On This Day in History April 12

April 12 – Events:

  • 467 – Anthemius is elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 1606 – The Union Flag is adopted as the flag of Great Britain.
  • 1633 – The formal inquest of Galileo Galilei by the Inquisition begins.
  • 1776 – North Carolina’s Provincial Congress authorized its delegates to the Second Continental Congress to vote for independence by issuing the Halifax Resolves.
  • 1820 – Alexander Ypsilantis is declared leader of Filiki Eteria, a secret organization to overthrow Ottoman rule over Greece.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: The war begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 1865 – American Civil War: Mobile, Alabama, falls to the Union Army.
  • 1877 – The United Kingdom annexes the Transvaal.
  • 1917 – World War I: Canadian forces successfully complete the taking of Vimy Ridge from the Germans. It is also considered a major event in Canadian history for the primary role Canadian forces played in the attack.
  • 1927 – April 12 Incident: Chiang Kai-shek orders the CPC members executed in Shanghai, ending the First United Front (China).
  • 1934 – The strongest surface wind gust in the world, 231 mph, was measured by the staff of the Mount Washington Observatory on the summit of Mount Washington.
  • 1934 – The Auto-Lite Strike, which culminated in a five-day melee between Ohio National Guard troops and 6,000 strikers and picketers, began.
  • 1935 – First flight of the Bristol Blenheim.
  • 1937 – Sir Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft, at the British Thomson-Houston factory in Rugby, England.
  • 1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies while in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman is sworn in as the 33rd President of the United States.
  • 1955 – The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective.
  • 1961 – Human spaceflight: Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space in Vostok 3KA-2 (Vostok 1).
  • 1963 – The Soviet nuclear powered submarine K-33 collides with the Finnish merchant vessel M/S Finnclipper in the Danish straits. Although both vessels are severely damaged both can make it to port.
  • 1968 – Nerve gas accident at Skull Valley, Utah.
  • 1980 – Samuel Doe takes control of Liberia in a coup d’etat, ending over 130 years of democratic presidential succession in that country.
  • 1980 – Terry Fox begins his “Marathon of Hope” by dipping his artificial leg into the Atlantic at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
  • 1981 – Human spaceflight: The first launch of a Space Shuttle: Columbia launches on the STS-1 mission.
  • 1990 – Opening of Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition, the work of the only living sculptor ever invited to present a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
  • 1992 – Disneyland Resort Paris opens in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France, and is the second international Disney resort property.
  • 1994 – Canter & Siegel post the first commercial mass Usenet spam.
  • 1998 – An earthquake in Slovenia, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale near the town of Bovec.
  • 1999 – American President Bill Clinton was cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in the Paula Jones sexual harassment civil lawsuit.
  • 2002 – Pedro Carmona becomes interim President of Venezuela during the Venezuelan coup attempt of 2002, a military coup against Hugo Chávez.
  • 2007 – The Kremlin vetos an investigation into the death of Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man in space.

April 12 – Birthdays:

