2021 August

August 17: Facts & Historical Events On This Day

Facts & Historic Events That Happened on August 17

August 17th is known as Thrift Shop Day and Black Cat Appreciation Day.

Today is the 229th day of the year, and there’s only 136 days left of the year.

People who were born on this day all share the Leo star sign.

If this day is important to you then check out these interesting facts and historical events all related to August 17.

Did you know that on this day in 1877, Asaph Hall discovered Mars’ second moon called Phobos? He had continued looking for Martian moons after already discovering its first moon, Deimos.

Keep reading for more facts about August 17th in history!

What Happened On August 17 In History?


Three Americans made the first successful Atlantic Ocean crossing by hot air balloon.

Ben Abruzzo, Larry Newman, and Max Anderson spent six days traveling in a hot air balloon that left Maine, USA, and arrived in France. Although the record was broken by the time they reached the Irish coast, the trio wanted to make the achievement more significant by landing in Paris.
Source BBC

A law was passed declaring that the “Palestinian Pound” could be used as legal tender in Palestine and Israel.

Although it had been used as an unrecognized currency in Palestine years before, it finally became an official currency on this day.

A tropical cyclone hurricane hit Galveston in Texas.

The storm killed up to 405 people and caused $30 million damages, which is roughly equivalent to $110 billion in today's money.

The Bank of Italy opened in San Francisco, California and would later become Bank of America.


William B. Purvis patented the electric switch on railways that would shut off the electric supply after carriages pass the contact device.


Asaph Hall discovered Mars’ second moon called Phobos.

The discovery came just 6 days after he discovered the first of the two moons which was named Deimos.

Balloonist John Wise started the world’s first air mail service by balloon from Lafayette to Crawfordsville, Indiana.

OTD in 1859: Balloonist John Wise started the world's first air mail service by balloon from Lafayette to Crawfordsville
The balloon was called Jupiter and made the 25-mile journey carrying 123 letters.

Charles Reed Bishop founded First Hawaiian Bank and opened its first branch in Honolulu.

The bank is Hawaii's oldest and largest financial institution.

The wrench tool was patented by Solymon Merrick.

OTD in 1835: The wrench tool was patented by Solymon Merrick.

The Clermont steamboat by Robert Fulton made its maiden trip up the Hudson River.


King Charles IX of France became an adult on his 13th birthday.

The king still remained under the direction of his mother Catherine due his poor health and mental health.

Pope Leo II became the bishop of Rome.

Did you know that on this day, August 17th 1877, Asaph Hall discovered Mars' second moon called Phobos?