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This Day in U.S. History: March 11


1641 – Guaraní forces living in the Jesuit reductions defeat bandeirantes loyal to the Portuguese Empire at the Battle of Mbororé in present-day Panambí, Argentina.

1824 – The United States Department of War creates the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

1861 – American Civil War: The Constitution of the Confederate States of America is adopted.

1888 – The Great Blizzard of 1888 begins along the eastern seaboard of the United States, shutting down commerce and killing more than 400.

1916 – USS Nevada (BB-36) is commissioned as the first US Navy "super-dreadnought".

1927 – In New York City, Samuel Roxy Rothafel opens the Roxy Theatre.

1941 – World War II: United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Lend-Lease Act into law, allowing American-built war supplies to be shipped to the Allies on loan.

1942 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur flees Corregidor.

1945 – World War II: The Imperial Japanese Navy attempts a large-scale kamikaze attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at Ulithi atoll in Operation Tan No. 2.

1946 – Rudolf Höss, the first commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, is captured by British troops.

1977 – The 1977 Hanafi Siege: More than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C., by Hanafi Muslims are set free after ambassadors from three Islamic nations join negotiations.

1993 – Janet Reno is confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in the next day, becoming the first female Attorney General of the United States.

2012 – A U.S. soldier kills 16 civilians in the Panjwayi District of Afghanistan near Kandahar.


1738 – Benjamin Tupper, American general (d. 1792)

1873 – David Horsley, English-American director and producer, co-founded Universal Studios (d. 1933)

1880 – Harry H. Laughlin, American eugenicist and sociologist (d. 1943)

1895 – Shemp Howard, American actor and singer (d. 1955)

1903 – Lawrence Welk, American accordion player and bandleader (d. 1992)

1934 – Sam Donaldson, American journalist

1936 – Antonin Scalia, American lawyer and jurist (d. 2016)

1965 – Jesse Jackson, Jr., American lawyer and politician


1820 – Benjamin West, American-English painter and academic (b. 1738)

1874 – Charles Sumner, American lawyer and politician (b. 1811)

1898 – William Rosecrans, American general and politician (b. 1819)

1937 – Joseph S. Cullinan, American businessman, co-founded Texaco (b. 1860)

1955 – Oscar F. Mayer, German-American businessman, founded Oscar Mayer (b. 1859)

1957 – Richard E. Byrd, American admiral and explorer (b. 1888)

1970 – Erle Stanley Gardner, American lawyer and author (b. 1889)

1971 – Philo Farnsworth, American inventor (b. 1906)

1977 – Ulysses S. Grant IV, American geologist and paleontologist (b. 1893)

2002 – James Tobin, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)