Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, June 11, the 163rd day of 2016. There are 203 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.

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

In 1936, Kansas Gov. Alfred “Alf” Landon was nominated for president at the Republican national convention in Cleveland.

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 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 1986, the John Hughes comedy “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” starring Matthew Broderick, was released by Paramount Pictures.

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: Al-Qaida in Iraq vowed “major attacks” after the death of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (AH’-boo MOO’-sahb ahl-zahr-KOW’-ee) in a U.S. airstrike. Rafael Nadal won his second consecutive French Open title, beating Roger Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Se Ri Pak beat Karrie Webb to win the LPGA Championship. “The History Boys” won six Tony Awards, including best play; “Jersey Boys” was named best musical and won four awards. Civil rights activist James Cameron, who’d survived an attempted lynching and went on to found America’s Black Holocaust Museum, died in Milwaukee at age 92.

Five years ago: Rejecting calls by Democratic leaders for him to resign in a sexting scandal, Rep. Anthony Weiner instead announced he was seeking professional treatment and asked for a leave of absence from Congress. (Weiner ended up resigning his office.) Ruler On Ice posted a huge upset in the Belmont Stakes, taking the lead from Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford in the straight and winning the final leg of the Triple Crown.

One year ago: Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. military’s reach could extend even further into Iraq if the anti-Islamic State campaign were to gain momentum, and held out the possibility of a greater role for U.S troops on the ground. “Free jazz” pioneer Ornette Coleman, 85, died in New York. Country singer-songwriter Jim Ed Brown, 81, died in Franklin, Tennessee. Actor Ron Moody, 91, best known for playing Fagin in the 1968 film “Oliver!,” died in London.

Today’s Birthdays: U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., is 86. Actor Gene Wilder is 83. Comedian Johnny Brown is 79. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Jackie Stewart is 77. Singer Joey Dee is 76. Actress Adrienne Barbeau is 71. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 67. Animal rights activist Ingrid Newkirk is 67. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 64. Actor Peter Bergman is 63. Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 60. Actor Hugh Laurie is 57. TV personality Mehmet Oz, M.D., is 56. Singer Gioia (JOY’-ah) Bruno (Expose) is 53. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 50. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 50. Actress Clare Carey is 49. Actor Peter Dinklage is 47. Country musician Smilin’ Jay McDowell is 47. Actor Lenny Jacobson is 42. Rock musician Tai Anderson (Third Day) is 40. Actor Joshua Jackson is 38. Americana musician Gabe Witcher (Punch Brothers) is 38. Christian rock musician Ryan Shrout is 36. Actor Shia LaBeouf (SHY’-uh luh-BUF’) is 30.

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