July 17, 1048
The third German pope, Damasus II, is enthroned in Rome. Originally named Poppo, he was born in Bavaria. He was the Bishop of Brixen in Tyrol when Heinrich III nominated him as pope. He was enthroned as pope on July 17, 1048 but soon after arival in Rome contracted malaria and died after 23 days as pope.
July 17, 1505
Birth of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten in Berlin, Germany. Baumgarten was the philosopher who coined the term “aesthetics” and established it as a distinct field of philosophy.
July 17, 1763
Birth of John Jacob Astor in Waldorf, Germany. Astor came to the U. S. and entered the fur trading industry. Astor used the revenues he gained from a monopoly he built in the fur trading industry to invest in New York real estate and thus found the Astor family fortune.
July 17, 1787
Birth of Friedrich (Fritz) Krupp in Essen, Germany. He was a German steel manufacturer and founder of the Krupp family commercial empire that is now subsumed into ThyssenKrupp AG. He launched the family’s metal-based activities, building a small steel-foundry in Essen in 1811. He was the father of the arms manufacturer Alfred Krupp.
July 17, 1814
Birth of Amanz Gressly in Bärschwil, Switzerland. Gressly was the geologist who introduced the study of stratigraphic facies.
July 17, 1917
The British royal family officially changes its name from Hanover to Windsor. The first of the line had been George I of Hanover (he couldn’t even speak English when he took the throne). As a result of WWI the family wished to cover their German background.
July 17, 1931
Birth of Erwin Knoll in Vienna, Austria. Fleeing the Nazis, Knoll’s family brought him to the U. S. at the age of nine. Knoll gained international recognition when in 1979 he refused a government request to refrain from publishing an article in his magazine.
July 17, 1944
Erwin Rommel’s car was attacked by British planes. Rommel suffered severe head injuries.
July 17, 1945
Start of the Potsdam Conference. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three nations were represented by Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and later, Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman.
Stalin, Churchill, and Truman—as well as Attlee, who participated alongside Churchill while awaiting the outcome of the 1945 general election, and then replaced Churchill as Prime Minister after the Labour Party’s victory over the Conservatives—gathered to decide how to administer punishment to the defeated Nazi Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier, on 8 May (V-E Day). The goals of the conference also included the establishment of post-war order, peace treaties issues, and countering the effects of war.
July 17, 1954
Birth of Angela Dorothea Merkel, a German politician and a former research scientist, who has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000. She is the first woman to hold either office, the first German Chancellor to be born after World War II, and the first post-reunification Chancellor to hail from the former East Germany.
Angela Merkel has been described as the de facto leader of the European Union, and was ranked as the world’s second most powerful person by Forbes magazine in 2013, the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman, and is now ranked fifth. On 26 March 2014, she became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union. On 28 May 2014, she was named the most powerful woman in the world, also by Forbes.