11 February 1929

The Kingdom of Italy and the Vatican sign the Lateran Treaty.

The Lateran Treaty was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the “Roman Question”. They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929. The Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church.

The Lateran Pacts are often presented as three treaties: a 27-article treaty of conciliation, a 3-article financial convention, and a 45-article concordat. However, the website of the Holy See presents the pacts as two, making the financial convention an annex of the treaty of conciliation. In this presentation, the pacts consisted of two documents, the first of which had four annexes:

A political treaty recognising the full sovereignty of the Holy See in the State of Vatican City, which was thereby established, a document accompanied by the annexes:
A plan of the territory of the Vatican City-State, with an area of 108.7 acres
A list and plans of the buildings with extraterritorial privilege and exemption from expropriation and taxes
A financial convention agreed on as a definitive settlement of the claims of the Holy See following the loss in 1870 of its territories and property. The Italian state agreed to pay 750,000,000 lire immediately plus consolidated bearer bonds with a coupon rate of 5% and a nominal value of 1,000,000,000 lire. It thus paid less than it would have paid {3.25 million liras annually} under the 1871 Law of Guarantees, which the Holy See had not accepted.
A concordat regulating relations between the Catholic Church and the Italian state

During the unification of Italy in the mid-19th century, the Papal States resisted incorporation into the new nation, even as all the other Italian countries, except for San Marino, joined it; Camillo Cavour’s dream of proclaiming the Kingdom of Italy from the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica did not come to pass. The nascent Kingdom of Italy invaded and occupied Romagna in 1860, leaving only Latium in the Pope’s domains. Latium, including Rome itself, was occupied and annexed in 1870. For the following sixty years, relations between the Papacy and the Italian government were hostile, and the status of the Pope became known as the “Roman Question”.

“ The Popes knew that Rome was irrevocably the capital of Italy. There was nothing they wanted less than to govern it or be burdened with a papal kingdom. What they wished was independence, a foothold on the earth that belonged to no other sovereign. ”
Negotiations for the settlement of the Roman Question began in 1926 between the government of Italy and the Holy See, and culminated in the agreements of the Lateran Pacts, signed—the Treaty says—for King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by Benito Mussolini, Prime Minister and Head of Government, and for Pope Pius XI by Pietro Gasparri, Cardinal Secretary of State, on 11 February 1929. It was ratified on 7 June 1929. The agreements were signed in the Lateran Palace, hence the name by which they are known.

The agreements included a political treaty which created the state of the Vatican City and guaranteed full and independent sovereignty to the Holy See. The Pope was pledged to perpetual neutrality in international relations and to abstention from mediation in a controversy unless specifically requested by all parties. In the first article of the treaty, Italy reaffirmed the principle established in the 4 March 1848 Statute of the Kingdom of Italy, that “the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Religion is the only religion of the State”. The attached financial agreement was accepted as settlement of all the claims of the Holy See against Italy arising from the loss of temporal power of the Papal States in 1870.

The sum thereby given to the Holy See was actually less than Italy declared it would pay under the terms of the Law of Guarantees of 1871, by which the Italian government guaranteed to Pope Pius IX and his successors the use of, but not sovereignty over, the Vatican and Lateran Palaces and a yearly income of 3,250,000 lire as indemnity for the loss of sovereignty and territory. The Holy See, on the grounds of the need for clearly manifested independence from any political power in its exercise of spiritual jurisdiction, had refused to accept the settlement offered in 1871, and the Popes thereafter until the signing of the Lateran Treaty considered themselves prisoners in the Vatican, a small, limited area inside Rome.

To commemorate the successful conclusion of the negotiations, Mussolini commissioned the Via della Conciliazione, which would symbolically link the Vatican City to the heart of Rome.

After 1946
The Constitution of the Italian Republic, adopted in 1947, states that relations between the State and the Catholic Church “are regulated by the Lateran Treaties”.

