This day in History – November 17
1939: The first official radio broadcast was made on VP5PZ radio station in Jamaica.
1534: British Parliament passes the Act of Supremacy, which declares King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England.
1558: Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England after the death of Mary I. 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 pro-Catholic legislation and made efforts to restore the pope to supremacy in England. A Protestant rebellion ensued, and Queen Mary imprisoned Elizabeth, a Protestant, in the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity.
1604: Sir Walter Raleigh is tried for treason and is imprisoned in England.
1734: Publisher of the New York Weekly Journal, John Peter Zenger, is arrested for libel. He is later acquitted, a decision regarded as a landmark for freedom of expression.
1796: Catherine the Great of Russia dies at the age of 67.
1800: US Congress holds its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.
1831: Venezuela, Ecuador and New Granada dissolve the Union of Colombia; New Granada becomes an independent state.
1869: Suez Canal opens in Egypt, linking Mediterranean and Red Seas.
1937: Lord Halifax visits Adolf Hitler, attempting a peaceful settlement of the majority German Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. This marks the start of Britain’s policy of appeasement.
1943: The Soviet Union’s Red Army starts the first withdrawal of the Summer offensive in Kiev, where several sections were abandoned in the face of Nazi counter-attacks.
1954: General Gamal Abdel Nasser becomes head of State in Egypt.
1963: Army in Iraq revolts and sets up new revolutionary Government headed by Abdel Salam Arif.
1964: Britain says it will ban arms exports to South Africa.
1969: The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the United States and Russia begin in Helsinki, Finland.
1971: Vemij Thanon Kittikachorn seizes power in Thailand, abolishes Parliament, dismisses Cabinet and suspends nation’s constitution.
1972: Former Argentine dictator Juan D Peron returns to his homeland after 17 years of exile. Wealthy socialite Barbara Baekeland is stabbed to death with a kitchen knife by her 25-year-old son, Antony, in her London, England, penthouse.
1973: US President Richard Nixon tells an Associated Press managing editors meeting in Florida that “people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”
1977: Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat formally accepts invitation to visit Israel, ignoring uproar among Arab nations and in his own Government.
1987: Iran says Iraqi warplanes attacked unfinished nuclear power plant.
1988: Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party scores solid victory in parliamentary elections.
1990: President Mikhail Gorbachev reorganises the executive branch of the Soviet government, giving the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s 15 constituent republics a larger role in decision-making by the central regime.
1992: Italian police arrest 75 people in the largest Mafia crackdown since 1984.
1993: South African leaders endorse a new constitution to end apartheid. The US House of Representatives approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
1999: The United Nations urges Rwanda to cooperate with an international tribunal, after the release of genocide suspect Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a top Hutu official, on procedural grounds.
2003: Actor and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger is sworn in as the 38th governor of California at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Schwarzenegger became a major Hollywood star in the 1980s with such action movies as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, defeated Governor Gray Davis in a special recall election on October 7, 2003.
2005: Rebels burning tires and sporadic explosions block thousands of Sri Lankans from voting in a tight election for a new president to shape peace efforts in the country bloodied by civil war and devastated by the 2004 tsunami.
2007: Aid groups in Congo secure the release of more than 200 child soldiers from militia fighters who forcibly recruited them in the east of the country.
2008: Courts in military-ruled Myanmar sentence at least seven democracy activists to prison, continuing a crackdown that saw about 70 people jailed the previous week.
2009: President Barack Obama, with China’s leader at his side, lifts his sights for a broad accord at next month’s climate conference that he says will lead to immediate action and “rally the world” toward a solution on global warming.
2010: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah steps down as head of the country’s National Guard and transfers the influential position to his son, an apparent sign that the elderly monarch is beginning to lessen some of his duties.
2011: Israel has identified eastern Africa as an important strategic interest and is stepping up ties with nations in the region in a joint effort to control the spread of Islamic extremists.
2012: A speeding train crashes into a bus carrying Egyptian children to their kindergarten in central Egypt, killing at least 49 and prompting a wave of anger against the Government in Cairo. Israel destroys the headquarters of Hamas’s prime minister and blasts a sprawling network of smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip, broadening a blistering four-day-old offensive against the Islamic militant group. A speeding train crashes into a bus carrying Egyptian children to their kindergarten, killing 48 children and three adults.
2013: Residents of the Libyan capital launch a general strike and hold protests demanding the city’s myriad of powerful militias be disbanded after violence in which nearly 50 people were killed.
2016: President-elect Donald Trump, at Trump Tower in New York, holds his first meeting with a world leader, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and receives advice from former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Rock Hudson, US actor (1925-1985); Martin Scorsese, US film director (1942- ); Cyril Ramaphosa, African National Congress secretary-general and head of the Constitutional Assembly (1952- ); Danny DeVito, US actor (1944- ); Lorne Michaels, US writer/producer (1944- ); Rachel McAdams, Canadian actress (1978- )