the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, made history by becoming the world’s first retractable roof stadium, marking a significant advancement in sports infrastructure.

The Battle of Chawinda between Pakistan and India


In 1965, the Battle of Chawinda unfolded as a fierce confrontation between Pakistan and India, representing a critical moment in the ongoing regional conflict.

Vanessa Williams’ Historic Achievement as the First Black Miss America


In 1983, Vanessa Williams achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first black Miss America, a momentous occasion that resonated with the nation and symbolized progress in the realm of beauty pageants.

Four Peaked Mountain’s First Eruption in Millennia


In 2006, Fourpeaked Mountain in Alaska erupted for the first time in at least 10,000 years, marking a rare and significant geological event that captured the attention of scientists and enthusiasts alike.

Today In History – Sports

Eddie Collins’ Debut as “Sullivan” at Columbia University Jr.


In the year 1906, the talented junior at Columbia University, Eddie Collins, made his debut under the alias “Sullivan” with the A’s, marking the beginning of a distinguished baseball career.

Casey Stengel’s Debut and Four Singles


In 1912, the prominent centre fielder Casey Stengel made his debut with the Brooklyn team, showcasing his exceptional skills by hitting an impressive four singles.

Honus Wagner’s Retirement and Number Retirement


In 1917, the legendary Honus Wagner, at the age of 43, retired from the sport of baseball, prompting the Pittsburgh Pirates to retire his iconic number, 33, in honour of his illustrious career.

Founding of the National Football League


The year 1920 marked a historic moment in sports history as the National Football League was established, initially known as the American Professional Football Association, with its inception in Canton, Ohio.

Jackie Robinson’s Rookie of the Year Title


In 1947, the trailblazing Jackie Robinson earned the prestigious title of Rookie of the Year from Sporting News, solidifying his legacy as a groundbreaking figure in the world of baseball.

Ernie Banks Becomes Chicago Cubs’ First Black Player


In 1953, Ernie Banks made history by becoming the first black player for the Chicago Cubs, a momentous step forward in the integration of baseball.

Gaylord Perry’s No-Hit Game


In 1968, the San Francisco Giants’ ace Gaylord Perry achieved a remarkable feat by pitching a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals, securing a 1-0 victory in a memorable game.

Baseball Record: George Brett’s Exceptional Season


In 1979, George Brett of the Royals became only the sixth player in baseball history to amass 20 doubles, triples, and home runs in a single season, a testament to his exceptional skills.

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Fernando Valenzuela’s NL Rookie Record


In 1981, Fernando Valenzuela set an impressive National League rookie record by securing his eighth shutout of the season, highlighting his exceptional pitching prowess.

Baseball Record: Dwight Gooden’s Striking Achievement


In 1984, Dwight Gooden achieved a remarkable feat by tying the record for 32 strikeouts in consecutive games, showcasing his exceptional talent on the baseball mound.

On This Day – TV, Music, And Films

First LP Record Released: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony


In 1934, RCA Victor made history by releasing the world’s first 33 1/3 rpm recording, featuring a performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Stokowski at the Philadelphia Academy of Music.

Historic Publication: “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding


In 1954, William Golding’s seminal work, “Lord of the Flies,” was published by Faber and Faber in London, a literary masterpiece that continues to captivate readers worldwide.

Premiere of Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days”


In 1961, the enigmatic play “Happy Days” by Samuel Beckett had its premiere in New York City, marking a significant moment in the world of theatre and existentialist drama.

Fran Tarkenton’s Remarkable NFL Debut


In his NFL debut against the Chicago Bears in 1961, Fran Tarkenton displayed exceptional talent by leading the Vikings to a commanding 37-13 victory, while also becoming the only quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in his inaugural game.

Release of “Baby Love” by The Supremes


In 1964, the iconic American girl group, The Supremes, released their hit single “Baby Love,” which went on to become a beloved classic in the world of music.

The Doors on “The Ed Sullivan Show”


The American rock band “The Doors” made their first and final appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1967, as singer Jim Morrison’s refusal to change a lyric led to the show’s producers deciding not to invite them back.



