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December 17

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  • What happened on December 17
  • December 17 is the 351st day of the year (352nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 14 days remaining until the end of the year.

 

  • Events on December 17
  • 497 BC – The first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome.
  • 546 – Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoths under king Totila plunder the city, by bribing the Byzantine garrison.
  • 920 – Romanos I Lekapenos is crowned co-emperor of the underage Constantine VII.
  • 942 – Assassination of William I of Normandy.
  • 1398 – Sultan Nasir-u Din Mehmud’s armies in Delhi are defeated by Timur.
  • 1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England.
  • 1583 – Cologne War: Forces under Ernest of Bavaria defeat troops under Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg at the Siege of Godesberg.
  • 1586 – Go-Yōzei becomes Emperor of Japan.
  • 1718 – War of the Quadruple Alliance: Great Britain declares war on Spain.
  • 1777 – American Revolution: France formally recognizes the United States.
  • 1790 – Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone.
  • 1807 – Napoleonic Wars: France issues the Milan Decree, which confirms the Continental System.
  • 1812 – War of 1812: U.S. forces attack a Lenape village in the Battle of the Mississinewa.
  • 1819 – Simón Bolívar declares the independence of Gran Colombia in Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela).
  • 1835 – The second Great Fire of New York destroys 50 acres (200,000 square meters) of New York City’s Financial District.
  • 1837 – A fire in the Winter Palace of Saint Petersburg kills 30 guards.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: General Ulysses S. Grant issues General Order No. 11, expelling Jews from parts of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
  • 1865 – First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert.
  • 1892 – First issue of Vogue is published
  • 1896 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Schenley Park Casino, which was the first multi-purpose arena with the technology to create an artificial ice surface in North America, is destroyed in a fire.
  • 1903 – The Wright brothers make the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • 1907 – Ugyen Wangchuck is crowned first King of Bhutan
  • 1918 – Darwin Rebellion: Up to 1,000 demonstrators march on Government House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
  • 1919 – Uruguay becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  • 1926 – Antanas Smetona assumes power in Lithuania as the 1926 coup d’état is successful.
  • 1927 – Indian revolutionary Rajendra Lahiri is hanged in Gonda jail, Uttar Pradesh, India, two days before the scheduled date.
  • 1928 – Indian revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru assassinate British police officer James Saunders in Lahore, Punjab, to avenge the death of Lala Lajpat Rai at the hands of the police. The three were executed in 1931.
  • 1935 – First flight of the Douglas DC-3.
  • 1938 – Otto Hahn discovers the nuclear fission of the heavy element uranium, the scientific and technological basis of nuclear energy.
  • 1939 – World War II: Battle of the River Plate: The Admiral Graf Spee is scuttled by Captain Hans Langsdorff outside Montevideo.
  • 1941 – World War II: Japanese forces land in Northern Borneo.
  • 1943 – All Chinese are again permitted to become citizens of the United States upon the repeal of the Act of 1882 and the introduction of the Magnuson Act.
  • 1944 – World War II: Battle of the Bulge: Malmedy massacre: American 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion POWs are shot by Waffen-SS KampfgruppeJoachim Peiper.
  • 1947 – First flight of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber.
  • 1950 – The F-86 Sabre’s first mission over Korea.
  • 1951 – The American Civil Rights Congress delivers “We Charge Genocide” to the United Nations.
  • 1957 – The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • 1960 – Troops loyal to Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia crush the coup that began December 13, returning power to their leader upon his return from Brazil. Haile Selassie absolves his son of any guilt.
  • 1960 – Munich C-131 crash: Twenty passengers and crew on board as well as 32 people on the ground are killed.
  • 1961 – Niterói circus fire: Fire breaks out during a performance by the Gran Circus Norte-Americano in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, killing more than 500.
  • 1967 – Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria, and is presumed drowned.
  • 1969 – The SALT I talks begin.
  • 1969 – Project Blue Book: The United States Air Force closes its study of UFOs.
  • 1970 – 1970 Polish protests: In Gdynia, soldiers fire at workers emerging from trains, killing dozens.
  • 1973 – Thirty passengers are killed in an attack by Palestinian terrorists on Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport.
  • 1981 – American Brigadier General James L. Dozier is abducted by the Red Brigades in Verona, Italy.
  • 1983 – Provisional IRA members detonate a car bomb at Harrods Department Store in London. Three police officers and three civilians are killed.
  • 1989 – Romanian Revolution: Protests continue in Timișoara, Romania, with rioters breaking into the Romanian Communist Party’s District Committee building and attempting to set it on fire.
  • 1989 – Fernando Collor de Mello defeats Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round of the Brazilian presidential election, becoming the first democratically elected President in almost 30 years.
  • 1989 – The Simpsons first premiered on television with the episode, Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.
  • 2002 – Second Congo War: The Congolese parties of the Inter Congolese Dialogue sign a peace accord which makes provision for transitional governance and legislative and presidential elections within two years.
  • 2003 – The Soham murder trial ends at the Old Bailey in London, England, with Ian Huntley found guilty of two counts of murder. His girlfriend Maxine Carr is found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
  • 2003 – SpaceShipOne, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first powered and first supersonic flight.
  • 2005 – Anti-World Trade Organization protesters riot in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.
  • 2005 – Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicates the throne as King of Bhutan.
  • 2009 – MV Danny F II sinks off the coast of Lebanon, resulting in the deaths of 44 people and over 28,000 animals.
  • 2010 – Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire. This act became the catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring.
  • 2014 – The United States and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations after severing them in 1960.

