#TodayInHistory – June 174 min read
June 17 – Some important events on this day.
656 👉🏼 Ali ibn Abu Talib elected the 4th Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.
1462 👉🏼 Vlad III the Impaler attempts to assassinate Mehmed II (The Night Attack) forcing him to retreat from Wallachia.
Revered as a folk hero in Romania as well as other parts of Europe for his protection of the Romanian population both south and north of the Danube, Vlad was a three-time Voivode of Wallachia, ruling mainly from 1456 to 1462.
As the moniker “The Impaler” suggests, his practice of impaling his enemies is part of his historical reputation. During his lifetime, his reputation for excessive cruelty spread far and wide.
He is most famously known by his patronymic name: Dracula, which inspired the name of the vampire Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel “Dracula”.
1579 👉🏼 English navigator Francis Drake lands on the coast of California at Drakes Bay, names it “New Albion”.
Sir Francis Drake, one of the great maritime navigators in history, also helped kick-start the English colonization of the Americas when he landed in what is now northern California in 1579. Drake was undertaking the second circumnavigation of the Earth when he landed on the Pacific coast of the Americas.
He claimed the entire territory for the English Crown, naming it New Albion. He only stayed for a few weeks before departing, and while the English had no ability to maintain a colony on America’s Pacific Coast, the claim was not followed up, but it served to legitimize the idea that England could and should colonize the continent.
The exact location of Drake’s landing has been a matter of historical debate for centuries. Most of his original logs and maps were destroyed in a 17th century fire, and he often hid certain locations so the rival Spanish would not find them. The officially recognized location is Drake’s Cove, off Drakes Bay in Point Reyes.
1631 👉🏼 Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, then spends more than 20 years building her tomb, the Taj Mahal.
Built between 1631 and 1648 the Taj Mahal is not only one of the world’s most famous mausoleums but also one of the grandest symbols of love and devotion.
Located on the banks of the Yamuna River in the Agra District in Uttar Pradesh, it was ordered by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to commemorate his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Ustad-Ahmad Lahori was appointed the main architect and 20,000 artisans were brought from all across the empire to build it. It was designated a UNESCO World Hertigae Site in 1983 and is regarded today as one of the finest achievements of Indo-Islamic architecture.
1789 👉🏼 French Revolution: During the meeting of the Estates-General, the Third Estate proclaims itself the ‘National Assembly’
1837 👉🏼 Charles Goodyear obtains his 1st rubber patent
1856 👉🏼 Republican Party opens its 1st national convention in Philadelphia
1885 👉🏼 Statue of Liberty arrives in NYC aboard French ship `Isere’.
The Statue of Liberty or in full Liberty Enlightening the World was first proposed by the French thinker Édouard René de Laboulaye as a gift from the French people to America and to commemorate the abolition of slavery.
Designed by the French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, construction began in 1870 with Gustave Eiffel designing and building the interior metal framework. The statue was completed in France before being disassembled and shipped to America in 1885. It was then reassembled on what was then called Bedloe Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbour and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland in 1886.
The statue depicts Liberty striding forward with a torch raised in her right hand, her left holds a tabula ansata with the date of the declaration of independence. Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus” composed to raise money for the statue was inscribed inside the pedestal in 1903 with its famous lines ” “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”. The monument is now not only a symbol of Liberty but of the city of New York and America itself. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
1939 👉🏼 Last public guillotining in France. Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is guillotined in Versailles outside the prison Saint-Pierre
1958 👉🏼 “Things Fall Apart” by Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe published by Heinemann – considered most widely read book in African literature
1969 👉🏼 “Oh! Calcutta!” opens in NYC (almost entirely in the nude)