May 11th in History

This day in history

May 11 is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 234 days remaining until the end of the year.



Smiling can imply a sense of humour and a state of amusement, as in this painting of Falstaff by Eduard von Grützner.

In 2181, B.C., on this date that may well be facetious, the chair was invented.

In 330, Constantinople was established as a new capital by Roman Emperor Constantine for the Eastern Roman Empire. It’s now Istanbul, not Constantinople, it’s Istanbul. Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but it is more popularly referred to as Constantinople.

In 868,  A copy of the Diamond Sutra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.

In 912,  Alexander becomes Emperor of the Byzantine Empire

In 1310, In France, fifty-four members of the Knights Templar are burned at the stake as heretics.

In 1502Columbus began his fourth voyage to the West Indies.

In 1540, The Spanish explorer and conqueror Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y Luján — searching for a mythical city of gold — reached the town of Zuni. Zuni still exists today in the state of New Mexico.

In 1553, Sailing of the “Edward Bonaventure,” the “Bona Esperanza” and the “Bona Confidentia” from England to search for the Northwest Passage

In 1647, Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.

In 1665, The colonies of New Haven and Connecticut were united. Connecticut the state took its name from Connecticut the colony, which took its name from Connecticut the river, which is the same river that forms the boundary between the states of New Hampshire and Vermont.

In 1672,  Franco-Dutch War: Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands.

In 1745, War of the Austrian Succession: Battle of Fontenoy – French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch–Hanoverian army.

In 1751, The 2nd US hospital founded (Pennsylvania Hospital). Founded on May 11, 1751, by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, Pennsylvania Hospital is the 2nd oldest hospital in the United States with Bellevue in New York City being the oldest (founded March 31, 1736). It is also home to America’s first surgical amphitheatre and its first medical library. The hospital’s main building, dating to 1756, is a National Historic Landmark

In 1752, The first U.S. fire insurance policy was issued in Philadelphia, Pa.

In 1792Captain Robert Gray becomes the first documented white person to sail into the Columbia River.

In 1812, Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London.

In 1813,  In Australia, William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth lead an expedition to cross the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Their route opens up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.


Battle of Plattsburgh

In 1814, The Americans beat the British at the Battle of Plattsburgh.

In 1820,  HMS Beagle, the ship that will take Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage, is launched.

In 1833, A ship, “Lady-of-the-Lake“, bound from England to Quebec, struck iceberg and sank; 215 perished.

In 1846,  President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War

In 1857,  Indian Rebellion of 1857: Indian rebels seize Delhi from the British.

In 1858,  Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. State.

In 1862, American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1864, “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” That telegram — epitomizing the personality of the Civil War’s most dogged warrior — was sent by General Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1864, Battle of Yellow Tavern, VA (Sheridan’s Raid, South Anna Bridge).

In 1864, Gen J.E.B. Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern.

In 1858, Minnesota was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state.

In 1867, The independence and neutrality of the duchy of Luxembourg was guaranteed by the European powers under the Treaty of London.

In 1880,  Seven people are killed in the Mussel Slough Tragedy, a gun battle in California.

In 1889,  An attack upon a U.S. Army paymaster and escort results in the theft of over $28,000 and the award of two Medals of Honor.

In 1891,  The Ōtsu incident: Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Imperial Russia (later Nicholas II) suffers a critical head injury during a sword attack by Japanese policeman Tsuda Sanzō. He is rescued by Prince George of Greece and Denmark.

In 1894,  Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a wildcat strike in Illinois. The American Railway Union, led by Eugene Debs, subsequently began a boycott of Pullman that blocked freight traffic in and out of Chicago. Federal troops were called in, and violence erupted. The Pullman strike was broken by August.

In 1901, Andrew Carnegie sent $10,000 for a new Library in Jackson, Tennessee.

In 1904, Andrew Carnegie gave away $1,500,000 to build a Peace Palace.

In 1910, An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.

In 1916, Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity was presented.

In 1918,  The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus is officially established.

In 1918, Richard Feynman was born on May 11, 1918 ( died February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Sin’ichirō Tomonaga. He developed the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, and studied superfluidity in supercooled liquid helium. During World War II he assisted in the development of the atomic bomb, and in the 1980s he was a member of the Rogers Commission that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He was a pioneer in the field of quantum computing, and introduced the concept of nanotechnology. Through his lectures and books, including the semi-autobiographical Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think?, he was an avid popularizer of physics. In a 1999 poll of leading physicists, he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.

In 1920, Oxford University permits the admission of women.

In 1921, in a prohibition prosecution in New York, the police drank the evidence. Saloon owner William Manning and his bartender John Riley were arrested for keeping a bottle behind the bar, containing, as it said in the police report, a reddish liquid with a whiskey smell. So the lieutenant seized the bottle as evidence. The judge said, “Let’s see the whiskey,” but it was gone. The lieutenant said “We all tasted it, so we’d have a good case.” Case was dismissed.

In 1926, Airship Norge leaves Ny-Ålesund for the final stretch across the polar ice on May 11 at 9:55 for first air crossing of Arctic Ocean. On 12 May at 01.25 (GMT) they reached the North Pole, at which point the Norwegian, American and Italian flags were dropped from the airship onto the ice.

In 1927,  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.

In 1931, The failure of Credit-Anstalt, Austria’s largest bank, marked the beginning of the financial collapse of Central Europe.

In 1940, New York World’s Fair reopens.

In 1941, 1st Messerschmitt 109F shot down above England.

In 1942, Japanese troops conquer Kalewa.

In 1942,  William Faulkner‘s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published

In 1943, World War II: American troops invade Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.

In 1944,  World War II: The Allies begin a major offensive against the Axis powers on the Gustav Line.

