1244 The Sixth Crusade ends when an Egyptian-Khwarismian force almost annihilates the Frankish army at Gaza.
1529 Henry VIII of England strips Thomas Wolsey of his office for failing to secure an annulment of his marriage.
1346 English forces defeat the Scots under David II during the Battle of Neville's Cross, Scotland.
1691 Maine and Plymouth are incorporated in Massachusetts.
1777 British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne surrenders 5,000 men at Saratoga, N.Y.
1815 Napoleon Bonaparte arrives at the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic, where he has been banished by the Allies.
1849 Composer and pianist Frederic Chopin dies in Paris of tuberculosis at the age of 39.
1863 General Ulysses S. Grant is named overall Union Commander of the West.
1877 Brigadier General Alfred Terry meets with Sitting Bull in Canada to discuss the Indians' return to the United States.
1913 Zeppelin LII explodes over London, killing 28.
1933 Due to rising anti-Semitism and anti-intellectualism in Hitler's Germany, Albert Einstein immigrates to the United States. He makes his new home in Princeton, N.J.
1941 The U.S. destroyer Kearney is damaged by a German U-boat torpedo off Iceland; 11 Americans are killed.
1956 The nuclear power station Calder Hall is opened in Britain. Calder Hall is the first nuclear station to feed an appreciable amount of power into a civilian network.
1972 Peace talks between Pathet Lao and Royal Lao government begin in Vietnam.
1989 The worst earthquake in 82 years strikes San Francisco bay area minutes before the start of a World Series game there. The earthquake registers 6.9 on the Richter scale–67 are killed and damage is estimated at $10 billion.
Born on October 17
1821 Alexander Gardner, American photographer who documented the Civil War and the West.
1859 Childe Hassam, American impressionist painter and illustrator.
1895 Doris Humphrey, modern dance choreographer.
1903 Nathaneal West, novelist and screenwriter (Miss Lonely Hearts, The Day of the Locust).
1915 Arthur Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge).
1918 Rita Hayworth, film actress.
1930 Jimmy Breslin, columnist and novelist.
1938 Evel Knievel, U.S. daredevil motorcycle stunt man