 

 

 

  • Births on December 17
  • 1239 – Kujō Yoritsugu, Japanese shogun (d. 1256)
  • 1267 – Emperor Go-Uda of Japan (d. 1324)
  • 1556 – Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Pakistani-Indian poet (d. 1627)
  • 1619 – Prince Rupert of the Rhine (d. 1682)
  • 1632 – Anthony Wood, English historian and author (d. 1695)
  • 1685 – Thomas Tickell, English poet (d. 1740)
  • 1699 – Charles-Louis Mion, French composer and educator (d. 1775)
  • 1706 – Émilie du Châtelet, French mathematician and physicist (d. 1749)
  • 1734 – Maria I of Portugal (d. 1816)
  • 1749 – Domenico Cimarosa, Italian composer and educator (d. 1801)
  • 1778 – Humphry Davy, English chemist and physicist (d. 1829)
  • 1796 – Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Canadian judge and politician (d. 1865)
  • 1797 – Joseph Henry, American physicist and engineer (d. 1878)
  • 1807 – John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet and activist (d. 1892)
  • 1812 – Vilhelm Petersen, Danish painter (d. 1880)
  • 1827 – Alexander Wassilko von Serecki, Austrian lawyer and politician (d. 1893)
  • 1830 – Jules de Goncourt, French author and critic (d. 1870)
  • 1835 – Alexander Emanuel Agassiz, Swiss-American ichthyologist and engineer (d. 1910)
  • 1840 – Nozu Michitsura, Japanese field marshal (d. 1908)
  • 1842 – Sophus Lie, Norwegian mathematician and academic (d. 1899)
  • 1847 – Émile Faguet, French author and critic (d. 1916)
  • 1853 – Pierre Paul Émile Roux, French physician and immunologist, co-founded the Pasteur Institute (d. 1933)
  • 1859 – Paul César Helleu, French painter and illustrator (d. 1927)
  • 1866 – Kazys Grinius, Lithuanian physician and politician, 3rd President of Lithuania (d. 1950)
  • 1873 – Ford Madox Ford, English novelist, poet, and critic (d. 1939)
  • 1874 – William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canadian economist and politician, 10th Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1950)
  • 1881 – Aubrey Faulkner, South African-English cricketer and coach (d. 1930)
  • 1887 – Josef Lada, Czech painter and illustrator (d. 1957)
  • 1890 – Prince Joachim of Prussia (d. 1920)
  • 1892 – Sam Barry, American basketball player and coach (d. 1950)
  • 1893 – Charles C. Banks, English captain and pilot (d. 1971)
  • 1893 – Erwin Piscator, German director and producer (d. 1966)
  • 1894 – Arthur Fiedler, American conductor (d. 1979)
  • 1894 – Patrick Flynn, Irish-American runner and soldier (d. 1969)
  • 1894 – Wim Schermerhorn, Dutch cartographer, engineer, and politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (d. 1977)
  • 1895 – Gerald Patterson, Australian tennis player (d. 1967)
  • 1898 – Loren Murchison, American sprinter (d. 1979)
  • 1900 – Mary Cartwright, English mathematician and academic (d. 1998)
  • 1900 – Katina Paxinou, Greek actress (d. 1973)
  • 1903 – Erskine Caldwell, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1987)
  • 1903 – Ray Noble, English bandleader, composer, and actor (d. 1978)
  • 1904 – Paul Cadmus, American painter and illustrator (d. 1999)
  • 1905 – Simo Häyhä, Finnish soldier and sniper (d. 2002)
  • 1905 – Mohammad Hidayatullah, 11th Chief Justice of India, and politician, 6th Vice President of India (d. 1992)
  • 1905 – Erico Verissimo, Brazilian author and translator (d. 1975)
  • 1906 – Fernando Lopes-Graça, Portuguese composer and conductor (d. 1994)
