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This Day in History is DUE’s daily dose of trivia for all the history buffs out there. So sit back and take a ride of all the fascinating things that happened on 11th May!!!!

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in people, and hence, every day has been a significant one in the foibles of history. Now, let’s take a tour of “This Day in History – 11th May”.

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1812: Bellingham assassinates British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval

Deranged businessman John Bellingham shot Spencer Perceval to death in the lobby of the House of Commons. He had been the prime minister of Britain since 1809. The failure to obtain government compensation for war debts incurred in Russia had inflamed Bellingham who gave himself up immediately. The authorities executed him one week later. Ironically, descendants of both later stood for the same seat in Parliament at the same time but neither won.

Spencer Perceval

1893: Henri Desgrange establishes the first bicycle world record

Henri Desgrange established the first bicycle world record today travelling 35.325 km (21.95 miles) an hour. The Hour record referred to as the ‘athletes hour.’ It is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle from a stationary start, and is one of the most prestigious records in cycling. Desgrange’s record was the first record to be officially recognized by the International Cycling Association (ICU) which is the predecessor to the modern-day Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI). He is also the founder of Tour de France.

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Henri Desgrange

1912: Urdu Writer Saadat Hasan Manto is born

Writer, author and playwright Saadat Hasan Manto was born in Ludhiana in British India. He wrote stories about the partition of India, which he opposed, immediately following independence in 1947. Manto faced trial for obscenity six times; thrice before 1947 in British India, and thrice after independence in 1947 in Pakistan, but was never convicted. He is acknowledged as one of the finest 20th century Urdu writers and is the subject of two biographical films: Manto, directed by Sarmad Khoosat and the 2018 film Manto, directed by Nandita Das. Discover all of his work HERE.

Saadat Hasan Manto

1931: Reggae Star Bob Marley Passes Away

Days after a triumphant concert in Madison Square Garden, Bob Marley collapsed while jogging in Central Park and later received a grim diagnosis. A cancerous growth on an old soccer injury on his big toe had metastasized and spread to Marley’s brain, liver and lungs. Less than eight months later, he passed away in a hospital in Miami, Florida at 36. The global symbol of Jamaican music, performed together with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer as The Wailers. They produced a string of albums – Exodus (1977), Kaya (1978) and Uprising (1980). The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Bob Marley in 1994 and Rolling Stone also ranked him 11 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

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This Day in History - 11th May
Bob Marley

1997: Computer Deep Blue defeats Grandmaster Kasparov in a chess match

Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov resigned after 19 moves in a game against Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer developed by scientists at IBM. Kasparov had lost this sixth and final game of their match, two games to one, with three draws. Known for his unpredictable play, Kasparov first played Deep Blue in 1996. The grandmaster was able to defeat the computer by switching strategies mid-game. In 1997, he abandoned his swashbuckling style, taking more of a wait-and-see approach. This played in the computer’s favour and led to the Russian Grandmaster’s defeat.

Garry Kasparov

1999: National Technology Day

National Technology Day celebrates the achievements of engineers and scientists in the field of technology and science. The day acts as a reminder of the country’s technological advancements. Former Indian PM Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee coined this term to celebrate the contributions of Indian scientists. On May 11, 1998, India successfully fired the Shakti-I nuclear missile at an Army test range in Rajasthan’s Pokhran. India also tested its first indigenous aircraft ‘Hansa-3’ which flew from Bengaluru.  After testing Hansa-3, India also performed a successful test firing of the Trishul missile.

National Technology Day
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