On This Day in History May 12

May 12 – Events:

  • 1191 – Richard I of England marries Berengaria of Navarre.
  • 1264 – The Battle of Lewes, between King Henry III of England and the rebel Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, begins.
  • 1328 – Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, is consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.
  • 1364 – Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland, was founded in Kraków, Poland.
  • 1551 – National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru.
  • 1588 – French Wars of Religion: Henry III of France flees Paris after Henry of Guise enters the city.
  • 1689 – King William’s War: William III of England joins the League of Augsburg starting a war with France.
  • 1780 – American Revolutionary War: Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces.
  • 1797 – First Coalition: Napoleon I of France conquers Venice.
  • 1821 – The first big battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks occurs in Valtetsi.
  • 1862 – U.S. federal troops occupy Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • 1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Raymond: two divisions of James B. McPherson’s XVII Corps (ACW) turn the left wing of Confederate General John C. Pemberton’s defensive line on Fourteen Mile Creek, opening up the interior of Mississippi to the Union Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: Thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers die in “the Bloody Angle.”
  • 1865 – American Civil War: Battle of Palmito Ranch: The first day of the last major land action to take place during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.
  • 1870 – The Manitoba Act was given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.
  • 1873 – Oscar II of Sweden-Norway is crowned King of Sweden.
  • 1881 – In North Africa, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.
  • 1885 – North-West Rebellion: The four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, comes to an end with a decisive rebel defeat.
  • 1890 – The first-ever official County Championship match begins. Yorkshire beat Gloucestershire by eight wickets at Bristol. George Ulyett scores the first century in the competition.
  • 1926 – UK General Strike 1926: In the United Kingdom, a nine-day general strike by trade unions ends.
  • 1932 – Ten weeks after his abduction, the infant son of Charles Lindbergh is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.
  • 1937 – Coronation of King George VI of Britain at Westminster Abbey.
  • 1941 – Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer in Berlin.
  • 1942 – World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov – In the eastern Ukraine, the Soviet Army initiates a major offensive. During the battle the Soviets will capture the city of Kharkov from the German Army, only to be encircled and destroyed.
  • 1942 – 1,500 Jews are sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.
  • 1949 – The Soviet Union lifts its Blockade of Berlin.
  • 1949 – The western occupying powers approve the Basic Law for the new German state – the Federal Republic of Germany.
  • 1952 – Gaj Singh crowned Maharaja of Jodhpur.
  • 1955 – The last portion of the IRT Third Avenue Elevated in Manhattan closes.
  • 1958 – A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.
  • 1962 – Douglas MacArthur delivers his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at West Point.
  • 1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.
  • 1965 – West Germany and Israel establish diplomatic relations.
  • 1966 – Busch Memorial Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals major league baseball team and until 1987, the NFL team of the same name, opens in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1967 – At Queen Elizabeth Hall, England, Pink Floyd stages the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert.
  • 1975 – Mayagüez incident: The Cambodian navy seizes the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.
  • 1978 – In Zaïre, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba. The government of Zaïre asks the U.S., France and Belgium to restore order.
  • 1981 – Francis Hughes starves to death in the Maze Prison in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to IRA prisoners.
  • 1982 – During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower Juan Fernandez Krohn before he can attack Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. Krohn, an ultraconservative Spanish priest opposed to the Vatican II reforms, decided that the Pope must be killed for being an “agent of Moscow.”
  • 1994 – UK opposition leader John Smith dies in a London hospital after two serious heart attacks.
  • 1999 – David Steel becomes the first Presiding Officer (speaker) of the modern Scottish Parliament.
  • 2002 – Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.
  • 2003 – The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26.
  • 2003 – Fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers bring the Texas Legislature to a standstill by going into hiding in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan.
  • 2006 – Justin Gatlin ties the 100 metres sprint world record with a time of 9.77 seconds in Doha, Qatar.

