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On This Day in History - 17th August

Birthdays

1786Davy Crockett, US frontiersman killed at the Alamo
1892Mae West, American film actress
1926George Melly, English jazz singer
1943Robert De Niro, American film actor
1951Alan Minter, British middleweight boxer
1957Robin Cousins, British Olympic ice skater

Events

1836The registration of births, deaths and marriages was introduced in Britain
1896Gold was discovered in the Yukon Territory, Canada
1943Allied forces took control of the island of Sicily
1958Britain announced plans to continue nuclear testing on Christmas Island
1970Venus 7 was launched; it became the first spacecraft to soft land on Venus
1976Earthquakes and tidal waves struck the Philippines, killing thousands
1978The first successful trans Atlantic balloon crossing was made
1982Ruth First, a member of the ANC, was killed by a letter bomb
1983Ira Gershwin, the famous American lyricist, died
1986Sudan rebels shot down a civilian aircraft, killing 60