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17th

1777 - France recognized American independence.

1903 - The first successful gasoline-powered airplane flight took place. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight.

1939 - The German pocket battleship Graf Spee was scuttled by its crew, bringing the World War II Battle of the Rio de la Plata off Uruguay to an end.

1944 - The U.S. Army announced the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast which ensured that Japanese-Americans were released from detention camps.

1957 - The United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

1986 - Davina Thompson became the world's first recipient of a heart, lungs, and liver transplant.

1996 - The Red Cross pulled all but a few of its western staff out of Chechnya after six foreign aid workers were killed by masked gunmen.

 

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