May 11 is the 131st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (132nd in leap years). There are 234 days remaining.

  1. 330 - Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but is more popularly referred to as Constantinople.
  2. 1310 - 54 members of the Knights Templar are burned at the stake in France for being heretics.
  3. 1502 - Christopher Columbus leaves for his fourth and final voyage to the West Indies.
  4. 1745 - War of Austrian Succession: Battle of Fontenoy – At Fontenoy, French forces defeat an Anglo-Dutch-Hanoverian army.
  5. 1792 - Captain Robert Gray becomes the first documented Caucasian to visit the Columbia River.
  6. 1812 - Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons, London.
  7. 1813 - In Australia, Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth, lead an expedition westwards from Sydney. Their route opens up inland Australia for continued expansion throughout the 19th century.
  8. 1818 - Charles XIV of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Sweden.
  9. 1820 - Launch of HMS Beagle the ship that took young Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage.
  10. 1857 - Indian Mutiny: Indian rebels seize Delhi from the British.
  11. 1858 - Minnesota is admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.
  12. 1862 - American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
  13. 1864 - American Civil War: Battle of Yellow Tavern – Confederate General JEB Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern, Virginia.
  14. 1867 - Luxembourg gains its independence.
  15. 1891 - Otsu Scandal
  16. 1894 - Pullman Strike: Three thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a wildcat strike in Illinois.
  17. 1907 - A derailment outside Lompoc, California kills 32 Shriners when their chartered train jumps off the tracks at a switch near Surf Depot.
  18. 1910 - An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
  19. 1911 - The United States becomes a signatory to the Buenos Aires copyright treaty.
  20. 1924 - Mercedes-Benz formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging the two companies.
  21. 1927 - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded.
  22. 1928 - The first analog TV service is inaugurated by WGY, Schenectady, New York.
  23. 1934 - Dust Bowl: A strong two-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl in North America.
  24. 1942 - William Faulkner's collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published.
  25. 1943 - World War II: American troops invade Attu in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.
  26. 1944 - World War II: The Allies start a major offensive against the Axis Powers on the Gustav Line.
  27. 1946 - UMNO is created
  28. 1949 - Siam changes its name to Thailand.
  29. 1949 - Israel joins the United Nations.
  30. 1953 - The Waco Tornado: An F5 tornado hits downtown Waco, Texas, killing 114.
  31. 1960 - In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann, living under the assumed name Ricardo Klement.
  32. 1960 - The first contraceptive pill is made available on the market.
  33. 1964 - Terence Conran opened the first Habitat store on London's Fulham Road.
  34. 1966 - Henry "Dickie" Marrow is murdered in a violent racially-motivated crime in Oxford, N.C..
  35. 1969 - Vietnam War: Operation Apache Snow – Near the Laos border, American and South Vietnamese forces fight North Vietnamese troops for Ap Bia Mountain (aka Hill 937 or "Hamburger Hill").
  36. 1970 - The Lubbock Tornado: An F5 tornado hits downtown Lubbock, Texas, killing 26.
  37. 1970 - The Beatles song "The Long and Winding Road" is released as a single in the United States. It becomes the group's last number one single in that country.
  38. 1973 - Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has his charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times dismissed.
  39. 1984 - A transit of Earth from Mars takes place; no one is there to observe it.
  40. 1985 - 56 spectators die when a flash fire strikes a football ground during a match in Bradford, England.
  41. 1987 - Klaus Barbie goes on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.
  42. 1987 - The first heart-lung transplant takes place (Baltimore, Maryland). The surgery is performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, of Stanford University School of Medicine
  43. 1995 - In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.
  44. 1996 - After taking-off from Miami, a fire started by improperly handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592 causes the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board.
  45. 1997 - IBM's Deep Blue chess-playing supercomputer defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player.
  46. 1998 - India conducts three underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, including a thermonuclear device.
  47. 1998 - An election is held in the Philippines where actor Joseph Estrada emerged as winner for President.
  48. 2000 - Last performance of the musical Cats in London's West End.
  49. 2002 - Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands unveiled the Man With Two Hats monument in Ottawa (May 11, 2002) and Apeldoorn (May 2, 2000, symbolically linking both Netherlands and Canada for their assistance throughout the Second World War.
  50. 2004 - The Stockline Plastics factory explosion in Glasgow kills nine people.
  51. 2006 - A science team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign successfully convert pig waste into crude oil.