On This Day in History May 11

May 11 – Events:

  • 330 – Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but is more popularly referred to as Constantinople.
  • 1310 – 54 members of the Knights Templar are burned at the stake in France for being heretics.
  • 1502 – Christopher Columbus leaves for his fourth and final voyage to the West Indies.
  • 1745 – War of Austrian Succession: Battle of Fontenoy – At Fontenoy, French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army.
  • 1792 – Captain Robert Gray becomes the first documented white person to sail into the Columbia River.
  • 1812 – Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London.
  • 1813 – In Australia, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, lead an expedition westwards from Sydney. Their route opens up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.
  • 1820 – Launch of HMS Beagle the ship that took young Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.
  • 1841 – Lt. Charles Wilkes lands at Fort Nisqually in Puget Sound.
  • 1857 – Indian Mutiny: Indian rebels seize Delhi from the British.
  • 1858 – Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Yellow Tavern – Confederate General JEB Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern, Virginia.
  • 1867 – Luxembourg gains its independence.
  • 1891 – Otsu Scandal.
  • 1894 – Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a wildcat strike in Illinois.
  • 1907 – A derailment outside Lompoc, California kills 32 Shriners when their chartered train jumps off the tracks at a switch near Surf Depot.
  • 1910 – An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
  • 1911 – The United States becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  • 1918 – The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was officially established.
  • 1924 – Mercedes-Benz formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging the two companies.
  • 1927 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.
  • 1934 – Dust Bowl: A strong two-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl in North America.
  • 1942 – William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published.
  • 1943 – World War II: American troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Allies start a major offensive against the Axis Powers on the Gustav Line.
  • 1946 – UMNO is created.
  • 1949 – Siam officially changes its name to Thailand, a name in use since 1939.
  • 1949 – Israel joins the United Nations.
  • 1953 – The Waco Tornado: An F5 tornado hits downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114.
  • 1960 – In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann, living under the assumed name Ricardo Klement.
  • 1960 – The first contraceptive pill is made available on the market.
  • 1967 – Andreas Papandreou, Greek economist and socialist politician, is imprisoned in Athens by the Greek military junta.
  • 1969 – Vietnam War: Operation Apache Snow – Near the Laos border, American and South Vietnamese forces fight North Vietnamese troops for Ap Bia Mountain (aka Hill 937 or “Hamburger Hill”).
  • 1970 – Henry “Dickie” Marrow is murdered in a violent racially-motivated crime in Oxford, N.C..
  • 1970 – The Lubbock Tornado: An F5 tornado hits downtown Lubbock, Texas, killing 26.
  • 1973 – Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has his charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times
  • 1984 – A transit of Earth from Mars takes place.
  • 1985 – 56 spectators die when a flash fire strikes a football ground during a match in Bradford, England.
  • 1987 – Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.
  • 1987 – The first heart-lung transplant takes place (Baltimore, Maryland). The surgery is performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, of Stanford University School of Medicine.
  • 1995 – In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.
  • 1996 – After taking-off from Miami, a fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.
  • 1997 – IBM Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player.
  • 1998 – India conducts three underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, including a thermonuclear device.
  • 2000 – Last performance of the musical Cats in London’s West End.
  • 2002 – Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands unveiled the Man With Two Hats monument in Ottawa (May 11, 2002) and Apeldoorn (May 2), 2000, symbolically linking both Netherlands and Canada for their assistance throughout the Second World War.
  • 2007 – Pope Benedict XVI canonizes the first Brazilian-born saint, Frei Galvão.

