February 17

1600

Italian philospher, alchemist, and Copernican theory advocate Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy by the Inquisition.

1801

The electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr was broken by the House of Representatives who elected Jefferson president.

1817

Baltimore became the first U.S. city lit by gas.

1864

The Confederate submarine Hunley, equipped with an explosive at the end of a protruding spar, rammed and sank the Union's ship Housatonic off the coast of Charleston, S.C.

1904

Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly premiered in Milan.

1972

President Richard Nixon left on his trip to China.

1996

Chess champion Garry Kasparov beat the IBM computer, Deep Blue, winning the six-game match.

2008

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

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