Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1812

British prime minister Spencer Perceval assassinated

In London, Spencer Perceval, prime minister of Britain since 1809, is shot to death by demented businessman John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Bellingham, who was inflamed by his failure to obtain government compensation for war debts incurred in Russia, gave himself up immediately.

Spencer Perceval had a profitable law practice before entering the House of Commons as a Tory in 1796. Industrious and organized, he successively held the senior cabinet posts of solicitor general and attorney general beginning in 1801. In 1807, he became chancellor of the exchequer, a post he continued to hold after becoming prime minister in 1809. As prime minister, Perceval faced a financial crisis in Britain brought on by the country’s extended involvement in the costly Napoleonic Wars. He also made political enemies through his opposition to the regency of the Prince of Wales, who later became King George IV. Nevertheless, the general situation was improving when he was assassinated on May 11, 1812. His assassin, though deemed insane, was executed one week later.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Minnesota enters the Union

Minnesota enters the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota is the northern terminus of the Mississippi River’s traffic and the westernmost point of the inland waterway that extends through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence ...read more

Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in chess match

On May 11, 1997, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov resigns after 19 moves in a game against Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer developed by scientists at IBM. This was the sixth and final game of their match, which Kasparov lost two games to one, with three draws. Kasparov, a ...read more