Ludwig van Beethoven was born, or at least baptized, on this day some 236 years ago.
France recognized America’s independence on December 17, 1777.
Exactly 103 years ago today at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright brothers made their first powered heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer.
Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, died 79 years ago today.
The United States Air Force 37 years ago officially closed its Project Blue Book investigation into UFOs.
Seventeen years ago, December 17 saw the first episode of The Simpsons airing on FOX.
Three years ago, two important things happened: SpaceShipOne flew the first privately-funded supersonic flight, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King opened in theaters around the globe.
December 17 marks the celebration of Saturnalia, the Roman festivity observing the winter solstice.
Oh, and one other thing happened 36 years ago today: I was born.