On This Day in History March 12

March 12 – Events:

  • 538 – Witiges, king of the Ostrogoths ends his siege of Rome and retreats to Ravenna, leaving the city in the hands of the victorious Roman general, Belisarius.
  • 1622 – Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, is canonized a saint by the Catholic Church.
  • 1664 – New Jersey becomes a colony of Britain.
  • 1868 – Henry James O’Farrell attempts to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.
  • 1881 – Andrew Watson made his Scotland debut as the world’s first black international football player and captain.
  • 1894 – Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for the first time.
  • 1908 – The Pan-Macedonian group is formed in Athens to support the Greek Struggle for Macedonia.
  • 1912 – The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA) are founded in the United States.
  • 1913 – Canberra Day: The future capital of Australia is officially named Canberra.
  • 1918 – Moscow becomes the capital of Russia again after Saint-Petersburg held this status for 215 years.
  • 1928 – In California, the St. Francis Dam fails, killing over 600 people.
  • 1930 – Mahatma Gandhi leads a 200-mile march known as Dandi March to the sea in defiance of British opposition, to protest the British monopoly on salt.
  • 1933 – Great Depression: Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. This was also the first of his “Fireside Chats.”
  • 1938 – Anschluss: German troops occupy Austria; annexation declared the following day.
  • 1940 – Winter War: Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union, ceding almost all of Finnish Karelia. Finnish troops and the remaining population are immediately evacuated.
  • 1947 – The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism.
  • 1967 – Suharto takes over from Sukarno to become President of Indonesia.
  • 1968 – Mauritius achieves independence.
  • 1971 – The March 12 Memorandum, second intervention of Turkish Army, is sent to the Demirel government and Demirel government resigned.
  • 1992 – Mauritius becomes a republic while remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • 1993 – Several bombs explode in Bombay (Mumbai), India, killing about 300 and injuring hundreds more.
  • 1994 – The Church of England ordains its first female priests.
  • 1999 – Former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland join NATO.
  • 2003 – Zoran Ðindic, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated in Belgrade.
  • 2004 – Roh Moo-hyun, President of South Korea is impeached by its national assembly for the first time in the nation’s history.
  • 2008 – Eliot Spitzer announces his resignation as Governor of New York.

March 12 – Birthdays:

