On This Day … 11 December


  • 220 – Emperor Xian of Han is forced to abdicate the throne by Cao Cao ‘s son Cao Pi, ending the Han dynasty.
  • 361 – Julian enters Constantinople as sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.
  • 861 – Assassination of the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil by the Turkish guard, who raise al-Muntasir to the throne. Start of the “Anarchy at Samarra”.
  • 969 – Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas is assassinated by his wife Theophano and her lover, the later Emperor John I Tzimiskes.
  • 1282 – Battle of Orewin Bridge: Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales, is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, in mid-Wales.
  • 1602 – A surprise attack by forces under the command of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, and his brother-in-law, Philip III of Spain, is repelled by the citizens of Geneva. (Commemorated annually by the Fête de l’Escalade.)
  • 1675 – Antonio de Vea expedition enters San Rafael Lake in western Patagonia.
  • 1688 – Glorious Revolution: James II of England, while trying to flee to France, throws the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames.
  • 1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France is put on trial for treason by the National Convention.
  • 1868 – Paraguayan War: Brazilian troops defeat Paraguayan at the Battle of Avay.
  • 1899 – Second Boer War: In the Battle of Magersfontein the Boers commanded by general Piet Cronjé inflict a defeat on the forces of the British Empire commanded by Lord Methuen trying to relieve the Siege of Kimberley.
  • 1905 – A workers’ uprising occurs in Kyiv, Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire), and establishes the Shuliavka Republic.
  • 1917 – World War I: British General Edmund Allenby enters Jerusalem on foot and declares martial law.
  • 1920 – Irish War of Independence: In retaliation for a recent IRA ambush, British forces burn and loot numerous buildings in Cork city.
    • Many civilians report being beaten, shot at, robbed and verbally abused by British forces.
  • 1927 – Guangzhou Uprising: Communist Red Guards launch an uprising in Guangzhou, China, taking over most of the city and announcing the formation of a Guangzhou Soviet.
  • 1931 – Statute of Westminster 1931: The British Parliament establishes legislative equality between the UK and the Dominions of the Commonwealth – Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland.
  • 1936 – Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII’s abdication as King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India, becomes effective.
  • 1937 – Second Italo-Ethiopian War: Italy leaves the League of Nations.
  • 1941 – World War II: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on the Empire of Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour.
    • The United States, in turn, declares war on them.
  • 1941 – World War II: Poland declares war on the Empire of Japan.
  • 1941 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy suffers its first loss of surface vessels during the Battle of Wake Island.
  • 1948 – Arab–Israeli War: The United Nations passes General Assembly Resolution 194, creating a Conciliation Commission to mediate the conflict.
  • 1958 – French Upper Volta and French Dahomey gain self-government from France, becoming the Republic of Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and the Republic of Dahomey (now Benin), respectively, and joining the French Community.
  • 1960 – French forces crack down in a violent clash with protesters in French Algeria during a visit by French President Charles de Gaulle.
  • 1964 – Che Guevara speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
  • 1981 – El Mozote massacre: Armed forces in El Salvador kill an estimated 900 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the Salvadoran Civil War.
  • 1994 – First Chechen War: Russian President Boris Yeltsin orders Russian troops into Chechnya.
  • 2006 – Felipe Calderón, the President of Mexico, launches a military-led offensive to put down the drug cartel violence in the state of Michoacán.
    • This effort is often regarded as the first event in the Mexican Drug War.
  • 2007 – Insurgency in the Maghreb: Two car bombs explode in Algiers, Algeria, one near the Supreme Constitutional Court and the other near the offices of the United Nations.
  • 2019 – The results of the 2019 Bougainvillean independence referendum are announced.
    • The results are overwhelmingly one-sided. Over 98% of voters vote for Bougainville’s independence.

People (Births)

  • 1861 – Frederick Eveleigh-de-Moleyns, 5th Baron Ventry, British Army officer and Anglo-Irish peer (d. 1923).
  • 1884 – Piet Ooms, Dutch swimmer and water polo player (d. 1961).
  • 1897 – Ronald Skirth, English soldier (d. 1977).
  • 1908 – Amon Göth, Austrian Nazi war criminal (d. 1946).
  • 1909 – Ronald McKie, Australian soldier, journalist, and author (d. 1991).
  • 1932 – Enrique Bermúdez, Nicaraguan colonel and engineer (d. 1991).
  • 1943 – John Kerry, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 68th United States Secretary of State.
  • 1974 – Gete Wami, Ethiopian runner.
  • 1975 – Gerben de Knegt, Dutch cyclist.

People (Deaths)

  • 1582 – Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, Spanish general and politician, 12th Constable of Portugal (b. 1508).
  • 1686 – Louis, Grand Condé, French general (b. 1621).
  • 1880 – Oliver Winchester, American businessman, founded the Winchester Repeating Arms Company (b. 1810).
  • 1941 – John Gillespie Magee, Jr., American pilot and poet (b. 1922).
  • 1951 – Mustafa Muğlalı, Turkish general (b. 1882).
  • 2004 – Arthur Lydiard, New Zealand runner and coach (b. 1917).

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