Home   On This Day   On this day in history - December 17

On this day in history - December 17

What Happened On This Day – December 17

  • 2010 Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire

    The Tunisian street vendor self-immolated as a protest against the economic conditions in Tunisia. He died 18 days after at the age of 26. His protest and death were a catalyst for the Tunisian revolution and similar revolutions and protests around the Arab world.

  • 2010 The beginning of the Arab Spring

    The multi-country protests and demands for change in the Arab world are thought to have begun with street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi's self-immolation in Tunisia. Bouazizi's attempt and death 18 days later was the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution which forced then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down from his post.

  • 1989 First episode of The Simpsons aired

    The popular American animated series directed by Matt Groening is set in the fictional town of Springfield and it follows the life of the Simpson family.

  • 1903 First flight of the Wright Flyer

    The powered aircraft was made by the Wright brothers and was the first such aircraft to take flight.

  • 1790 Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone

    Also known as the Stone of the Five Eras, the sculpture was excavated in Mexico City.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
December 17

  • 1978 Manny Pacquiao

    Filipino boxer, politician

  • 1973 Paula Radcliffe

    English runner

  • 1936 Pope Francis

    Current Pope of the Catholic Church.

  • 1778 Humphry Davy

    English chemist, physicist

  • 1770 Ludwig van Beethoven

    German pianist, composer

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
December 17

  • 2011 Kim Jong-il

    North Korean politician, 2nd Supreme Leader of North Korea

  • 2010 Captain Beefheart

    American singer-songwriter

  • 1933 13th Dalai Lama

  • 1830 Simón Bolívar

    Venezuelan commander

  • 1273 Rumi

    Persian mystic, poet