  • 1906 – Russell C. Newhouse, American pilot and engineer (d. 1998)
  • 1908 – Willard Libby, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1980)
  • 1910 – Eknath Easwaran, Indian-American educator and author (d. 1999)
  • 1910 – Sy Oliver, American singer-songwriter and trumpet player (d. 1988)
  • 1912 – Edward Short, Baron Glenamara, English captain and politician, Lord President of the Council (d. 2012)
  • 1913 – Burt Baskin, American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (d. 1967)
  • 1914 – Mushtaq Ali, Indian cricketer (d. 2005)
  • 1914 – Fernando Alonso, Cuban ballet dancer, co-founded the Cuban National Ballet (d. 2013)
  • 1916 – Penelope Fitzgerald, English author and poet (d. 2000)
  • 1917 – Kenneth Dike, Nigerian historian, author, and academic (d. 1983)
  • 1920 – Kenneth E. Iverson, Canadian computer scientist, developed the APL programming language (d. 2004)
  • 1921 – Lore Berger, German-Swiss author and translator (d. 1943)
  • 1922 – Alan Voorhees, American engineer and academic (d. 2005)
  • 1923 – Jaroslav Pelikan, American historian and scholar (d. 2006)
  • 1926 – Ray Jablonski, American baseball player (d. 1985)
  • 1926 – John Hans Krebs, American lawyer and politician (d. 2014)
  • 1926 – Stephen Lewis, English actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright (d. 2015)
  • 1927 – Richard Long, American actor and director (d. 1974)
  • 1927 – Edward Meneeley, American painter and sculptor (d. 2012)
  • 1928 – Marilyn Beck, American journalist (d. 2014)
  • 1928 – Eli Beeding, American captain and pilot (d. 2013)
  • 1928 – Doyle Conner, American farmer and politician, 7th Florida Commissioner of Agriculture (d. 2012)
  • 1929 – William Safire, American journalist and author (d. 2009)
  • 1930 – Bob Guccione, American photographer and publisher, founded Penthouse (d. 2010)
  • 1930 – Armin Mueller-Stahl, German actor and painter
  • 1930 – Dorothy Rowe, Australian psychologist and author
  • 1931 – Gerald Finnerman, American director and cinematographer (d. 2011)
  • 1931 – Dave Madden, Canadian-American actor (d. 2014)
  • 1931 – James McGaugh, American neurobiologist and psychologist
  • 1932 – John Bond, English footballer and manager (d. 2012)
  • 1934 – Irving Petlin, American painter and academic
  • 1934 – Ray Wilson, English footballer and manager
  • 1935 – Brian Langford, English cricketer (d. 2013)
  • 1935 – Cal Ripken, Sr., American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 1999)
  • 1936 – Pope Francis
  • 1936 – Tommy Steele, English singer, guitarist, and actor
  • 1937 – Brian Hayes, Australian-English radio host
  • 1937 – Art Neville, American singer and keyboard player
  • 1937 – Kerry Packer, Australian businessman, founded World Series Cricket (d. 2005)
  • 1937 – John Kennedy Toole, American novelist (d. 1969)
  • 1937 – Calvin Waller, American general (d. 1996)
  • 1939 – James Booker, American pianist (d. 1983)
  • 1939 – Eddie Kendricks, American R&B singer-songwriter (d. 1992)
  • 1940 – Kåre Valebrokk, Norwegian journalist (d. 2013)
  • 1940 – María Elena Velasco, Mexican actress, singer, director, and screenwriter (d. 2015)
  • 1941 – Dave Dee, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2009)
  • 1941 – Stan Mudenge, Zimbabwean historian and politician, Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs (d. 2012)