  • 599 BC – Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism (d. 527 BC)
  • 812 – Muhammad at-Taqi, Muslim Shia Imam (d. 835)
  • 1484 – Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Italian architect (d. 1546)
  • 1500 – Joachim Camerarius, German classical scholar (d. 1574)
  • 1526 – Muretus, French humanist (d. 1585)
  • 1550 – Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, English politician (d. 1604)
  • 1577 – Christian IV of Denmark (d. 1648)
  • 1705 – William Cookworthy, English chemist (d. 1780)
  • 1713 – Guillaume Thomas François Raynal, French writer (d. 1796)
  • 1722 – Pietro Nardini, Italian composer (d. 1793)
  • 1724 – Lyman Hall, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (d. 1790)
  • 1726 – Charles Burney, English music historian (d. 1814)
  • 1748 – Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, French botanist (d. 1836)
  • 1777 – Henry Clay, American statesman (d. 1852)
  • 1794 – Germinal Pierre Dandelin, Belgian mathematician (d. 1847)
  • 1796 – George N. Briggs, 19th Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1861)
  • 1799 – Henri Druey, Swiss Federal Councilor (d. 1855)
  • 1823 – Alexandr Ostrovsky, Russian dramatist (d. 1886)
  • 1839 – Nikolai Przhevalsky, Russian explorer (d. 1888)
  • 1848 – José Gautier Benítez, Puerto Rican poet (d. 1880)
  • 1852 – Ferdinand von Lindemann, German mathematician (d. 1939)
  • 1856 – William Martin Conway, English art critic and mountaineer (d. 1937)
  • 1868 – Akiyama Saneyuki, Japanese naval commander (d. 1918)
  • 1869 – Henri Désiré Landru, French serial killer (d. 1922)
  • 1871 – Ioannis Metaxas, Greek general and dictator (d. 1941)
  • 1883 – Dally Messenger, Australian rugby league footballer (d. 1959)
  • 1884 – Otto Meyerhof, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate (d. 1951)
  • 1884 – Frederick Charles Davies, ‘Tenby Davies’, Welsh half-mile world champion runner (d. 1932)
  • 1887 – Harold Lockwood, American silent film actor (d. 1918)
  • 1888 – Heinrich Neuhaus, Soviet pianist (d. 1964)
  • 1892 – Johnny Dodds, American jazz clarinetist (d. 1940)
  • 1893 – Robert Harron, American actor (d. 1920)
  • 1894 – Francisco Craveiro Lopes, 13 President of Portugal (d. 1964)
  • 1898 – Lily Pons, American soprano (d. 1976)
  • 1901 – Lowell Stockman, American representative (d. 1962)
  • 1902 – Louis Beel, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (d. 1977)
  • 1903 – Jan Tinbergen, Dutch economist, Nobel laureate (d. 1994)
  • 1907 – Felix de Weldon, Austrian-born sculptor (d. 2003)
  • 1907 – Hardie Gramatky, American author and animator (d. 1979)
  • 1908 – Robert Lee Scott, Jr., American Air Force pilot (d. 2006)
  • 1911 – Mahmoud Younis, Suez Canal nationalization Engineer (d. 1976)
  • 1912 – Walt Gorney, American actor (d. 2004)
  • 1912 – Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, Second Vice President of Indonesia (d. 1988)
  • 1914 – Armen Alchian, American economist
  • 1916 – Beverly Cleary, American writer
  • 1916 – Benjamin Libet, American pioneering scientist (d. 2007)
  • 1917 – Helen Forrest, American singer (d. 1999)
  • 1919 – Billy Vaughn, American musician and bandleader (d. 1991)
  • 1923 – Ann Miller, American actress and dancer (d. 2004)
  • 1924 – Raymond Barre, French politician and Prime Minister (d. 2007)
  • 1924 – Peter Safar, Austrian physician (d. 2003)
  • 1928 – Hardy Krüger, German actor
  • 1928 – Jean-François Paillard, French conductor
  • 1930 – Manuel Neri, American sculptor, painter and printmaker
  • 1930 – Michal Zyczkowski, Polish technician (d. 2006)
  • 1932 – Dennis Banks, American activist
  • 1932 – Lakshman Kadirgamar, Sri Lankan politician (d. 2005)
