|August 17 in recent years
August 17 is the 229th day of the year (230th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 136 days remaining until the end of the year.
- 1717 - George Boone, the grandfather of pioneer and American folk hero Daniel Boone sails to America from Bradninch, England
- 1807 - Robert Fulton's first American steamboat leaves New York City for Albany on the Hudson River, inaugurating the first commercial steamboat service in the world.
- 1862 - Indian Wars: The Lakota (Sioux) Dakota War of 1862 begins in Minnesota as vicious Lakota attack white settlements along the Minnesota River.
- 1863 - American Civil War: In Charleston, Union batteries and ships bombard Confederate-held Fort Sumter.
- 1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Gainesville - Confederate forces defeat Union troops near Gainesville, Florida.
- 1883 - The first public performance of the Dominican Republic's national anthem, Quisqueyanos valientes.
- 1907 - Pike Place Market, the longest continuously-running public farmers market in the US, opened in Seattle.
- 1914 - World War I: Battle of Stalluponen - The German army of General Hermann von François defeats the Russian force commanded by Pavel Rennenkampf near modern-day Nesterov, Russia.
- 1915 - Jewish American Leo Frank is lynched for the alleged murder of a 13-year-old girl in Marietta.
- 1918 - Bolshevik revolutionary leader Moisei Uritsky is assassinated.
- 1942 - U.S. Marines raid the Japanese-held Pacific island of Makin (Butaritari).
- 1943 - World War II: The U.S. Eighth Air Force suffers the loss of 60 bombers on the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission.
- 1943 - World War II: The U.S. Seventh Army under General George S. Patton arrive in Messina, followed several hours later by the British 8th Army under Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, thus completing the Allied conquest of Sicily.
- 1943 - World War II: First Québec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King begins.
- 1945 - Indonesian Declaration of Independence.
- 1953 - Addiction: First meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in Southern California.
- 1959 - Quake Lake: Quake Lake was formed by a 7.5 rated earthquake in Montana.
- 1960 - Decolonization: Gabon gains independence from France.
- 1962 - East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin becoming the first victim of the wall.
- 1963 - A ferry linking remote islands off the coast of Okinawa sinks, killing 112.
- 1969 - Category 5 Hurricane Camille hits the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing $1.5 billion in damage.
- 1970 - Venera Program: Venera 7 launched. It will later become the first spacecraft to successfully transmit data from the surface of another planet (Venus).
- 1978 - Double Eagle II becomes first balloon to cross the Atlantic Ocean when it lands in Miserey near Paris, 137 hours after leaving Presque Isle.
- 1979 - Two Soviet Aeroflot jetliners collide in mid-air over Ukraine, killing 156
- 1980 - Azaria Chamberlain disappears, likely taken by a dingo, leading to what was then the most publicised trial in Australian history.
- 1982 - The first Compact Discs (CD's) were released to the public in Germany.
- 1988 - Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel are killed in a plane crash.
- 1998 - Monica Lewinsky scandal: US President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an "improper physical relationship" with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. On the same day he admits before the nation that he "misled people" about his relationship.
- 1999 - A 7.4-magnitude earthquake strikes İzmit, Turkey, killing more than 17,000 and injuring 44,000.
- 2004 - MD5 collision found by Chinese researchers.
- 2004 - The National Assembly of Serbia unanimously adopts new state symbols for Serbia: Boze Pravde becomes the new anthem and the coat of arms is adopted for the whole country.
- 2005 - The first forced evacuation of settlers, as part of the Israel unilateral disengagement plan, starts.
- 1473 - Richard, Duke of York (d. 1483?)
