May 11, 868 – A copy of the “Diamond Sutra” was printed in China, and it is the world’s oldest book bearing a specific date of publication. The Diamond Sutra is a collection of Buddhist teachings — the word sutra comes from Sanskrit and means teachings or scriptures. The scroll was discovered in Turkestan, in 1900, among a thousand bundles of manuscripts walled up in one of the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas.
May 11, 1310 – In France, 54 members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.
May 11, 1776 - In a letter to Congress, American General George Washington recommended raising companies of German-Americans to use against the German mercenaries anticipated to fight for Britain
May 11, 1792 - The Columbia River was discovered by Captain Robert Gray.
May 11, 1811 - The first newspaper in Alabama, The Mobile Centinel, was published at Fort Stoddert. (Other sources say the first issue was printed on May 23, 1811.)
May 11, 1811 - Famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker were born. So unique and famous were the brothers that the term 'Siamese Twins' is derived from their birthplace of Siam. Their remarkable lives would also inspire a short story by Mark Twain, a BBC radio play, a best-selling novel, and even a musical in Singapore.
May 11, 1813 – In Australia, William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth led an expedition to cross the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Their route opened up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.
May 11, 1815 - Dr. Cincinnatus Ashe was born in North Carolina. Ashe attended the University of Alabama, the University of Virginia and received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He began practicing medicine in Marengo County, Ala. in 1850 and later became a surgeon in the Confederate army. After the war, he resumed his medical practice and eventually passed away a short time later at the age of 52 on Dec. 17, 1867 in Demopolis. He is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Demopolis.
May 11, 1820 – The HMS Beagle, the ship that would take Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage, was launched.
May 11, 1820 – The Conecuh Courthouse Federal Land Office at Sparta, Ala. was created by an Act of Congress.
May 11–13, 1825 – During his tour of the United States, the Marquis de Lafayette stayed in Louisville, Kentucky.
May 11, 1834 – Young Mobile, Ala. printer Charles R.S. Boyington was seen accompanying Nathaniel Frost, an acquaintance who supposedly owed Boyington money, on a walk to the Church Street Graveyard on the outskirts of the city. Frost was later found stabbed to death and robbed near the cemetery. Boyington was found guilty of the crime and was executed on Feb. 20, 1835.
May 11, 1846 – President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War.
May 11, 1858 - Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
May 11, 1862 – During the Civil War, the ironclad CSS Virginia was scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
May 11, 1864 - Confederate Cavalry General J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. He died the next day. Union General George Custer had led the campaign against Stuart.
May 11, 1866 – The Mobile National Cemetery annex was established within the New Burial Ground (now Magnolia Cemetery) immediately after the Civil War when the City of Mobile donated three acres to the U.S. government for use as a National Cemetery.
May 11, 1881 – The government payroll near Muscle Shoals, Ala. robbed. Frank James was tried and found not guilty of the crime in Huntsville on April 25, 1884.
May 11, 1888 – Songwriter and singer Irving Berlin was born in Tyumen, Russia.
May 11, 1889 – James Maybrick died at his home and his wife, Mobile, Ala. native Florence Maybrick, would later be convicted of poisoning him. James Maybrick was a suspect in the Jack the Ripper killings.
May 11, 1896 – Writer Mari Sandoz was born near Hay Springs, Neb.
May 11, 1903 – National Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer was born in Fowlerville, Mich. He played his entire career for the Detroit Tigers and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1949.
May 11, 1907 – Major League Baseball pitcher Rip Sewell was born in Decatur, Ala. He went on to play for the Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 11, 1907 – Thirty-two Shriners were killed when their chartered train derailed at a switch near Surf Depot in Lompoc, California.
May 11, 1910 – An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
May 11, 1914 – Prominent Castleberry strawberry farmer C.A. Van Nordstrand died around 2 p.m. at his home two miles north of Castleberry, Ala. from ptomaine poisoning and a “weak heart.”
May 11, 1914 - The movie “A Soul Astray,” screenplay written by Alabama author Marie Stanley under her maiden name Marie Layet, was released.
May 11, 1922 – National Baseball Hall of Fame umpire Nestor Chylak was born in Olyphant, Pa. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
May 11, 1927 – American explorer, author and scholar Gene Savoy was born in Bellingham, Wash. Rising to prominence as one of the premier explorers of Peru in the 1960s, he is best known for his claims to have discovered more than 40 lost cities in Peru and is credited with bringing to light a number of Peru’s most important archeological sites, including Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas during the Spanish conquest, and Gran Pajaten, which he named but did not discover.
May 11, 1935 - Alabama author Clarence Cason's book “90 Degrees in the Shade” was published.
May 11, 1938 – On this Wednesday afternoon, the Troy Trojans baseball team beat the Greenies, 13-4. Chick Barranco, a former Greenies, hit an inside-the-park home run for Troy. Harbin and Harris led Evergreen with two hits each.
May 11, 1942 – William Faulkner's collection of short stories, “Go Down, Moses,” was published.
May 11, 1943 – Little Eva survivor Grady Gaston of Frisco City, Ala. was collected by military officials after his rescue by the U.S. Army Air Force from Cloncurry, Queensland, Australia.
May 11, 1943 – Pensacola, Fla. firefighter Waymon Vallia was killed in the line of duty.
May 11, 1946 - Boston Braves Field hosted its first night game, and the Giants beat the Braves, 5-1.
May 11, 1947 – Evergreen’s semi-pro baseball team was scheduled to play Monroeville at Brooks Stadium in Evergreen, Ala.
May 11, 1949 - The Chicago White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox ,12-8, as the White Sox scored in every inning.
May 11, 1950 - A movie version of Alabama author Joe David Brown's book “Stars in My Crown” was released.
May 11, 1956 - A movie version of Alabama author William Bradford Huie's book “The Revolt of Mamie Stover” was released.
May 11, 1957 - A crowd estimated at about 1,000 persons gathered on this night for a Ku Klux Klan meeting held on a vacant lot at the intersection of Cooper and Court Streets in Evergreen, Ala. The Rev. Alvin Horne, State Grand Dragon, made the principal speech. Before the meeting, a mile-long parade of Klansmen in full regalia drove through Evergreen’s streets. Most of the cars in the parade were from out of town. Three crosses were burned at the speaker’s platform.
May 11, 1959 - Yogi Berra of the New York Yankees ended his streak of 148 errorless games.
May 11, 1963 – Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama disrupted nonviolence in the Birmingham campaign and precipitated a crisis involving federal troops.
May 11, 1967 - The siege of Khe Sanh ended.
May 11, 1977 - Ted Turner managed an Atlanta Braves game.
May 11, 1980 - Alabama author John Beecher died in San Francisco, Calif.
May 11, 1983 - President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation making May National Amateur Baseball Month.
May 11, 1996 – The 1996 Mount Everest disaster took place as on a single day eight people died during summit attempts on Mount Everest.
May 11, 1996 - Al Leiter threw the first no-hitter in Florida Marlins history.
May 11, 1997 – The newspaper Folha de Londrina in Parana state, Brazil, published the account of a “massacre” that had occurred at a ranch near Campina Grande do Sul when in a single corral 12 sheep were found dead and another 11 were horribly mutilated. While some authorities scoffed at such accounts and attributed the attacks to wild dogs or cougars, other officials who had themselves been eyewitnesses to the appearance of The Beast argued that the creature they had seen walking on its hind legs and seizing livestock by the throat had most certainly not been any kind of known canine or cat.
May 11, 2001 - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his decision to approve a 30-day delay of the execution of convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. McVeigh had been scheduled to be executed on May 16, 2001. The delay was because the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had failed to disclose thousands of documents to McVeigh's defense team.
May 11, 2003 - Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers hit his 500th career home run to become only the 19th player in baseball history to reach the mark.
May 11, 2007 - German steel manufacturer ThyssenKrupp AG announced it will invest nearly $4 billion in plant construction in Mobile County, Ala. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that as many as 29,000 jobs could be generated during the construction phase.
May 11, 2007 - Reid State Technical College was scheduled to hold commencement exercises at 6 p.m. in the Wiley Salter Auditorium in Evergreen, Ala. Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Sue Bell Cobb, was to be the commencement speaker.
May 11, 2014 – The name of Thomas Charles Littles of Brooklyn, Ala. was added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., 44 years after he was fatally wounded in Vietnam.