In 1945,  World War II: Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill is hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of its crew. Although badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under its own power.

In 1946, the World War II relief agency Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe had its start as the first “CARE” package arrived in Europe.

In 1946, the first packages from the relief agency CARE (Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe) arrived in Europe, at Le Havre, France.

In 1947, Laos accepts constitution for parliamentary democracy.

In 1949, Israel was admitted to the United Nations as the world body’s 59th member by a vote of 37-12.

In 1949, the first Polaroid camera was sold for $89.95 in New York City.

In 1949, Siam changed its name to Thailand. Where would the King of Siam rule then?

In 1950, the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington is dedicated (had been in operation since 1942).

In 1951, Jay Forrester patented computer core memory.

JohnFosterDulles.jpegIn 1953, Winston Churchill criticizes John Foster Dulles domino theory.

In 1960, Israeli soldiers capture Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires.

In 1962, Antonio Segni becomes president of Italy.

In 1962, US sends troops to Thailand.

In 1963, Canadian acceptance of U.S. nuclear warheads for missiles installed on Canadian soil is announced.


In 1967, Britain, Denmark and Ireland formally applied to join the European Economic Community.

In 1967, ceremonies marking the installation of the 100 millionth telephone in the U.S. were held.

In 1971, TV’S “60 MINUTES” Former President LYNDON JOHNSON is profiled and interviewed by MIKE WALLACE.

In 1973, charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case were dismissed by Judge William M. Byrne, who cited government misconduct.

In 1977, 25 years ago, The U.S. government outlawed the use of chlorofluorocarbons as spray can propellants.

In 1978, Margaret A Brewer becomes first female general of US Marine Corp.

In 1979, according to the Tonight Show, the Chia Pet came onto the market, the reason for it was that William Shatner needed an inexhaustible supply of cheap toupees.

In 1981, The Prime Interest Rate went to 19.5 percent

In 1983, Secretary of State George P. Shultz returned to Washington from the Mideast, expressing confidence Syria would withdraw its troops from Lebanon along with Israeli forces.

In 1985, Chester Gould American cartoonist who introduced crime and violence into the comics with the creation of “Dick Tracy” died. He created a rogues’ gallery of bizarre criminals and masterminded the strip until his retirement in 1977.

In 1987, President Corazon Aquino wins election in Philippines.

In 1987, the trial of former Gestapo official Klaus Barbie began in Lyons, France.

In 1987, Emmanuel Vitria died in Marseilles in southern France at age 67, 18 years after receiving a transplanted human heart. He was the longest-surviving heart transplant patient.

In 1988, The Prime Interest Rate went to 9 percent

In 1988, master spy Harold “Kim” Philby, the notorious “Third Man” of a British espionage ring, died in the Soviet Union at age 76.

In 1989, President Bush ordered nearly 2,000 combat troops to go to Panama, saying the increase in U.S. military strength there was designed “to protect the lives of American citizens.”

In 1989, Kenya announced that it would seek a worldwide ban on the trade of ivory — a move intended to preserve its fast-dwindling elephant herds.

In 1990, President Bush, on a two-day trip of college commencement speeches, told reporters aboard Air Force One that there were “no conditions” going into a budget summit with Congress.

In 1992, a three-day ordeal on Oregon’s Mount Hood ended safely for three climbers stranded with minimal gear by a sub-zero whiteout.

In 1992, controversial police chief Daryl Gates, his officers, and FBI agents, arrested three men in the dramatic televised beating of truck driver Reginald Denny. The man was nearly beaten to death during the Los Angeles rioting on April 29.

In 1992, EC foreign ministers decided to recall their ambassadors from Belgrade and to seek Yugoslavia’s suspension from the CSCE.

In 1993, the Senate approved the so-called “motor voter” bill, designed to make voter registration easier. YES!!!

In 1993, the Senate Armed Services Committee heard emotional testimony from Marine Colonel Fred Peck, who affirmed his love for his homosexual son, Scott, while restating his opposition to lifting the ban on openly gay servicemen.

In 1994, Arkansas put to death two convicted murderers; it was the first time a state executed two people on the same day since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed states to restore the death penalty in 1976.

In 1994, Haiti’s military-backed government installed Emile Jonassaint as new provisional president.

In 1994, Italian media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi was installed as prime minister at the head of a coalition government that brought neo-fascists to power for the first time since World War Two.

In 1994, South African President Nelson Mandela named his main black political rival, Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, and his estranged wife Winnie, to his new government of national unity.

In 1995, A United Nations conference indefinitely extended the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was originally set to expire after 25 years.

In 1997,  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 in a classic match format.

In 1998, in what would be the second-largest merger in corporate history, SBC Communications announced it would acquire Ameritech. The deal would make SBC the largest local telephone service provider in the United States.

In 1998, The 13 states that originally considered a federal antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. are encouraging others to join their fight . Their lawsuit is likely to be filed later this week in federal court in Washington

In 1998, a French mint produced the first coins of Europe’s single currency, the euro.

In 1999, Stung by an espionage scandal, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said he would halt the Clinton administration’s aggressive declassification of Cold War-era nuclear documents.

In 2000,  Second Chechen War: Chechen separatists ambush Russian paramilitary forces in the Republic of Ingushetia.

In 2010,  David Cameron becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom following talks between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to form the UK’s first coalition government since World War II after elections produced a hung parliament.

In 2013,  52 people are killed in a bombing in Reyhanlı, Turkey.

In 2014,  15 people are killed and 46 injured in Kinshasa in a stampede caused by tear gas being thrown into the stand by police officers attempting to defuse a hostile incident.

In 2016,  More than 110 people are killed in an ISIL bombing in Baghdad

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