Today In History, 17 February: What Happened On This Day

What happened today in history (17 February): Ed Sheeran, AB de Villiers, Budhu Bhagat, and Michael Jordan were born, Moliere and Vasudev Balwant Phadke died, Kosovo declared independence, China invaded Vietnam, Portuguese captured Goa, world’s first superhero debuted, and more.
This day in history (17 Feb): The Birthday of Michael Jordan
This day in history (17 Feb): The Birthday of Michael Jordan

Today in History, 17 February: We’re past the halfway mark of February, the month of love. Even Valentine’s Day has come and gone by. Time is moving fast, and so should you. Take a look at the historical significance of February to enhance your general knowledge.

Today is 17 February, another seemingly ordinary day in the winter month of February. However, 17th February holds a pivotal place in world history apart from being the Perfume Day of the Anti-Valentine’s Week.

Keep reading to know more about what major events happened on this day (Feb. 17) in sports, politics and art, along with famous birthdays and deaths in world history.

Historical Events On This Day

  • In 1510, Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque conquered the city of Goa in India without much resistance.
  • In 1600, Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned alive at Campo de' Fiori in Rome for charges of heresy by the Roman Inquisition.
  • In 1739, the Battle of Vasai began between the Marathas and the Portuguese.
  • In 1815, the Treaty of Ghent between the United States and the United Kingdom to end the War of 1812 was ratified.
  • In 1843, the British won the Battle of Miani and acquired the Sindh province in Pakistan.
  • In 1864, during the American Civil War, the H. L. Hunley became the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, the USS Housatonic.
  • In 1867, the first ship passed through the Suez Canal.
  • In 1944, the key World War II battle of Eniwetok began with US forces landing on Canna and Camelia islets in the Pacific.
  • In 1972, the British Parliament voted to join the European Common Market.
  • In 1979, China invaded Vietnam over its growing ties with the Soviet Union and interference in Khmer Rouge-ruled Cambodia.
  • In 1992, American serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms for multiple brutal murders.
  • In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
  • In 2017, the discovery of a new, mostly underwater continent, Zealandia, in the South Pacific was announced.

Sports Events Today

  • In 1996, Russian chess star Garry Kasparov defeated the computer Deep Blue 4-2.
  • In 2016, Nike ended its endorsement deal with Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao over his homophobic comments.

Art and Culture Events Today

  • In 1904, Italian composer Giacomo Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" premiered at La Scala in Milan, becoming one of the most frequently performed operas ever.
  • In 1913, the Armory Show opened to the public in New York City, displaying the works of artists who later became some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century.
  • In 1936, the world’s first superhero, The Phantom, made his debut in Lee Falk’s cartoon strip comics.

Notable Deaths On This Day

Sr No

Death Year




Moliere, French playwright, actor and poet considered to be one of the greatest writers in French language and world literature



Heinrich Heine, German poet, writer and literary critic



Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Indian revolutionary and independence activist who was one of the first to pick up arms against the British and even gained control of Pune for a few days



Christopher Latham Sholes, American inventor responsible for creating the QWERTY keyboard and co-inventing the typewriter



Thelonius Monk, American jazz pianist and composer



Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Indian philosopher, speaker, writer and spiritual teacher



Andrzej Zulawski, Polish filmmaker known for his arthouse hits like Possession and The Devil

Famous Birthdays On This Day

Sr No

Birth Year



1792 Budhu Bhagat, Indian freedom fighter who engaged in guerilla warfare against the British and led the Koi and Larka rebellions in Chhotanagpur



Alejandro Jodorowsky, Chilean-French filmmaker and artist known for his unconventional avant-garde films like The Holy Mountain and El Topo



Huey P. Newton, African-American civil rights activist who led and co-founded the Black Panther Party



Mo Yan, Chinese novelist and Nobel laureate



Michael Jordan, American basketball star who is considered the greatest and most popular player in the history of basketball



Dominic Purcell, English-Australian actor known for his central role in the popular American television series Prison Break



Denise Richards, American actress, model and television personality who played the bond girl in the film The World ins Not Enough



Billie Joe Armstrong, American musician and co-founder of the rock band Green Day



AB de Villiers, South African cricketer and former captain known for his agile fielding and explosive batting



Vasyl Lomachenko, Ukrainian boxer who is one of the most accomplished amateur boxer with a shocking 396-1 amateur record and a 17-2 pro record



Ed Sheeran, English singer-songwriter who is among the best-selling and most beloved artists of the decade and is known for his songs “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”



Jeremy Allen White, American actor who rose to fame in 2022 with his terrific performance in the cooking TV show The Bear

Related | Today in History (15 February)

Related | Today in History (16 February)

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