[September 17th has been Constitution Day in the United States since 2004; which is ironic, seeing that since George W. Bush took office in 2001 (and I do mean took) the Constitution hasn't been observed - along with the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Convention, and most of the Ten Commandments... I could go on but thankfully he didn't!]
1577 - Following the sixth phase of the French Wars of Religion the Peace of Bergerac was signed between France's King Henri III and the Huguenots; it replaced the Edict of Beaulieu, which was thought to be too favourable to Protestants.
1630 - The city of Boston, Massachusetts was founded, ten days after having its name changed from Shawmut.
1778 - The Treaty of Fort Pitt was signed, making it the first formal treaty between the United States and an American First Nation - in this case the Lenape or Delaware tribe.
1787 - The US Constitution was signed at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
1859 - Joshua A. Norton proclaimed himself Emperor Norton I of the United States in - where else? - San Francisco.
1862 - The Allegheny Arsenal explosion resulted in the single largest civilian disaster during the American Civil War.
1900 - Filipinos under Juan Cailles defeated Colonel Benjamin F. Cheatham's Americans at Mabitac during the Philippine-American War.
1908 - Lt. Thomas Selfridge became the first airplane fatality when the Wright Flyer piloted by Orville Wright crashed at Fort Myer, Virginia.
1914 - Andrew Fisher became Prime Minister of Australia for a third term.
1916 - Baron Manfred von Richthofen - the famous Red Baron - won the first of more than 80 aerial victories over the French town of Cambrai.
1920 - The National Football League was organized in Canton, Ohio.
1939 - German U-boat U 29 sank the British aircraft carrier HMS Courageous.
1948 - The Lehi - radical Zionists who were also known as the Stern Gang after their founder, Avraham Stern - assassinated the Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte, who was appointed by the United Nations to mediate between Arab nations and Israel during that phase of the Arab-Israeli conflict marked by the establishment of the Jewish state. The killing was directed by Yehoshua Zettler and carried out by a team led by Meshulam Makover, although the fatal shots were fired by Yehoshua Cohen; also thought to be involved were Shmuel Rosenblum, David Ephrati, and Yitzhak Markovitz.
1949 - The Canadian steamship and passenger liner SS Noronic caught fire while docked at Pier 9 in Toronto Harbour shortly after 2:30 AM, with an eventual loss of between 118 and 139 lives; most of the 524 passengers and 171 crew on board were American.
1956 - Television was first shown in Australia, apparently.
1972 - The first episode of the television series M*A*S*H - appropriately enough, entitled M*A*S*H the Pilot - aired on CBS; based on the Robert Altman film of the same name (which was itself based on a book by Richard Hooker), the series eventually aired 251 half-hour episodes over 11 years. Many of the episodes, including the pilot, were written by the late Larry Gelbart.
1978 - The Camp David Accords were signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egypt's President Anwar El Sadat, as facilitated and witnessed by US President Jimmy Carter.
1983 - Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.
1993 - The blatantly racist British National Party's Derek Beackon won a council seat in the East London district of Millwall.
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