Today in History: August 17, Fulton steamboat on the Hudson
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2022. There are 136 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 17, 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA’s “The Visitors,” were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany.
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.
In 1863, federal batteries and ships began bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates managed to hold on despite several days of pounding.
In 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Georgia, lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, 31, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who’d maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)
In 1945, the George Orwell novel “Animal Farm,” an allegorical satire of Soviet Communism, was first published in London by Martin Secker & Warburg.
In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.
In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide.
In 1988, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel (RAY’-fehl) were killed in a mysterious plane crash.
In 1998, President Bill Clinton gave grand jury testimony via closed-circuit television from the White House concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; he then delivered a TV address in which he denied previously committing perjury, admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was “wrong,” and criticized Kenneth Starr’s investigation.
In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.
In 2004, at the Athens games, Romania won its second straight Olympic gold medal in women’s gymnastics; the United States took silver while Russia won the bronze.
In 2011, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.
In 2020, Texas joined New York, New Jersey and California as states with at least 10,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths; about 80 percent of the Texas deaths were reported since June 1, after the state embarked on one of the fastest reopenings in the country.
Ten years ago: In Moscow, a judge sentenced three punk rock-style activists, members of the band Pussy Riot, to two years in prison for hooliganism for briefly taking over a cathedral in a raucous prayer for deliverance from Russian President Vladimir Putin; the court decision drew protests around the world. (One of the three defendants was later released on probation; the other two were released several months short of their two-year sentence in December 2013.)
Five years ago: A van plowed through pedestrians along a packed promenade in the Spanish city of Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring 120. (A 14th victim died later from injuries.) Another man was stabbed to death in a carjacking that night as the van driver made his getaway, and a woman died early the next day in a vehicle-and-knife attack in a nearby coastal town. (Six suspects in the attack were shot dead by police, two more died when a bomb workshop exploded.)
One year ago: In an effort to reassure world powers and fearful Afghans, the Taliban insisted that they would respect women’s rights, forgive those who fought them and ensure that Afghanistan would not become a haven for terrorists. Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Grace forced a temporary halt to rescue and recovery efforts from a devastating weekend earthquake in Haiti. The Jacksonville Jaguars waived Tim Tebow, ending the NFL career of the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner who switched from quarterback to tight end in hopes of making a comeback; he had also spent five years playing baseball in the New York Mets’ organization while never making it to the big leagues.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin (jahng zuh-MEEN’) is 96. Former MLB All-Star Boog Powell is 81. Actor Robert DeNiro is 79. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 76. Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 75. Actor-screenwriter-producer Julian Fellowes is 73. Actor Robert Joy is 71. International Tennis Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas is 70. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is 69. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 67. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 67. Olympic gold medal figure skater Robin Cousins is 65. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 64. Author Jonathan Franzen is 63. Actor Sean Penn is 62. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 61. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 60. Singer Maria McKee is 58. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 57. Rock musician Jill Cunniff (kuh-NIHF’) is 56. Actor David Conrad is 55. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 53. College Basketball Hall of Famer and retired NBA All-Star Christian Laettner is 53. Rapper Posdnuos (PAHS’-deh-noos) is 53. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier is 52. Retired MLB All-Star Jorge Posada is 51. TV personality Giuliana Rancic is 48. Actor Bryton James is 36. Actor Brady Corbet (kohr-BAY’) is 34. Actor Austin Butler is 31. Actor Taissa Farmiga is 28. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Gracie Gold is 27.