May 11 – Birthdays:

  • 1571 – Niwa Nagashige, Japanese warlord (d. 1637)
  • 1720 – Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen, German adventurer (d. 1797)
  • 1722 – Petrus Camper, Dutch anatomist (d. 1789)
  • 1733 – Victoire of France, daughter of king Louis XV (d. 1799)
  • 1752 – Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, German anthropologist (d. 1840)
  • 1763 – János Batsányi, Hungarian poet (d. 1845)
  • 1799 – John Lowell, American philanthropist (d. 1836)
  • 1801 – Henri Labrouste, French architect (d. 1875)
  • 1811 – Chang and Eng Bunker, famous conjoined twins (d. 1874)
  • 1811 – Jean-Jacques Challet-Venel, member of the Swiss Federal Council (d. 1893)
  • 1817 – Fanny Cerrito, Italian ballet dancer (d. 1909)
  • 1824 – Jean-Léon Gérôme, French painter and sculptor (d. 1904)
  • 1827 – Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, French sculptor and painter (d. 1875)
  • 1835 – Karlis Baumanis, Latvian composer (d. 1905)
  • 1838 – Walter Goodman, British painter, illustrator and author (d. 1912)
  • 1852 – Charles W. Fairbanks, United States Vice President (d. 1918)
  • 1854 – Jack Blackham, Australian cricketer (d. 1932)
  • 1861 – Frederick Russell Burnham, father of the international scouting movement (d. 1947)
  • 1871 – Stjepan Radic, Croatian politician (d. 1928)
  • 1871 – Frank Schlesinger, American astronomer (d. 1943)
  • 1875 – Harriet Quimby, American aviator (d. 1912)
  • 1881 – Al Cabrera, Spanish-born Cuban baseball player (d. 1964)
  • 1881 – Theodore von Kármán, Hungarian physicist (d. 1963)
  • 1887 – Paul Wittgenstein, Austrian-born pianist (d. 1961)
  • 1888 – Irving Berlin, American composer (d. 1989)
  • 1888 – Willis A. Lee, World War II U.S. naval admiral (d. 1945)
  • 1890 – Woodall Rodgers, mayor of Dallas, Texas (d. 1961)
  • 1892 – Margaret Rutherford, English actress (d. 1972)
  • 1894 – Martha Graham, American dancer and choreographer (d. 1991)
  • 1895 – Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher (d. 1986)
  • 1896 – Josip Štolcer-Slavenski Croatian composer (d. 1955)
  • 1897 – Kurt Gerron, German director (d. 1944)
  • 1897 – Robert E. Gross, American businessman (d. 1961)
  • 1899 – Paulino Masip, Spanish playwright (d. 1963)
  • 1903 – Charlie Gehringer, American baseball player (d. 1993)
  • 1904 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter (d. 1989)
  • 1907 – Rose Ausländer, German poet (d. 1988)
  • 1907 – Rip Sewell, American baseball player (d. 1989)
  • 1909 – Ellis R Dungan, American born Indian film director (d. 2001)
  • 1909 – Herbert Murrill, English composer (d. 1952)
  • 1911 – Mitchell Sharp, Canadian politician (d. 2004)
  • 1911 – Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian (d. 1985)
  • 1912 – Foster Brooks, American actor and comedian (d. 2001)
  • 1913 – Robert Jungk, Austrian publicist (d. 1994)
  • 1914 – Haroun Tazieff, French volcanologist (d. 1998)
  • 1916 – Camilo José Cela, Spanish writer, Nobel laureate (d. 2002)
  • 1918 – Richard Feynman, American physicist, Nobel laureate (d. 1988)
  • 1921 – Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, German politician
  • 1922 – Nestor Chylak, American baseball umpire (d. 1992)
  • 1924 – Eugene Dynkin, Russian mathematician
  • 1924 – Antony Hewish, English radio astronomer, Nobel laureate
  • 1925 – Edward J. King, 66 Governor of Massachusetts (d. 2006)
  • 1927 – Mort Sahl, Canadian comedian and political commentator
  • 1927 – Gene Savoy, American author, explorer, scholar and cleric (d. 2007)
  • 1928 – Yaacov Agam, Israeli sculptor
  • 1928 – Brother Andrew, Dutch missionary
  • 1928 – Marco Ferreri, Italian film director and screenwriter (d. 1997)
