Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Thursday, June 11, the 162nd day of 2015. There are 203 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On June 11, 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner.

On this date:

In 1509, England’s King Henry VIII married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

In 1770, Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.

In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer pitched the first of two consecutive no-hitters as he led the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 victory over the Boston Bees. (Four days later, Vander Meer refused to give up a hit to the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lost, 6-0.)

In 1942, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort in World War II.

In 1959, the Saunders-Roe Nautical 1, the first operational hovercraft, was publicly demonstrated off the southern coast of England.

In 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft; they were never found or heard from again.

In 1963, a Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc (tihk kwang duk), set himself afire on a Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem (noh deen dyem).

In 1975, Robert Altman’s ensemble musical drama “Nashville,” released by Paramount Pictures, opened in New York.

In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Belmont Stakes, capturing the Triple Crown.

In 1985, Karen Ann Quinlan, the comatose patient whose case prompted a historic right-to-die court decision, died in Morris Plains, New Jersey, at age 31.

In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who commit “hate crimes” motivated by bigotry may be sentenced to extra punishment; the court also ruled religious groups had a constitutional right to sacrifice animals in worship services.

In 2001, Timothy McVeigh, 33, was executed by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

Ten years ago: The first tropical storm of the 2005 season, Arlene, sloshed ashore in the Florida Panhandle. The world’s richest countries agreed in London to write off more than $40 billion of debt owed by the poorest nations. French journalist Florence Aubenas and her Iraqi assistant were freed after more than five months as hostages in Iraq. Afleet Alex won the Belmont Stakes by seven lengths.

Five years ago: Twenty campers in a southwestern Arkansas gorge died in a pre-dawn flash flood of the Little Missouri River. Joran van der Sloot (YOHR’-uhn VAN’-dur-sloht) was ordered jailed in Peru on first-degree murder and robbery charges in the beating and strangling death of Stephany Flores. The FIFA World Cup opened in South Africa to the joyous sound of vuvuzelas; it was the first World Cup to be played in Africa.

One year ago: During a Capitol Hill hearing, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel aggressively defended the secret prisoner exchange of five Taliban detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, telling Congress that the risks were too great and the situation too uncertain for the administration to tell lawmakers about the plan. Acclaimed actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee, 91, died in New Rochelle, New York.

Today’s Birthdays: U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., is 85. Actor Gene Wilder is 82. Comedian Johnny Brown is 78. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Jackie Stewart is 76. Singer Joey Dee is 75. Actress Adrienne Barbeau is 70. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 66. Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is 66. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 63. Actor Peter Bergman is 62. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 59. Actor Hugh Laurie is 56. TV personality Mehmet Oz, M.D., is 55. Singer Gioia (JOY’-ah) Bruno (Expose) is 52. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 49. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 49. Actress Clare Carey is 48. Actor Peter Dinklage is 46. Country musician Smilin’ Jay McDowell is 46. Actor Lenny Jacobson is 41. Rock musician Tai Anderson (Third Day) is 39. Actor Joshua Jackson is 37. Christian rock musician Ryan Shrout is 35. Actor Shia LaBeouf (SHY’-uh luh-BUF’) is 29.

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