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February 11th - This Day In History

By Edited Aug 4, 2016 0 0

February 11, 606 BC

 There is evidence of people living in Japan from as early as 30,000 BC.  Japan is traditionally celebrated as being founded on February 11, 606 BC, by who is now called Emperor Jimmu.  There are no records from this time, and the existence of many of the rulers is the time after that are disputed by many.  As with many stories and legends from other countries, Emperor Jimmu might have been the composite of several different people or legends.  It takes another thousand years or so before there are records that can be trusted to be accurate.


Pennsylvania Hospital - First Hospital in the United States
February 11, 1753

 In 1751, Dr. Thomas Bond conceived of the idea of opening a hospital after studying in France and seeing the new way things were being done there.  He approached Benjamin Franklin for help in getting the process started.

 Franklin went to the Pennsylvania Assembly and met resistance to the idea, but managed to get them to pledge matching funds of 2000 pounds if he could raise the same amount.  Like politicians do, they agreed, thinking that it was impossible for Franklin to raise the money but they would still get credit for being charitable.

 Franklin was able to raise the money, and the Charter was granted to Pennsylvania Hospital on May 11, 1751, and first patients were admitted on February 11, 1753.

 This was the first hospital in the United States, and is still operating today.  It was also the first hospital to have a surgical amphitheater, opened in 1804, and features a collection of medical and science books, started in 1762.

United States Senate Chambers
 February 11, 1794

 The United States Senate voted to open its legislative sessions to public viewing.  A gallery was constructed for the purpose, and was finished in 1795.

 February 11, 1809

 Robert Fulton is granted a patent for the steamboat.  Although others had invented earlier versions of the steamboat, Fulton was the first to make the invention a commercial success, so he is the person in history associated with it. 

 In 1791 both John Fitch and James Rumsey had designs granted patents, but Fitch’s designs cost too much to make and too much to operate. 

 February 11, 1937

 The UAW, or United Auto Workers, was founded in May 1935.  They were a subgroup  of the American Federation of Labor, but the AFL suspended the group in 1936, so the group split to form the CIO, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the UAW fell under theCIO.  The UAW organized a sit-down strike in Flint, Michigan, at a General Motors Corporation plant.  A sit-down strike was where the strikers occupy the plant, forcing the management out of the plant, and preventing any work.

 In the case of Flint, the Governor of the state ended up as the negotiator and to some degree protected the strikers during the negotiations with the US National Guard. 

 The strike ended with General Motors reaching an agreement on February 11, 1937 that they would recognize the UAW as representatives of the union members that worked at the plants.  This gave the UAW legitimacy, and enabled them to grow.

 February 11, 1953

 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage during a time of war and they were sentenced to death.  It was found that they had passed secrets of nuclear weapons to the Soviet Union, causing them to be able to build a nuclear bomb earlier than they could have on their own.

 After conviction, some came to believe that they were innocent or had received too harsh a penalty for what actually had happened.  Many pushed for sparing the couple, including Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.  Pope Pius XII asked President Eisenhower to grant them clemency, but on February 11, 1953, Eisenhower refused.  

The couple was executed on June 19, 1953, at Sing Sing Correctional facility in Ossining, New York.

 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was part of the investigation into the spy ring and the impact it had on the USSR being able to build their nuclear bomb.  He later state in a book he wrote, that without the help of the spys, the Soviets would have built the bomb in five years, and with their help it took four.

 February 11, 1954

 The largest light bulb, rated at 75,000 watts, is lit at the Rockefeller Center in New York.  Four of these giant bulbs were made by General Electric to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the invention of the incandescent lamp by Thomas Edison. 

 The bulb was two feet in diameter and three and a half feet tall.  It produced so much heat that after running it for three minutes, they needed to cool it for five.  Observers were warned not to look at it or be too close.

 February 11. 1970

 Japan launched their first satellite on February 11, 1970, making them the fourth space power in the world at the time, joining the United States, Soviet Union, and France.  China launched a satellite two months later.    

 The first Japanese  satellite was named the Osumi, and was a test satellite for future launches of higher technology satellites.  The early rocket launches did not employ guidance systems, as this technology could be adapted for military uses, and was prohibited.

 February 11, 1990


Nelson Mandela Was Released on February 11, 1990
In 1961 Nelson Mandela was arrested and then acquitted for treason in South Africa.  He was the deputy national director of the African National Congress and was working to resist apartheid. 

 He was re-arrested in 1962 for illegally leaving the country and sentenced to five years in prison.  In 1964 he was convicted of an additional charge of sabotage with several others and sentenced to life in prison.  Although he lived under appalling conditions, he kept his spirits up and was released on February 11, 1990, at the order of F.W. de Klerk, the current South African President.

 Mandela then helped with the setting up of a multiracial government as apartheid came to an end.  In 1993, both Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 February 11, 2006

 While hunting, United States Vice President Dick Cheney accidently shoots Harry Whittington.  They were hunting quail together in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Whittington had a mild heart attack and atrial fibrillation because of a birdshot pellet that ended up close to his heart.  Cheney accepted full responsibility, but the sheriff cleared him of any criminal actions. 



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