On This Day … 17 June


  • 618 – Li Yuan becomes Emperor Gaozu of Tang, initiating three centuries of Tang dynasty rule over China.
  • 860 – Byzantine–Rus’ War: A fleet of about 200 Rus’ vessels sails into the Bosphorus and starts pillaging the suburbs of the Byzantine capital Constantinople.
  • 1053 – Battle of Civitate: Three thousand horsemen of Norman Count Humphrey rout the troops of Pope Leo IX.
  • 1265 – A draft Byzantine–Venetian treaty is concluded between Venetian envoys and Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, but is not ratified by Doge Reniero Zeno.
  • 1429 – French forces under the leadership of Joan of Arc defeat the main English army under Sir John Fastolf at the Battle of Patay. This turns the tide of the Hundred Years’ War.
  • 1684 – The charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is revoked via a scire facias writ issued by an English court.
  • 1757 – Battle of Kolín between Prussian forces under Frederick the Great and an Austrian army under the command of Field Marshal Count Leopold Joseph von Daun in the Seven Years’ War.
  • 1778 – American Revolutionary War: British troops abandon Philadelphia.
  • 1799 – Action of 18 June 1799: A frigate squadron under Rear-admiral Perrée is captured by the British fleet under Lord Keith.
  • 1812 – The United States declaration of war upon the United Kingdom is signed by President James Madison, beginning the War of 1812.
  • 1815 – Napoleonic Wars: The Battle of Waterloo results in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte by the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher forcing him to abdicate the throne of France for the second and last time.
  • 1822 – Constantine Kanaris blows up the Ottoman navy’s flagship at Chios, killing the Kapudan Pasha Nasuhzade Ali Pasha.
  • 1887 – The Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia is signed.
  • 1900 – Empress Dowager Cixi of China orders all foreigners killed, including foreign diplomats and their families.
  • 1928 – Aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean (she is a passenger; Wilmer Stultz is the pilot and Lou Gordon the mechanic).
  • 1940 – Appeal of 18 June by Charles de Gaulle.
  • 1940 – The “Finest Hour” speech is delivered by Winston Churchill.
  • 1945 – William Joyce (“Lord Haw-Haw“) is charged with treason for his pro-German propaganda broadcasting during World War II.
  • 1946 – Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, a Socialist, calls for a Direct Action Day against the Portuguese in Goa.
  • 1953 – The Egyptian revolution of 1952 ends with the overthrow of the Muhammad Ali dynasty and the declaration of the Republic of Egypt.
  • 1953 – A United States Air Force C-124 crashes and burns near Tachikawa, Japan, killing 129.
  • 1954 – Carlos Castillo Armas leads an invasion force across the Guatemalan border, setting in motion the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état.
  • 1965 – Vietnam War: The United States uses B-52 bombers to attack National Liberation Front guerrilla fighters in South Vietnam.
  • 1979 – SALT II is signed by the United States and the Soviet Union.
  • 1981 – The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, the first operational aircraft initially designed around stealth technology, makes its first flight.
  • 1994 – The Troubles: Members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) attack a crowded pub with assault rifles in Loughinisland, Northern Ireland. Six Catholic civilians are killed and five wounded. It was crowded with people watching the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
  • Waterloo Day (UK): The date of the Battle of Waterloo. It is remembered and celebrated each year by certain regiments of the British Army, in the same way that the Royal Navy celebrates Trafalgar Day.

People (Births)

  • 1667 – Ivan Trubetskoy, Russian field marshal (d. 1750).
  • 1815 – Ludwig Freiherr von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen, German general (d. 1881).
  • 1833 – Manuel González Flores, Mexican general and President (1880-1884) (d. 1893).
  • 1839 – William H. Seward Jr., American general and banker (d. 1920).
  • 1884 – Édouard Daladier, French captain and politician, Prime Minister of France (d. 1970).
  • 1886 – George Mallory, English lieutenant and mountaineer (d. 1924).
  • 1913 – Wilfred Gordon Bigelow, Canadian soldier and surgeon (d. 2005).
  • 1929 – Tibor Rubin, Hungarian-American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 2015).
  • 1934 – Brian Kenny, English general (d. 2017).
  • 1964 – Uday Hussein, Iraqi commander (d. 2003).

People (Deaths)

  • 908 – Zhang Hao, general of Yang Wu.
  • 1629 – Piet Pieterszoon Hein, Dutch admiral (b. 1577).
  • 1794 – James Murray, Scottish-English general and politician, 20th Governor of the Province of Quebec (b. 1721).
  • 1815 – Thomas Picton, Welsh-English general and politician (b. 1758).
  • 1860 – Friedrich Wilhelm von Bismarck, German army officer and writer (b. 1783).
  • 1905 – Carmine Crocco, Italian soldier (b. 1830).
  • 1916 – Max Immelmann, German lieutenant and pilot (b. 1890).
  • 1943 – Elias Degiannis, Greek commander (b. 1912).
  • 1945 – Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., American general (b. 1886).
  • 1947 – Shigematsu Sakaibara, Japanese admiral (b. 1898).
  • 1974 – Georgy Zhukov, Russian marshal and politician, Minister of Defence for the Soviet Union (b. 1896).
  • 1996 – Endel Puusepp, Estonian-Soviet military pilot and politician (b. 1909).
  • 2012 – Luis Edgardo Mercado Jarrín, Peruvian general and politician, 109th Prime Minister of Peru (b. 1919).
  • 2014 – Vladimir Popovkin, Russian general (b. 1957).

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