January 11th in History

This day in historyJanuary 11 is the 11th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 354 days remaining until the end of the year (355 in leap years).


In 532, Nika riots in Constantinople: A quarrel between supporters of different chariot teams—the Blues and the Greens—in the Hippodrome escalates into violence.

In 630,  Conquest of Mecca: The prophet Muhammad and his followers conquer the city, Quraysh surrender.

In 947,  Emperor Tai Zong of the Khitan-led Liao Dynasty invades the Later Jin, resulting in the destruction of the Later Jin.

In 1055,  Theodora is crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.

In 1158,  Vladislav II becomes King of Bohemia.

In 1569,  First recorded lottery in England.

In 1571,  Austrian nobility is granted freedom of religion.

In 1693,  A powerful earthquake destroys parts of Sicily and Malta.

In 1759,  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.

In 1779,  Ching-Thang Khomba is crowned King of Manipur.

In 1782,  American Revolutionary War: French troops begin a siege of a British garrison on Brimstone Hill in Saint Kitts.

In 1787,  William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.

In 1805,  The Michigan Territory is created.

Francis Scott Key by Joseph Wood c1825.jpg

Francis Scott Key

In 1843,  Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and songwriter (b. 1779) dies. He was an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, who wrote the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner“. During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by the British Prisoner Exchange Agent Colonel John Stuart Skinner, dined aboard the British ship HMS Tonnant, as the guests of three British officers: Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Rear Admiral George Cockburn, and Major General Robert Ross. Skinner and Key were there to negotiate the release of prisoners, one of whom was Dr. William Beanes, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland who had been arrested after jailing marauding British troops who were looting local farms. Skinner, Key, and Beanes were not allowed to return to their own sloop because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. Thus, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13–14, 1814. At dawn, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. Back in Baltimore and inspired, Key wrote a poem about his experience, “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, which was soon published in the Patriot on September 20, 1814. He intended to fit it to the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith’sTo Anacreon in Heaven“, a popular tune Key had already used as a setting for his 1805 song “When the Warrior Returns,” celebrating U.S. heroes of the First Barbary War. (Key used the “star spangled” flag imagery in the earlier song.) It has become better known as “The Star-Spangled Banner“. Though somewhat difficult to sing, it became increasingly popular, competing with “Hail, Colombia” (1796) as the de facto national anthem by the Mexican-American War and American Civil War. More than a century after its first publication, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play what became known as the “Service Version”) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover

In 1861,  Alabama secedes from the United States.

In 1863,  American Civil War: Battle of Arkansas Post – General John McClernand and Admiral David Dixon Porter capture the Arkansas River for the Union.

In 1863,  American Civil War: CSS Alabama encounters and sinks the USS Hatteras off Galveston Lighthouse in Texas.

In 1879,  The Anglo-Zulu War begins.

In 1908,  Grand Canyon National Monument is created.

In 1912,  Immigrant textile works in Lawrence, Massachusetts, go on strike when wages are reduced in response to a mandated shortening of the work week.

In 1917,  The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of sabotage.

In 1919,  Romania reincorporates Transylvania.

In 1922,  First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.

In 1923,  Occupation of the Ruhr: Troops from France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr area to force Germany to make its World War I reparation payments.

In 1927,  Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.


In 1935,  Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

In 1942,  World War II: The Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur.

In 1943,  World War II: The United States and United Kingdom give up territorial rights in China.

In 1943,  Italian-American anarchist Carlo Tresca is assassinated in New York.

In 1946,  Enver Hoxha, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Albania, declares the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as head of state.

In 1949,  The first “networked” television broadcasts take place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.

In 1949,  First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles, California.

In 1957,  The African Convention is founded in Dakar, Senegal.

In 1960,  Henry Lee Lucas, once listed as America’s most prolific serial killer, commits his first known murder.

In 1962,  Cold War: While tied to its pier in Polyarny, the Soviet submarine B-37 is destroyed when fire breaks out in its torpedo compartment.

In 1962,  An avalanche on Huascarán in Peru causes 4,000 deaths.

In 1964,  Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.

In 1972,  East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.

In 1973,  Major League Baseball owners vote in approval of the American League adopting the designated hitter position.

Jack Soo 1975.jpg

Jack Soo

In 1979,  Jack Soo, American actor (b. 1917) died of cancer. He was a Japanese American actor. He is best known for his role as Detective Nick Yemana on the television sitcom Barney Miller. Soo’s last words to his Barney Miller co-star Hal Linden before his death were: “It must have been the coffee.”

In 1986,  The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is officially opened.

In 1994,  The Irish Government announces the end of a 15-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and its political arm Sinn Féin.

In 1996,  Space Shuttle program: STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.

In 1998,  Over 100 people are killed in the Sidi-Hamed massacre in Algeria.

Bob Lemon.jpgIn 2000,  Bob Lemon, American baseball player (b. 1920) died. He was an American right-handed pitcher and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB). Lemon was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976. Lemon was raised in California where he played high school baseball and was the state player of the year in 1938. At the age of 17, Lemon began his professional baseball career in the Cleveland Indians organization, with whom he played for his entire professional career. Lemon was called up to Cleveland’s major league team as a utility player in 1941. He then joined the United States Navy during World War II and returned to the Indians in 1946. That season was the first Lemon would play at the pitcher position. The Indians played in the 1948 World Series and were helped by Lemon’s two pitching wins as they won the club’s first championship since 1920. In the early 1950s, Cleveland had a starting pitching rotation which included Lemon, Bob Feller, Mike Garcia and Early Wynn. During the 1954 season, Lemon had a career-best 23–7 win-loss record and the Indians set a 154-game season AL-record win mark when they won 111 games before they won the American League (AL) pennant. He was an All-Star for seven consecutive seasons and recorded seven seasons of 20 or more pitching wins in a nine-year period from 1948–1956. Lemon was a manager with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. He was named Manager of the Year with the White Sox and Yankees. In 1978, he was fired as manager of the White Sox. He was named Yankees manager one month later and he led the team to a 1978 World Series title. Lemon became the first AL manager to win a World Series after assuming the managerial role in the middle of a season.

In 2002,  The first twenty captives arrive at Camp X-Ray.

In 2003,  Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on Illinois‘ death row based on the Jon Burge scandal.

In 2013,  One French soldier and 17 militants are killed in a failed attempt to free a French hostage in Bulo Marer, Somalia.

In 2013,  Tom Parry Jones, Welsh scientist, invented the breathalyzer (b. 1935) died.

Nguyễn Khánh 1964.jpgIn 2013,  Nguyen Khanh, Vietnamese general and politician, 3rd President of South Vietnam (b. 1927) died. He was a South Vietnamese military officer and Army of the Republic of Vietnam general who served in various capacities as head of state and prime minister of South Vietnam while at the head of a military junta from January 1964 until February 1965. He was involved in or against many coup attempts, failed and successful, from 1960 until his defeat and exile from South Vietnam in 1965. Khanh lived out his later years with his family, in exile in the United States, and died of pneumonia and end-stage renal failure at a hospital in San Jose, California.

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