Today in History

The Associated Press
·4-min read

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Nov. 17, the 322nd day of 2020. There are 44 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Nov. 17, 1800, Congress held its first session in the partially completed U.S. Capitol building.

On this date:

In 1558, Elizabeth I acceded to the English throne upon the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary, beginning a 44-year reign.

In 1869, the Suez Canal opened in Egypt.

In 1889, the Union Pacific Railroad Co. began direct, daily railroad service between Chicago and Portland, Oregon, as well as Chicago and San Francisco.

In 1911, the historically African-American fraternity Omega Psi Phi was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

In 1917, French sculptor Auguste Rodin (roh-DAN’) died in Meudon (meh-DON') at age 77.

In 1969, the first round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union opened in Helsinki, Finland.

In 1970, the Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the Lunokhod 1.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon told Associated Press managing editors in Orlando, Florida: “People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook.”

In 1979, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini (ah-yah-TOH’-lah hoh-MAY’-nee) ordered the release of 13 Black and/or female American hostages being held at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

In 1997, 62 people, most of them foreign tourists, were killed when militants opened fire at the Temple of Hatshepsut (haht-shehp-SOOT’) in Luxor, Egypt; the attackers, who also hacked their victims, were killed by police.

In 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was sworn in as the 38th governor of California.

In 2018, tribesman on the isolated island of North Sentinel, between India and Southeast Asia, were seen dragging and burying the body of American missionary John Allen Chau, who had reached the island the previous day despite a ban imposed by India’s government.

Ten years ago: House Democrats elected Nancy Pelosi to remain as their leader despite massive party losses in midterm elections. Republicans voted to keep John Boehner (BAY’-nur) as their top House leader, making him speaker in the new Congress. A hand-count of votes affirmed the re-election of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the first Senate candidate in over 50 years to win a write-in campaign. The first Guantanamo detainee to face civilian trial, Ahmed Ghailani (guh-LAHN’-ee), was convicted by federal jury in New York on one charge of conspiracy, among over 280 counts related to 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Ghailani’s native Tanzania. (He was later sentenced to life in prison.)

Five years ago: Republicans urged an immediate closure of America’s borders to Syrian refugees, drawing angry denunciations from President Barack Obama and other Democrats and igniting an emotional debate about U.S. values in the wake of the deadly Paris terror attacks. Actor Charlie Sheen issued a statement in which he said he was HIV positive, but that thanks to a rigorous drug regimen, he was in good health. Joe Maddon won his third Manager of the Year award and Jeff Banister his first after each guided his team on a surprising run to the playoffs.

One year ago: Pushing back against accusations from President Donald Trump that the impeachment process had been stacked against him, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CBS that Trump was welcome to testify or answer questions in writing. Ahead of a Democratic presidential run, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized at a Black church for his longstanding support of the controversial “stop and frisk” police strategy, which he had continued to defend despite its disproportionate impact on people of color.

Today’s Birthdays: Sen. James Inhofe (IHN’-hahf), R-Okla., is 86. Singer Gordon Lightfoot is 82. Singer-songwriter Bob Gaudio (GOW’-dee-oh) is 79. Movie director Martin Scorsese (skor-SEH’-see) is 78. Actor Lauren Hutton is 77. Actor-director Danny DeVito is 76. “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels is 76. Movie director Roland Joffe is 75. Former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean is 72. Former House Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) is 71. Actor Stephen Root is 69. Rock musician Jim Babjak (The Smithereens) is 63. Actor Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is 62. Actor William Moses is 61. Entertainer RuPaul is 60. Actor Dylan Walsh is 57. Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice is 56. Actor Sophie Marceau (mahr-SOH’) is 54. Actor-model Daisy Fuentes is 54. Blues singer/musician Tab Benoit (behn-WAH’) is 53. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie DeVoe (New Edition; Bell Biv DeVoe) is 53 Rock musician Ben Wilson (Blues Traveler) is 53. Actor David Ramsey is 49. Actor Leonard Roberts is 48. Actor Leslie Bibb is 47. Actor Brandon Call is 44. Country singer Aaron Lines is 43. Actor Rachel McAdams is 42. Rock musician Isaac Hanson (Hanson) is 40. MLB outfielder Ryan Braun is 37. Actor Justin Cooper is 32. Musician Reid Perry (The Band Perry) is 32. Actor Raquel Castro is 26.