May 12 – Birthdays:

  • 1401 – Emperor Shoko (d. 1428)
  • 1496 – Gustav I of Sweden (d. 1560)
  • 1590 – Cosimo II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (d. 1621)
  • 1622 – Louis de Buade de Frontenac, Governor General of New France (d. 1698)
  • 1626 – Louis Hennepin, Flemish missionary (d. 1705)
  • 1670 – Frederick Augustus I of Poland (d. 1733)
  • 1700 – Luigi Vanvitelli, Italian architect (d. 1773)
  • 1725 – Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans (d. 1785)
  • 1767 – Manuel de Godoy, Spanish statesman (d. 1851)
  • 1803 – Justus von Liebig, German chemist (d. 1873)
  • 1804 – Robert Baldwin, Canadian politician (d. 1858)
  • 1806 – Johan Vilhelm Snellman, Finnish statesman (d. 1881)
  • 1812 – Edward Lear, English author and poet (d. 1888)
  • 1820 – Florence Nightingale, English nurse (d. 1910)
  • 1828 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English poet (d. 1882)
  • 1829 – Pavlos Carrer, Greek composer (d. 1896)
  • 1842 – Jules Massenet, French composer (d. 1912)
  • 1845 – Gabriel Fauré, French composer (d. 1924)
  • 1850 – Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. statesman (d. 1924)
  • 1867 – Hugh Trumble, Australian cricketer (d. 1938)
  • 1874 – Clemens von Pirquet, Austrian physician (d. 1929)
  • 1880 – Lincoln Ellsworth, American scientist (d. 1951)
  • 1889 – Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank (d. 1980)
  • 1892 – Fritz Kortner, Austrian-born director (d. 1970)
  • 1895 – William Giauque, American chemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1982)
  • 1899 – Indra Devi, yogi (d. 2002)
  • 1900 – Helene Weigel, German actress (d. 1971)
  • 1903 – Wilfrid Hyde-White, English actor (d. 1991)
  • 1907 – Leslie Charteris, British author and screenwriter (d. 1993)
  • 1907 – Katharine Hepburn, American actress (d. 2003)
  • 1910 – Charles B. Fulton, American jurist (d. 1996)
  • 1910 – Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, British biochemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1994)
  • 1912 – Archibald Cox, U.S. Solicitor General (d. 2004)
  • 1914 – Bertus Aafjes, Dutch poet (d. 1993)
  • 1914 – Howard K. Smith, American journalist (d. 2002)
  • 1915 – Mary Kay Ash, American businesswoman, founded Mary Kay Cosmetics (d. 2001)
  • 1917 – Frank Clair, Canadian football coach (d. 2005)
  • 1918 – Julius Rosenberg, Soviet spy (d. 1953)
  • 1921 – Joseph Beuys, German artist (d. 1986)
  • 1921 – Farley Mowat, Canadian writer and naturalist
  • 1922 – Marco Denevi, Argentine writer (d. 1998)
  • 1924 – Alexander Esenin-Volpin, Russian mathematician
  • 1924 – Tony Hancock, English comedian (d. 1968)
  • 1925 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player
  • 1928 – Burt Bacharach, American composer
  • 1928 – Henry Cosby, African-American songwriter (d. 2002)
  • 1929 – Dollard St. Laurent, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1929 – Sam Nujoma, first President of Namibia
  • 1930 – Jesús Franco, Spanish film director
  • 1933 – Andrey Voznesensky, Russian poet
  • 1935 – Felipe Alou, Dominican baseball player and manager
  • 1935 – Johnny Bucyk, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1936 – Guillermo Endara, President of Panama
  • 1936 – Tom Snyder, American television personality (d. 2007)
  • 1936 – Frank Stella, American painter
  • 1937 – Beryl Burton, English cyclist (d. 1996)
  • 1937 – George Carlin, American comedian
  • 1937 – Susan Hampshire, English actress
