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What Happened on May 11?

  • The first euro coins were minted. (1997) The first euros were minted in France on this day, though they did not go into circulation for five more years. The first coins were actually minted as limited editions; mass production came later.

  • Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov. (1997) It was the first time a machine had beat a reigning world chess champion in a tournament, and also the first loss in Kasparov's career.

  • A massive dust storm swept the US. (1934) One of the first major storms of the "Dust Bowl," the storm dropped 350 million tons of silt on the Great Plains over a two-day period. Though not as severe as the Black Sunday storm of 1935, it was one of the first indicators that something was seriously wrong.

  • The invention of the tubeless tire was announced. (1947) The B.F. Goodrich company announced on this day that it had developed a tubeless tire to make car travel safer. Before this, all tires had been filled with pressurized air inside an inner tube, which was prone to breaking and often led to blowouts.

  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded. (1927) The Academy that many Oscar winners thank in their speeches, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded by mega-stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, among others. It awarded the first Oscars two years later, with Fairbanks and director Willam C. deMille officiating.

  • Workers for the Pullman Palace Car Company went on strike. (1894) It was one of the largest wildcat strike — that is, not authorized by trade union officials — in US history, and virtually stopped nationwide railroad service until the government intervened two months later.

  • The CSS Virginia was scuttled. (1862) The Virginia was one of two ironclad ships that fought in the first ironclad-on-ironclad battle in history. She was eventually scuttled to prevent her being captured by Union troops.

  • Glacier National Park was established. (1910) At over 1,000,000 acres (about 4,000 square km), the park is one of the largest in the world. It is also unique as a national park in that it still has most of its original animal and plant species.

  • Siam changed its name to Thailand. (1949) The country had been known as Siam until 1939, when it changed its name to Thailand for nationalistic reasons. It reverted back to Siam in 1945, but when the political scene changed again, it was once again named Thailand.

  • Martha Graham was born. (1894) Graham was a prominent dancer and choreographer, and is considered to be one of the founders of modern dance.

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