  • 1932 – Tiny Tim, American musician (d. 1996)
  • 1933 – Montserrat Caballé, Spanish soprano
  • 1934 – Heinz Schneiter, Swiss footballer
  • 1939 – Alan Ayckbourn, English writer
  • 1939 – Johnny Raper, Australian rugby league footballer
  • 1940 – Herbie Hancock, American pianist and composer
  • 1941 – Bobby Moore, English footballer (d. 1993)
  • 1942 – Carlos Reutemann, Argentine racing driver and politician
  • 1944 – John Kay, German-born musician (Steppenwolf)
  • 1945 – Lee Jong-wook, Korean Director-General of the WHO (d. 2006)
  • 1946 – Ed O’Neill, American actor
  • 1947 – Tom Clancy, American author
  • 1947 – Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets
  • 1947 – David Letterman, American talk show host
  • 1948 – Jeremy Beadle, English television presenter (d. 2008)
  • 1948 – Joschka Fischer, Foreign Minister of Germany
  • 1948 – Sandra “Lois” Reeves, American singer (Martha & the Vandellas)
  • 1949 – Scott Turow, American writer
  • 1950 – Flavio Briatore, Italian businessman and F1 team principal (Renault F1)
  • 1950 – David Cassidy, American singer and actor
  • 1950 – Kari Palaste, Finnish architect
  • 1952 – Ralph Wiley, American sports journalist (d. 2004)
  • 1952 – Reuben Gant, American professional football player
  • 1954 – Pat Travers, Canadian musician
  • 1956 – Andy Garcia, Cuban-born actor
  • 1956 – Herbert Grönemeyer, German singer
  • 1957 – Vince Gill, American musician
  • 1958 – Will Sergeant, English musician (Echo & the Bunnymen)
  • 1958 – Howard Stableford, English actor, and host
  • 1960 – Ron MacLean, Canadian sportscaster
  • 1961 – Lisa Gerrard, Australian singer and musician (Dead Can Dance)
  • 1962 – Art Alexakis, American musician (Everclear)
  • 1962 – Takada Nobuhiko, Japanese wrestler
  • 1964 – Amy Ray, American musician (Indigo Girls)
  • 1965 – Tom O’Brien, American actor-producer
  • 1967 – Sarah Cracknell, English singer (Saint Etienne)
  • 1967 – Mellow Man Ace, Afro-Cuban rapper
  • 1969 – Lucas Radebe, South African footballer
  • 1970 – Nick Hexum, American musician (311)
  • 1971 – Nicholas Brendon, American actor
  • 1971 – Shannen Doherty, American actress
  • 1972 – Paul Lo Duca, American baseball player
  • 1972 – Dimitrios Kokotis, Greek high jumper
  • 1973 – J. Scott Campbell, American comic book artist
  • 1973 – Antonio Osuna, Mexican baseball player
  • 1973 – Claudia Jordan, American model
  • 1974 – Marley Shelton, American actress
  • 1974 – Sylvinho, Brazilian footballer
  • 1974 – Belinda Emmett, Australian actress (d. 2006)
  • 1975 – Paul Murphy, American writer
  • 1976 – Brad Miller, American basketball player
  • 1977 – Giovanny Espinoza, Ecuadorian footballer
  • 1977 – Glenn Rogers, Scottish Cricket Player
  • 1977 – Sarah Jane Morris, American actress
  • 1978 – Guy Berryman, British musician (Coldplay)
  • 1978 – Riley Smith, American actor
  • 1979 – Claire Danes, American actress
  • 1979 – Elena Grosheva, Olympic gymnast
  • 1979 – Mateja Kežman, Serbian footballer
  • 1979 – Jennifer Morrison, American actress and model
  • 1979 – Paul Nicholls, English actor
  • 1979 – Jordan De Jong, American baseball player
  • 1980 – Brian McFadden, Irish Singer
  • 1980 – Erik Mongrain, Canadian musician
  • 1981 – Nicolás Burdisso, Argentine footballer
  • 1981 – Brian Vandborg, Danish cyclist
  • 1982 – Deen, Bosnian singer
  • 1985 – Hitomi Yoshizawa, Japanese singer (Morning Musume)
  • 1985 – Jeisa Chiminazzo, Brazilian supermodel
  • 1985 – Olga Seryabkina, Russian singer
  • 1986 – Blerim Džemaili, Swiss footballer
  • 1987 – Brendon Urie, American musician (Panic! at the Disco)
  • 1994 – Moises Arias, American actor
  • 1994 – Saoirse Ronan, Irish actress