  • 1938 – Millie Perkins, American film actress
  • 1939 – Miltiadis Evert, Greek politician
  • 1939 – Ron Ziegler, White House Press Secretary (d. 2003)
  • 1942 – Ian Dury, English musician (d. 2000)
  • 1942 – Michel Fugain, French singer and songwriter
  • 1942 – Billy Swan, American songwriter and singer
  • 1944 – James Purify, American singer
  • 1945 – Alan Ball, English footballer (d. 2007)
  • 1945 – Ian McLagan, English keyboardist (Small Faces)
  • 1946 – L. Neil Smith, American science fiction author
  • 1947 – Michael Ignatieff, Canadian politician
  • 1947 – Micheline Lanctôt, American film actor, director and screenwriter
  • 1948 – Steve Winwood, English musician (The Spencer Davis Group; Traffic)
  • 1950 – Bruce Boxleitner, American actor
  • 1950 – Gabriel Byrne, Irish actor
  • 1950 – Billy Squier, American singer
  • 1955 – Kix Brooks, American musician
  • 1956 – Bernie Federko, Canadian ice hockey player
  • 1956 – Glenn Robbins, Australian comedian
  • 1957 – Lou Whitaker, American baseball player
  • 1958 – Andreas Petroulakis, Greek political caricaturist
  • 1958 – Eric Singer, American drummer
  • 1959 – Ving Rhames, American actor
  • 1960 – Ian Khan, British racing driver
  • 1961 – Billy Duffy, English guitarist (The Cult)
  • 1961 – Lar Park Lincoln, American actress
  • 1961 – Bruce McCulloch, Canadian actor
  • 1962 – Emilio Estevez, American actor
  • 1962 – Brett Gurewitz, American songwriter and record producer (Bad Religion) (Epitaph)
  • 1963 – Panagiotis Fasoulas, Greek basketball player, Mayor of Piraeus
  • 1963 – Stefano Modena, Italian racing driver
  • 1963 – Jerry Trimble, American actor
  • 1963 – Deborah Kara Unger, Canadian actress
  • 1963 – Vanessa A. Williams, American actress
  • 1966 – Stephen Baldwin, American actor
  • 1966 – Bebel Gilberto, Brazilian singer
  • 1967 – Paul D’Amour, American bass guitarist (ex-Tool)
  • 1968 – Mark Clark, American baseball player
  • 1968 – Tony Hawk, American skateboarder
  • 1968 – Scott Schwartz, American actor
  • 1968 – Catherine Tate, English comedian
  • 1969 – Kim Fields, American actress
  • 1969 – Cesar Millan, professional dog trainer
  • 1970 – Jim Furyk, American golfer
  • 1970 – Samantha Mathis, American actress
  • 1970 – Mike Weir, Canadian golfer
  • 1971 – Doug Basham, American professional wrestler
  • 1973 – Kendra Kassebaum, American stage actress
  • 1973 – Travis Lutter, Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
  • 1975 – Jonah Lomu, New Zealand rugby union footballer
  • 1977 – Graeme Dott, Scottish snooker player
  • 1977 – Rebecca Herbst, American actress
  • 1978 – Jason Biggs, American actor
  • 1978 – Wilfred Le Bouthillier, Acadian singer
  • 1978 – Josh Phelps, American baseball player
  • 1978 – Hossein Reza Zadeh, Iranian weightlifter
  • 1978 – Aya Ishiguro, Japanese singer (formerly Morning Musume)
  • 1979 – Andre Carter, American football player
  • 1979 – Erdinç Saçan, Turkish-Dutch politician
  • 1981 – Kentaro Sato, Japanese composer
  • 1981 – Lorena Bernal, Spanish model and actress, Miss Spain 1999
  • 1983 – Charilaos Pappas, Greek footballer
  • 1984 – Cheryl Burke, Filipino-American ballroom dancer
  • 1985 – Tally Hall, American soccer player
  • 1986 – Emily VanCamp, Canadian actress
  • 1988 – Marcelo, Brazilian footballer
  • 1991 – Bradford N. Smith, American actor
  • 1992 – Malcolm David Kelley, American actor
  • 1995 – Sullivan and Sawyer Sweeten, American actors

