January 17th

2008
Chess master Bobby Fischer died at age 64.
Bobby Fischer
2001
Faced with an electricity crisis, California used rolling blackouts to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people.
California electricity crisis
1998
President Bill Clinton became the first U.S. president to testify as a defendant in a criminal or civil suit when he answered questions from lawyers for Paula Jones, who had accused Clinton of sexual harassment.
Clinton v. Jones
1997
A court in Ireland granted the first divorce in the Roman Catholic country's history.
Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
1995
The Great Hanshin earthquake hits Kobe, Japan. 6,434 people lost their lives during the quake, according to estimates.
Great Hanshin earthquake
1994
A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Southern California, killing at least 61 people and causing $20 billion worth of damage.
History of the United States (1991–2008)
1991
The Gulf War in Iraq begins. “Operation Desert Storm”, launched in response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, resulted in about 100,000 civilian deaths.
Gulf War
1977
Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore was shot by a firing squad at Utah State Prison in the first U.S. execution in a decade.
Gary Gilmore
1961
Patrice Lumumba is murdered with support from western governments. An independent commission concluded that Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of the Congo, died at the hands of his domestic adversaries with the assistance of the Belgian government and the CIA.
Patrice Lumumba
1946
The UN Security Council holds its first session. The UNSC is the most powerful organ of the United Nations and it is charged with upholding international peace and security.
United Nations Security Council
1945
Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, was taken into Soviet custody in Budapest, Hungary. (His fate has never been determined.).
Raoul Wallenberg
1941
Kuomintang forces under orders from Chiang Kai-shek open fire at communist forces, resuming the Chinese Civil War after World War II.
Second Sino-Japanese War
1912
Captain Robert Scott's expedition arrives at the South Pole, one month after Roald Amundsen.
Robert Falcon Scott
1899
Gangster Al Capone was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Al Capone
1893
Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, died in Fremont, Ohio, at age 70.
Rutherford B. Hayes
1873
A group of Modoc warriors defeats the United States Army in the First Battle of the Stronghold, a part of the Modoc War.
Geronimo
1806
Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Martha, gave birth to James Madison Randolph, the first child born in the White House.
Martha Jefferson Randolph
1773
Captain James Cook becomes 1st to cross Antarctic Circle (66° 33' S).
History of Antarctica
1706
Statesman and inventor Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston.
Benjamin Franklin
1562
French Protestants were recognized under the Edict of St. Germain.
Edict of Saint-Germain