From the Pages of History: On This Day, June 17

Mumtaz Mahal, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's beloved wife, died on this day during the birth of their 14th child, leaving her husband distraught.

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17th June 1631 : Mumtaz Mahal dies during Childbirth

Mumtaz Mahal, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s beloved wife, died on this day during the birth of their 14th child, leaving her husband distraught. He cared so deeply about her that he spent 22 years building the beautiful Taj Mahal on her grave.

Shah Jahan was so overwhelmed with grief that he proclaimed a two-year mourning period for the court. Then he set about constructing the world’s most magnificent memorial in his beloved’s honour.

The Taj Mahal, which stands above Mumtaz Mahal’s burial place in Agra, took 22 years to build and cost Shah Jahan the majority of his imperial wealth.

17th June 1789 : Third Estate to declare themselves the National Assembly during the French Revolution

On May 5, 1789, the Estates-General convened in Versailles. They were instantly split on whether they should vote by head, giving the Third Estate an edge, or by estate, allowing the two privileged orders of the realm to outvote the third?

The bitter struggle over this legal problem ultimately pushed the Third Estate representatives to declare themselves the National Assembly on June 17; they vowed to proceed without the other two orders if necessary. Many parish priests backed them, outnumbering the aristocratic higher clergy among the church’s representatives.

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17th June 1944 : Iceland declares itself a Republic

Icelandic National Day is a national holiday that commemorates the founding of the Republic of Iceland on June 17, 1944. Iceland’s centuries-old connections with Denmark came to an end on this date. The republic was founded on the basis of a provision in the 1918 Act of Union with Denmark that allowed for a revision in 1943, as well as the results of a plebiscite held in 1944.

17th June 1994 : Football Hero OJ Simpson Charged with Murders

On this day in 1994, O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, though he was acquitted the following year after a sensational trial. Simpson had until 11 a.m. PT to turn himself in, but he failed to do so. The Los Angeles Police Department conducted a day-long hunt for Simpson, culminating in a car pursuit between the LAPD and Simpson’s Ford Bronco.

17th June 2012 : Rodney King found dead

Rodney King, an African American construction worker whose videotaped assault by white Los Angeles Police Department officers in March 1991 ignited deadly race riots (and the officers’ subsequent punishment by the courts), was discovered dead in his swimming pool in California.

Officers who arrived on the scene dragged King from the water and performed CPR on him. He was then taken to an advanced life support ambulance, where paramedics attempted to resuscitate him while he was still without a pulse. At 6:11 AM., he was rushed to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, California, where he was declared dead.

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