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This Day in History - 17th November


1558 The Elizabethan era began when Mary I, England's first queen (also known as 'Bloody Mary'), died at St James's Palace London. She was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I.

1603 The trial of Sir Walter Raleigh began. Falsely accused of treason, he had been offered a large sum of money by Lord Cobham, a critic of England’s King James I, to make peace with the Spanish and put Arabella Stuart, James’s cousin, on the throne. Raleigh claimed he turned down the offer, but Lord Cobham told his accusers that Raleigh was involved in the plot.

1810 Sweden declared war on its ally Britain during the Napoleonic Wars to begin the Anglo-Swedish War, although no fighting ever took place! The declaration of war was the result of an ultimatum by France to the Swedish government that France and its allies would declare war against Sweden if Sweden did not meet the French demands to declare war on Britain, confiscate all British ships and seize all British products. The war existed only on paper, and Britain was still officially allowed to station ships in the Swedish port of Hanö and trade with the Baltic nations.

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

1869 England’s James Moore won the first cycle road race, an 83 miles race from Paris to Rouen.

1880 The first three women to graduate in Britain received their Bachelor of Arts degrees at London University.

1882 The Royal Astronomer witnessed an unidentified flying object from the Greenwich Observatory. He described it as a circular object, glowing bright green.

1887 The birth of Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, English soldier who was a painstaking planner, which contributed to his most successful battle in North Africa when he broke through Rommel’s lines during the Second World War.

1919 King George V proclaimed Armistice Day, later to be known as Remembrance Day.

1922 Britain elected its first Communist Member of Parliament, J T Walton-Newbold standing for Motherwell, Scotland. He eventually joined the Labour Party.

1955 Anglesey became the first authority in Britain to introduce fluoride into the water supply.

1964 Britain said that it was banning all arms exports to South Africa.

1970 Stephanie Rahn became the Sun newspaper's first 'Page Three Girl'.

2014 The family of murdered schoolgirl April Jones (aged 5) watched the demolition of the house owned by her killer Mark Bridger. The rented home was bought by the Welsh government in August and is where Bridger is believed to have killed and dismembered April after snatching her outside her parents’ home in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on 1st October 2012. Detectives believe that Bridger dismembered her body at the cottage and disposed of her remains at numerous locations around the countryside. 

2014 According to Dutch scientists, a single 10-second kiss can transfer as many as 80 million bacteria. The research was published in the journal Microbiome.

2014 The Anglican General Synod formally enacted legislation allowing women to be nominated and appointed as bishops.