  • 1930 – Edsger Dijkstra, Dutch computer scientist (d. 2002)
  • 1930 – Bud Ekins, American stuntman (d. 2007)
  • 1933 – Louis Farrakhan, American Black Muslim leader
  • 1935 – Doug McClure, American actor (d. 1995)
  • 1935 – Francisco Umbral, Spanish novelist (d. 2007)
  • 1936 – Carla Bley, American musician and composer
  • 1939 – Carlos Lyra, Brazilian musician
  • 1940 – Juan Downey, Chilean video artist (d. 1993)
  • 1941 – Eric Burdon, British singer (The Animals)
  • 1941 – Graham Miles, English snooker player
  • 1942 – Rachel Billington, British author
  • 1943 – Nancy Greene, Canadian alpine skier
  • 1943 – Juliet Harmer, English actress
  • 1946 – Robert Jarvik, American physician and inventor
  • 1946 – Plume Latraverse, Quebec singer and musician
  • 1947 – Butch Trucks, American drummer (The Allman Brothers Band)
  • 1948 – Nirj Deva, Sri Lankan-British politician
  • 1948 – Shigeru Izumiya, Japanese folk musician
  • 1950 – Dane Iorg, American baseball player
  • 1950 – Jeremy Paxman, British journalist and author
  • 1952 – Shohreh Aghdashloo, Iranian actress
  • 1952 – Frances Fisher, English-born actress
  • 1952 – Mike Lupica, American sports journalist
  • 1952 – Renaud Séchan, French composer
  • 1953 – David Gest, American television producer
  • 1953 – Céline Lomez, Quebec singer and actress
  • 1954 – John Gregory, English football manager
  • 1954 – Lubomir Stoykov, Bulgarian journalist and broadcaster
  • 1955 – John DeStefano, Jr., American politician
  • 1956 – Theresa Burke, Canadian journalist
  • 1956 – Alex Lester, British broadcaster
  • 1957 – Peter North, Canadian porn star
  • 1958 – Christian Brando, American actor and eldest child of Marlon Brando (d. 2008)
  • 1958 – Phil Smyth, Australian basketball player
  • 1958 – Walt Terrell, American baseball player
  • 1959 – Martha Quinn, American television personality
  • 1963 – Gunilla Carlsson, Swedish politician
  • 1963 – Masatoshi Hamada, Japanese comedian
  • 1963 – Natasha Richardson, English-born actress
  • 1964 – John Parrott, English snooker player
  • 1964 – Katie Wagner, American television reporter
  • 1964 – Floyd Youmans, American baseball player
  • 1965 – Greg Dulli, American musician
  • 1966 – Christoph Schneider, German drummer (Rammstein)
  • 1970 – Nicky Katt, American actor
  • 1972 – Anita Hegh, Australian actress
  • 1973 – James Haven, American actor
  • 1974 – Kevin Brown, English-born Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1974 – Stanley Gene, Papua New Guinean rugby league footballer
  • 1974 – Billy Kidman, American professional wrestler
  • 1974 – Benoît Magimel, French actor
  • 1974 – Darren Ward, Welsh footballer
  • 1975 – Francisco Cordero, Dominican baseball player
  • 1977 – Janne Ahonen, Finnish ski jumper
  • 1977 – Gonzalo Colsa, Spanish footballer
  • 1977 – Pablo García, Uruguayan footballer
  • 1977 – Victor Matfield, South African rugby union footballer
  • 1977 – Matthew Newton, Australian actor
  • 1978 – Laetitia Casta, French supermodel and actress
  • 1979 – Erin Lang, Canadian musician
  • 1981 – Lauren Jackson, Australian basketball player
  • 1981 – Dan Ortmeier, American baseball player
  • 1982 – Jonathan Jackson, American actor
  • 1982 – Andrew Walter, American football player
  • 1983 – Matt Leinart, American football player
  • 1983 – Holly Valance, Australian-born actress and singer
  • 1984 – Andres Iniesta, Spanish football player
  • 1986 – Abou Diaby, French footballer
  • 1986 – Ronny, Brazilian footballer
  • 1987 – Justin King, American football player
  • 1987 – Louis Murphy, American college football player
  • 1987 – Monica Rosu, Romanian gymnast

