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This Day in History – 17th May

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This Day in History is DUE’s daily dose of trivia for all the history buffs out there. So sit back and take a ride to all the fascinating things that happened today!

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in people, and hence, every day has been a significant one in the foibles of History. Let’s take a tour of “This Day in History – 17th of May”.

1536 Anne Boleyn is executed

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The mother of Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn was a maid to the court of O. Henry VIII’s wife Catherine of Aragon. In early 1526, the king began courting her. Henry’s interest in his wife’s maid of honor was a turning point in English history. The happy marriage was not to last, however. Anne gave birth to a daughter, the future Elizabeth I, and Henry was disappointed when she had three miscarriages and no son. In May 1536 Anne was arrested and imprisoned on charges of high treason and found guilty in a trial by jury that contained her former fiance and her own uncle. She was beheaded, on this day in History, at the Tower of London.

1824 Lord Byron’s diaries are set on fire

Romantic Poet - Lord Byron.
Romantic Poet –
Lord Byron. (Image Source:

The diaries of Lord Byron are burnt by six of the poet’s friends at the office of John Murray in London, sometimes described as “the greatest crime in literary history”. He is regarded as one of the greatest British poets.

1861 First color photograph of a tartan ribbon shown by Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell to the Royal Institution in London

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First color photograph of a tartan ribbon
First color photograph of a tartan ribbon. (Image Source: History of Information)

On this day in History, Scottish mathematical physicist James Clerk Maxwell produced the earliest color photograph, an image of a tartan ribbon, by having it photographed three times through red, blue, and yellow filters, then recombining the images into one color composite.

1865 The International Telegraph Union is born

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International Telecommunication Union (ITU) (erstwhile International Telegraph Union), a specialized agency of the United Nations was created to encourage international cooperation in all forms of telecommunication. Its activities include maintaining order in the allocation of radio frequencies, setting standards on technical and operational matters, and assisting countries in developing their own telecommunication systems.

1897 First successful submarine is born

Engineer John Philip Holland
Engineer John Philip Holland (Image Source:

The first successful submarine that can run submerged for any considerable distance and combines electric and gasoline engines is launched in the USA by its designer John Philip Holland.

1916 British Summer Time (Daylight Savings) introduced

The idea resurfaced during World War One when the need to conserve coal made the suggestion of daylight saving more pertinent. Germany had already introduced a similar scheme when the Summer Time Act was finally passed in the UK on this day in History. The clocks went forward one hour on the following Sunday, 21st May.

Read more here.

1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is published

The 1900 edition original back cover.
The 1900 edition original back cover (Image Source: Wikipedia)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an American children’s novel written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, originally published by the George M. Hill Company in May 1900. The story chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy Gale in the magical Land of Oz after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their home in Kansas by a cyclone.

1938 Radio quiz show “Information Please!” debuts on NBC Blue Network

Information Please was an American radio quiz show, created by Dan Golenpaul, which aired on NBC on this day in History. The title was the contemporary phrase used to request from telephone operators what was then called “information” but is now called “directory assistance”.

1948 Soviet Union recognizes Israel

On this day in History, three days after Israel declared independence, the Soviet Union legally recognized it de jure, becoming the first country to grant de jure recognition to the Jewish state.

For further updates, follow the “This Day in History” section.

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