Today is Monday, June 11, the 163rd day of 2012. There are 203 days left in the year.
On June 11, 1962, three prisoners at Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay staged an escape, leaving the island on a makeshift raft. Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin were never found or heard from again.
On this date:
In 1509, England’s King Henry VIII married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
In 1770, Captain James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.
In 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.
In 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner.
In 1922, the groundbreaking documentary feature “Nanook of the North,” produced by Robert J. Flaherty, premiered in New York.
In 1936, Kansas Gov. Alfred “Alf” Landon was nominated for president at the Republican national convention in Cleveland.
In 1937, eight members of the Soviet Red Army High Command accused of disloyalty were put on trial, convicted and immediately executed as part of Josef Stalin’s Great Purge.
In 1942, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviet war effort in World War II.
In 1963, a Buddhist monk (Thich Quang Duc) set himself afire on a Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.
In 1971, the year-and-a-half-long occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay by American Indian activists ended as federal officers evicted the remaining protesters.
In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Belmont Stakes, capturing the Triple Crown.
In 1987, Margaret Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 160 years to win a third consecutive term of office as her Conservatives held onto a reduced majority in Parliament.
Ten years ago: Congressional investigators released a report which said Clinton administration workers had defaced equipment and left behind prank messages as they vacated the White House in Jan. 2001; but the investigators failed to uncover the widespread problems alleged by some Republicans. Rock star Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were married in a remote Irish castle. (The couple divorced in 2008; McCartney married again in October 2011.) The very first episode of “American Idol” aired on Fox Television with hosts Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman and judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. (The winner of the first season was Kelly Clarkson.)
Five years ago: Republicans blocked a Senate no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. A divided panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Bush administration could not use new anti-terrorism laws to keep Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident, locked up indefinitely without charging him. (The issue was rendered moot in 2009 when the Obama administration ordered al-Marri turned over to civilian authorities.) Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in a restroom sex sting. (Craig, who denied soliciting an undercover police officer, later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine.) Actress Mala Powers died in Burbank, Calif., at age 75.
One year ago: Rejecting calls by Democratic leaders for him to resign in a sexting scandal, Rep. Anthony Weiner instead announced he was seeking professional treatment and asking for a leave of absence from Congress. (Weiner ended up leaving office.) Ruler On Ice posted a huge upset in the Belmont Stakes, taking the lead from Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford in the straight and winning the final leg of the Triple Crown.