26 fun facts for December, 17

Discover dozens of fun facts for this special day. Read the summary for a quick recap on what happened.
December 17 boasts a variety of fun facts, from the Wright brothers' historic first flight in 1903 to the debut of The Simpsons in 1989. Other notable events include the establishment of National Maple Syrup Day in the United States, Bhutan's National Day, and the long-lasting influence of aircraft like the DC-3 and the Mary Valley Rattler.
26 Fun facts
  1. On December 17, 1790, the Aztec Stone Calendar, Sun Stone, was discovered in Mexico City. The massive carving is 3.6 meters in diameter, 98 centimeters thick, and weighs around 24 tons. It has become a symbol of Mexican cultural heritage.
  2. December 17, 1903, marks the day the Wright brothers achieved the first powered, controlled, and sustained human flight. Their aircraft, the Wright Flyer, completed four flights that day, with the longest one lasting 59 seconds and covering a distance of 852 feet.
  3. On December 17, 1935, Douglas DC-3, one of the most significant transport aircraft in history, first took to the skies. Over 16,000 units were built, making it the most-produced aircraft of its time. The DC-3 revolutionized air transport in the 1930s and 1940s.
  4. Long-distance communication became a reality on December 17, 1900, when the first submarine telegraph cable between the United States and Cuba was completed. Spanning nearly 2000 miles, this undersea connection marked a milestone in global communication.
  5. December 17, 1967, is known as the day Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach. His body was never recovered, which led to conspiracy theories about his disappearance. A memorial service was held in his honor on December 22.
  6. On December 17, 1989, The Simpsons, a popular animated TV show, made its debut on Fox. Created by Matt Groening, the show has become a worldwide phenomenon, with over 32 seasons and more than 700 episodes aired to date.
  7. The PlayStation 3 gaming console, produced by Sony, was first released in Japan on December 17, 2006, boasting impressive features for its time, such as Blu-ray and internet connectivity. The PlayStation 3 sold over 87 million units, making it a top seller in video game history.
  8. December 17 is recognized as National Maple Syrup Day in the United States. Americans celebrate the day by enjoying delicious maple syrup treats and recognizing the long history and cultural importance of this sweet liquid.
  9. Icelandic Independence Hero Day is commemorated every December 17 to honor Jón Sigurðsson, a renowned leader of the Icelandic independence movement in the 19th century. Born in 1811, Sigurðsson is remembered for his efforts to establish the country's independence from Denmark.
  10. The Russian aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky was granted a US patent on December 17, 1940, for his ground-breaking helicopter design. Sikorsky's VS-300 was the first practical helicopter in the United States, paving the way for modern vertical flight technology.
  11. December 17th of 1999 was when the United Nations (UN) declared the official "International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers." The day was established to call attention to hate crimes committed against sex workers and raise awareness of the issue globally.
  12. In 2010, the Arab Spring began on December 17, when a Tunisian street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest of government corruption and police abuses. His act of desperation sparked a wave of protests which led to widespread changes throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
  13. December 17, 1979, marks the day Canadians Terry Fox began training for his Marathon of Hope. Fox, an amputee due to bone cancer, ran over 3,300 miles across Canada to raise funds and awareness for cancer research. The annual Terry Fox Run has raised over $700 million internationally.
  14. On December 17, 1961, the Fire at the Niterói Circus in Brazil left 500 people dead and 400 injured. The incident was one of the worst tragedies in the history of circuses. The fire was believed to have been started accidentally by a malfunction in the circus tent's electrical system.
  15. December 17 is annually celebrated as Bhutan National Day, commemorating the 1907 coronation date of Ugyen Wangchuck, the first King of the country. The day is marked with traditional dances, music, and public flag hoisting ceremonies throughout the nation.
  16. On December 17, 1971, the animated film "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" was released in theaters in the United States. Combining live-action and animation, the enchanting story of a witch, three children, and a magical bed was a beloved classic.
  17. "Project Gemini," NASA's second human spaceflight program, came to an end on December 17, 1966, with the successful landing of the Gemini XII capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. Gemini's goal was to develop techniques and technology needed for the upcoming Apollo lunar missions.
  18. German physicist Max Planck received the Nobel Prize in Physics on December 17, 1918, for his groundbreaking achievement in establishing quantum physics. His discoveries paved the way for a revolution in the field of theoretical physics.
  19. On December 17, 1969, the US Air Force announced the termination of its UFO investigation project, known as Project Blue Book. It concluded that no UFO sightings reported had any impact on national security, were extraterrestrial in origin, or indicated any advanced technology.
  20. December 17, 1938, is the day Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann conducted the first successful experiment in nuclear fission, the splitting of an atomic nucleus, in Germany. Their pioneering work paved the way for nuclear energy production and atomic weapons.
  21. Well-known actor John Abraham was born on December 17, 1972. The Indian film actor and successful model has starred in numerous films since his debut in "Jism" in 2003. He has become one of the leading actors in the Indian film industry.
  22. On December 17, 1993, the movie "Schindler's List" was released in the United States. The historical drama focused on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved thousands of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. The movie earned seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
  23. The Boeing CST-100 Starliner, an astronaut-carrying spacecraft, made its first uncrewed test flight on December 17, 2019. Although some technical issues arose during the mission, the spacecraft successfully orbited the Earth and safely returned, marking a major milestone in American space travel.
  24. December 17 is celebrated as National Day in Bhutan, honoring the coronation of the first Druk Gyalpo (Dragon King) Ugyen Wangchuck in 1907. The day commemorates the establishment of the Wangchuck dynasty and the unification of Bhutan.
  25. In 1830, on December 17, Ecuador's capital city, Quito, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. Known for its preserved historical center and stunning architecture, Quito is one of the first cities to be added to the list, showcasing its cultural significance.
  26. On December 17, 1907, a 6-meter long first-class passenger locomotive called the "Mary Valley Rattler" was put into service in Queensland, Australia. The historic train is still running today, taking passengers on a picturesque journey through the Mary Valley.