May 17 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred,  famous birthdays, death day, legend quotes, and historical news on May 17.

May-17

Events on May 17

1861 The first color photograph was exhibited at the Royal Institution in London.

1890 Comic Cuts, the first weekly comic paper, is published in London by Arthur Harmsworth.

1935 Death of Paul Dukas, French composer, teacher and critic, best-known for his orchestral scherzo “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.

1962 Hong Kong puts up its own “Berlin wall” to keep out migrants.

1964 Bob Dylan made his first major London appearance at the Albert Hall.

1969 Dubliner Tom McClean rows from Newfoundland to Ireland, becoming the first person to cross the Atlantic in a rowing boat.

1978 Charlie Chaplin’s coffin is found 10 miles (16 km) from the Swiss cemetery from which it was stolen on March2.

1989 The communist government of Czechoslovakia frees playwright Vaclav Havel after only three months of a nine month jail term.

1993 Rebecca Stephens is the first British woman to climb Everest.

2003 Casablanca, Morocco, is ravaged by terrorist bombs.

Famous Birthdays on May 17

Erik Satie 1866 French composer famed for his eccentricities and for the nonsensical titles he gave to his compositions.

Maureen O’Sullivan 1911, Irish actress who played Jane in six Tarzan movies.

Birgit Nilsson 1918, Swedish operatic soprano best-known for her roles as Brunnhilde, Turandot, Salome and Elektra.

Dennis Hopper 1936, American actor and director who first came to prominence with Peter Fonda in Easy Rider.

Grace Jones 1955, Jamaican born model turned pop singer with a menacingly decadent and androgynous image.

Sugar Ray Leonard 1956, American boxer who has won world champion welterweight light middleweight and middleweight titles.

Quotes from Legend

Writing a free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.

- Robert Frost, an American poet, in a speech at the Milton Academy today, 1935.

Historical News on May 17

Botticelli Dies Unsung

Botticelli dies unsung on May 17
Botticelli dies unsung

1510 The great Florentine painter Sandro Botticelli died in his native Florence aged 65.

Botticelli had hardly painted in recent years and lived in poverty.

He was at the height of his career when the downfall of his Medici patrons in 1491 brought disaster in the shape of the Black Friar.

Girolamo Savonarola. The Black Friar preached that art was immoral and also accused Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci of sodom.

After they were acquired Leonardo left Florence but Bolticelli stayed and suffered.

Botticelli was the foremost of a new wave of Italian artists.

He was only 25 when he was noticed by Lorenzo de Medici under whose patronage he did some of his finest works including The Birth of Venus.

He was taught by the master of perspective Filippo Lippi and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio.

Watergate Secrets Go Public

1973 America watched in fascination as televised Senate hearings on the Watergate affair opened today.

Senator Sam J. Irvin, Democrat of North Carolina, virtually accused the Watergate burglars of trying to steal America’s “right to vote in a free election” when he opened public sessions of the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities.

White House denies that President Richard M. Nixon’s administration knew about the break-in at Democratic Party headquarters last June that had worn thin as the scandal unfolded.

A week ago senior Nixon aides John Mitchell and Maurice Stans were indicted for perjury.

Today’s first witness testified that Nixon’s re-election campaign leader, Jeb Magruder, had hidden vital papers within hours of the burglary.

Tomorrow one of the burglars. James McCord takes the stand.

Churchill’s Ghost Voice

1990 US speech researchers say they have proof that three of Winston Churchill’s most famous wartime speeches were recorded by an actor.

They are the promise to the nation of nothing but “blood, toil, tears and sweat”, the Dunkirk rallying call “We shall fight on the beaches, in the fields, in the streets, and in the hills”, and the “finest hour” speech predicting the Battle of Britain.

Churchill made the speeches himself in parliament, but the famous words broadcast to the public and sent to the US to rally war support were recorded in the BBC studios.

Actor Norman Shelley long ago claimed he had done the job because “Churchill was too busy”.

It was recently confirmed by a BBC archivist.

Researchers at Sensimetrics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, tested Churchill’s speeches with a computerized system they developed for verifying tapes used as court evidence and said the speeches in question were “quite different” from Churchill’s.

Mafeking Relieved Euphoria in Britain

Mafeking relieved euphoria in Britain on May 17
Mafeking relieved euphoria in Britain

1900 Extraordinary scenes of rejoicing have swept across Britain as a cable from South Africa brought news that the 217-day siege of the British garrison at Mafeking has been broken.

London’s streets filled with huge crowds of revelers as the tide turned in the Boer War following a humiliating string of defeats for the British forces.

Reinforcements under Lord Roberts attacked the Boers from two sides, overwhelming the besieging army.

Hero of the day is cavalry officer Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, the British commander in Mafeking.

His unyielding defense tied down thousands of Boer troops and he has captured the British imagination.

1861 A party of British workers and their families set off from London for Paris today on a new kind of holiday.

Overland travel, the Channel crossing, hotel accommodation, and meals all come in one convenient “package”, arranged by Thomas Cook of London.

Packaged holidays, offered to groups, are cheaper.

Cook buys the tickets and hotel coupons in bulk and passes on the discounts to clients.

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  1. more info July 19, 2021

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