The television comedy series “MASH,” adapted from the movie and starring Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Wayne Rogers, and McLean Stevenson, made its debut on CBS in the United States in 1972. The show went on to run for 11 years, receiving 14 Emmy Awards and 1 Peabody Award.*

Fleetwood Mac’s Chart-Topping Album


In 1977, the British-American band Fleetwood Mac’s album “Rumors” continued its impressive reign as the number-one album for the 19th consecutive week, solidifying its place in music history.

Toronto Film Festival: “The Big Chill” Wins People’s Choice Award


At the 8th Toronto International Film Festival in 1983, “The Big Chill,” directed by Lawrence Kasdan, received the prestigious People’s Choice Award, recognizing its impact and popularity among festivalgoers.

Today On History – Birthdays

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben (1730-1794)

A Prussian-American military officer who played a vital role as a major general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, born in Magdeburg.


Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794)

A French Enlightenment philosopher and mathematician known for the Condorcet Method in voting theory, born in Ribemont, Picardy, France.


Frederick Ashton (1904-1988)

A British choreographer renowned for his work on ballets like “Cinderella,” born in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Hank Williams (1923-1953)

An iconic American country singer-songwriter famous for hits like “Cold Cold Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” born in Mount Olive, Alabama.

George Blanda (1927-2010)

Born in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, an American Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and placekicker who made significant contributions to the AFL and NFL throughout his career with the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, and Oakland Raiders.

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Stirling Moss (1929-2020)

A British auto racer with an impressive record of 16 Formula One Grand Prix victories and multiple runner-up finishes in the World F1 Drivers’ Championship, born in London, England. He also ventured into broadcasting with ABC F1 and NASCAR.

Anne Bancroft (1931-2005)

An American stage and screen actress, director, and playwright best known for her appearances in “The Graduate” and “The Miracle Worker,” for which she received Emmy, Oscar, and Tony nominations. She was born in New York’s Bronx.

Maureen Connolly (1934-1969)

An American tennis player celebrated for winning the first women’s Grand Slam in 1953 and amassing nine Grand Slam singles titles during her career, born in San Diego, California.

Narendra Modi (Born 1950)

An Indian politician who served as the 15th Prime Minister of India, born in Vadnagar, Gujarat. He has played a significant role in Indian politics.

Keith Flint (1969-2019)

An English vocalist, musician, and dancer best known for his work with the band “The Prodigy,” born in London, England.

Alex Ovechkin (Born 1985)

Russian ice hockey player recognized for his exceptional goal-scoring talents. He has had a successful career with the Moscow Dynamo and the Washington Capitals.

Patrick Mahomes (Born 1995)

He is an American football quarterback who played for the Kansas City Chiefs and was named Super Bowl MVP in 2020 and 2022. He was born in Tyler, Texas, and is regarded as one of the NFL’s best prospects.

On This Day In History – Deaths

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)

The first Western composer whose works survived. She was a German Benedictine nun, magistra, and musician. At the age of 81, she died.

Philip IV (1605-1665)

Philip IV reigned as King of Spain and Portugal from 1621 to 1665, dying at the age of 60.

Dred Scott (c. 1799-1858)

He died of TB at the age of 62 or 63, after attempting to claim his freedom as an ex-slave in the United States.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877)

He died at the age of 77. He was an English photographic pioneer noted for his contributions to early photography.

Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1925-1980)

President of Nicaragua from 1967 to 1972 and again from 1974 to 1979, he was assassinated in Paraguay at the age of 54.

Karl Popper (1902-1994)

An Austrian-British philosopher renowned for works like “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” and “The Poverty of Historicism,” he passed away at the age of 92 while battling cancer.

Vitas Gerulaitis (1954-1994)

A Lithuanian-American tennis player who won the Australian Open in 1977 and Wimbledon doubles in 1975, he died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 40.

Spiro Agnew (1918-1996)An American politician who served as Vice President from 1969 until his resignation over corruption allegations in 1973, he passed away at the age of 77.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika (1937-2021)

An Algerian politician who served as President of Algeria from 1999 to 2019, he died of a heart attack at the age of 84.


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