#TodayInHistory – August 173 min read
August 17 – Some important events on this day.
1585 👉🏼 Antwerp surrenders after 8 months siege by Duke of Parma
1590 👉🏼 Governor of Roanoke Island colony, John White, returns from England to find no trace of the colonists he had left there 3 years earlier
1858 👉🏼 1st bank in Hawaii opens
1891 👉🏼 1st public bathhouse with showers opens in NYC (People’s Bath)
1891 👉🏼 Electric self-starter for automobile patented
1903 👉🏼 Joe Pulitzer donates $1 million to Columbia University & begins the Pulitzer Prizes in America
1908 👉🏼 Projection in Paris of the very first animated cartoon, Fantasmagorie realized by Émile Cohl
1908 👉🏼 Bank of Italy (now Bank of America) opens new HQ at Clay & Montgomery, San Francisco
1945 👉🏼 Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declare Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) independent from the Netherlands
1945 👉🏼 Korea is divided into North and South Korea along the 38th parallel
1947 👉🏼 The Radcliffe Line, the border between Union of India and Dominion of Pakistan is revealed
1950 👉🏼 Indonesia gains independence from Netherlands
1957 👉🏼 Baseball player Richie Ashburn fouls and hits fan Alice Roth twice in the same game at bat playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, 1st hit breaks her nose, 2nd one hits her while she is on the stretcher
1962 👉🏼 East Germans kill man trying to cross Berlin Wall.
East German guards gun down a young man trying to escape across the Berlin Wall into West Berlin and leave him to bleed to death. It was one of the terrible incidents to take place at one of the ugliest symbols of the Cold War.
The episode occurred almost a year to the day that construction began on the Berlin Wall and in August 1961, East Berlin authorities began stringing barbed wire across the boundary between East and West Berlin. In just a matter of days, a concrete block wall was under construction, complete with guard towers. In the months that followed, more barbed wire, machine guns, searchlights, guard posts, dogs, mines, and concrete barriers were set up, completely separating the two halves of the city. American officials condemned the communist action, but did nothing to halt construction of the wall.
On this day, two young men from East Berlin attempted to scramble to freedom across the wall. One was successful in climbing the last barbed wire fence and, though suffering numerous cuts, made it safely to West Berlin. While horrified West German guards watched, the second young man was shot by machine guns on the East Berlin side. He fell but managed to stand up again, reach the wall, and begin to climb over. More shots rang out. The young man was hit in the back, screamed, and fell backwards off of the wall. For nearly an hour, he lay bleeding to death and crying for help. West German guards threw bandages to the man, and an angry crowd of West Berlin citizens screamed at the East German security men who seemed content to let the young man die. He finally did die, and East German guards scurried to where he lay and removed his body.
During the history of the Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989), nearly 80 people were killed trying to cross from East to West Berlin. East German officials always claimed that the wall was erected to protect the communist regime from the pernicious influences of Western capitalism and culture. In the nearly 30 years that the wall existed, however, no one was ever shot trying to enter East Berlin.
1998 👉🏼 Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony he had an “improper physical relationship” with the intern and on the same day admits before the nation he “misled people” about the relationship.
2015 👉🏼 Discovery of 7,000 year old mass grave in Schöneck-Kilianstädten, Central Germany, published in PNAS Journal. 26 bodies bear evidence of violent conflict.
2019 👉🏼 Huge wildfires begin on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands prompting evacuation of 9,000 people