  • 1270 – Charles of Valois, son of Philip III of France (d. 1325)
  • 1478 – Giuliano di Lorenzo de’ Medici, ruler of Florence (d. 1516)
  • 1607 – Paul Gerhardt, German hymnist (d. 1676)
  • 1613 – André Le Nôtre, French landscape architect (d. 1700)
  • 1620 – Johann Heinrich Hottinger, Swiss philologist and theologian (d. 1667)
  • 1626 – John Aubrey, English antiquary and writer (d. 1697)
  • 1637 – Anne Hyde, wife of James II of England (d. 1671)
  • 1647 – Victor-Maurice, comte de Broglie, French general (d. 1727)
  • 1672 – Richard Steele, Irish writer and politician (d. 1729)
  • 1685 – George Berkeley, Irish theologian (d. 1753)
  • 1710 – Thomas Arne, English composer (d. 1778)
  • 1718 – Joseph Damer, English politician (d. 1798)
  • 1781 – Frederica of Baden, Queen of Sweden (d. 1826)
  • 1806 – Jane Pierce, First Lady of the United States (d. 1863)
  • 1821 – Sir John Abbott, third Prime Minister of Canada (d. 1893)
  • 1824 – Gustav Kirchhoff, German physicist (d. 1887)
  • 1831 – Clement Studebaker, American automobile pioneer (d. 1901)
  • 1832 – Charles Boycott, British land agent and originator of the term to boycott (d. 1897)
  • 1835 – Simon Newcomb, American astronomer and mathematician (d. 1909)
  • 1837 – Alexandre Guilmant, French organist and composer (d. 1911)
  • 1838 – William Henry Perkin, English chemist (d. 1907)
  • 1859 – Abraham H. Cannon, Mormon apostle (d. 1896)
  • 1863 – Gabriele D’Annunzio, Italian writer (d. 1938)
  • 1863 – Vladimir Vernadsky, Russian mineralogist (d. 1945)
  • 1864 – W. H. R. Rivers, British psychiatrist (d. 1922)
  • 1880 – Nikolaos Georgantas, Greek discus thrower (d. 1958)
  • 1880 – Henry Drysdale Dakin, British-American biochemist, known for the Dakin-West reaction (d. 1952)
  • 1881 – Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, first President of Turkey (d. 1938)
  • 1881 – Gunnar Nordström, Finnish physicist (d. 1923)
  • 1883 – Zoltán Meskó, Hungarian Nazi (d. 1959)
  • 1889 – Þórbergur Þórðarson, Icelandic author (d. 1974)
  • 1890 – Vaslav Nijinsky, Polish ballet dancer (d. 1950)
  • 1890 – William Dudley Pelley, American leader of the Silver Legion (d. 1965)
  • 1891 – George W. Mason, American industrialist (d. 1954)
  • 1895 – William C. Lee, U.S. Army general (d. 1948)
  • 1907 – Arthur Hewlett, British actor (d. 1997)
  • 1907 – Dorrit Hoffleit, American astronomer (d. 2007)
  • 1908 – Rita Angus, New Zealand painter (d. 1970)
  • 1908 – David Saul Marshall Singapore’s first Chief Minister(d. 1995)
  • 1911 – Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, President of Mexico (d. 1979)
  • 1912 – Irving Layton, Canadian poet (d. 2006)
  • 1912 – Paul Weston, American pianist, arranger and conductor (d. 1996)
  • 1918 – Elaine de Kooning, American artist (d. 1989)
  • 1921 – Gianni Agnelli, Italian auto executive (d. 2003)
  • 1921 – Ülo Jõgi, Estonian freedom fighter (d. 2007)
  • 1921 – Gordon MacRae, American singer and actor (d. 1986)
  • 1922 – Jack Kerouac, American writer (d. 1969)
  • 1922 – Lane Kirkland, American labor leader (d. 1999)
  • 1923 – Hjalmar Andersen, Norwegian speed skater
  • 1923 – Norbert Brainin, Austrian violinist (d. 2005)
  • 1923 – Wally Schirra, American astronaut (d. 2007)
  • 1923 – Mae Young, American professional wrestler
  • 1925 – Louison Bobet, French cyclist (d. 1983)
  • 1925 – Georges Delerue, French film composer (d. 1992)
  • 1925 – Leo Esaki, Japanese physicist, Nobel laureate
  • 1925 – Harry Harrison, American author
  • 1928 – Edward Albee, American dramatist
  • 1928 – Thérèse Lavoie-Roux, Quebec politician and senator
  • 1928 – Aldemaro Romero, Venezuelan musician (d. 2007)
  • 1929 – U Win Tin, jailed Burmese journalist
  • 1930 – Vernon Law, American baseball player
  • 1931 – Herbert Kelleher, Southwest Airlines co-founder
  • 1931 – Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas, American actor (d. 1980)
  • 1932 – Barbara Feldon, American actress and model
