Today in History: December 11, King Edward VIII abdicates British throne to marry Wallis Simpson

Today in History

Today is Monday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2023. There are 20 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 11, 1936, Britain’s King Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Warfield Simpson; his brother, Prince Albert, became King George VI.

On this date:

In 1816, Indiana became the 19th state.

In 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

In 1946, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established.

In 1972, Apollo 17’s lunar module landed on the moon with astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt aboard; they became the last two men to date to step onto the lunar surface.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating a $1.6 billion environmental “superfund” to pay for cleaning up chemical spills and toxic waste dumps.

In 1997, more than 150 countries agreed at a global warming conference in Kyoto, Japan, to control the Earth’s greenhouse gases.

In 1998, majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pushed through three articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, over Democratic objections.

In 2001, in the first criminal indictment stemming from 9/11, federal prosecutors charged Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee), a French citizen of Moroccan descent, with conspiring to murder thousands in the suicide hijackings. (Moussaoui pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2005 and was sentenced to life in prison.)

In 2002, a congressional report found that intelligence agencies that were supposed to protect Americans from the Sept. 11 hijackers failed to do so because they were poorly organized, poorly equipped and slow to pursue clues that might have prevented the attacks.

In 2008, former Nasdaq chairman Bernie Madoff was arrested, accused of running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of thousands of people and wrecked charities. (Madoff died in April 2021 while serving a 150-year federal prison sentence.)

In 2013, Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year, saying the Roman Catholic church’s new leader — the first from Latin America — had changed the perception of the 2,000-year-old institution in an extraordinary way in a short time.

In 2017, chef Mario Batali stepped away from his restaurant empire and his cooking show “The Chew” as he conceded that reports of sexual misconduct “match up” to his behavior.

In 2018, a Virginia jury called for a sentence of life in prison plus 419 years for the man who killed a woman when he rammed his car into counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (James Alex Fields Jr. received that sentence in July, 2019.)

In 2020, the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit backed by President Donald Trump to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory, ending a desperate attempt to get legal issues that were rejected by state and federal judges before the nation’s highest court.

In 2021, Anne Rice, author of best-selling gothic novels including “Interview With the Vampire,” died at age 80 due to complications from a stroke.

In 2022, NASA’s Orion capsule returned from the moon, parachuting into the Pacific off Mexico to conclude a dramatic 25-day test flight.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Rita Moreno is 92. Pop singer David Gates (Bread) is 83. Actor Donna Mills is 83. Former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is 82. Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is 80. Singer Brenda Lee is 79. Actor Lynda Day George is 79. Music producer Tony Brown is 77. Actor Teri Garr is 76. Movie director Susan Seidelman is 72. Actor Bess Armstrong is 70. Singer Jermaine Jackson is 69. Rock musician Mike Mesaros (The Smithereens) is 66. Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 65. Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 62. Actor Ben Browder is 61. Singer-musician Justin Currie (Del Amitri) is 59. Rock musician David Schools (Hard Working Americans, Gov’t Mule, Widespread Panic) is 59. Actor Gary Dourdan (DOOR’-dan) is 57. Actor-comedian Mo’Nique is 56. Actor Max Martini is 54. Rapper-actor Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) is 50. Actor Rider Strong is 44. Actor Xosha (ZOH’-shah) Roquemore is 39. Actor Karla Souza is 37. Actor Hailee Steinfeld is 27.

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