It happened today – this day in history – May 11

330: Byzantium becomes the capital of the Roman Empire.

1310: 54 Knights Templar are burned at the stake in France for being heretics.

1778: Death of William Pitt the Elder aged 69.

1812:Prime Minister Spencer Percival is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. On the same day, the waltz is introduced into English ballrooms. Some observers consider it disgusting and immoral.

1888: Birth of songwriter Irving Berlin (Israel Isidore Baline) in Russia.

1891: Prince Nicolas (later Tsar Nicolas II of Russia) survives an assassination attempt in Japan.

1900:James J Jeffries KOs James J Corbett in Round 23 for the heavyweight boxing title.

1904: Birth of surrealist Salvador Dali in Spain.

1927: Louis B Mayer forms the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

1928: Walter Hagen wins the British Open golf tournament for the third time.

1931: “M” Fritz Lang’s first sound film starring Peter Lorre premieres in Berlin.

1949: Israel becomes a member of the United Nations. On the same day, Siam renames itself Thailand.

1960: Israeli soldiers capture Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Buenos Aires.

1961: Singles chart:

  1. Blue Moon – The Marcels
  2. You’re Driving Me Crazy – The Temperance Seven
  3. Don’t Treat Me Like A Child – Helen Shapiro
  4. More Than I Can Say – Bobby Vee
  5. Wooden Heart – Elvis Presley
  6. On The Rebound – Floyd Cramer
  7. Theme From Dixie – Duane Eddy
  8. War Paint – The Brook Brothers
  9. 100 Pounds Of Clay – Craig Douglas
  10. African Waltz – Johnny Dankworth

1963: British businessman Greville Wynne is sentenced by a tribunal in Moscow to eight years detention (three years in prison followed by five years in a Labour camp) accused of spying for the west. His co-accused, Soviet official Oleg Penkovsky, is sentenced to death and executed by firing squad a week later.

1966: Real Madrid beats Partizan Belgrade 2-1 to win the European Cup in Brussels.

1967: Britain, Ireland and Denmark apply for membership of the EEC.

1968: Students and police battle in Paris.


1969: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam begin writing sketches for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

1969: Cream – Goodbye

Album chart:

  1. On The Threshold Of A Dream – The Moody Blues
  2. Elvis TV Special – Elvis Presley
  3. Songs From A Room – Leonard Cohen
  4. Best Of – The Seekers
  5. Goodbye – Cream
  6. Nashville Skyine – Bob Dylan
  7. Hair – London Cast
  8. Oliver! – Original Soundtrack
  9. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin
  10. The Sound Of Music – Original Soundtrack

1971: The Daily Sketch newspaper closes.

1972: John Lennon appears on US television ‘Dick Cavett Show’, claiming he is under surveillance from the FBI. Turns out he was right.

1976: Elton John becomes chairman of Watford FC.

1981: Bob Marley dies aged 36 from cancer.

1983: Aberdeen win the European Cup Winner’s Cup, beating Real Madrid 2-1 in Gothenburg.

1984: Johan Cruyff retires from playing football.

1985: A fire breaks out in the wooden main stand at Bradford City’s Vallley Parade ground during the game against Lincoln City. 56 fans perish in the blaze.

1987: The first combined heart and lung transplant is carried out in Baltimore.

1998: India announces it has carried out a series of underground nuclear tests.

2000: Death of author Douglas Adams aged 49.

2003: Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding dies aged 57.

2004: Songwriter John Whitehead, composer of Ain’t No Stopping Us Now and Back Stabbers, is killed by a gunman.

2006: George Michael is involved in his second minor car crash in a month after a tabloid photographer found him asleep in his parked car in central London. The singer crashes into a bollard as he drives away.

2010: David Cameron becomes Prime Minister after forming a coalition government between the Liberal Democrats and his own Conservative Party.

2013: Wigan Athletic cause a major upset, defeating Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley to win the FA Cup.

BIRTHDAYS: Valentino (Garavani), fashion designer, 89; Eric Burdon, singer (The Animals), 80; Jeremy Paxman, journalist/broadcaster, 71; Frances Fishes, actress, 69; John Parrott, snooker pundit, 57; Greg Dulli, musician 56; Christoph Schneider, drummer, (Rammstein) 55; Holly Valance, singer/actress, 38; Andrés Iniesta (Luján), footballer, 37; Thibaut Courtois, goalkeeper, 29.