April 12 – Deaths:

  • 45 BC – Gnaeus Pompeius, the Younger, Roman general
  • 65 – Seneca the Younger, Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist
  • 238 – Gordian I, Roman Emperor (suicide)
  • 238 – Gordian II, heir to the Roman Empire (killed in battle)
  • 352 – St. Julius I, 35th Pope
  • 434 – Archbishop Maximianus of Constantinople
  • 1125 – Vladislaus I of Bohemia
  • 1443 – Henry Chichele, Archbishop of Canterbury
  • 1550 – Claude, Duke of Guise, French soldier (b. 1496)
  • 1555 – Juana of Castile, wife of Philip I of Castile (b. 1479)
  • 1687 – Ambrose Dixon, Virginia Colony pioneer
  • 1704 – Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, French bishop and writer (b. 1627)
  • 1748 – William Kent, English architect
  • 1782 – Metastasio, Italian poet and librettist (b. 1698)
  • 1788 – Carlo Antonio Campioni, French-born composer (b. 1719)
  • 1795 – Johann Kaspar Basselet von La Rosée, Bavarian general (b. 1710)
  • 1814 – Charles Burney, English music historian (b. 1726)
  • 1850 – Adoniram Judson, American Baptist missionary (b. 1788)
  • 1872 – Nikolaos Mantzaros, Greek composer (b. 1795)
  • 1878 – William Marcy Tweed, aka Boss Tweed, American politician (b. 1823)
  • 1898 – Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau, Roman catholic archbishop of Quebec (b. 1820)
  • 1902 – Marie Alfred Cornu, French physicist (b. 1842)
  • 1912 – Clara Barton, American nurse and Red Cross advocate (b. 1821)
  • 1938 – Feodor Chaliapin, Russian bass (b. 1873)
  • 1945 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States (b. 1882)
  • 1962 – Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, Indian politician and engineer (b. 1861)
  • 1968 – Heinrich Nordhoff, German automobile engineer and Volkswagen director (b. 1899)
  • 1971 – Igor Tamm, Russian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1895)
  • 1971 – Ed Lafitte, American baseball player (b. 1871)
  • 1971 – Wynton Kelly, American jazz pianist (b. 1931)
  • 1975 – Josephine Baker, American dancer (b. 1906)
  • 1977 – Phil Wrigley, American manufacturer and baseball executive (b. 1894)
  • 1980 – Clark McConachy, New Zealand billiards and snooker player (b. 1895)
  • 1980 – William R. Tolbert, Jr., President of Liberia (b. 1913)
  • 1981 – Joe Louis, American boxer (b. 1914)
  • 1983 – Carl Morton, American baseball player (b. 1944)
  • 1986 – Valentin Kataev, Russian writer (b. 1897)
  • 1987 – Mike Von Erich, American wrestler
  • 1988 – Alan Paton, South African novelist (b. 1903)
  • 1989 – Gerald Flood, British actor (b. 1927)
  • 1989 – Abbie Hoffman, American radical leader (b. 1936)
  • 1989 – Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer (b. 1921)
  • 1991 – Dead, Swedish musician (Mayhem) (b. 1969)
  • 1999 – Boxcar Willie, American singer (b. 1931)
  • 2001 – Harvey Ball, American inventor of the Smiley (b. 1921)
  • 2003 – Cecil H. Green, American manufacturer (b. 1900)
  • 2006 – Dr. Rajkumar, Kannada language film actor/singer (b. 1929)
  • 2006 – Puggy Pearson, American professional poker player (b. 1929)
  • 2007 – Kevin Crease, Australian TV anchor (b. 1936)

April 12 – Holidays:

  • The Roman holiday of Cerealia begins.
  • Yuri’s Night, an international celebration of the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin; in Russia (and formerly in USSR), the Cosmonautics Day.
  • The Feast of St. Basil the Confessor in the Greek Orthodox Church. In the Roman Catholic Church:
    • Saint Damian
    • Saint Erkembode
    • Saint Julius I
    • Saint Zeno of Verona
    • Saint Alferius
    • Blessed Angelo Carletti di Chivasso
    • Saint Constantine
    • Saint Sabas
    • Saint Victor
    • Saint Wigbert
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