  • 1932 – Andrew Young, American civil rights activist and politician
  • 1935 – John Doherty, English footballer (d. 2007)
  • 1936 – Patrick Procktor, English artist (d. 2003)
  • 1938 – Johnny Rutherford, American automobile racer
  • 1940 – Al Jarreau, American singer
  • 1940 – M.A. Numminen, Finnish singer and writer
  • 1942 – Ratko Mladic, Republika Srpska leader
  • 1942 – Jimmy Wynn, American baseball player, 1963-1977
  • 1945 – Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, American gangster
  • 1946 – Liza Minnelli, American singer and actress
  • 1946 – Frank Welker, American voice actor
  • 1946 – Peter Whalley, British television writer and author
  • 1946 – Serge Turgeon, Quebec actor and union leader (d. 2004)
  • 1947 – Kalervo Palsa, Finnish artist (d. 1987)
  • 1947 – Mitt Romney, 70 Governor of Massachusetts
  • 1948 – James Taylor, American musician
  • 1948 – Kent Conrad, Democratic Senator of North Dakota
  • 1948 – Virginia Bottomley, British politician
  • 1949 – Rob Cohen, American film director, producer and writer
  • 1949 – Moctesuma Esparza, Mexican American producer and filmmaker
  • 1949 – Natalia Kuchinskaya, Soviet gymnast
  • 1950 – Javier Clemente, Spanish football manager
  • 1950 – Jon Provost, American actor
  • 1952 – Eliézer Niyitegeka, Rwandan journalist, politician and genocidaire
  • 1952 – Naomi Shihab Nye, American poet, songwriter, and novelist
  • 1953 – Carl Hiaasen, American journalist and author
  • 1953 – Ron Jeremy, American pornographic actor
  • 1956 – Steve Harris, English musician (Iron Maiden)
  • 1956 – Dale Murphy, American baseball player
  • 1957 – Marlon Jackson, American singer and musician (The Jackson 5)
  • 1960 – Kipp Lennon, American singer
  • 1960 – Minoru Niihara, Japanese singer
  • 1960 – Maki Nomiya, Japanese singer (Pizzicato Five)
  • 1960 – Courtney B. Vance, American actor
  • 1961 – Joseph Facal, Quebec politician
  • 1962 – Darryl Strawberry, American baseball player
  • 1963 – Ian Holloway, English football manager
  • 1963 – Joaquim Cruz, Brazilian runner
  • 1965 – Steve Finley, American baseball player
  • 1965 – Shawn Gilbert, American baseball player
  • 1965 – Steve Levy, American sports journalist
  • 1965 – Liza Umarova, Chechen torch singer
  • 1966 – Grant Long, NBA Basketball Player
  • 1966 – John Thompson III, NCAA Basketball Head Coach
  • 1967 – Julio Dely Valdes, Panamanian footballer
  • 1968 – Aaron Eckhart, American actor
  • 1969 – Graham Coxon, English musician (Blur)
  • 1969 – Jake Tapper, American journalist
  • 1970 – Dave Eggers, American writer, editor, and publisher
  • 1970 – Sean Hopp, American painter and musician
  • 1970 – Roy Khan, Norwegian singer (Kamelot)
  • 1970 – John Nemechek, American NASCAR driver (d. 1997)
  • 1971 – Tony Eveready (Duane Moore), American adult film actor
  • 1971 – Isaiah Rider, American basketball player
  • 1972 – Hector Luis Bustamante, Colombian actor
  • 1972 – James Maritato, American professional wrestler
  • 1975 – Kelle Bryan, English singer
  • 1975 – Herman Li, Cantonese guitarist
  • 1975 – Annabel Port, English radio presenter
  • 1976 – Simon Young, English music journalist
  • 1976 – Zhao Wei, Chinese actress
  • 1977 – Ramiro Corrales, American soccer player
  • 1978 – Masuimi Max, American model
  • 1978 – Casey Mears, American auto racer
  • 1978 – Claudio Sanchez, American musician (Coheed and Cambria)
  • 1978 – Arina Tanemura, Japanese mangaka
  • 1979 – Pete Doherty, English musician
  • 1979 – Nidia Guenard, American professional wrestler
  • 1979 – Edwin Villafuerte, Ecuadorian footballer
  • 1982 – Zach Miner, American baseball player
  • 1982 – Tobias Schweinsteiger, German footballer
  • 1984 – Shreya Ghoshal, Indian singer
  • 1984 – Jaimie Alexander, American Actress
  • 1985 – Bradley Wright-Phillips, English footballer
  • 1985 – Tosh Townend, American skateboarder
  • 1986 – Danny Jones, English singer (McFly)