May 11 – Deaths:

  • 912 – Leo VI, Byzantine Emperor (b. 866)
  • 1304 – Mahmud Ghazan, Mongol ruler (b. 1271)
  • 1610 – Matteo Ricci, Italian Jesuit missionary (b. 1552)
  • 1672 – Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline, English royalist (b. 1615)
  • 1708 – Jules Hardouin Mansart, French architect (b. 1646)
  • 1723 – Jean Galbert de Campistron, French dramatist (b. 1656)
  • 1777 – George Pigot, Baron Pigot, British governor of Madras (b. 1719)
  • 1778 – William Pitt, the Elder, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1708)
  • 1812 – Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (assassinated) (b. 1762)
  • 1848 – Tom Cribb, English boxer (b. 1781)
  • 1849 – Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier, French socialite (b. 1777)
  • 1871 – John Herschel, British mathematician and astronomer (b. 1792)
  • 1887 – Jean Baptiste Boussingault, French chemist (b. 1802)
  • 1891 – A. E. Becquerel, French physicist (b. 1820)
  • 1916 – Max Reger, German composer (b. 1873)
  • 1916 – Karl Schwarzschild, German astronomer and physicist (b. 1873)
  • 1920 – William Dean Howells, American writer (b. 1837)
  • 1929 – Jozef Murgaš, Slovak inventor (b. 1864)
  • 1934 – Orest Khvolson, Russian physicist (b. 1852)
  • 1938 – Evgenii Miller, Russian counter-revolutionary (b. 1867)
  • 1955 – Gilbert Jessop, English cricketer (b. 1874)
  • 1960 – John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American philanthropist (b. 1874)
  • 1963 – Herbert Spencer Gasser, American physiologist, Nobel laureate (b. 1888)
  • 1970 – Johnny Hodges, American musician (b. 1906)
  • 1973 – Lex Barker, American actor (b. 1919)
  • 1976 – Alvar Aalto, Finnish architect (b. 1898)
  • 1979 – Lester Flatt, American bluegrass musician (b. 1914)
  • 1981 – Odd Hassel, Norwegian chemist, Nobel laureate (b. 1897)
  • 1981 – Bob Marley, Jamaican singer and musician (b. 1945)
  • 1985 – Chester Gould, American cartoonist (b. 1900)
  • 1986 – Henry P. McIlhenny, American philanthropist (b. 1910)
  • 1986 -Fritz Pollard, American football player (b. 1894)
  • 1988 – Kim Philby, British spy (b. 1912)
  • 1994 – Timothy Carey, American actor (b. 1928)
  • 1996 – Ademir Marques de Menezes, Brazilian footballer (b. 1922)
  • 1996 – Nnamdi Azikiwe, President of Nigeria (b. 1904)
  • 2000 – Paula Wessely, Austrian actress (b. 1907)
  • 2001 – Douglas Adams, English author (b. 1952)
  • 2002 – Joseph Bonanno, Italian-born gangster (b. 1905)
  • 2002 – Renaude Lapointe, French Canadian journalist and senator (b. 1912)
  • 2003 – Noel Redding, English bassist (The Jimi Hendrix Experience) (b. 1945)
  • 2004 – Mick Doyle, Irish international rugby player and coach
  • 2004 – John Whitehead, American singer (McFadden & Whitehead) (b. 1949)
  • 2005 – Michalis Genitsaris, Greek rebetiko singer and composer (b. 1917)
  • 2006 – Floyd Patterson, American boxer (b. 1935)
  • 2006 – Frankie Thomas, American actor (b. 1921)
  • 2006 – Yossi Banai, Israeli singer (b. 1932)
  • 2007 – Malietoa Tanumafili II, Sovereign Ruler of Samoa (b. 1913)
  • 2007 – Bernard Gordon, blacklisted American author. (b. 1918)

May 11 – Holidays:

  • Holiday of the City of Miskolc
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