This Day in History

December 11


1241      Ögedei Khan, Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, dies after a reign of 12 years, age 55   776
1282      Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last), last prince of an independent Wales, dies, age around 59   735
1282      Michael VIII Palaiologos, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, dies after a reign of 21 years, age 58   735
1474      death of Henry IV, King of Castile and Ledn, at age 49 leads to power struggle eventually won by Isabella I   543
1610      German artist, working in Rome, Adam Elsheimer dies in Rome, age 32   407
1688      last Catholic monarch of Great Britain, James II, flees to France thus abdicating the throne   329
1781      Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, and writer David Brewster is born   236
1789      University of North Carolina is charted—the oldest public universities in the U.S. to admit students   228
1816      Indiana becomes the 19th state   201
1843      Prussian physician, microbiologist, founder of modern bacteriology, and Nobel laureate (1905) Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch born   174
1863      American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon born   154
1872      Kamehameha V dies on his birthday, age 42–last monarch of the Hawaiian House of Kamehameha   145
1880      American businessman and founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company Oliver Fisher Winchester dies, age 70   137
1882      German physicist and Nobel laureate Max Born, born in Breslau, Germany   135
1917      British General Edmund Allenby dismounts and enters captured Jerusalem on foot   100
1928      American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer dies in New York City, age 80   89
1931      George V gives his royal assent to the Statute of Westminster essentially granting the Dominions sovereign nations   86
1936      Edward VIII abdicates the throne of England to marry Wallis Simpson   81
1941      French mathematician Charles Émile Picard dies in Paris, age 85   76
1941      Germany and Italy declare war on the United States   76
1945      French physicist Charles Fabry dies, age 78   72
1946      United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) established   71
1950      New Zealand pioneer in mechanical computation Leslie John Comrie dies, age 57   67
1962      Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin, both convicted of murder, are the last persons to be executed in Canada   55
1968      Estonian artist Richard Sagrits dies in Tallin, age 57   49
1972      Apollo 17 with Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt lands on moon—last Apollo lunar landing   45
1975      Ohio State running back Archie Griffin becomes the only player to win two Heisman Trophies (1974 & 1975)   42
1977      Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their first game after setting NFL record of 26 consecutive losses   40
1978      Lufthansa heist—estimated $5.875 million stolen at John F. Kennedy International Airport—largest U.S. cash robbery at the time   39
1998      French mathematical physicist André Lichnerowicz dies in Paris, age 83   19
1998      first humans, from Endeavour, enter the embryonic International Space Station—leave after initial interior setup   19
2000      Rangers offer Alex Rodriguez a 10-year, $252 million contract—first MLB player to earn $25 million per year   17
2001      the People's Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization   16
2006      Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, launches an offensive to reduce drug cartel violence in Michoacán—begins the Mexican Drug War   11
2012      Indian sitar musician and composer Ravi Shankar dies in San Diego, California, age 92   5
2013      Portugeuse geometric abstractionist painter and architect Nadir Afonso dies, age 93   4
2015      Indian painter and sculptor Hema Upadhyay is killed in Mumbai, age 43   2

Dates are always somewhat ambiguous, the exact date depends on whether local time is used (and local time where) or Universal Time—for events on the surface of the Earth, local time is probably best but for an event that spans across the planet, it is not clear which local time to use!. For events in space it is more ambiguous. Further for dates after the original adoption of the Gregorian calendar but before it became accepted in different countries, the date given may be a Julian date or a Gregorian date depending upon where the event occurred. And, even the year may be different since the first of the year has not always been January 1 in all countries! The attempt is to use a date that is the one that is typically given.

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