The Thing About Today – July 11

July 11, 2020
Day 193 of 366


July 11th is the 193rd day of the year. It is Eleventh Night in Northern Ireland, the night before the Twelfth of July, a yearly Ulster Protestant celebration. Large bonfires are lit to celebrate the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, which began the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.

It’s also Free Slurpee Day and National 7-Eleven Day at participating 7-Eleven stores in North America. Get yourself some free frozen sugar water!


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheer Up The Lonely Day, National Rainier Cherry Day, National Blueberry Muffin Day, All American Pet Photo Day, and National Mojito Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1274, Scottish king Robert the Bruce was born.
  • In 1302, the Battle of the Golden Spurs – Guldensporenslag in Dutch – in which a coalition around the Flemish cities defeated King Philip IV of France’s royal army. It is commemorated annually as Feestdag van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, or the Day of the Flemish Community of Belgium.
  • In 1405, Ming admiral Zheng He set sail to explore the world for the first time. His seven maritime expeditions, the Ming treasure voyages, took place between 1405 and 1433.
  • In 1798, the United States Marine Corps was re-established after having been disbanded after the American Revolutionary War.
  • In 1801, French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons made his first comet discovery. Over the next 27 years, he discovered another 36 comets, more than any other person in history.
  • In 1804, Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr mortally wounded former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel.
  • In 1893, the first cultured pearl was obtained by Japanese entrepreneur Kōkichi Mikimoto.
  • In 1895, brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière demonstrated movie film technology to scientists.
  • In 1899, essayist and journalist E. B. White was born. He was the author of several highly popular books for children, including Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970), as well as a co-author of The Elements of Style, an English language style guide.
  • In 1919, the eight-hour day and free Sunday became law for workers in the Netherlands.
  • In 1920, Russian actor and dancer Yul Brynner was born.
  • In 1921, former President of the United States William Howard Taft was sworn in as 10th chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, becoming the only person ever to hold both offices.
  • In 1950, actor Bruce McGill was born.
  • In 1956, actress Sela Ward was born.
  • In 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published in the United States.
  • In 1962, the first transatlantic satellite television transmission took place.
  • In 1966, actor Greg Grunberg was born.
  • In 1973, Varig Flight 820 crashed near Paris, France on approach to Orly Airport, killing 123 of the 134 onboard. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration banned smoking in airplane lavatories.
  • In 1977, Martin Luther King, Jr. was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • In 1979, America’s first space station, Skylab, was destroyed as it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Indian Ocean.


July 11th is World Population Day. Established by the United Nations, it’s a day that seeks to raise awareness of population issues, such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health, and human rights.

It was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people. While press interest and general awareness in the global population surges only at the increments of whole billions of people, the world population increases annually by 100 million approximately every 14 months.

On January 1st, it was estimated at 7,621,019,000 people. Today it is approximately 7,797,200,000. It is estimated that the world population reached one billion for the first time in 1804. 123 years later, in 1927, it reached two billion, but it took only 33 years to reach three billion in 1960. Thereafter, it reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999, and, according to the United States Census Bureau, seven billion in March 2012.

The United Nations, however, estimated that the world population reached seven billion in October 2011.

According to current projections, the global population will reach eight billion by 2024, and is likely to reach around nine billion by 2042.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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