  • 1942 – Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian general and politician, 7th Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
  • 1942 – Paul Butterfield, American singer and harmonica player (d. 1987)
  • 1943 – Ron Geesin, Scottish pianist and composer
  • 1944 – Jack L. Chalker, American author and educator (d. 2005)
  • 1944 – Carlo M. Croce, Italian-American oncologist and academic
  • 1944 – Bernard Hill, English actor
  • 1945 – Ernie Hudson, American actor
  • 1945 – Chris Matthews, American journalist and author
  • 1945 – Jüri Talvet, Estonian poet and critic
  • 1945 – Jacqueline Wilson, English author and academic
  • 1946 – Simon Bates, English radio host
  • 1946 – Eugene Levy, Canadian actor, director, and screenwriter
  • 1947 – Wes Studi, American actor and producer
  • 1948 – Valery Belousov, Russian ice hockey player and coach (d. 2015)
  • 1948 – Jim Bonfanti, American rock drummer
  • 1948 – Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkish economist and politician
  • 1949 – Sotiris Kaiafas, Cypriot footballer
  • 1949 – Paul Rodgers, English singer-songwriter and producer
  • 1950 – Laurence F. Johnson, American educator and author
  • 1950 – Maurice Peoples, American sprinter and coach
  • 1951 – Pat Hill, American football player and coach
  • 1951 – Ken Hitchcock, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
  • 1951 – Tatyana Kazankina, Russian runner
  • 1953 – Barry Livingston, American actor
  • 1953 – Bill Pullman, American actor
  • 1954 – Sergėjus Jovaiša, Lithuanian basketball player
  • 1955 – Brad Davis, American basketball player, coach, and sportscaster
  • 1956 – Peter Farrelly, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1956 – Dominic Lawson, English journalist and author
  • 1956 – Totka Petrova, Bulgarian runner
  • 1957 – Wendy Hoyte, English sprinter
  • 1957 – Bob Ojeda, American baseball player and coach
  • 1958 – Mike Mills, American bass player, songwriter, and producer
  • 1959 – Bob Stinson, American songwriter and guitarist (d. 1995)
  • 1961 – Mansoor al-Jamri, Bahraini journalist and author
  • 1962 – Paul Dobson, English footballer
  • 1962 – Galina Malchugina, Russian sprinter
  • 1962 – Rocco Mediate, American golfer and journalist
  • 1964 – Ginger, English singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1964 – Frank Musil, Czech ice hockey player and coach
  • 1964 – Joe Wolf, American basketball player and coach
  • 1965 – Craig Berube, Canadian ice hockey player and coach
  • 1966 – Yuko Arimori, Japanese runner
  • 1966 – Tracy Byrd, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1966 – Kristiina Ojuland, Estonian politician, 23rd Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 1967 – Vincent Damphousse, Canadian ice hockey player and sportscaster
  • 1967 – Karsten Neitzel, German footballer and manager
  • 1968 – Claudio Suárez, Mexican footballer
  • 1968 – Paul Tracy, Canadian race car driver and sportscaster
  • 1969 – Laurie Holden, American actress and model
  • 1969 – Inna Lasovskaya, Russian triple jumper
  • 1969 – Chuck Liddell, American mixed martial artist and kick-boxer
  • 1969 – Mick Quinn, English singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer
  • 1969 – Michael V., Filipino comedian and actor
  • 1971 – Antoine Rigaudeau, French basketball player
  • 1972 – Iván Pedroso, Cuban long jumper and coach
