- January 17, 1773 (248 years ago)
- •Captain James Cook and his crew become the first Europeans to sail below the Antarctic Circle.
- January 17, 1917 (104 years ago)
- •The United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.
- January 17, 1929 (92 years ago)
- •Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar, first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip.
- January 17, 1966 (55 years ago)
- •A B-52 bomber collides with a KC-135 Stratotanker over Spain, dropping three 70-kiloton nuclear bombs near the town of Palomares and another one into the sea in the Palomares incident.
- January 17, 1973 (48 years ago)
- •Ferdinand Marcos becomes "President for Life" of the Philippines.
- January 17, 1977 (44 years ago)
- •Convicted murderer Gary Gilmore is executed by a firing squad in Utah, ending a ten-year moratorium on Capital punishment in the United States.
- January 17, 1985 (36 years ago)
- •British Telecom announces the retirement of the United Kingdom's red telephone boxes.