Sunday Times

April 11 in History


1034 — Romanus III Argyrus, Byzantine emperor since November 15 1028, is murder by his wife Zoë (either poisoned by her or by drowning in a bath upon her orders). On the same day, Zoë marries her lover Michael and he becomes emperor.

1727 — Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St Matthew Passion” premieres at the St Thomas Church, Leipzig, Germany (on Good Friday).

1838 — Voortrekke­r leader Piet Uys, 40, and his son Dirkie, 15, die together (along with eight other men) at the Battle of Italeni in Natal. After the massacre of Piet Retief and his men on February 6 and the ensuing Zulu attacks on Voortrekke­r laagers, Uys and Hendrik Potgieter rode to their aid with commandos from the Orange Free State. During the battle, Uys is mortally wounded in an ambush. He stays behind to try to distract the Zulus from pursuit. Dirkie turns his horse around and goes back to fight alongside his father. 1868 — Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun (August 29 1866 - November 19 1867), surrenders Edo Castle to Imperial forces, formally ending the Tokugawa shogunate, the feudal military government of Japan since 1603 during the Edo period. Emperor Meiji is relocated from the historic capital of Kyoto and Edo is renamed Tokyo. The castle, built in 1457 by Ota Dokan, becomes the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

1869 — Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian sculptor and designer of the Nobel Peace Prize medal, is born

Adolf Gustav Thorsen outside Halse og Harkmark. Among his famous works is the Vigeland installati­on in Frogner Park, Oslo.

1909 — Tel Aviv, the economic and technologi­cal centre of Israel, is founded on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa on the Mediterran­ean coast. With Palestine still under Ottoman rule, 66 Jewish families gather on a desolate sand dune to parcel out the land by lottery using seashells.

1912 — The ill-fated RMS Titanic, which left Southampto­n on the 10th, starts its transatlan­tic journey to New York after picking up its last 123 passengers in Queenstown, Ireland.

1963 — Pope John XXIII issues “Pacem in terris” (Peace on Earth). It emphasises human dignity and equality among all people, and endorses the rights of women, nuclear non-proliferat­ion and the UN.

1979 — Idi Amin, considered one of the most brutal despots in world history (he seized power in January 1971), is deposed as president as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seize control of Kampala. He flees to Libya and settles into exile in Saudi Arabia. 2007 — Traditiona­l Bushman artist Vetkat Regopstaan Kruiper, 38, dies suddenly from natural causes.

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