This Day in History

December 11


1241      Ögedei Khan, Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, dies after a reign of 12 years, age 55   777
1282      Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last), last prince of an independent Wales, dies, age around 59   736
1282      Michael VIII Palaiologos, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, dies after a reign of 21 years, age 58   736
1474      death of Henry IV, King of Castile and Ledn, at age 49 leads to power struggle eventually won by Isabella I   544
1610      German artist, working in Rome, Adam Elsheimer dies in Rome, age 32   408
1688      last Catholic monarch of Great Britain, James II, flees to France thus abdicating the throne   330
1781      Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, and writer David Brewster is born   237
1789      University of North Carolina is charted—the oldest public universities in the U.S. to admit students   229
1816      Indiana becomes the 19th state   202
1843      Prussian physician, microbiologist, founder of modern bacteriology, and Nobel laureate (1905) Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch born   175
1863      American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon born   155
1872      Kamehameha V dies on his birthday, age 42–last monarch of the Hawaiian House of Kamehameha   146
1880      American businessman and founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company Oliver Fisher Winchester dies, age 70   138
1882      German physicist and Nobel laureate Max Born, born in Breslau, Germany   136
1893      Scottish theologian William Milligan dies in Edinburgh, age 72   125
1917      British General Edmund Allenby dismounts and enters captured Jerusalem on foot   101
1928      American inventor Lewis Howard Latimer dies in New York City, age 80   90
1931      George V gives his royal assent to the Statute of Westminster essentially granting the Dominions sovereign nations   87
1934      Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, takes his last drink   84
1936      Edward VIII abdicates the throne of England to marry Wallis Simpson   82
1941      French mathematician Charles Émile Picard dies in Paris, age 85   77
1941      Germany and Italy declare war on the United States   77
1945      French physicist Charles Fabry dies, age 78   73
1946      United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) established   72
1950      New Zealand pioneer in mechanical computation Leslie John Comrie dies, age 57   68
1962      Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin, both convicted of murder, are the last persons to be executed in Canada   56
1968      Estonian artist Richard Sagrits dies in Tallin, age 57   50
1972      Apollo 17 with Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt lands on moon—last Apollo lunar landing   46
1975      Ohio State running back Archie Griffin becomes the only player to win two Heisman Trophies (1974 & 1975)   43
1977      Tampa Bay Buccaneers win their first game after setting NFL record of 26 consecutive losses   41
1978      American biochemist and Nobel laureate (1955) Vincent du Vigneaud dies in Ithaca, New York, age 77   40
1978      Lufthansa heist—estimated $5.875 million stolen at John F. Kennedy International Airport—largest U.S. cash robbery at the time   40
1998      French mathematical physicist André Lichnerowicz dies in Paris, age 83   20
1998      first humans, from Endeavour, enter the embryonic International Space Station—leave after initial interior setup   20
2000      Rangers offer Alex Rodriguez a 10-year, $252 million contract—first MLB player to earn $25 million per year   18
2001      People's Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization   17
2006      Felipe Calderón, President of Mexico, launches an offensive to reduce drug cartel violence in Michoacán—begins the Mexican Drug War   12
2008      American model Bettie Mae Page dies in Los Angeles, age 85   10
2009      first flight of the Airbus A400M Atlas four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft   9
2012      Indian sitar musician and composer Ravi Shankar dies in San Diego, California, age 92   6
2013      Portuguese geometric abstractionist painter and architect Nadir Afonso dies, age 93   5
2015      Indian painter and sculptor Hema Upadhyay is killed in Mumbai, age 43   3
2015      Australian architect with a career spanning 60 years Kenneth Frank Charles Woolley dies, age 82   3

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.

day before yesterdayyesterday tomorrowday after tomorrow