Recalling four major incidents that took place on May 17 marked in history. These are Operation Chastise demolishes German dams in the year 1943, French missionaries found Montreal in the year 1642, 2,000-year-old computer discovered in the year 1902 and US Supreme Court rules school segregation unconstitutional in the year 1954.
1. Operation Chastise demolishes German dams (May 17, 1943)
A Royal Air Force Lancaster Bombers squadron conducts a daring raid into Germany’s Ruhr Valley. Winging only 100 feet above the ground, and dropping ingenious ‘bouncing’ drum bombs, the ‘Dam Busters’ succeed in breeching the Möhne and Edersee Dams. Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out on 16–17 May 1943 by Royal Air Force No. 617 Squadron, later called the Dam Busters, using a purpose-built “bouncing bomb” developed by Barnes Wallis. The Möhne and Edersee dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley and of villages in the Eder valley; the Sorpe Dam sustained only minor damage. Two hydroelectric power stations were destroyed and several more damaged. Factories and mines were also damaged and destroyed. An estimated 1,600 civilians – about 600 Germans and 1,000 mainly Soviet forced labourers – died. Despite rapid repairs by the Germans, production did not return to normal until September.
2. French missionaries found Montreal (May 17, 1642)
Hired to build a Catholic mission near the St. Lawrence River, 30-year-old Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve and his group of settlers found Ville-Marie de Montreal. The future city of Montreal faces an uncertain future at first, and the population will dwindle to 50 by a decade later. The history of Montreal, located in the province of Quebec, Canada, spans about 800 years. At the time of European contact, the area was inhabited by the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, a discrete and distinct group of Iroquoian-speaking indigenous people. They spoke Laurentian. Jacques Cartier became the first European to reach the area now known as Montreal in 1535 when he entered the village of Hochelaga on the Island of Montreal while in search of a passage to Asia during the Age of Exploration. Seventy years later, Samuel de Champlain unsuccessfully tried to create a fur trading post but the Mohawk of the Iroquois defended what they had been using as their hunting grounds.
3. 2,000-year-old computer discovered (May 17, 1902)
A Greek archaeologist examining finds from the haul of the Antikythera shipwreck notices a gear wheel embedded in rock. Decades later, examinations by X-ray and gamma ray will reveal the bronze gear clockwork Antikythera mechanism to be a complex ancient analog computer. The Antikythera mechanism (/ˌæntɪkɪˈθɪərə/,) is an ancient Greek analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. It could also be used to track the four-year cycle of athletic games which was similar to an Olympiad, the cycle of the ancient Olympic Games.
4. US Supreme Court rules school segregation unconstitutional (May 17, 1954)
A lawsuit against unfair segregation is heard before the Supreme Court, and the unanimous ruling finds that establishing separate public schools for black and white students is unconstitutional. ‘Brown v. Board of Education’ will be a major landmark in the growing civil rights movement. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that American state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools are unconstitutional, even if the segregated schools are otherwise equal in quality. Handed down on May 17, 1954, the Court’s unanimous decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal,” and therefore violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, the decision’s 14 pages did not spell out any sort of method for ending racial segregation in schools, and the Court’s second decision in Brown II only ordered states to desegregate “with all deliberate speed”.