This Day in History: Oct. 17

Al Capone was widely thought to have ordered the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre hit, but the gangster was careful to make sure he was in Florida when the killing started. (AP)

On this day, Oct. 17 …

1931: Mobster Al Capone is convicted in Chicago of income tax evasion. (Capone would be sentenced to 11 years in prison but released in 1939.)

Also on this day:

  • 1777: British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrender to American troops in Saratoga, N.Y., in a turning point of the Revolutionary War.
  • 1907: Guglielmo Marconi begins offering limited commercial wireless telegraph service between Nova Scotia and Ireland.

  • 1933: Albert Einstein arrives in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
  • 1939: Frank Capra’s comedy-drama “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” starring James Stewart as an idealistic junior U.S. senator, has its premiere in the nation’s capital.
  • 1966: The TV game show “The Hollywood Squares” premieres on NBC.
  • 1967: Puyi, the last emperor of China, dies in Beijing at age 61.
  • 1973: Arab oil-producing nations announce they will begin cutting back oil exports to Western nations and Japan; the result will be a total embargo that lasts until March 1974.
  • 1978: President Carter signs a bill restoring U.S. citizenship to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
  • 1979: Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 1989: The Loma Prieta earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale, strikes Northern California, killing 63 people, delaying the World Series and causing $6 billion in damage.
  • 2014: The World Health Organization acknowledges it botched attempts to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming staff, lack of information and budget cuts. 
  • 2018: Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who played Big Bird on “Sesame Street,” announces his retirement after nearly 50 years on the show. (Spinney would die in December 2019)

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