- 1562 - Hans Leo Hassler (baptized), German composer (d. 1612)
- 1578 - Francesco Albani, Italian painter (d. 1660)
- 1601 - Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician (d. 1665)
- 1629 - King John III of Poland (d. 1696)
- 1768 - Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, French general (d. 1800)
- 1786 - Davy Crockett, American frontiersman and soldier (d. 1836)
- 1794 - Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, German priest (d. 1849)
- 1828 - Jules Bernard Luys, French neurologist (d. 1897)
- 1844 - Menelek II of Ethiopia (d. 1913)
- 1863 - Gene Stratton-Porter, American author and naturalist (d. 1924)
- 1866 - Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, 6th Nizam of Hyderabad (d. 1911)
- 1866 - Julia Marlowe, English actress (d. 1950)
- 1873 - John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (d. 1946)
- 1882 - Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood producer (d. 1974)
- 1887 - Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born Black rights activist (d. 1940)
- 1887 - Charles I of Austria (d. 1922)
- 1888 - Monty Woolley, American actor (d. 1963)
- 1890 - Harry Hopkins, 8th United States Secretary of Commerce (d. 1946)
- 1890 - Stefan Bastyr, Polish aviator (d. 1920)
- 1893 - Mae West, American actress (d. 1980)
- 1896 - Leslie Groves, American military engineer (d. 1970)
- 1904 - Leopold Nowak, Austrian musicologist (d. 1991)
- 1904 - Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician (d. 1984)
- 1909 - Larry Clinton, American trumpeter and bandleader (d. 1985)
- 1911 - Mikhail Botvinnik, Russian chess player (d. 1995)
- 1913 - W. Mark Felt, American Watergate informant
- 1913 - Rudy York, American baseball player (d. 1970)
- 1913 - Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Argentine racing driver (d. 1989)
- 1914 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (d. 1988)
- 1919 - Georgia Gibbs, American singer (d. 2006)
- 1920 - Maureen O'Hara, Irish actress
- 1921 - Geoffrey Rudolph Elton, British historian (d. 1994)
- 1926 - Jiang Zemin, Chinese politician
- 1926 - George Melly, British jazz & blues singer (d. 2007)
- 1926 - Jean Poiret, French actor, director and screenwriter (d. 1992)
- 1929 - Francis Gary Powers, American U-2 pilot and POW that was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 (d. 1977)
- 1930 - Glenn Corbett, American actor (d. 1993)
- 1930 - Ted Hughes, English poet (d. 1998)
- 1932 - V. S. Naipaul, West Indian writer, Nobel Laureate
- 1933 - Eugene F. Kranz, American space exploration executive
- 1933 - Mark Dinning, American singer (d. 1986)
- 1935 - Oleg Tabakov, Russian actor
- 1938 - Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian Muslim cleric
- 1939 - Luther Allison, American musician
- 1939 - Anthony Valentine, British actor
- 1940 - Eduardo Mignogna, Argentinian film director (d. 2006)
- 1941 - Jean Pierre Lefebvre, French Canadian film director
- 1941 - Boog Powell, American baseball player
- 1943 - Robert De Niro, American actor
- 1943 - Dave "Snaker" Ray, American musician (d. 2002)
- 1944 - Lawrence Joseph Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, Billionaire
- 1946 - Martha Coolidge, American film director
- 1947 - Gary Talley, American guitarist (Box Tops)
- 1948 - Rod MacDonald, American musician
- 1949 - Sib Hashian, American drummer (Boston)
- 1951 - Robert Joy, Canadian actor
- 1951 - Alan Minter, British boxer
- 1952 - Nelson Piquet, Brazilian race car driver
- 1952 - Guillermo Vilas, Argentinian tennis player
- 1953 - Judith Regan, American book publisher
- 1953 - Kevin Rowland, English musician (Dexys Midnight Runners)
- 1954 - Eric Johnson, American guitarist
- 1955 - Richard Hilton, American heir
- 1956 - Gail Berman, American film executive
- 1956 - Álvaro Pino, Spanish cyclist
- 1957 - Robin Cousins, British figure skater
- 1958 - Belinda Carlisle, American singer
- 1958 - Kirk Stevens, Canadian snooker player
- 1959 - David Koresh, American cult leader (d. 1993)
- 1959 - Jonathan Franzen, American author
- 1960 - Sean Penn, American actor and director
- 1960 - Stephan Eicher, Swiss singer
- 1962 - Gilby Clarke, American musician Guns N' Roses
- 1963 - S. Shankar, Indian film director.
