Today in History: December 11 | HistoryNet MENU

Today in History: December 11

What Happened This Day In History.

A chronological timetable of historical events that occurred on this day in history. Historical facts of the day in the areas of military, politics, science, music, sports, arts, entertainment and more. Discover what happened today in history.


Today in History
December 11

1688 James II abdicates the throne due to William of Orange landing in England.
1816 Indiana is admitted to the Union as the 19th state.
1861 A raging fire sweeps the business district of Charleston, South Carolina, adding to an already depressed economic state.
1862 Union General Ambrose Burnside occupies Fredericksburg and prepares to attack the Confederates under Robert E. Lee.
1863 Union gunboats Restless, Bloomer and Caroline enter St. Andrew’s Bay, Fla., and begin bombardment of both Confederate quarters and saltworks.
1882 A production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe at Boston’s Bijou Theatre becomes the first performance in a theatre lit by incandescent electric lights.
1927 Nearly 400 world leaders sign a letter to President Calvin Coolidge asking the United States to join the World Court.
1930 As the economic crisis grows, the Bank of the United States closes its doors.
1933 Reports say Paraguay has captured 11,000 Bolivians in the war over Chaco.
1936 Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicates the throne to marry American Wallis Warfield Simpson.
1941 The United States declares war on Italy and Germany.
1943 U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull demands that Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria withdraw from the war.
1945 A Boeing B-29 Superfortress shatters all records by crossing the United States in five hours and 27 minutes.
1951 Joe DiMaggio announces his retirement from baseball.
1955 Israel raids Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.
1964 Frank Sinatra, Jr., is returned home to his parents after being kidnapped for the ransom amount of $240,000.
1967 The Concorde, a joint British-French venture and the world’s first supersonic airliner, is unveiled in Toulouse, France.
1972 Challenger, the lunar lander for Apollo 17, touches down on the moon’s surface. This is the last time that men visit the moon.
1978 Massive demonstrations take place in Tehran against the shah.
1981 Military forces in El Salvador kill over 800 civilians in what is known as the El Mozote massacre during the Salvadoran Civil War.
1997 The Kyoto Protocol international treaty intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses, opens for signature.
2001 The People’s Republic of China joins the World Trade Organization.
2005 Race riots begin in Cronulla, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
2006 President of Mexico Felipe Calderon launches a military-led offensive against drug cartel violence in the state of Michoacan.
2008 Bernard “Bernie” Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in what was called a $50-billion Ponzi scheme.
Born on December 11
1803 Hector Berlioz, French composer and conductor (Symphonie Fantastique, La Damnation de Faust).
1843 Robert Koch, physician and medical researcher.
1882 Fiorello H. Laguardia, mayor of New York City from 1933 to 1945.
1911 Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian novelist.
1918 Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian writer and winner of the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize; famous for The Gulag Archipelago.
1922 Grace Paley, short story writer.
1926 Willie “Big Mama” Thornton, blues singer.
1937 Jim Harrison, novelist and poet (Legends of the Fall).
1939 Tom McGuane, novelist and screenwriter (The Sporting Club, Bushwacked Piano).
1939 Tom Hayden, social and political activist; author, politician.
1940 Donna Mills, actress (Knots Landing TV series, Play Misty for Me movie).
1943 John Kerry, politician; unsuccessful Democratic nominee for President of the United States (2004); secretary of state (2013– ).
1944 Teri Garr, actress, dancer (Tootsie, Mr. Mom).
1944 Brenda Lee, singer; her 37 US chart hits in the 1960s is surpassed only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis (“I’m Sorry,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”).
1950 Christina Onassis, businesswoman; inherited and operated the Onassis shipping business.
1981 Hamish Blake, Australian comedian, actor, author; won a Gold Logie Award for “Most Popular Personality on Television”; half of the award-winning comedy duo Hamish and Andy (Andy Lee).