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This Day in History - September 17

Monday, September 17, 2012    

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Today’s highlight:

1935: Manuel Quezon is elected first President of the Philippine Commonwealth.

Other highlights

1595 - Pope Clement VII absolves Henry VI, a former Protestant, and recognizes him as King of France.

1631 - Swedish-Saxon army under Gustav II Adolf of Sweden destroys the Catholic army at Breitenfeld, Germany, marking the rise of Sweden as a major power.

1665 - Bubonic plague breaks out in London.

1730 - Ahmet XII is deposed, and is succeeded by Mahmoud I in Turkey.

1787 - U.S. Constitution is signed by a majority of delegates attending the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.

1862 - Union forces fight a Confederate invasion in Maryland in the American Civil War Battle of Antietam. There were 23,100 killed, wounded or captured, making it the bloodiest day in U.S. military history.

1900 - Proclamation of Commonwealth of Australia as Federal Union of the Six Colonies.

1939 - The Soviet Union invades Poland, more than two weeks after Nazi Germany launched its assault.

1944 - The Battle of Arnhem begins with an Allied airborne landing in the Netherlands.

1948 - Sweden's Count Folke Bernadotte, United Nations mediator in Arab-Israeli conflict over Palestine, is slain near Jerusalem by Jewish terrorists.

1949 - Fire destroys Noronic, the largest passenger steamer on Great Lakes, at Toronto pier, in Canada, killing more than 130 people.

1957 - Troops led by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, Thai Army Commander in Chief, seize control of the Thailand government and ousts Premier Pibul Songgram in a bloodless coup.

1963 - Malaysia breaks off diplomatic relations with Indonesia because of what it describes as President Sukarno's increased hostility.

1964 - United States discloses development of two weapons systems capable of intercepting and destroying armed satellites circling the earth.

1967 - A riot during a soccer game in Turkey kills 42 people and injures 600 others.

1970 - Open warfare erupts in Jordan between King Hussein's army and Palestinian guerrillas, precipitating world crisis.

1978 - Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin sign an agreement for Middle East peace at Camp David, United States.

1980 - Exiled Nicaraguan leader Anastasio Somoza is assassinated in an explosion that wrecks his car in Asuncion, Paraguay.

1992 - U.S. special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh calls a halt to his five-and-a-half-year probe of the Iran-Contra scandal; Italy joins Britain in pulling out of European exchange rate treaties.

1993 - The body of General Wladyslaw Sikorski, the premier of Poland's government-in-exile and commander of the Polish free forces during World War II, is reburied in Krakow. He died in an air crash in Gibraltar in 1943.

1995 - Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas party garner an overwhelming majority of the votes in elections. Aristide, who became Haiti's first democratically elected president in 1991, reiterated his vow to step down on February 7, 1996, when his term as president legally ends.

1996 - U.S. President Bill Clinton dispatches 3,500 Army soldiers to Kuwait and warns Iraq of new attacks should it threaten neighboring countries or U.S. forces.

1999 - About 30,000 people are evacuated from the Gulf Coast Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz, where a week of heavy rainfall caused several rivers to overflow and about a dozen deaths.

2003 - Colombian officials sign a non-extradition pact covering U.S. citizens sought by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands.

2004 - Mexico's President Vincente Fox and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sign a free trade agreement to ease Mexico's reliance on the U.S. while encouraging Japan to move factories there.

2005 - Palestinian forces seal off five major breaches along Gaza's porous southern border, firing warning shots in the air and clashing with stone-throwing crowds, in their strongest effort yet to halt the chaotic flood of people in and out of Egypt since Israel's withdrawal from the area.

2006 - Typhoon Shanshan sweeps toward southwestern Japan with fierce winds and heavy rains, leaving at least five people dead or missing and injuring more than 100.

2007 - Opposition candidate Ernest Bai Koroma wins Sierra Leone's presidential run-off and vows to adopt zero tolerance on corruption.

2008 - An assault on the U.S. Embassy in San'a, Yemen kills 19 people, including an American woman and six militants.

2009 - President Barack Obama abruptly cancels a long-planned missile shield for Eastern Europe, replacing a Bush-era project that was bitterly opposed by Russia with a plan he contends will better defend against a growing threat of Iranian missiles.

2010 - Hurricane Karl smashes into Mexico's Gulf Coast, creating havoc in the major port city of Veracruz and forcing the country to shut down its only nuclear power plant and its central Gulf Coast oil platforms.

2011 - Revolutionary fighters struggle to make gains in an assault into Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte with bloody street-by-street battles against loyalist forces fiercely defending the most symbolic of the shattered regime's remaining strongholds.

Today's Birthdays:

Marie-Jean Caritat, French philosopher (1743-1794); Sir Francis Chichester, British sailor (1901-1972); Hank Williams, U.S. musician (1923-1953); Anne Bancroft, U.S. actress (1931-2005); Ken Kesey, U.S. author (1935-2001); John Ritter, U.S. actor (1948-2003); Baz Luhrmann, Australian director (1962--).

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