  • 1973 – Konstadinos Gatsioudis, Greek javelin thrower
  • 1973 – Rian Johnson, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1973 – Paula Radcliffe, English runner
  • 1973 – Hasan Vural, German-Turkish footballer
  • 1974 – Charl Langeveldt, South African cricketer
  • 1974 – Sarah Paulson, American actress
  • 1974 – Giovanni Ribisi, American actor
  • 1975 – Nick Dinsmore, American wrestler and trainer
  • 1975 – Susanthika Jayasinghe, Sri Lankan sprinter
  • 1975 – Milla Jovovich, Ukrainian-American actress
  • 1976 – Éric Bédard, Canadian speed skater and coach
  • 1976 – Nir Davidovich, Israeli footballer and manager
  • 1976 – Patrick Müller, Swiss footballer
  • 1976 – Andrew Simpson, English sailor (d. 2013)
  • 1976 – Takeo Spikes, American football player and sportscaster
  • 1977 – Arnaud Clément, French tennis player
  • 1977 – Samuel Påhlsson, Swedish ice hockey player
  • 1977 – Katheryn Winnick, Canadian actress
  • 1978 – Alex Cintrón, Puerto Rican-American baseball player and sportscaster
  • 1978 – Manny Pacquiao, Filipino boxer and politician
  • 1978 – Neil Sanderson, Canadian drummer and songwriter
  • 1978 – Chase Utley, American baseball player
  • 1978 – Riteish Deshmukh, Indian film actor, producer and architect
  • 1979 – Matt Murley, American ice hockey player
  • 1979 – Paul Smith, English footballer
  • 1980 – Ryan Hunter-Reay, American race car driver
  • 1980 – Alexandra Papageorgiou, Greek hammer thrower
  • 1980 – Eli Pariser, American activist and author, co-founded Avaaz.org
  • 1981 – Jerry Hsu, American skateboarder and photographer
  • 1981 – Tim Wiese, German footballer
  • 1982 – Josh Barfield, American baseball player
  • 1982 – Lorenzo Cittadini, Italian rugby player
  • 1982 – Craig Kielburger, Canadian activist and author, co-founded Free the Children and Me to We
  • 1982 – Stéphane Lasme, Gabonese basketball player
  • 1982 – Ryan Moats, American football player
  • 1982 – Onur Özsu, Turkish singer-songwriter
  • 1983 – Erik Christensen, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1983 – Haron Keitany, Kenyan runner
  • 1984 – Luis Maria Alfageme, Argentinian footballer
  • 1984 – Julian Bennett, English footballer
  • 1984 – Andrew Davies, English footballer
  • 1984 – Mikky Ekko, American singer-songwriter and producer
  • 1984 – Shannon Woodward, American actress
  • 1985 – Łukasz Broź, Polish footballer
  • 1985 – Craig Reid, English footballer
  • 1985 – Greg James, English radio presenter and comedian
  • 1986 – Emma Bell, American actress
  • 1987 – Bo Guagua, Chinese businessman
  • 1988 – Liisa Ehrberg, Estonian cyclist
  • 1988 – Grethe Grünberg, Estonian ice dancer
  • 1988 – Kris Joseph, Canadian basketball player
  • 1988 – David Rudisha, Kenyan runner
  • 1988 – Craig Sutherland, Scottish footballer
  • 1991 – James Hurst, American football player
  • 1991 – Jordan Rankin, Australian rugby league player
  • 1991 – Atsedu Tsegay, Ethiopian runner
  • 1992 – Joshua Ingram, Canadian drummer and percussionist
  • 1992 – Quinton de Kock, South African cricketer
  • 1993 – Patricia Kú Flores, Peruvian tennis player
  • 1994 – Lloyd Perrett, New Zealand rugby league player
  • 1994 – Nat Wolff, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player and actor
  • 1997 – Naiktha Bains, Australian tennis player
  • 1998 – Martin Ødegaard, Norwegian footballer

