On This Day in History, August 17

In 1807, the first commercial steamboat, the North River Steamboat, departed New York City to travel the Hudson River for Albany, New York. Designed by engineer Robert Fulton, the North River Steamboat made the trip to Albany and back to New York, with passengers in both directions, in a matter of only 62 hours—less than three days.

In 1945, British writer George Orwell had his famous novella, Animal Farm, first published. Written during the Second World War, the work uses a fairy tale style of characters and setting to show and critique the events that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and the Stalinist regime that emerged in the Soviet Union following the death of Vladimir Lenin.

In 2005, the first Israeli settlers in Gaza were forcibly removed and evacuated following an agreement for Israel to disengage from the Gaza Strip. Following these evictions, the buildings they were living in were demolished and the security forces brought in for their settlements were returned to Israel.

A Notable Birth

1887 – Marcus Garvey (d. 1940) was a Jamaican political activist and entrepreneur. He traveled some in his youth, before returning to Jamaica in 1914 to found UNIA, an organization involved with connecting the African diaspora to their homeland. He would influence several groups, including the Nation of Islam and Rastafari.

A Notable Death

1935 – Charlotte Perkins Gilman (b. 1860) was an American writer and feminist. Her best-known work is the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, which was in part written based upon her own experiences.

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