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Events from History: 11 May 1812

In a shocking turn of events on May 11th, 1812, British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval became the only holder of the office to be assassinated. Perceval, known for his wartime leadership during the Napoleonic Wars, was on his way to a parliamentary committee meeting when he was accosted in the lobby of the House of Commons. John Bellingham, a disgruntled merchant with a financial grievance against the government, shot Perceval at point-blank range. The Prime Minister died within minutes.

Bellingham’s anger stemmed from failed business ventures in Russia and a perceived lack of support from the British government. His act of violence sent shockwaves through British politics and society. Bellingham was apprehended immediately, tried within four days, and found guilty. He was hanged a week later, on May 18th, 1812. The assassination of Spencer Percival remains a stark reminder of the vulnerability of political figures and the unpredictable nature of history.

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