It happened today – this day in history – February 11

660BC: The traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.

55: Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome, clearing the way for Nero to become emperor.

1503: Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII, dies on her 38th birthday.

1650: French philosopher Rene Descartes dies of pneumonia aged 53.

1659: The assault on Copenhagen by Swedish forces is beaten back with heavy losses.

1806: William Grenville becomes Prime Minister following the death of William Pitt the Younger.

1809: Robert Fulton patents the steamboat.

1810: Napoleon I marries second wife, Marie-Louise of Austria.

1811: President James Madison prohibits trade with Britain for the third time in four years.

1847: Birth of inventor Thomas Edison in Ohio.

1852: The first British public female toilet opens in Bedford Street, London.

1878: The first weekly weather report in published in the UK.

1896: Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” premieres in Paris.

1903: Anton Bruckner’s 9th Symphony premieres in Vienna.

1916: Germany and Austria-Hungary notify the US that they will sink any armed merchant ships from March 1.

1928: The second Winter Olympic Games open in St Moritz, Switzerland.

1940: Death of author John Buchan, First Baron Tweedsmuir and Governor General of Canada.

1944: German troops reconquer Aprilia, Italy.

1945: Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin sign the Declaration of Liberated Europe at the end of the Yalta Conference.

1948: Death of Russian director Sergei Eisenstein aged 50. On the same day, John Costello succeeds Eamon Da Valera as premier of Ireland.

1950: Englishman Jack Holden wins the Empire Games marathon in Auckland, New Zealand, running the last nine miles barefoot after his shoes fell apart.

1953: The USSR breaks diplomatic relations with Israel.


1956: Two British diplomats, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, who vanished in mysterious circumstances five years ago deny being spies after reappearing in the Soviet Union. Two others from their spy ring were still operating in Britain.

1955: Singles chart:

  1. Mambo Italiano – Rosemary Clooney and the Mellomen
  2. Softly Softly – Ruby Murray
  3. The Finger Of Suspicion – Dickie Valentine with the Stargazers
  4. Give Me Your Word – Tennessee Ernie Ford
  5. Heartbeat – Ruby Murray
  6. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – The Ames Brothers
  7. The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane – Dean Martin
  8. No One But You – Billy Eckstein
  9. Mr Sandman – Dickie Valentine
  10. Shake Rattle And Roll – Bill Haley and his Comets
1962: Elvis Presley – Blue Hawaii

1962: Album chart:

  1. The Young Ones – Cliff Richard
  2. Blue Hawaii – Elvis Presley
  3. The Black And White Minstrel Show – The George Mitchell Minstrels
  4. South Pacific – Original Soundtrack
  5. The Shadows – The Shadows
  6. Sound Of Music – Original London Cast
  7. Oliver – Original London Cast
  8. Wimoweh – Karl Denver
  9. Vamp From The Roaring Twenties – Dorothy Provine
  10. Temperance Seven – The Temperance Seven

1963: In one 10-hour session at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, The Beatles record their first album Please Please Me in its entirety. The record’s closing track, Twist And Shout is the last song recorded and has to be done in one take as John Lennon knew he would not be able to sing it more than once. By the time they had finished, Lennon had not only given an iconic vocal performance, but the band had created something that would signal a sea change in pop music. On the same day, poet Sylvia Plath commits suicide aged 30.

1964: The Beatles make their live concert debut in the US at the Washington Coliseum to more than 8,000 screaming fans.

1965: The Beatles drummer Ringo Starr marries hairdresser Maureen Cox.

1975: Margaret Thatcher becomes leader of the Conservative Party.

1976: John Curry wins Britain’s first Olympic gold in figure skating.

1978: China lifts a ban on Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens.

1979: Ayatollah Khomeini seizes power in Iran.

1987: Party planner Cynthia Payne is acquitted of nine charges of controlling prostitutes at her home in south-west London.

1990: Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years imprisonment in South Africa. On the same day, James ‘Buster’ Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson in Japan to win the world heavyweight boxing title.

2000: Death of French director Roger Vadim aged 71.

2006: Jaws author Peter Benchley dies aged 65.

2009: Ronettes singer Estelle Bennett dies aged 67.

2010: Fashion designer Alexander McQueen commits suicide aged 40.

2011: A revolution in Egypt culminates in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests (Arab Spring).

2012: Singer Whitney Houston is found dead submerged in the bathtub in her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

2013: Pope Benedicxt XVI announces his resignation from February 28, the first pope to resign since 1415.

2016: A riot between rival drug cartels at a prison in Monterrey, Mexico, leaves 52 dead.

2020: Snow falls in Baghdad, Iraq, for only the second time in a century.

BIRTHDAYS: Dennis Skinner, former Labour MP, 90; Dame Mary (Barbara) Quant, fashion designer, 88; Derek Shulman, vocalist (Gentle Giant) 75; Sheryl Crow, singer-songwriter, 60; Sarah Palin, US politician, 58; Jennifer Aniston, actress, 53; Damian Lewis OBE, actor, 51; Steve McManaman, football pundit, 50; D’Angelo (Michael Archer) singer-songwriter, 48; Brandy (Brandy Rayana Norwood), singer/actress, 43; Kelly Rowland, singer, 41; Natalie Dormer, actress, 40; Rafael van der Vaart, Dutch footballer, 39; Georgia May Foote, actress, 31; Taylor Lautner, actor, 30.