On this day in history February 17,
- 1972 – Sales of the Volkswagen Beetle exceed those of the Ford Model-T.
- 1974 – Robert K. Preston, a disgruntled U.S. Army private, buzzes the White House in a stolen helicopter.
- 1978 – The Troubles: The Provisional IRA detonates an incendiary bomb at the La Mon restaurant, near Belfast, killing 12 and seriously injuring 30.
- 1979 – The Sino-Vietnamese War begins.
- 1980 – Mount Everest, 1st Winter Ascent by Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy.
- 1992 – Nagorno-Karabakh War: Armenian troops massacre more than 20 Azerbaijani civilians in the village of Qaradağlı
- 1995 – The Cenepa War between Peru and Ecuador ends on a cease-fire brokered by the UN.
- 1996 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, world champion Garry Kasparov beats the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.
- 1996 – NASA‘s Discovery Program begins as the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft lifts off on the first mission ever to orbit and land on an asteroid, 433 Eros.