This Day in History - February 11

February 11

660 BC – Traditional founding of Japan takes place by Emperor Jimmu Tenno

1531 – Henry VIII is recognized as the supreme head of the Church of England

1535 – Roman Catholic Pope, Gregory XIV, is born

1650 – French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes dies

1776 – Georgia’s royal governor, Sir James Wright, escapes from his home in Savannah where he was serving house arrest, to a waiting British warship, and returns to London

1778 – Voltaire returns to Paris after a 28-year exile for his satirical criticism of the government and religion, to a crowd of 300, welcoming him home

1800 – Photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot is born

1805 – The Shoshoni guide for Lewis & Clark, Sacajawea, gives birth to a son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, with Meriwether Lewis serving as midwife

1809 – Robert Fulton patents the steamboat

1815 – News of the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, reaches the US

1833 – Eighth US Supreme Court Justice Melville Weston Fuller is born

1847 – Prolific American inventor Thomas Edison is born

1855 – American educator and woman who conceived idea of nurseries for children, Josephine Marshall Jewell Dodge, is born

1858 – Marie-Bernarde Soubirous, 14, a French miller’s daughter, claims to have seen the ghost of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes.  According to her, she saw Mary 18 times in a grotto of rock promontory near Lourdes, France, and that the Virgin revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception, asked for a chapel to be built on the site and told the girl to drink from the fountain in the grotto, which Marie subsequently discovered by digging into the earth.  Church leaders, skeptical of the girl’s claims for years, subjected her to severe examinations.  She was finally allowed to enter the convent of Notre-Dame de Nevers, where she spent her final years in prayer and seclusion until her death at the age of 35.  Millions travel to Lourdes today to visit St. Bernadette’s grotto and many believe the grotto’s waters have healing powers

1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln leaves Springfield, Illinois to head for Washington, DC

1898 – Physicist Leo Szilard is born

1903 – Congress passes the Expedition Act, giving antitrust cases priority in court

1904 – President Theodore Roosevelt claims strict neutrality for the US in the Russo-Japanese War

1907 – US businessman and community builder William Levitt is born

1908 – Screenwriter and director Phillipe Dune is born

1910 – Theodore Roosevelt and Eleanor Alexander announce their June 10th wedding date

1912 – Poet and novelist Roy Fuller is born

1916 – Women’s rights activist Emma Goldman is arrested in New York City for lecturing and passing out materials about birth control

1918 – Russian General Alexei Maximovitch Kaledin commits suicide

1926 – The Mexican government nationalizes all church property

1926 – Canadian and American actor Leslie Nielsen is born

1929 – The Lateran Treaty is signed, where Italy recognizes the independence and sovereignty of Vatican City

1934 – Panamanian general and military leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega is born

1936 – The Reich arrests 150 Catholic youth leaders in Berlin

1937 – GM signs the first autoworkers contract to end a six-week strike

1939 – The Negrin government returns to Madrid, Spain

1942 – The German battleships Gneisenau, Scharnhorst and Prinz Eugen begin their channel dash from the French port of Brest through the English Channel on their way back to Germany

1945 – The meeting of President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Marshal Joseph Stalin in Yalta, adjourns with the signing of the Yalta Agreement

1952 – A series of avalanches begin across central Europe which will go on to kill 78

1953 – Walt Disney’s Peter Pan premiers

1954 – In Rockefeller Center in New York, a 75,000-watt light bulb is lit to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Thomas Edison’s first light bulb

1955 – Nationalist Chinese finish the evacuation of the Tachen Islands

1956 – Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess resurface in Moscow after having disappeared from England in 1951, to offer journalists a joint-statement in which they both denied having been Russian spies, although they make clear their desire to live in Russia

1959 – Iran turns down Soviet aid in favor of a US proposal for aid

1960 – President Eisenhower calls the Payola scandal an “issue of public morality” and the FCC proposes a new law making involvement in Payola (disk-jockey’s taking money for playing records) a criminal act

1962 – Poet and novelist Sylvia Plath commits suicide in London

1963 – Nine US and South Vietnamese crewmen are killed when their SC-47, part of Operation Farm Gate, crashes near Saigon

1964 – Cambodian Prince Sihanouk blames the US for a South Vietnamese air raid on a village in his country

1964 – 9th Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin is born

1965 – President Lyndon Johnson orders air strikes against targets in North Vietnam to retaliate for guerrilla attacks on the American forces in South Vietnam

1966 – Vice President Hubert Humphrey begins a tour of Vietnam

1969 – Actress, director and producer Jennifer Aniston is born

1970 – Japan’s first satellite, Ohsumi, is launched into orbit around the Earth

1974 – Communist-led rebels pepper a crowded area of Phnom Pehn with artillery fire, killing 139 and injuring 46

1975 – Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman to lead the British Conservative Party

1978 – American chemist and 1st US Ambassador to West Germany, James Bryant Conant dies

1979 – Ayatollah Khomeini’s followers seized control of the Iran government

1989 – The Episcopal Church Boston diocese consecrated Barbara Harris as the church’s first woman bishop

1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from prison in Paarl, South Africa, after serving more than 27 years of a life sentence

1990 – Boxer Buster Douglas defeats Mike Tyson, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, in 10 rounds at a match in Tokyo

2008 – JRR Tolkien’s heirs join a group of publishers in filing a $150 million lawsuit against New Line Cinema, accusing them of cheating the heirs to the monies owed from the film series Lord of the Rings

2010 – English fashion designer Alexander McQueen dies

2011 – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announces his resignation and hands power of the country to its military, in response to Arab Spring protests

2012 – Pop superstar Whitney Houston dies

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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