May 11 is the 131st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (132nd in leap years). There are 234 days remaining.
- 1910 - An act of the United States Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
- 1911 - The United States becomes a member of the Buenos Aires Convention, a copyright treaty.
- 1927 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the "Academy" in "Academy Awards," is founded.
- 1928 - The first analog TV service is inaugurated by WGY, Schenectady, New York.
- 1934 - Dust Bowl: A strong two-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl in North America.
- 1942 - William Faulkner's collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published.
- 1943 - World War II: American troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.
- 1944 - World War II: The Allies start a major offensive against the Axis Powers Gustav Line.
- 1949 - Siam changes its name to Thailand.
- 1949 - Israel joins the United Nations.
- 1953 - The Waco Tornado: An F5 tornado hit in the downtown section of Waco, Texas killing 114.
- 1960 - In Buenos Aires four Israeli Mossad agents abduct fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who was using the assumed name Ricardo Klement.
- 1960 - The first contraceptive pill is made available on the market.
- 1969 - Vietnam War: Operation Apache Snow - Near the Laos border, American and South Vietnamese forces fight North Vietnamese troops for Ap Bia Mountain (aka Hill 937 or "Hamburger Hill").
- 1973 - Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has his charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times dismissed.
- 1976 - The last episode of the TV medical drama Marcus Welby, M.D. is aired.
- 1984 - A transit of Earth from Mars takes place; no one is there to observe it.
- 1985 - 56 spectators die when a flash fire strikes a football ground during a match in Bradford, England.
- 1987 - Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.
- 1987 - The first heart-lung transplant takes place (Baltimore, Maryland).
- 1995 - In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.
- 1996 - After taking-off from Miami, a fire started by improperly-handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.
- 1997 - IBM's Deep Blue chess-playing supercomputer defeats Garry Kasparov becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player.
- 1998 - Nuclear testing: In the Rajasthan Desert, India conducts its first underground nuclear tests violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and inflaming its rival neighbor Pakistan (who already has nuclear weapons).
- 1571 - Niwa Nagashige, Japanese daimyo and retainer (d. 1637)
- 1720 - Karl Friedrich Hieronymus Freiherr von Münchhausen, officer and adventurer (d. 1797)
- 1752 - Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, German anthropologist (d. 1840)
- 1763 - János Bacsanyi, Hungarian poet (d. 1845)
- 1801 - Henri Labrouste, architect (d. 1875)
- 1871 - Stjepan Radic, Croat politician (d. 1928)
- 1887 - Paul Wittgenstein, pianist (d. 1961)
- 1888 - Irving Berlin, composer (d. 1989)
- 1892 - Margaret Rutherford, actress (d. 1972)
- 1894 - Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer (d. 1991)
- 1895 - Jiddu Krishnamurti, Indian philosopher (d. 1986),
- 1896 - Josip Štolcer-Slavenski Croat composer (d. 1955)
- 1903 - Charlie Gehringer, Baseball Hall of Famer (d. 1993)
- 1904 - Salvador Dalí, surrealist painter: The Persistence of Memory (d. 1989)
- 1907 - Rose Ausänder, poet (d. 1988)
- 1911 - Phil Silvers, actor and comedian (d. 1985)
- 1913 - Robert Jungk, publicist and futurologist (d. 1994)
- 1916 - Camilo José Cela, writer, 1989 Nobel Prize in Literature (d. 2002)
- 1918 - Richard Feynman, physicist (d. 1988)
- 1921 - Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, politician
- 1928 - Mort Sahl, comedian, political commentator
- 1930 - Edsger Dijkstra, computer scientist (d. 2002)
- 1933 - Louis Farrakhan, Black Muslim leader
- 1938 - Carla Bley, musician and composer
- 1940 - Juan Downey, video artist (d. 1993)
- 1941 - Graham Miles, English snooker player
- 1941 - Eric Burdon, British rock singer ("The Animals")
- 1946 - Robert Jarvik, physicist and inventor
- 1950 - Jeremy Paxman, British journalist and author
- 1952 - Renaud Séchan, French composer
- 1952 - Mike Lupica, sports journalist
- 1952 - Shohreh Aghdashloo, actress
- 1952 - Frances Fisher, actress
- 1953 - Boyd Gaines, actor
- 1959 - Martha Quinn, MTV VJ
- 1963 - Natasha Richardson, actress
- 1964 - John Parrott, English snooker player
- 1966 - Christoph Schneider, drummer for Rammstein
- 1969 - Thomas Lanahan, TV Producer
- 1975 - Coby Bell, actor
- 1982 - Jonathan Jackson, actor
- 1983 - Holly Valance, actress and singer
- 1916 - Max Reger, composer (b. 1873)
- 1920 - William Dean Howells, writer (b. 1837)
- 1960 - John D. Rockefeller, Jr., philanthropist (b. 1874)
- 1970 - Johnny Hodges, musician (b. 1906)
- 1973 - Lex Barker, actor (b. 1919)
- 1976 - Alvar Aalto, architect (b. 1898)
- 1981 - Bob Marley, Jamaican roots rock reggae singer and musician (b. 1945)
- 1985 - Chester Gould, cartoonist (Dick Tracy) (b. 1900)
- 1987 - Peter Tosh, musician (b. 1944)
- 1988 - Kim Philby, spy (b. 1912)
Holidays and observances
May 10 - May 12 - April 11 - June 11 -- listing of all days
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