 

 

 

 

 

  • Deaths on December 17
  • 779 – Sturm, abbot of Fulda
  • 908 – al-Abbas ibn al-Hasan al-Jarjara’i, Abbasid vizier
  • 908 – Abdallah ibn al-Mu’tazz, Abbasid prince and poet, anti-caliph for one day
  • 942 – William I of Normandy (b. 900)
  • 1187 – Pope Gregory VIII (b. 1100)
  • 1195 – Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut (b. 1150)
  • 1273 – Rumi, Persian jurist, theologian, and poet (b. 1207)
  • 1663 – Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba (b. 1583)
  • 1721 – Richard Lumley, 1st Earl of Scarbrough, English soldier and politician, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (b. 1640)
  • 1830 – Simón Bolívar, Venezuelan general and politician, 2nd President of Venezuela (b. 1783)
  • 1833 – Kaspar Hauser, German feral child (b. 1812)
  • 1847 – Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma (b. 1791)
  • 1907 – William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, Irish-Scottish physicist and engineer (b. 1824)
  • 1909 – Leopold II of Belgium (b. 1835)
  • 1917 – Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, English physician and activist (b. 1836)
  • 1927 – Rajendra Lahiri, Indian activist (b. 1892)
  • 1928 – Frank Rinehart, American photographer (b. 1861)
  • 1929 – Manuel de Oliveira Gomes da Costa, Portuguese general and politician, 10th President of Portugal (b. 1863)
  • 1930 – Peter Warlock, Welsh composer and critic (b. 1894)
  • 1932 – Charles Winckler, Danish discus thrower, shot putter, and tug of war competitor (b. 1867)
  • 1933 – 13th Dalai Lama (b. 1876)
  • 1940 – Alicia Boole Stott, Anglo-Irish mathematician and academic (b. 1860)
  • 1942 – Allen Bathurst, Lord Apsley, English lieutenant and politician (b. 1895)
  • 1947 – Christos Tsigiridis, Greek engineer (b. 1877)
  • 1956 – Eddie Acuff, American actor (b. 1903)
  • 1957 – Dorothy L. Sayers, English author, poet, and playwright (b. 1893)
  • 1962 – Thomas Mitchell, American actor (b. 1892)
  • 1964 – Victor Francis Hess, Austrian-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1883)
  • 1967 – Harold Holt, Australian lawyer and politician, 17th Prime Minister of Australia (b. 1908)
  • 1970 – Oliver Waterman Larkin, American historian, author, and educator (b. 1896)
  • 1978 – Don Ellis, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (b. 1934)
  • 1981 – Antiochos Evangelatos, Greek composer and conductor (b. 1903)
  • 1982 – Homer S. Ferguson, American lawyer, judge, and politician (b. 1889)
  • 1986 – Guillermo Cano Isaza, Colombian journalist (b. 1925)
  • 1987 – Linda Wong, American porn actress (b. 1951)
  • 1987 – Marguerite Yourcenar, Belgian-American author and poet (b. 1903)
  • 1992 – Günther Anders, German journalist and philosopher (b. 1902)
  • 1992 – Dana Andrews, American actor (b. 1909)
  • 1999 – Rex Allen, American singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1920)
  • 1999 – Grover Washington, Jr., American singer-songwriter and saxophonist (b. 1943)
  • 1999 – C. Vann Woodward, American historian and academic (b. 1908)
  • 2002 – K. W. Devanayagam, Sri Lankan lawyer and politician, 10th Sri Lankan Minister of Justice (b. 1910)
  • 2003 – Otto Graham, American football player and coach (b. 1921)
  • 2004 – Tom Wesselmann, American painter and sculptor (b. 1931)
