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 230th day of the year, and there are only 136 days remaining in 2024.

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 fun & interesting facts about August 17th in history!


What memorable events happened on August 17 in history? Keep reading to find out!


Younes Abouyaaqoub drove a van into pedestrians on La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain, killing 14 people and injuring at least 130 others.

The 22-year-old attacker then killed another person in order to steal the victim’s car to make his escape.


American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.

OTD in 2008: American swimmer Michael Phelps became the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.


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 when they reached the Irish coast, the trio wanted to make the achievement more significant by landing in Paris.


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 405 people and caused $30 million in damages, 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 six days after he discovered the first of the two moons named Deimos.


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

OTD in 1859: Balloonist John Wise started the world's first airmail 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.


Solymon Merrick patented the wrench tool.

OTD in 1835: Solymon Merrick patented the wrench tool.


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 remained under the direction of his mother, Catherine, due to his poor health and mental health.

682 AD

Pope Leo II became the bishop of Rome.

Famous Births

Are you celebrating your birthday today? If so, did you know that you share the same birthday as Robert De Niro? See what other famous people were born on this day.


Austin Butler



Austin Butler


32 years old

Born In:

California, USA


Robert De Niro



Robert De Niro


80 years old

Born In:

New York, USA


Taissa Farmiga



Taissa Farmiga


29 years old

Born In:

New Jersey, USA


Sean Penn



Sean Penn


63 years old

Born In:

California, USA


What is your favorite quote from August 17? Here are the most noteworthy quotes said on this day throughout history.


With fame, you know, you can read about yourself, somebody else’s ideas about you, but what’s important is how you feel about yourself – for survival and living day to day with what comes up.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

American Actress

Special Holidays

Looking for a reason to celebrate? Well, here’s a few! These unique holidays are sure to bring some enjoyment to your day.

August 17: National Thrift Shop Day
United States

National Thrift Shop Day

Thrift stores are like treasure troves just waiting for you to rummage through. While you might not always find what you want, it’s rare to come away empty-handed! So take a trip to some of your favorite thrift shops today and see what you can find; it is Thrift Shop Day, after all!

August 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day
United States

National Black Cat Appreciation Day

Whoever came up with the superstition that black cats give you bad luck should be ashamed of themselves. For thousands of years, we’ve persecuted these poor felines for no reason at all. So if you come across a black cat today, make sure to give it some extra love and attention!

THe Fact Site’s

Fun Fact Of The Day

When shuffling a deck of cards, the number of possible arrangements is approximately 8×1067. That’s more than the number of stars in the observable universe.

Birthday & Zodiac

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

Leo is associated with fire, along with Aries and Sagittarius. Did you know that Egyptians used to worship the constellation? They referred to as “Knem,” and it was visible during the flooding of the Nile River.

Anyone born in August has the Peridot birthstone. Peridot is known as the stone of compassion; wearing this gemstone helps calm anger. Its unique healing powers are also believed to help with depression.

People born on August 17 were likely conceived on or around November 24 in the previous year.

A baby that is conceived on this day will likely be due around May 10, 2025.

Fact Check

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