Today in history – April 17

1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer tells The Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.

1512 – The Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Martin Luther after he refused to admit to charges of heresy.

1524 – Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano discovered what is now New York Harbor.

1861 – Virginia’s secession convention votes to secede from the United States, becoming the 8th state to join the Confederate States of America.

1905 – The Supreme Court decides Lochner v. New York, which holds that the “right to free contract” is implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: A group of Cuban exiles financed and trained by the CIA lands at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro.

1969 – Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy.

1993 – A federal jury convicted two Los Angeles police officers and acquitted two others of violating the civil rights of Rodney King during his 1991 arrest and beating.