May 12 – Deaths:

  • 1003 – Pope Silvester II
  • 1012 – Pope Sergius IV
  • 1382 – Queen Joan I of Naples (b. 1327)
  • 1399 – Demetrius I Starshiy (killed in battle) (b. 1327)
  • 1465 – Thomas Palaeologus, Despot of the Despotate of Morea
  • 1634 – George Chapman, English writer
  • 1641 – Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, English statesman (b. 1593)
  • 1684 – Edme Mariotte, French physicist and priest
  • 1699 – Lucas Achtschellinck, Flemish painter (b. 1626)
  • 1700 – John Dryden, English writer (b. 1631)
  • 1708 – Adolf Friedrich II of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (b. 1658)
  • 1748 – Thomas Lowndes, English astronomer (b. 1692)
  • 1759 – Lambert-Sigisbert Adam, French sculptor (b. 1700)
  • 1784 – Abraham Trembley, Swiss naturalist (b. 1710)
  • 1792 – Charles Simon Favart, French dramatist (b. 1710)
  • 1796 – Johann Peter Uz, German poet (b. 1720)
  • 1801 – Nicholas Repnin, Russian statesman (b. 1734)
  • 1845 – János Bacsanyi, Hungarian poet (b. 1763)
  • 1856 – Jacques Philippe Marie Binet, French mathematician (b. 1786)
  • 1859 – Sergei Aksakov, Russian writer (b. 1791)
  • 1860 – Charles Barry, English architect (b. 1795)
  • 1864 – J. E. B. Stuart, American soldier from Virginia and a Confederate Army general (b. 1833)
  • 1867 – Friedrich William Eduard Gerhard, German archaeologist (b. 1795)
  • 1871 – Anselme Payen, French physicist (b. 1795)
  • 1876 – Georgi Benkovski, Bulgarian revolutionary, brutally killed by the Turks (b. 1843)
  • 1884 – Bedrich Smetana, Czech composer (b. 1824)
  • 1889 – John Cadbury, English chocolate entrepreneur (b. 1801)
  • 1907 – Joris-Karl Huysmans, French author (b. 1848)
  • 1916 – James Connolly, Irish socialist (b. 1868)
  • 1925 – Amy Lowell, American poet (b. 1874)
  • 1931 – Eugène Ysaÿe, Belgian violinist (b. 1858)
  • 1935 – Józef Pilsudski, Polish statesman (b. 1867)
  • 1944 – Max Brand, American author (b. 1892)
  • 1944 – Arthur Quiller-Couch, English writer (b. 1863)
  • 1956 – Louis Calhern, American actor (b. 1895)
  • 1957 – Erich von Stroheim, film director and actor (b. 1885)
  • 1963 – Bobby Kerr, Canadian runner (b. 1882)
  • 1966 – Felix Martin Julius Steiner, German Heer and Waffen-SS officer (b. 1896)
  • 1967 – John Masefield, British writer (b. 1878)
  • 1970 – Nelly Sachs, German writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891)
  • 1971 – Heinie Manush, American baseball player (b. 1901)
  • 1973 – Art Pollard, American racecar driver (b. 1927)
  • 1985 – Jean Dubuffet, French painter (b. 1901)
  • 1986 – Elisabeth Bergner, Austrian actress (b. 1897)
  • 1990 – Chen Kenmin, Japanese chef (b. 1912)
  • 1992 – Robert Reed, American actor (b. 1932)
  • 1992 – Nikos Gatsos, Greek poet and lyricist (b. 1911)
  • 1992 – Lenny Montana, American actor (b. 1926)
  • 1994 – Erik Erikson, German psychoanalyst (b. 1902)
  • 1994 – John Smith, British politician (b. 1938)
  • 1995 – Mia Martini, real name: Domenica Bertè, Italian singer and song-writer (b. 1947)
  • 1999 – Abd-al-Aziz ibn Abd-Allah ibn Baaz, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia 1993-1999 (b. 1910)
  • 1999 – Saul Steinberg, Romanian-American cartoonist (b. 1914)
  • 2000 – Adam Petty, American race car driver (b. 1980)
  • 2001 – Perry Como, American singer (b. 1912)
  • 2001 – Alexei Tupolev, Russian aircraft designer (b. 1925)
  • 2002 – Erich Kulas, ECW Wrestler (Mass Transit)
  • 2003 – Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, French UN High Commissioner for Refugees (b. 1933)
  • 2005 – Martin Lings, English Islamic scholar (b. 1909)
  • 2005 – Monica Zetterlund, Swedish actress and singer (b. 1937)
  • 2006 – Gillespie V. Montgomery, former U.S. representative from Mississippi (b. 1920)
  • 2007 – Mullah Dadullah Akhund, Taliban military leader (b. 1966?)
  • 2007 – Teddy Infuhr, American former child actor (b. 1936)

May 12 – Holidays:

  • International Nurses Day, commemorating the birthday of Florence Nightingale in 1820.
  • Day of Finnishness in Finland; Commemoration day of J. V. Snellman.
  • Religious feast days:
  • Feast day of the following saints in the Roman Catholic Church:
    • Saints Achilleus and Nereus
    • Saint Pancras (died 304), second of the Ice Saints
    • Saint Epiphanius of Salamis
    • Saint Modoald
    • Saint Domitilla
    • Saint Joan of Portugal
    • Blessed Imelda
    • Saint Philip of Agira
    • Dominic de la Calzada
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