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This Day in History - April 12

April 12

1204 – The Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople

1555 – Joanna of Castile dies

1606 – England adopts the Union Jack as its flag

1633 – Chief inquisitor, Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei, for his belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, a heretical belief in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Galilei is convicted and will spend the remainder of his life under house arrest

1770 – Parliament repeals the Townsend Acts, taxing American colonists on British products such as paper, paint, glass, lead and tea

1777 – Henry Clay, the “Great Compromiser,” American politician and statesman who ran for president, unsuccessfully, three times, is born

1782 – The British navy wins its only naval engagement against the colonists in the American Revolution at the Battle of Saints

1791 – Editor Francis Preston Blair is born

1811 – The first colonists arrive at Cape Disappointment, Washington

1823 – Russian playwright Alexander Ostrovsky is born

1838 – American librarian and army physician, John Shaw Billings, is born

1858 – Salt Lake City welcomes Alfred Cummings, its first non-Mormon governor, signaling the end of the so-called “Utah War” between the federal government and the Mormon-controlled Utah territory, initiated by President Buchanan

1861 – Fort Sumter is shelled by the Confederacy, beginning the American Civil War

1862 – James J. Andrews led the raiding party that stole the Confederate locomotive “The General,” in a daring raid behind enemy lines, that inspired the Buster Keaton movie

1864 – Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest captures Fort Pillow

1871 – 130th Prime Minister of Greece, Ioannis Metaxas is born

1877 – The first catcher’s mask is used in a baseball game

1888 – Founder of the British sports car company MG, Cecil Kimber, is born

1908 – A fire in Chelsea, Massachusetts kills 12, with 85 missing and presumed dead, and over 17,000 homeless

1911 – Pierre Prier completes the first non-stop to London-Paris flight in three hours and 56 minutes

1914 – The Mark Strand Theatre opens in New York City and is the first movie “palace” with spacious and luxurious interiors

1916 – American cavalrymen and Mexican bandit troops clash at Parral, Mexico

1917 – The Canadian Corps take the previously German-held Vimy Ridge in northern France

1927 – The British Cabinet come out in favor of women’s voting rights

1927 – Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek begins counter revolution in Shanghai

1937 – Sir Frank Whittle successfully tests the first aircraft jet engine

1940 – Pianist, composer and bandleader Herbie Hancock is born

1944 – The US Twentieth Air Force is activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan

1945 – President Franklin Roosevelt dies and Harry Truman will become president

1947 – Comedian and talk show host David Letterman is born

1947 – Author Tom Clancy is born

1949 – Writer and attorney Scott Turow is born

1954 – Bill Haley records “Rock Around the Clock”

1955 – Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccination discovery is announced

1961 – Soviet Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin becomes the first man to orbit the Earth

1961 – Senior White House specialist on Southeast Asia, Walt W. Rostow, recommends escalation of effort in Vietnam to President Kennedy

1963 – Police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama

1966 – Emmett Ashford becomes the first black major league umpire

1975 – The US ambassador and his staff leave the US Embassy in Cambodia when the US Navy conducts an evacuation effort known as Operation Eagle

1975 – Actress, singer and dancer Josephine Baker dies

1980 – The US Olympic Committee endorses a boycott of the Moscow Olympic games to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the prior year

1981 – The space shuttle Columbia is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, becoming the first reusable manned spacecraft to travel in space

1981 – The New York Giants draft University of North Carolina linebacker Lawrence Taylor as their first-round pick and the second overall in the NFL Draft

1981 – Boxer Joe Louis dies

1983 – Harold Washington is elected the first black mayor of Chicago

1988 – Bernardo Bertolucci’s biopic about Puyi, the last Emperor of China, receives nine Academy Awards, all that it was nominated for, and is the first film to do so

1989 – Boxer Sugar Ray Robinson dies

1999 – Arkansas federal judge Susan Webber Wright finds President Bill Clinton in contempt of court for lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky


Written by Crystal McCann

Crystal is the Chief Operating Officer of Lanterns Media Network and the owner of Madisons Media. She lives in Texas with her husband and dogs and is the proud mother of two adult children.


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