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What Happened on January 11?

  • Insulin was first used to treat diabetes. (1922) The first insulin injection was given to a teenager in Canada, Leonard Thompson, who was on his deathbed. Unfortunately, the injection was so impure that Thompson had a severe allergic reaction. Researchers worked around-the-clock for the next 12 days to create a pure version, and the next injection went off without a hitch. The availability of insulin turned diabetes from a fatal condition into a treatable one.

  • The US Surgeon General issued the first government warning that smoking is hazardous to health. (1964) The announcement was extremely controversial, since at the time about half of Americans smoked, and cigarettes were a highly visible multi-billion dollar industry. In the following months, cigarette consumption dropped 20 percent, though it later climbed again.

  • The first recorded lottery was held in England. (1569) The lottery was chartered by Queen Elizabeth I, and every ticket holder got a prize. The proceeds were put towards public works.

  • Milk was first delivered in bottles. (1878) Dr. Hervey Thatcher invented "Thatcher's Common Sense Milk Jar," which made it possible to safely and hygienically transport milk to houses on a wide scale.

  • Joseph Stalin banished Leon Trotsky from Russia. (1928) Trotsky was a major leader in the Bolshevik Revolution, but was criticized for being anti-Communist when Stalin came to power. After traveling through Europe, Trotsky settled in Mexico City. He was convicted in absentia of crimes against the Soviet state, and killed by with a pickaxe by a Spanish communist in 1940.

  • The cornerstone of the Islamic Center of Washington was laid. (1949) It was the first major mosque built in America, and was intended to serve as a mosque for all American Muslims. The center was built largely due to diplomatic pressure from the diplomatic sector of D.C.

  • Amelia Earhart began a flight from Hawaii to California. (1935) She became the first person to fly from Hawaii to California, and won $10,000 US Dollars (USD) for the 18-hour flight.

  • Mount Etna erupted in Sicily in conjunction with a massive earthquake that damaged Sicily and Malta. (1693) Mt. Etna is the largest active volcano in Italy, and has caused a great deal of damage. One of Mt. Etna's eruptions is even mentioned by the classical poem Virgil in The Aeneid.

  • Actor Charlie Chaplin's finances were frozen. (1927) The 38-year-old Chaplin was going through an ugly divorce with his 19-year-old wife, which eventually ended in a $1 million USD settlement.

  • The Grand Canyon National Monument was created. (1908) The park is one of the oldest national parks in the US, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monument was created largely as a result of environmentalist lobbying after engineers proposed to make a dam in the canyon.

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