December 11 – Some important events on this day.
1282 👉🏼 Llywelyn ab Gruffydd/Llywelyn the Last, last native Prince of Wales is killed at Cilmeri, near Builth Wells, south Wales. Reigned from 1259.
1395 👉🏼 John “Eleanor” Rykener, a male cross-dressing prostitute, is brought to court in London for “committing that detestable unmentionable and ignominious vice” in late medieval England’s only recorded case on same-sex intercourse (verdict unknown)
1620 👉🏼 Mayflower Pilgrims come ashore at in Plymouth Bay, traditionally thought to be at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts
1719 👉🏼 1st recorded display of Aurora Borealis in north American colonies (New England)
1792 👉🏼 France’s King Louis XVI goes on trial, accused of high treason and crimes against the state
1878 👉🏼 Anglo-Zulu War: British high commissioner Henry Bartle Frere presents an ultimatum to the Zulu Kingdom to submit to British rule or face war.
In 1867 the British Empire successfully managed to impart a federation-style political system on its Canadian territory, and it believed a similar setup might work well in its African colonies. To that end, the British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Bartle Frere, was sent to begin preparations for this act.
On this day, he issued an ultimatum to the Zulu Kingdom to submit or face war. They refused and Britain declared war on 11 January, suffering a heavy loss in the opening battle of the war at Isandlwana. The war was notable for several battles, including the defense of an area known as Rorke’s Drift when a small force of around 140 British Army soldiers defended their post against 3,000-4,000 Zulu combatants. This was dramatized in the 1964 film Zulu.
Eventually the British defeated the Zulu and annexed their territory. The last head of the French royal House of Bonaparte, Napoléon, was also killed in the war, shocking Europe who saw him as the last hope to restore the Bonaparte dynasty on the throne.
1896 👉🏼 Chief Electrical Engineer of the British Post Office, William Preece, gives a public lecture in London called “Telegraphy without Wires”, praising the work of 22 year old Guglielmo Marconi
1905 👉🏼 120°F (49°C), Rivadavia, Argentina (South American record)
1913 👉🏼 “Mona Lisa” recovered 2 years after it was stolen from the Louvre Museum
1931 👉🏼 Statute of Westminster gives complete legislative independence to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland (Free State), and Newfoundland (not then part of Canada)
1936 👉🏼 Edward VIII announces in a radio broadcast that he is abdicating the British throne to marry Wallis Simpson
1946 👉🏼 UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) established (Nobel 1965)
1981 👉🏼 Muhammad Ali’s 61st & last fight, losing to Trevor Berbick
1997 👉🏼 Delegates from 150 industrial nations attending a UN climate conference in Kyoto, Japan, reach agreement to control heat-trapping greenhouse gases
2013 👉🏼 20 people are killed by the bubonic plague in a small Madagascan village
2014 👉🏼 World’s 1st penis transplant procedure by a team from Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa
2019 👉🏼 Discovery of the earliest figurative artwork in the world, (43,900 years old), figures part human part animal, from cave in Sulawesi, Indonesia, reported in journal “Nature”