May 11 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred,  famous birthdays, death day, legend quotes, and historical news on May 11.


Events on May 11

1911 Death of William Pitt (the Elder), first Earl of Chatham, British statesman known as the Great Commoner.

1812 British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is shot dead in the House of Commons by bankrupt John Bellingham.

1824 The British capture Rangoon, using a steamship in war for the first time.

1904 Australian diva Nellie Melba signs a recording contract with the Gramophone Company.

1927 Spanish Cubist painter Juan Gris died in Paris, where he has lived since 1906.

1956 Elvis Presley first entered the UK charts with “Heartbreak hotel”.

1960 The world’s longest liner, SS France, is launched at St Nazaire by General de Gaulle.

1988 Kim Philby, former British intelligence officer who spied for the Soviets, died in Moscow aged 76.

1995 In central Kashmir, militants burn the Charar-e-Sharif shrine Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani, which was built in 1460.

1998 India conducts three underground nuclear tests, including the detonation of a thermonuclear device in Pokhran, Rajasthan, India.

Famous Birthdays on May 11

John Wilkes Booth 1838, Russian-born American composer of musical comedies and film scores.

Martha Graham 1893, American ballet dancer and choreographer, one of the most influential teachers of modern dance.

Salvador Dali 1904, Spanish Surrealist painter known as much for his megalomaniac exhibitionism as for the quality of his work.

Phil Silvers 1912, American comedian known for his role as Sergeant Biko.

Eric Burden 1941, British rock singer who had hits with the group The animals before going solo.

Quotes from Legend

Dangers by being despised grow great.

- Edmund Burke, British politician, in a House of Commons speech today, 1792.

Historical News on May 11

Reggae King

1981 Bob Marley died today of cancer.

He was 36. Marley grew up as a “rudeboy” in the Jamaican slums where reggae music and the Rastafarian cult have their roots.

He and his group The Wailers dedicated their concerts to Ras Tafari, the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, held to be the one true God.

Marley brought reggae and his religion to world attention.

It is hard to believe that the man who made such irrepressible music has died.

Indians Defy British Rule

1857 Britain’s Indian sepoy troops have mutinied in Meerut, killing their officers and every European they could find.

Thousands are marching to seize Delhi.

The uprising started after troops of the 3rd Bengal Cavalry were jailed for refusing to handle new supplies of cartridges because they are greased with cow fat cows are sacred to Hindus.

Muslim soldiers, meanwhile, say the bullets are greased with pig fat, which no Muslim would touch.

There is widespread resentment over British rule, which has run roughshod over Indian sensibilities.

British reforms such as banning child marriages and sati have raised an outcry, and a new measure last year requiring sepoys to serve overseas, thus losing caste, brought further discontent.

The British commander at Meerut was warned of today’s rebellion but did not believe it could happen and took no precautions.

Cyclone Death Toll Mounts

1991 The death toll from the cyclone which has devastated Bangladesh is climbing towards 2,50,000.

The entire coastal plain, millions of acres of fertile rice land, is underwater following fierce floods that swept away whole communities.

Now, with millions of people marooned in the midst of the flood, no shelter, no medical care, and little help on the way.

Supplies are needed instantly foreign aid has been promised, but not much has yet arrived, and getting it to those who need it is a massive problem.

Blitz Batters London

blitz batters London on May 11
Blitz batters London

1941 A pall of smoke hid the ruins as a badly shaken London emerged this morning from the worst bombing raids yet.

At least 1400 people died as 550 German planes unloaded hundreds of bombs and more than 1,00,000 incendiaries over the city last night.

Only 33 bombers were shot down.

Many people are still trapped beneath the rubble as rescue teams fight to free them.

The damage is immense, the House of Commons, Westminster Hall, Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, and all the big railway stations are badly damaged.

St Paul’s Cathedral was hit but still stands.

German radio announced the raid was a reprisal for the bombing of German cities.

London has now lost a total of 20,000 killed in the Blitz and a further 25,000 have been injured.

Cats Purring

Cats purring new musical opened on May 11
Cats purring new musical opened

1981 A new musical opened in London today, another immediate hit for composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

This show is different, even for the eclectic Lloyd Webber.

Cats is a ballet musical, setting T.S Eliot’s playful poems in Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats to Lloyd Webber’s music, sung by a sinuously agile cast in vivid feline make-up.

The score includes some good songs that could be hit, like “Memory”, sung by Grizabella the Glamour Cat.

Other characters are suave feline felon Macavity, Rumpleteazer, and the Jellicle Cats, who “are black and white and come out at night”.

As in Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, Lloyd Webber hits all the right notes in Cats.

It’s a lot of fun and that’s what musicals are for.


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