- 1964 - Colin James, Canadian musician
- 1966 - Rodney Mullen, American skateboarder
- 1966 - Don Sweeney, Canadian ice hockey player
- 1967 - Kevin Max Singer and former member of dc_talk
- 1968 - Ed McCaffrey, American football player
- 1968 - Helen McCrory, English actress
- 1969 - Donnie Wahlberg, American actor and singer
- 1970 - Jim Courier, American tennis player
- 1970 - Rupert Degas, English actor and voice artist
- 1970 - Oyvind Leonhardsen, Norwegian footballer
- 1971 - Jorge Posada, Puerto Rican baseball player
- 1971 - Uhm Jung-hwa, South Korean singer and actress
- 1972 - Ken Ryker, American pornographic actor
- 1974 - Tony Hajjar, Lebanese drummer (At the Drive-In, Sparta)
- 1975 - Giuliana DePandi, Italian-born American television personality
- 1975 - İlhan Mansız, Turkish footballer
- 1976 - Scott Halberstadt, American actor
- 1977 - Thierry Henry, French footballer
- 1977 - Tarja Turunen, Finnish singer
- 1977 - William Gallas, French footballer
- 1978 - Vibeke Stene, Norwegian singer (Tristania)
- 1979 - Antwaan Randle El, American football player
- 1979 - Marcus Patric, British actor
- 1980 - Lene Marlin, Norwegian singer
- 1980 - Keith Dabengwa, Zimbabwean cricketer
- 1980 - Jan Kromkamp, Dutch footballer
- 1982 - Melissa Anderson, American professional wrestler
- 1982 - Phil Jagielka, English footballer
- 1983 - Dustin Pedroia, American baseball player
- 1984 - Dee Brown, American basketball player
- 1986 - Rudy Gay, American basketball player
- 1986 - Tyrus Thomas, American basketball player
- 1988 - Erika Toda, Japanese actress
- 1990 - Rachel Hurd-Wood, British actress
- 1990 - Colin Bates, American actor
- 1996 - Ella Cruz, Filipina actress
- 1153 - Eustace IV of Boulogne, son of Stephen of England (b. 1130)
- 1304 - Emperor Go-Fukakusa of Japan (b. 1243)
- 1510 - Edmund Dudley, English statesman (b. 1462)
- 1657 - Robert Blake, British admiral (b. 1599)
- 1673 - Regnier de Graaf, Dutch physician and anatomist (b. 1641)
- 1676 - Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen, German novelist (b. 1621)
- 1720 - Anne Lefèvre, French scholar (b. 1654)
- 1723 - Joseph Bingham, English scholar (b. 1668)
- 1768 (N. S.) - Vasily Kirillovich Trediakovsky, Russian poet (b. 1703)
- 1785 - Jonathan Trumbull, Governor of the Colony and the state of Connecticut (b. 1710)
- 1786 - King Frederick II of Prussia (b. 1712)
- 1834 - Husein Gradaščević, Bosnian rebel leader (b. 1802)
- 1850 - Don José de San Martín, Argentine general (b. 1778)
- 1861 - Alcée Louis la Branche, American Politician (b. 1806)
- 1875 - Wilhelm Bleek, German linguist (b. 1827)
- 1880 - Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist (b. 1810)
- 1896 - Bridget Driscoll, world's first automobile fatality
- 1901 - Edmond Audran, French composer (b. 1842)
- 1918 - Moisei Uritsky, Russian revolutionary (b. 1873)
- 1920 - Ray Chapman, American baseball player (b. 1891)
- 1925 - Ioan Slavici, Transylvanian writer of Romanian origin (b. 1848)
- 1940 - Billy Fiske, American aviator and Olympic athlete (b. 1911)
- 1954 - Billy Murray, American recording artist (b. 1877)
- 1962 - Peter Fechter trying to cross the Berlin Wall (b. 1944)
- 1969 - Otto Stern, German physicist, Nobel laureate (b. 1888)
- 1970 - Rattana Pestonji, Thai filmmaker (b. 1908)
- 1971 - Wilhelm List, German field marshal (b. 1880)
- 1973 - Jean Barraqué, French composer (b. 1928)
- 1973 - Paul Williams, American singer (The Temptations) (b. 1939)
- 1973 - Conrad Aiken, American author (b. 1889)
- 1979 - Vivian Vance, American actress (b. 1909)
- 1983 - Ira Gershwin, American lyricist (b. 1896)
- 1987 - Rudolf Hess, Nazi deputy (b. 1894)
- 1988 - Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, 6th President of Pakistan (b. 1924)
- 1988 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (b. 1914)
- 1988 - Victoria Shaw, Australian-born American actress (b. 1935)
- 1990 - Pearl Bailey, American singer and actress (b. 1918)
- 1992 - Al Parker, American adult film actor (b. 1952)
- 1993 - Feng Kang, Chinese mathematician (b. 1920)
- 1994 - Jack Sharkey, American boxer (b. 1902)
- 1995 - Howard Koch, American screenwriter (b. 1902)
- 1995 - Ted Whitten, Australian rules footballer (b. 1933)
- 2004 - Thea Astley, Australian writer (b. 1925)
- 2004 - Gérard Souzay, French baritone (b. 1918)
- 2005 - John Bahcall, American astrophysicist (b. 1934)
- 2007 - Bill Deedes, British journalist and politician (b. 1913)
- 2007 - Eddie Griffin, American basketball player (b. 1982)
Holidays and observances
129 Familypedia people were born on August 17
134 Familypedia people died on August 17
86 Familypedia people were first married on August 17