This Day in History - May 11

May 11

868 – The earliest surviving dated printed book is produced in China known as the “Diamond Sutra”

1189 – Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa and 100,000 crusaders depart Regensburg for the Third Crusade

1573 – Henry of Anjou becomes the first elected king of Poland

1689 – French and English Navies battle at Bantry Bay

1690 – In the first major engagement of King William’s War, British troops seize Port Royal in Acadia from the French

1745 – French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army at Fontenoy

1751 – Pennsylvania Hospital is founded by Dr. Thomas Bond and Benjamin Franklin

1760 – Burmese King Alaungpaya dies

1776 – American General George Washington recommends in a letter to the president of Congress, raising companies of German Americans to use against the German mercenaries expected to fight for Britain

1778 – Prime Minister of the UK, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, dies

1792 – The Columbia River is discovered by Captain Robert Gray

1812 – British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is shot by a bankrupt banker in the lobby of the House of Commons

1838 – Painter, author, and illustrator, Walter Goodman is born

1858 – Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd US state

1860 – Giuseppe Garibaldi lands at Marsala, Sicily

1861 – Soldier and adventurer Frederick Russell Burnham is born

1862 – Confederates scuttle the CSS Virginia off Norfolk, Virginia

1864 – Confederate General JEB Stewart is killed at Yellow Tavern

1885 – Bandleader “King” Joseph Oliver is born

1888 – Composer Irving Berlin is born

1894 – Writer and biographer Mari Sandoz is born

1895 – American composer and conductor William Grant Still is born

1896 – Western writer Mari Sandoz is born

1904 – Surrealist painter Salvador Dali is born

1912 – Comedian and actor Phil Silvers is born

1918 – Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman is born

1919 – Germans prepare to protest Versailles Treaty terms in Paris

1924 – Mercedes-Benz is formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz

1930 – Author Stanley Elkin is born

1933 – American religious leader Louis Farrakhan is born

1934 – A massive dust storm from the Great Plains reaches as far east as New York, Boston, and Atlanta

1942 – William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses, is published

1944 – Allied forces begin an assault on the Gustav Line, a German defensive line drawn across central Italy just south of Rome

1947 – BF Goodrich Company in Ohio announces it has developed a tubeless tire

1949 – The body of Leon Besnard is exhumed in Loudun, France, by authorities searching for evidence of poison. Leon and his wife, Marie, poisoned 12 people, all in an effort to claim their inheritance money. Finally, when Marie fell in love with another man, she poisoned him too. The neighbors and townsfolk understood Marie was a murderess and tried three times to convict her in court for just that. Two trials resulted in a mistrial due to trace evidence being lost and the third resulted in an acquittal due to not enough physical evidence having survived the prior trials. In the end, “Queen of Poisoners,” as the French described Marie Besnard, got away with 13 murders

1960 – Israeli soldiers capture Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires

1960 – The first birth control pill goes on sale

1961 – President Kennedy orders more troops to South Vietnam

1967 – The Siege of Khe Sanh ends with Americans still in control of the base

1969 – US and South Vietnamese forces battle North Vietnamese troops for Ap Bia Mountain (Hill 937) dubbed “Hamburger Hill” by the US media due to the grueling fighting and high loss of life (597 North Vietnamese dead, and 56 US casualties and 420 injured)

1981 – The reggae singer Bob Marley dies

1981 – The musical Cats premieres

1985 – Fifty people die in a fire in the grandstand at a soccer stadium in Bradford, England

1987 – Klaus Barbie, the former Nazi Gestapo chief of German-occupied Lyon, France, goes on trial in Lyon for 177 crimes against humanity during WWII and receives life in prison

1988 – Former British Secret Intelligence Service officer and double agent for the Soviet Union, Kim Philby, dies

1995 – More than 170 countries meet in New York City to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions

1996 – ValuJet Flight 592 crashes into the Florida Everglades, killing 110

1997 – IBM’s supercomputer Deep Blue makes chess history by defeating Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess champion widely regarded as the greatest who has ever lived

1998 – India conducts a series of nuclear weapons tests

2001 – Author and playwright Douglas Adams dies

2015 – India’s population officially reaches one billion

Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.

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