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On This Day in History, August 17

What Happened On This Day – August 17

  • 2008 Michael Phelps Earns his 8th Gold Medal in the 2008 Olympics

    The American champion swimmer won the medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay race in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. With this medal, he broke the record for the most gold medals won by a person in a single Olympic games, a record previously held by American swimmer Mark Spitz.

  • 1978 Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman become the first people to complete the world's First Transatlantic Balloon Flight

    The feat was accomplished in a balloon called the Double Eagle II. It took Abruzzo, Anderson, and Newman 6 days to fly from Preque Isle, Maine to a barley field near Paris.

  • 1970 Venera 7 launched by the Soviet Union

    Launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Venera 7 became the first spacecraft to land on another planet, Venus, and send data back to Earth. It entered Venus’ atmosphere in December 1970.

  • 1960 Gabon gains independence from the French

    France had occupied Gabon since the latter part of the 1800's. In 1910, the Equatorial country was added to French Equatorial Africa, a federation of France's Central African colonies. From 1934 to 1958, French Equatorial Africa was considered by France as an unified colony.

Births On This Day – August 17

  • 1960 Sean Penn

    American actor, director

  • 1949 Norm Coleman

    American politician

  • 1943 Robert De Niro

    American actor

  • 1911 Mikhail Botvinnik

    Russian chess player

  • 1786 Davy Crockett

    American soldier, politician

Deaths On This Day – August 17

  • 1988 Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq

    Pakistani politician, 6th President of Pakistan

  • 1935 Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    American sociologist, novelist

  • 1880 Ole Bull

    Norwegian violinist, composer

  • 1850 José de San Martín

    Argentinian general, politician, 1st President of Peru

  • 1786 Frederick the Great

    Prussian king

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