January 11 – Today in History

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Prime Minister John A. MacDonald
Prime Minister John A. MacDonald
Prime Minister John A. MacDonald
Prime Minister John A. MacDonald

THUNDER BAY – HISTORY – Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald was born on this day 200 years ago. As one of the Fathers of Confederation and Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald (born January 11, 1815) had a key role in shaping Canada’s history. Macdonald was a lawyer, businessman and politician.

MacDonald was instrumental, along with Sir George-Étienne Cartier, in the negotiations that led to Confederation and later in expanding Canada to the Pacific Ocean.

During his years as Prime Minister (1867-1873, 1878-1891), Canada experienced rapid growth and prosperity. Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island joined Confederation, while the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s transcontinental line was driven into the ground.

MacDonald also created the North-West Mounted Police, the precursor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

  • 532 – Nika riots in Constantinople: A quarrel between supporters of different chariot teams—the Blues and the Greens—in the Hippodrome escalates into violence.
  • 1055 – Theodora is crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.
  • 1158 – Vladislav II becomes King of Bohemia.
  • 1569 – First recorded lottery in England.
  • 1571 – Austrian nobility is granted freedom of religion.
  • 1693 – A powerful earthquake destroys parts of Sicily and Malta.
  • 1759 – In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the first American life insurance company is incorporated.
  • 1779 – Ching-Thang Khomba is crowned King of Manipur.
  • 1782 – American Revolutionary War: French troops begin a siege of a British garrison on Brimstone Hill in Saint Kitts.
  • 1787 – William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.
  • 1805 – The Michigan Territory is created.
  • 1861 – Alabama secedes from the United States.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Arkansas Post – General John McClernand and Admiral David Dixon Porter capture the Arkansas River for the Union.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: CSS Alabama encounters and sinks the USS Hatteras off Galveston Lighthouse in Texas.
  • 1879 – The Anglo-Zulu War begins.
  • 1908 – Grand Canyon National Monument is created.
  • 1912 – Immigrant textile works in Lawrence, Massachusetts, go on strike when wages are reduced in response to a mandated shortening of the work week.
  • 1917 – The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of sabotage.
  • 1919 – Romania reincorporates Transylvania.
  • 1922 – First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.
  • 1923 – Occupation of the Ruhr: Troops from France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr area to force Germany to make its World War I reparation payments.
  • 1927 – Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announces the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1935 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.
  • 1942 – World War II: The Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur.
  • 1943 – World War II: The United States and United Kingdom give up territorial rights in China.
  • 1943 – Italian-American anarchist Carlo Tresca is assassinated in New York City.
  • 1945 – Greek Civil War: Last day of the Dekemvriana clashes in Athens, Greece.
  • 1946 – Enver Hoxha, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Albania, declares the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as head of state.
  • 1949 – The first “networked” television broadcasts take place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.
  • 1949 – A record-setting snowstorm hits Los Angeles, California.
  • 1957 – The African Convention is founded in Dakar, Senegal.
  • 1960 – Henry Lee Lucas, once listed as America’s most prolific serial killer, commits his first known murder.
  • 1962 – Cold War: While tied to its pier in Polyarny, the Soviet submarine B-37 is destroyed when fire breaks out in its torpedo compartment.
  • 1962 – An avalanche on Huascarán in Peru causes 4,000 deaths.
  • 1964 – Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., publishes the landmark report Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.
  • 1972 – East Pakistan renames itself Bangladesh.
  • 1973 – Major League Baseball owners vote in approval of the American League adopting the designated hitter position.
  • 1986 – The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland, Australia is officially opened.
  • 1994 – The Irish Government announces the end of a 15-year broadcasting ban on the IRA and its political arm Sinn Féin.
  • 1996 – Space Shuttle program: STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.
  • 1998 – Over 100 people are killed in the Sidi-Hamed massacre in Algeria.
  • 2003 – Illinois Governor George Ryan commutes the death sentences of 167 prisoners on Illinois’ death row based on the Jon Burge scandal.
  • 2013 – One French soldier and 17 militants are killed in a failed attempt to free a French hostage in Bulo Marer, Somalia.
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