What Happened on December 11?

  • UNICEF was established. (1946) The United Nations' Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was founded in the aftermath of World War II to provide aid to children in countries that had been devastated by the war. The organization went on to become a major form of international aid, and also helped to draft the Convention on the Rights of the Child — the most widely ratified human rights treaty in existence.

  • King Louis XVI was indicted for treason. (1792) The only French monarch to ever be executed, Louis XVI's death, and that of his wife — Marie Antoinette — in the following year was a major turning point in the French Revolution.

  • The United Nations voted to suspend relations with Spain. (1946) UN members voted to exclude Spain as long as it remained under the control of the Dictator Fransisco Franco, who was known for his arbitrary and draconian rules. Members of the UN also recommended that all member nations their ambassadors and ministers from Spain. Spain was later admitted into the United Nations in 1955.

  • China joined the World Trade Organization. (2001) Inclusion in the WTO came after 15 years of negotiations, most of which concerned market accessibility and the protection of copyrights. Becoming a WTO member, however, played a big role in furthering the international reach of Chinese exports.

  • The Kyoto Protocol opened for signing. (1997) The treaty reflected major global efforts of reducing carbon dioxide levels. The Kyoto Protocol was signed by over 180 countries.

  • Nitrous oxide was first used as a dental anesthetic. (1844) Dr. Horace Wells — a Hartford dentist — agreed to be the guinea pig for Gardner Q. Colton — a former medical student who made a living giving demonstrations of nitrous oxide at carnivals. Dr. Wells' colleague — Dr. John Riggs — removed a wisdom tooth from Dr. Wells while he was under the influence of nitrous oxide. Wells later reported feeling no pain, and stated that nitrous oxide marked "a new era in tooth-pulling!"

  • The first color movie was shown in the US. (1909) The inventors of Kinemacolor, the first process for making color movies, demonstrated a number of short films at Madison Square Garden. Though Kinemacolor only lasted a few years; its impact on film history was monumental.

  • Bernie Madoff was arrested. (2008) Madoff was convicted of running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that made him almost $65 billion US Dollars (USD). He was sentenced to 150 years in jail.

  • The first recorded display of the Aurora Borealis occurred. (1719) The influential Puritan minister Cotton Mather was one of several who recorded the event in almanacs and journals. The appearance of the Aurora Borealis was taken by many to be an omen of evil.

  • Mohammed Ali fought in his last boxing match. (1981) Jamaican Boxer Trevor Berbick beat Ali in the ten round fight that took place in Nassau, The Bahamas. Ali stopped boxing for good after the fight, with a record of 56 wins and only 5 losses.

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