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On this day in history - November 17

What Happened On This Day – November 17

  • 2003 Arnold Schwarzenegger sworn in as Californian Governor

    The bodybuilder and actor best known for his role as a cyborg in the science fiction movie, The Terminator, replaced then Governor Gray Davis. Schwarzenegger was elected for another term as governor in 2007.

  • 1989 Velvet Revolution begins

    A week after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a demonstration of by students commemorating International Students Day in Prague was violently shut down by riot police. The incident led to mass strikes and nonviolent around the country that ended communist rule in erstwhile Czechoslovakia and paved the way for the first democratic elections in the country in 41 years.

  • 1973 Athens Polytechnic Uprising Ends

    The popular protests against the military junta under Georgios Papadopoulos began on November 14 when students at the polytechnic went on a strike. On the morning of November 17, the military crashed into the campus grounds using a tank and put an end of the protests. While no one was thought to have been killed on the polytechnic campus, many people were killed in clashes around the city. Today, all schools and universities are closed on November 17 to commemorate the uprising.

  • 1869 Construction on Suez Canal finished

    The 120 miles (193 kms) long artificial waterway connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea took 10 years to be built and was opened to ships. The canal connected Europe to Asia without ships having to go all the way around Africa.

  • 1858 The start of Modified Julian Date

    Mostly used by astronomers and astrophysicists, the Modified Julian Date (MJD) is a dating method that is defined by subtracting 2,400,000.5 days from the current Julian date (JD), which is calculated by counting the number of days past since Noon January 1, 4713 B.C.E. The MJD gives the number of days past Midnight November 17, 1858. MJD was first used in 1957 by scientists at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to track satellites.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
November 17

  • 1978 Rachel McAdams

    Canadian actress

  • 1964 Susan Rice

    American diplomat, 27th United States Ambassador to the United Nations

  • 1942 Martin Scorsese

    American director, producer, screenwriter, actor

  • 1920 Gemini Ganesan

    Indian film actor

  • 1901 Walter Hallstein

    German politician, diplomat, 1st President of the European Commission

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
November 17

  • 2012 Bal Thackeray

    Indian politician

  • 1917 Auguste Rodin

    French sculptor, created The Thinker

  • 1796 Catherine the Great

    Russian wife of Peter III of Russia

  • 1768 Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle

    English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

  • 1558 Mary I of England