October 17 is the 290th (in leap years the 291st) day of the year according to the Gregorian calendar. There are 75 days remaining.
- 1244 - Battle of La Forbie: Crusaders were defeated by Khwarezmians & Egyptians
- 1346 - Battle of Neville's Cross: King David II of Scotland was captured by Edward III of England at Calais, and imprisoned in the Tower of London for eleven years
- 1469 - Ferdinand II of Aragon marries Isabella of Castile. Their marriage leads to the unification of Aragon and Castile in a single country, Spain
- 1604 - Kepler's Star: German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed that an exceptionally bright star had suddenly appeared in the constellation Ophiuchus, which turned out to be the last supernova to have been observed in our own galaxy, the Milky Way.
- 1662 - Charles II of England sold Dunkerque to France for 40 000 pounds
- 1777 - American troops defeat the British in the Battle of Saratoga
- 1781 - General Charles Cornwallis offers his surrender to the American revolutionaries at Yorktown, Virginia
- 1800 - England takes control of the Dutch colony of Curaçao
- 1806 - Former leader of the Great Slave Rebellion of 1791, Emperor Jacques I of Haiti was assassinated after an oppressive rule
- 1860 - First British golf open
- 1888 - Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie)
- 1912 - Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declare war on the Ottoman Empire, joining Montenegro in the First Balkan War
- 1917 - First British bombing of Germany in World War I
- 1931 - Al Capone convicted of income tax evasion
- 1933 - Albert Einstein, fleeing Nazi Germany, moves to the US
- 1937 - Huey, Dewey and Louie, Donald Duck's three almost identical nephews, first appeared in a newspaper comic strip.
- 1941 - For the first time in World War II, a German submarine attacks an American ship
- 1945 - A massive number of people gather in the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina to demand Juan Peron's release. This is known to the Peronists as the Día de la lealtad (day of loyalty) or San Perón (Saint Perón). It's considered the birthday of Peronism.
- 1961 - 200 Algerian protesters are massacred by the Paris police
- 1967 - The musical Hair opens at the Anspacher Theater on Broadway.
- 1970 - Anwar Sadat becomes president of Egypt
- 1970 - Montreal, Quebec: Quebec Vice-Premier and Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte murdered by members of the FLQ terrorist group.
- 1973 - OPEC starts an oil embargo against a number of western countries, considered to have helped Israel in its war against Syria
- 1979 - Mother Teresa awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
- 1979 - The Department of Education Organization Act is signed into law creating the United States Department of Education and United States Department of Health and Human Services. Both replace the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
- 1984 - The New York Times runs an article titled "CIA primer tells nicaraguan rebels how to kill", which describes a secret "Psychological Operations in Guerilla Warfare" manual that the CIA supplied to the Contras and that gives instructions on how to kidnap and assassinate civil officials such as judges and policemen.
- 1989 - Loma Prieta earthquake (7.1 on the Richter scale) hits the San Francisco Bay Area.
- 1994 - Draft peace treaty between Israel and Jordan
- 1994 - Peace treaty between the government of Angola and UNITA rebels
- 2003 - Carlos Mesa becomes President of Bolivia.
- 2003 - The pinnacle was fitted on the roof of Taipei 101, a 106-floor skyscraper in Taipei, allowing it to surpass the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur by 50 meters (165 feet) and become the World's tallest highrise.
- 1563 - Jodocus Hondius, cartographer
- 1711 - Jupiter Hammond, poet
- 1864 - Elinor Glyn, writer (d. 1943)
- 1898 - Simon Vestdijk, writer
- 1900 - Jean Arthur, actress (d. 1991)
- 1902 - Irene Ryan, actress (d. 1973)
- 1903 - Nathanael West, writer (d. 1940)
- 1912 - Pope John Paul I, religious leader (d. 1978)
- 1914 - Jerry Siegel, cartoonist (d. 1998)
- 1915 - Arthur Miller, playwright
- 1918 - Rita Hayworth, actress (d. 1987)
- 1920 - Montgomery Clift, actor (d. 1966)
- 1921 - Tom Poston, actor, comedian
- 1930 - Jimmy Breslin, writer
- 1936 - Hiroo Kanamori, seismologist
- 1938 - Evel Knievel, professional daredevil
- 1940 - James Seals, musician
- 1942 - Gary Puckett, musician
- 1946 - Sir Cameron Mackintosh, stage producer, director
- 1946 - Bob Seagren, American pole vaulter and actor
- 1947 - Gene Green, American politician
- 1947 - Michael McKean, actor, comedian
- 1948 - Margot Kidder, actress
- 1948 - George Wendt, actor
- 1950 - Howard Rollins, actor (d. 1996)
- 1956 - Mae Jemison, astronaut
- 1958 - Alan Jackson, country music performer
- 1962 - Mike Judge, cartoonist, writer
- 1968 - Ziggy Marley, reggae musician
- 1969 - Ernie Els, South African golfer
- 1970 - Anil Kumble, Indian cricketer
- 1971 - Chris Kirkpatrick, singer
- 1972 - Eminem, rap music performer
- 1972 - Wyclef Jean, singer
- 1974 - John Rocker, baseball player
- 1979 - Kimi Räikkönen, Finn Formula One racing driver
- 1982 - Jessica Zucha, actress
- 532 - Pope Boniface II
- 1806 - Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Haitian independence leader
- 1849 - Frederic Chopin, musician, composer
- 1887 - Gustav Kirchhoff, physicist
- 1910 - Julia Ward Howe, composer
- 1931 - Alfons Maria Jakob, neurologist
- 1967 - Henry Pu Yi, last emperor of China
- 1970 - Pierre Laporte, Vice-Premier of Quebec murdered by FLQ terrorists
- 1973 - Ingeborg Bachmann, lyricist, narrator and writer (b. 1926)
- 1991 - Tennessee Ernie Ford, singer, television performer
- 1979 - S. J. Perelman, writer
- 2001 - Rehavam Zeevi, Israeli politician
Holidays and observances
October 16 - October 18 - September 17 - November 17 -- listing of all days
es:17 de octubre
eo:17-a de oktobro
pt:17 de Outubro