On May 11:
1310 In France, fifty-four members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake as heretics.
1792 Captain Robert Gray became the first documented European to sail into the Columbia River.
1799 John Lowell, American philanthropist, was born (d. 1836).
1812 Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.
1820 Launch of HMS Beagle, the ship that took Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.
1852 Charles W. Fairbanks, 26th United States Vice President was born (d. 1918).
1857 Indian Mutiny: Indian rebels seized Delhi from the British.
1862 American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia was scuttled in the James River.
1867 Luxembourg gained its independence.
1875 Harriet Quimby, American aviator, was born (d. 1912).
1888 Irving Berlin, American composer, was born (d. 1989).
1891 The Ōtsu Incident : Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Imperial Russia (Nicholas II) was critically injured by the sword attack by a Japanese policeman Tsuda Sanzō.
1892 Margaret Rutherford, English actress, was born (d. 1972).
1894 Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers went on a wildcat strike in Illinois.
1904 Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter was born (d. 1989).
1907 A derailment outside Lompoc, California killed 32 Shriners when their chartered train derails at a switch near Surf Depot.
1910 An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
1918 The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus was officially established.
1924 Mercedes-Benz was formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging their two companies.
1927 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded.
1942 William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, was published.
1943 World War II: American troops invaded Attu Island..
1944 World War II: The Allies started a major offensive against the Axis Powers on the Gustav Line.
1945 Captain Charles Upham was presented with the VC and Bar.
1945 World War II: The aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill, was hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of her crew.
1946 UMNO (United Malays National Organisation) was created.
1949 Siam officially changed its name to Thailand for the second time.
1953 The 1953 Waco tornado outbreak: An F5 tornado hit downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114.
1960 – The first contraceptive pill was made available on the market.
1970 The Lubbock Tornado a F5 tornado hits Lubbock, Texas, killing 26 and causing $250 million in damage.
1984 A transit of Earth from Mars took place.
1985 Fifty-six spectators died when a flash fire struck the Valley Parade football ground during a match in Bradford, England.
1987 Klaus Barbie went on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.
1987 The first heart-lung transplant took place, performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, of Stanford University School of Medicine.
1995 More than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.
1996 A fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 caused the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.
1997 IBM Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.
1998 India conducted three underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, including a thermonuclear device.
2000 Effective date of Canada’s first modern-day treaty – The Nisga’a Final Agreement.
Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia