Nov 17 2010

On This Day in History: November 17

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 17 is the 321st day of the year (322nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 44 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1558, Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and upon hearing of her accession to the throne, she is reputed to have quoted the 118th Psalm’s twenty-third line, in Latin: “A Dominum factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris” – “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

On 20 November 1558, Elizabeth declared her intentions to her Council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the mediaeval political theology of the sovereign’s “two bodies”: the body natural and the body politic:

My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all…to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.

As her triumphal progress wound through the city on the eve of the coronation ceremony, she was welcomed wholeheartedly by the citizens and greeted by orations and pageants, most with a strong Protestant flavour. Elizabeth’s open and gracious responses endeared her to the spectators, who were “wonderfully ravished”. The following day, 15 January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey and anointed by the Catholic bishop of Carlisle. She was then presented for the people’s acceptance, amidst a deafening noise of organs, fifes, trumpets, drums, and bells.

The Elizabethan era was a time associated with Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (1558-1603) and is often considered to be the golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of English poetry, music and literature. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished, and William Shakespeare and many others composed plays that broke free of England’s past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada was repulsed. It was also the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth’s reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England clashed both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth’s prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth’s death.

England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.

 284 – Diocletian is proclaimed emperor by his soldiers.

1292 – (O.S.) John Balliol becomes King of Scotland.

1511 – Spain and England ally against France.

1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason.

1659 – The Peace of the Pyrenees is signed between France and Spain.

1777 – Articles of Confederation are submitted to the states for ratification.

1796 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Arcole – French forces defeat the Austrians in Italy.

1800 – The United States Congress holds its first session in Washington, D.C.

1812 – Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Krasnoi.

1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer becomes the first American to see Antarctica (the Palmer Peninsula is later named after him).

1831 – Ecuador and Venezuela are separated from Greater Colombia.

1855 – David Livingstone becomes the first European to see the Victoria Falls in what is now present-day Zambia-Zimbabwe.

1856 – American Old West: On the Sonoita River in present-day southern Arizona, the United States Army establishes Fort Buchanan in order to help control new land acquired in the Gadsden Purchase.

1863 – American Civil War: Siege of Knoxville begins – Confederate forces led by General James Longstreet place Knoxville, Tennessee under siege.

1869 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated.

1871 – The National Rifle Association is granted a charter by the state of New York.

1876 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March is given its premiere performance in Moscow.

1878 – First assassination attempt against Umberto I of Italy.

1903 – The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits into two groups; the Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”) and Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”).

1905 – The Eulsa Treaty is signed between Japan and Korea.

1919 – King George V of the United Kingdom proclaims Armistice Day (later Remembrance Day). The idea is first suggested by Edward George Honey.

1922 – Former Ottoman sultan Mehmed VI goes into exile in Italy.

1933 – United States recognizes Soviet Union.

1939 – Nine Czech students are executed as a response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal. In addition, all Czech universities are shut down and over 1200 Czech students sent to concentration camps. Since this event, International Students’ Day is celebrated in many countries, especially in the Czech Republic.

1947 – The U.S. Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

1947 – American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Brattain observe the basic principles of the transistor, a key element for the electronics revolution of the 20th Century.

1950 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is enthroned as the leader of Tibet at the age of fifteen.

1953 – The remaining human inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, Kerry, Ireland are evacuated to the mainland.

1957 – G-AOHP of British European Airways crashes at Ballerup after the failure of three engines on approach to Copenhagen Airport. The cause was a malfunction of the anti-icing system on the aircraft.

1962 – President John F. Kennedy dedicates Dulles International Airport, serving the Washington, D.C. region.

1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, US President Lyndon B. Johnson tells the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”

1968 – Alexandros Panagoulis is condemned to death for attempting to assassinate Greek dictator George Papadopoulos.

1969 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

1970 – Vietnam War: Lieutenant William Calley goes on trial for the My Lai massacre.

1970 – Luna program: The Soviet Union lands Lunokhod 1 on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on the Moon. This is the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world and is released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft.

1970 – Douglas Engelbart receives the patent for the first computer mouse.

1973 – Watergate scandal: In Orlando, Florida, US President Richard Nixon tells 400 Associated Press managing editors “I am not a crook”.

1979 – Brisbane Suburban Railway Electrification. The first stage from Ferny Grove to Darra is commissioned.

1982 – Duk Koo Kim dies unexpectedly from injuries sustained during a 14-round match against Ray Mancini in Las Vegas, Nevada, prompting reforms in the sport of boxing.

1983 – The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is founded.

1989 – Cold War: Velvet Revolution begins: In Czechoslovakia, a student demonstration in Prague is quelled by riot police. This sparks an uprising aimed at overthrowing the communist government (it succeeds on December 29).

1990 – Fugendake, part of the Mount Unzen volcanic complex, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan becomes active again and erupts.

1997 – In Luxor, Egypt, 62 people are killed by 6 Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut, known as Luxor massacre (The police then kill the assailants).

2000 – Alberto Fujimori is removed from office as president of Peru.

2004 – Kmart Corp. announces that it is buying Sears, Roebuck and Co. for $11 billion USD and naming the newly merged company Sears Holdings Corporation.


  1. TMC

    Dalai Lama

    True compassion brings with it the dispelling of internal tensions, a state of calmness and serenity.

  2. TMC

    The BBC series, Elizabeth R with Glenda Jackson is one of my favorites, as well as, being the best as to historical accuracy. The scene where Elizabeth is told she is queen is not embeddable but if you are interested in watching it

    Elizabeth I learns she is Queen

    The entire series is available on NetFlix.  

  3. RiaD

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