In 1984, an agreement was signed, revising the concordat. Among other things, both sides declared: “The principle of the Catholic religion as the sole religion of the Italian State, originally referred to by the Lateran Pacts, shall be considered to be no longer in force”. The Church’s position as the sole state-supported religion of Italy was also ended, replacing the state financing with a personal income tax called the otto per mille, to which other religious groups, Christian and non-Christian, also have access. As of 2013, there are ten other religious groups with access. The revised concordat regulated the conditions under which civil effects are accorded by Italy to church marriages and to ecclesiastical declarations of nullity of marriages. Abolished articles included those concerning state recognition of knighthoods and titles of nobility conferred by the Holy See, the undertaking by the Holy See to confer ecclesiastical honours on those authorized to perform religious functions at the request of the State or the Royal Household, and the obligation of the Holy See to enable the Italian government to present political objections to the proposed appointment of diocesan bishops.

In 2008, it was announced that the Vatican would no longer immediately adopt all Italian laws, citing conflict over right-to-life issues following the trial and ruling of the Eluana Englaro case.

Italy’s anti-Jewish laws of 1938 prohibited marriages between Jews and non-Jews, including Catholics. The Vatican viewed this as a violation of the Concordat, which gave the church the sole right to regulate marriages involving Catholics. Article 34 of the Concordat had also specified that marriages performed by the Catholic Church would always be considered valid by civil authorities. The Holy See understood this to apply to all Catholic Church marriages in Italy regardless of the faith of those being married.

11 February 1942

The Battle of Bukit Timah is fought in Singapore during World War II.

The Battle of Bukit Timah, which took place on the 11 February 1942, was part of the final stage of the Japan Imperial of Singapore during World War Two. By 10 February, the Japanese had landed on Singapore. They controlled the entire western region of Singapore and much of the north. Their next target was Bukit Timah and the capture of vital water, food, ammunition, and vehicles, machine parts and other supplies. Now, full with success, the Japanese again advanced in full strength.

Japanese troops assaulting Bukit Timah hill

On the night of 11 February 1942, the Japanese 5th Division, supported by tanks, advanced down Choa Chu Kang Road. The 12th Indian Brigade and some British troops under Major Angus MacDonald and Captain Mike Blackwood blocked the road and opened fire with an anti-tank gun, destroying one Japanese tank, but this was merely one of 40 tanks.
There followed some hand-to-hand combat, as well as bayonet charges from both sides. The poorly trained and equipped members of Dalforce were armed only with parangs, grenades, rifles and shotguns normally used for hunting, and suffered heavy injuries. By midnight, the Japanese had defeated the defenders and conquered Bukit Timah.
The British launched an attack the following morning with two brigades.However, faced with strong Japanese resistance, the attack failed.
The next day, the Japanese Imperial Guards advanced from the north, outflanking the British defenders and forcing them to retreat. In the ensuing battle, the Chinese members of Dalforce fought bravely, some to their deaths. Here, the Japanese suffered some of their heaviest casualties in the campaign to occupy Singapore.For revenge, they massacred Chinese men, women and children living in a nearby village.

11 February 1823

About 110 boys are killed at a carnival during a stampede at the Convent of the Minori Osservanti in Valletta, Malta.

The last day of carnival, 94 dead children between the ages of 15 and 16 years were brought to the men’s hospital. They had died of suffocation in the corridor of the ground floor of the convent of the Minori Osservanti of Valletta at 6.30pm after the procession that is customarily held during the days of carnival. The next day they were conveyed to the cemetery.”

At the time, Malta was experiencing rampant famine and it was customary to provide poor children from Valletta and Cottonera with bread and fruit to keep them away from the “confusion of carnival”. Food had to be distributed at the Ta’ ?ie?u convent, in Valletta, following a procession from Floriana.Several adults joined the children at the convent event to have their share of the bread being handed out. They entered through the convent’s vestry, walked through a corridor, which included a flight of eight steps, and headed towards an exit in St Ursula Street.
No less than 110 boys perished on this occasion from suffocation, by being pressed together in so small a space or trampled upon

When all were in, the vestry door was closed to stop those already given bread from going back in again for a second helping. Accidently, the lamp illuminating the corridor was extinguished and a commotion arose leading to the stampede and the death of at least 94 children, according to hospital records.The exact number of victims is not clear and, in fact, contemporary reports hold that “no less than 110 boys perished on this occasion from suffocation, by being pressed together in so small a space or trampled upon.”