Today in History (February 17)

1454Feb 17At a grand feast, Philip the Good of Burgundy took the “vow of the pheasant,” by which he swore to fight the Turks.
1691Feb 17Thomas Neale was granted a British patent for American postal service.
1836Feb 17HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin left Tasmania.
1859Feb 17Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Un Ballo in maschera” premiered in Napoli.
1867Feb 17The 1st ship passed through the Suez Canal.
1904Feb 17The original two-act version of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” was poorly received during its world premiere at La Scala, Milan.
1917Feb 17Edmund Bishop (70), English secretary of Thomas Carlyle, died.
1920Feb 17A directorship for the Klaipeda (Kaliningrad) region was formed.
1926Feb 17An avalanche buried 75 in Sap Gulch, Bingham, Utah, and 40 died.
1932Feb 17Irving Berlin’s musical “Face the Music,” premiered in NYC.
1934Feb 171st high school auto driving course was offered by State College, Penn.
1942Feb 17Sidney Newsom (b.1877), California architect, died. He and his brother Noble created homes that recalled Spanish haciendas, English cottages, French chateaus and American colonial homesteads.
1951Feb 17Packard introduced its “250″ Chassis Convertible.
1957Feb 17Suez Canal reopened.
1959Feb 17The U.S. launched its first weather station in space, Vanguard II weighing 9.8 kg.
1967Feb 17Beatles released “Penny Lane” & “Strawberry Fields.” Strawberry Fields was a children’s home run by the Salvation Army. It was closed in 2005
1972Feb 17President Nixon departed on his historic 10-day trip to China.
1973Feb 17President Richard Nixon named Patrick Gray director of the FBI.
1993Feb 17President Clinton addressed a joint session of Congress, asking Americans to accept one of the biggest tax increases in history as part of a plan to stimulate the economy and curb massive budget deficits.
1994Feb 17The U.S. government reported a record trade deficit with Japan the previous year.
1996Feb 17World chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue,” winning a six-game match in Philadelphia. Kasparov had lost the first game, won the second, fifth and sixth games and earned draws in the third and fourth.
1998Feb 17The U.S. women’s hockey team won the gold medal at Nagano, Japan, defeating Canada 3-1.
1999Feb 17In a satellite-linked address to college campuses across the country, President Clinton made his case for shoring up Social Security and Medicare.
2000Feb 17A House panel said in a report that the program to inoculate all 2.4 million American military personnel against anthrax was based on “a paucity of science” and should be suspended; the Pentagon defended the program and vowed to continue the inoculations.
2002Feb 17Pres. Bush opened a three-nation Asian tour in recession-wracked Japan, where he urged PM Junichiro Koizumi to follow through on long-promised economic reforms
2003Feb 17An estimated 40 million viewers tuned in to the finale of Fox’s reality show “Joe Millionaire,” in which Evan Marriott chose Zora Andrich.
2004Feb 17In Wisconsin John Kerry won the primary with about 40 percent of the vote while Edwards finished a close second with 34 percent. Dean, who had banked his future on a strong showing, drew just 18 percent.
2005Feb 17President Bush named John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as the government’s first national intelligence director (DNI). Central American politicians and human rights activists issued stinging criticism of Negroponte, citing the career diplomat’s active backing for the Contra rebels and support for a government involved in human rights abuses.
2006Feb 17Harry Whittington, the lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney while quail hunting, left a Corpus Christi, Texas, hospital, saying “accidents do and will happen.
2008Feb 17US President George W. Bush discussed the bloody conflict in neighboring Kenya with Tanzania’s Pres. Jakaya Kikwete before showering him with praise and signing over a $700 million development grant.
2009Feb 17Liberty Media Corp. said it will invest $530 million in financially struggling satellite radio company Sirius XM Radio Inc.
2010Feb 17Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced that the Obama administration has decided to give the war in Iraq a new name, “Operation New Dawn,” effective Sept 1, to reflect the reduced role US troops will play in securing the country this year as troop levels fall.
2011Feb 17Federal prosecutors in Arizona said two illegal immigrants from Mexico, Jose Beltran-Bermudez and Yazmin Arvayo-Palafox, have been indicted after they were found to possess a combined 222 assault rifles and 5 pistols that authorities say were headed to Mexico.
2012Feb 17The westbound top deck of the SF Bay Bridge was closed until Feb 21 as work progressed on the new eastern span set to open Labor Day 2013. The bridge reopened the evening of Feb 19 as work was completed ahead of schedule.
2013Feb 17Thousands of protesters gathered on Washington’s National Mall calling on Pres. Obama to reject the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline proposal and honor his inaugural pledge to act on climate change.
2014Feb 17In California 2 CHP officers were killed as they responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Hwy. 99 near Kingsburg.

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