Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

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January 17, 1888
Death of Big Bear (Mistahi-maskwa) (c.1825-1888), Cree leader in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.
Related Topics: Aboriginal HistoryCree
January 17, 1893  
Queen Lili’uokalani of the independent kingdom of Hawai’i is arrested at gunpoint by U.S. Marines and overthrown. The Queen had been working on a new constitution that would restore voting rights to native Hawaiians. American businessmen, particularly sugar plantation owners, want Hawai’i annexed to the United States. A new provisional government with Sanford B. Dole as president takes over. Five years later, U.S. President William McKinley signs a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress authorizing the annexation of Hawai’i. Hawaiians are not asked whether they want to be annexed.
Related Topics: CoupsHawaiiInterventionU.S. Imperialism
January 17, 1906  
A political mass strike takes place in Hamburg as workers demand the extension of the right to vote.
January 17, 1953
The radical journalist I.F. Stone starts I.F. Stone’s Weekly (published until 1971).
January 17, 1961
Murder of Patrice Lumumba, Congolese independence leader, first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo after it gained its independence from Belgium. Considered too radical by the Western powers and their local allies, Lumumba is seized, a few weeks after becoming prime minister, in a coup orchestrated by the American and Belgian governments. He is tortured and then executed by firing squad.
January 17, 1966  
An American nuclear-armed B-52 bomber collides with the fuelling boom of an Air Force jet tanker while refuelling over the coast of Spain. Two 70-kiloton hydrogen bombs rupture when they hit the ground, scattering radioactive material including plutonium dust; a third lands intact near the village of Palomares; the fourth is found, also intact, by a submarine after weeks of searching. The U.S. tries first to cover it up, then downplays the seriousness of the incident.
January 17, 1991  
The United States and its allies start bombing Iraq.
Related Topics: BombingIraqIraq War

January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
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For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: