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October 17, 2012

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 17, the 291st day of 2012. There are 75 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Oct. 17, 1777, British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War.

On this date:

In 1610, French King Louis XIII, age nine, was crowned at Reims, five months after the assassination of his father, Henry IV.

In 1711, Jupiter Hammon, the first black poet to have his work published in America, was born on Long Island, N.Y., into a lifetime of slavery.

In 1807, Britain declared it would continue to reclaim British-born sailors from American ships and ports regardless of whether they held U.S. citizenship.

In 1912, Pope John Paul I was born Albino Luciani at Forno di Canale, Italy.

In 1931, mobster Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion. (Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Capone was released in 1939.)

In 1933, Albert Einstein arrived in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.

In 1941, the U.S. destroyer Kearny was damaged by a German torpedo off the coast of Iceland; 11 people died.

In 1961, French police attacked Algerians protesting a curfew in Paris. (The resulting death toll varies widely, with some estimates of up to 200.)

In 1973, Arab oil-producing nations announced they would begin cutting back oil exports to Western nations and Japan; the result was a total embargo that lasted until March 1974.

In 1987, first lady Nancy Reagan underwent a modified radical mastectomy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

In 1989, an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck northern California, killing 63 people and causing $6 billion worth of damage.

In 1992, Japanese exchange student Yoshi Hattori was fatally shot by Rodney Peairs in Baton Rouge, La., after Hattori and his American host mistakenly knocked on Peairs’ door while looking for a Halloween party. (Peairs was acquitted of manslaughter, but in a civil trial was ordered to pay more than $650,000 to Hattori’s family.)

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