August 11

1909

Arapahoe became the first American ship to use the S.O.S. distress signal.

1934

The first inmates arrived at the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.

1952

King Hussein of Jordan ascended the throne after his father had been declared mentally unfit.

1954

More than seven years of fighting in Indochina formerly ended with the cessation of French control.

1956

Abstract artist Jackson Pollock died in an automobile accident.

1960

Chad gained its independence from France.

1965

Following the arrest of a young black motorist, the predominately black neighborhood of Watts in Los Angeles erupted in riots that lasted six days and left 34 dead.

2003

Charles Taylor, president of Liberia, formally relinquished his office to Moses Blah and left for Nigeria.

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