March 12 – Deaths:

  • 604 – Pope Gregory I
  • 1289 – King Demetre II of Georgia (b. 1259)
  • 1374 – Emperor Go-Kogon of Japan (b. 1336)
  • 1447 – Shah Rukh, ruler of Persia and Transoxonia (b. 1377)
  • 1507 – Cesare Borgia, Italian general and statesman (b. 1475)
  • 1608 – Koriki Kiyonaga, Japanese warlord (b. 1530)
  • 1628 – John Bull, English composer
  • 1648 – Tirso de Molina, Spanish writer (b. 1571)
  • 1681 – Frans van Mieris, Sr., Dutch painter (b. 1635)
  • 1699 – Peder Griffenfeld, Danish statesman (b. 1635)
  • 1757 – Giuseppe Galli-Bibiena, Italian architect/painter (b. 1696)
  • 1790 – Andreas Hadik, Austro-Hungarian general (b. 1710)
  • 1832 – Friedrich Kuhlau, German composer (b. 1786)
  • 1872 – Zeng Guofan, Chinese politician and general (b. 1811)
  • 1894 – Illarion Pryanishnikov, Russian painter (b. 1840)
  • 1898 – Zacharias Topelius, Finnish-Swedish writer (b. 1818)
  • 1908 – Edmondo De Amicis, Italian children’s writer (b. 1846)
  • 1909 – Joe Petrosino, NYPD lieutenant (b. 1860)
  • 1914 – George Westinghouse, American entrepreneur and engineer (b. 1846)
  • 1916 – Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, Austrian writer (b. 1830)
  • 1925 – Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary and politician (b. 1866)
  • 1929 – Asa Griggs Candler, American businessman (b. 1851)
  • 1930 – Alois Jirásek, Czech writer (b. 1851)
  • 1930 – William George Barker, Canadian fighter ace (b. 1894)
  • 1937 – Charles-Marie Widor, French organist and composer (b. 1844)
  • 1937 – Jeno Hubay, Hungarian violinist (b. 1858)
  • 1942 – Robert Bosch, German industrialist (b. 1861)
  • 1943 – Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian sculptor (b. 1869)
  • 1944 – Artur Gavazzi, Croatian geographer (b. 1861)
  • 1946 – Ferenc Szálasi, Hungarian politician (executed) (b. 1897)
  • 1955 – Charlie Parker, American jazz saxophonist (b. 1920)
  • 1973 – Frankie Frisch, American baseball player (b. 1898)
  • 1974 – George D. Sax, Drive-in bank and instant loan innovator. (b. 1904)
  • 1978 – John Cazale, American actor (b. 1935)
  • 1978 – Gene Moore, American baseball player (b. 1909)
  • 1980 – Arthur Charles Dobson, British racing driver (b. 1914)
  • 1984 – Arnold Ridley, English playwright and actor (b. 1896)
  • 1985 – Eugene Ormandy, Hungarian conductor (b. 1899)
  • 1987 – Woody Hayes, American football coach (b. 1913)
  • 1989 – Maurice Evans, English-born actor (b. 1901)
  • 1990 – Wallace Breem, British author (b. 1926)
  • 1991 – Ragnar Granit, Finnish neuroscientist, Nobel laureate (b. 1900)
  • 1995 – Juanin Clay, American actress (b. 1949)
  • 1998 – Judge Dread, English musician (b. 1945)
  • 1998 – Beatrice Wood, American artist and ceramist (b. 1893)
  • 1998 – Jozef Kroner, Slovak actor (b. 1924)
  • 1999 – Yehudi Menuhin, American-born violinist (b. 1916)
  • 2001 – Morton Downey, Jr., American television talk show host (b. 1933)
  • 2001 – Robert Ludlum, American author (b. 1927)
  • 2002 – Spyros Kyprianou, Cypriot politician (b. 1932)
  • 2002 – Jean-Paul Riopelle, Quebec painter and sculptor (b. 1923)
  • 2003 – Zoran Ðindic, Prime Minister of Serbia (b. 1952)
  • 2003 – Howard Fast, American author (b. 1914)
  • 2003 – Andrei Kivilev, Kazakh cyclist (b. 1973)
  • 2003 – Lynne Thigpen, American actress (b. 1948)
  • 2005 – Bill Cameron, Canadian journalist (b. 1943)
  • 2005 – Stavros Koujioumtzis, Greek songwriter (b. 1932)
  • 2006 – Victor Sokolov, Russian dissident journalist and priest (b. 1947)
  • 2008 – Lazare Ponticelli, the last “poilu”, French soldier of World War First, dies at 110 (b. 1897)

March 12 – Holidays:

  • Faroe Islands – Grækarismessa (Mass of St. Gregor): According to tradition, the oystercatcher, the Faroes’ national bird returns this day. This event is celebrated in the capital, Tórshavn.
  • Mauritius – National Day.
  • Ancient Latvia – Gregoru Diena observed.
  • Arbor Day in People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.
  • In the Roman Catholic Church:
    • Theophanes the Confessor
    • Maximilian
    • Fina
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