This Day In History

https://www.history.com
  • Siege of Knoxville, Tennessee, begins

    On November 17, 1863, Confederate General James Longstreet places the city of Knoxville, Tennessee, under siege. After two weeks and one failed attack, he abandoned the siege and rejoined General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The Knoxville campaign began in November when Longstreet ...
  • Verdi’s first opera opens

    Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s first opera, Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio, debuts in Milan. The premiere was held at La Scala, Italy’s most prestigious theater. Oberto was received favorably, and the next day the composer was commissioned by Bartolomeo Merelli, the impresario at La Scala, to ...
  • Suez Canal opens

    The Suez Canal, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red seas, is inaugurated in an elaborate ceremony attended by French Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III. In 1854, Ferdinand de Lesseps, the former French consul to Cairo, secured an agreement with the Ottoman governor of Egypt to build a canal ...
  • Elizabethan Age begins

    Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth. The two half-sisters, both daughters of King Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary’s five-year reign. Mary, who was brought up as a Catholic, enacted ...
  • My Lai trial begins

    The court-martial of 1st Lt. William Calley begins. Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division, had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4 on March 16, ...
  • 1st Cavalry unit ambushed in the Ia Drang Valley

    During part of what would become known as the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, a battalion from the 1st Cavalry Division is ambushed by the 8th Battalion of the North Vietnamese 66th Regiment. The battle started several days earlier when the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry engaged a large North ...
  • TV viewers become outraged as NFL game is cut off to air “Heidi”

    On November 17, 1968, the Oakland Raiders score two touchdowns in nine seconds to beat the New York Jets—and no one sees it, because they’re watching the movie Heidi instead. With just 65 seconds left to play, NBC switched off the game in favor of its previously scheduled programming, a made-for-TV ...
  • Nixon insists that he is “not a crook”

    In the midst of the Watergate scandal that eventually ended his presidency, President Richard Nixon tells a group of newspaper editors gathered at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, that he is “not a crook.” Nixon made the now-famous declaration during a televised question-and-answer session ...
  • The Kingston Trio brings folk music to the top of the U.S. pop charts

    On November 17, 1958, the Kingston Trio’s “Tom Dooley” hits #1 on the Billboard pop chart. While they might not have wanted to acknowledge it, the fans of 1960s protest folk probably owed the very existence of the movement to three guys in crew cuts and candy-striped shirts who honed their act not ...
  • “The Terminator” becomes “The Governator” of California

    On November 17, 2003, the actor and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is sworn in as the 38th governor of California at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger, who became a major Hollywood star in the 1980s with such action movies as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, defeated ...