  • 2005 – Jack Anderson, American journalist and author (b. 1922)
  • 2005 – Marc Favreau, Canadian actor and poet (b. 1929)
  • 2005 – Haljand Udam, Estonian orientalist and academic (d. 1936)
  • 2006 – Larry Sherry, American baseball player and coach (b. 1935)
  • 2008 – Sammy Baugh, American football player and coach (b. 1914)
  • 2008 – Freddy Breck, German singer-songwriter, producer, and journalist (b. 1942)
  • 2008 – Dave Smith, American baseball player and coach (b. 1955)
  • 2009 – Chris Henry, American football player (b. 1983)
  • 2009 – Jennifer Jones, American actress (b. 1919)
  • 2009 – Alaina Reed Hall, American actress (b. 1946)
  • 2010 – Captain Beefheart, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
  • 2010 – Walt Dropo, American basketball and baseball player (b. 1923)
  • 2010 – Ralph Coates, English footballer (b. 1946)
  • 2011 – Eva Ekvall, Venezuelan journalist and author, Miss Venezuela 2000 (b. 1983)
  • 2011 – Kim Jong-il, North Korean commander and politician, 2nd Supreme Leader of North Korea (b. 1941)
  • 2012 – Richard Adams, Filipino-American activist (b. 1947)
  • 2012 – James Gower, American priest and activist, co-founded the College of the Atlantic (b. 1922)
  • 2012 – Daniel Inouye, American captain and politician (b. 1924)
  • 2012 – Laurier LaPierre, Canadian historian, journalist, and politician (b. 1929)
  • 2012 – Frank Pastore, American baseball player and radio host (b. 1957)
  • 2013 – Fred Bruemmer, Latvian-Canadian photographer (b. 1929)
  • 2013 – Ricardo María Carles Gordó, Spanish cardinal (b. 1926)
  • 2013 – Richard Heffner, American historian and television host (b. 1925)
  • 2013 – Tetsurō Kashibuchi, Japanese drummer, songwriter, and producer (b. 1950)
  • 2013 – Janet Rowley, American geneticist and biologist (b. 1925)
  • 2013 – Conny van Rietschoten, Dutch sailor (b. 1926)
  • 2014 – Dieter Grau, German-American scientist and engineer (b. 1913)
  • 2014 – Richard C. Hottelet, American journalist (b. 1917)
  • 2014 – Oleh Lysheha, Ukrainian poet and playwright (b. 1949)
  • 2014 – Lowell Steward, American captain (b. 1919)
  • 2014 – Ivan Vekić, Croatian colonel, lawyer, and politician, Croatian Minister of the Interior (b. 1938)
  • 2015 – Hal Brown, American baseball player and manager (b. 1924)
  • 2015 – Osamu Hayaishi, American-Japanese biochemist and academic (b. 1920)
  • 2015 – Michael Wyschogrod, German-American philosopher and theologian (b. 1928)
  • 2016 – Henry Heimlich, American doctor (b. 1920)
  • 2016 – Gordon Hunt, American voice director (b. 1929)

 

 

 

  • Holidays and observances on December 17
  • Christian feast day:
    • Daniel the Prophet
    • Josep Manyanet i Vives
    • Lazarus of Bethany (local commemoration in Cuba)
    • O antiphon (Catholic Church)
    • Olympias the Deaconess
    • Wivina
    • Sturm
    • December 17 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
  • Accession Day (Bahrain)
  • International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
  • Kurdish flag day (Global Kurdish population)
  • National Day (Bhutan)
  • Pan American Aviation Day (United States)
  • Wright Brothers Day, a United States federal observance by Presidential proclamation

 

December 17
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