What happened on this day in history: The Pullman Strike kicks off in Chicago, the Battle of Hamburger Hill starts in Vietnam, and more important events from May 11th.
330 C.E: Constantinople Is Consecrated
Constantinople is consecrated and named in honor of Constantine. Considered to be the cradle of Orthodox Christianity, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe for centuries. The city is famous for its architectural masterpieces, most notably the Hagia Sofia and the Imperial Palace. Constantinople, previously called Byzantium, was considered the Nova Roma (New Rome) after Roman emperor Constantine I officially declared the city the new capital of Rome.
1811: Conjoined Twins Chang And Eng Bunker Are Born
Conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker, connected by a fleshy band at their sternum, are born in Siam (present-day Thailand).
1894: The Pullman Strike Begins In Chicago
The Pullman Strike begins in Chicago. The Pullman Palace Car Company began cutting workers’ wages after the economic depression of 1893, causing workers to strike. The company’s president, George M. Pullman, refused to meet with the angry workers, and as a result, the workers walked off their job sites.
After attracting the attention and support of the American Rail Union (ARU), the striking workers, now numbering in the hundred thousands, halted 29 major railroads. The federal government deployed troops to help end the strike, resulting in widespread violence and millions of dollars in damage. The strike eventually died down after railroad companies began hiring non-union workers, and the federal government created “Labor Day” as a national holiday to remember the incident and others like it.
1969: The Battle Of Hamburger Hill Begins
The controversial Battle of Hamburger Hill begins in Vietnam. A part of Operation Apache Snow, the battle was an attempt by American forces to take the hill and therefore cut off North Vietnamese forces and protect nearby towns.
After suffering a high number of casualties, U.S. forces were forced to fall back. The battle raged for 10 days, and journalists covering the conflict nicknamed it the Battle of Hamburger Hill after this statement was made by 19-year-old Sergeant James Spears: “Have you ever been inside a hamburger machine? We just got cut to pieces by extremely accurate machine gun fire.” The hill was eventually captured by U.S. forces and subsequently abandoned, but the brutality of the clash sparked fierce criticism from anti-war activists and American politicians.
1981: Bob Marley Dies
Bob Marley dies of cancer in Miami. One of the most beloved singers in modern history, Marley was a reggae pioneer and an influential voice for peace and justice in his native Jamaica.
He was diagnosed with melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer, after collapsing on a jog through Central Park. The cancer had started in his toe and spread to his brain, liver, and lungs. A year after his diagnosis, Bob Marley died at a hospital in Miami at the age of just 36 while en route to Jamaica. Decades after his death, Bob Marley remains one of the most celebrated icons in music history.
1996: Beck Weathers “Dies” on Mount Everest
Beck Weathers “dies” on Mount Everest. After collapsing in the snow, Beck Weathers was considered as good as dead to his team. In fact, they called his wife to tell her that her husband had died on the mountain. Rescuers tried to save Weathers, but they ultimately decided he was too far gone. Later, Weathers surprised his whole team when he strolled back into camp. He showed that, despite being stranded under the snow of Mount Everest, he was still very much alive. Weather’s story is one of the most miraculous Mount Everest survival tales in history.