On This Day … 12 March


  • 538 – Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths ends his siege of Rome and retreats to Ravenna, leaving the city in the hands of the victorious Byzantine general, Belisarius.
  • 1689 – James II of England landed at Kinsale, starting the Williamite War in Ireland.
  • 1811 – Peninsular War: A day after a successful rearguard action, French Marshal Michel Ney once again successfully delays the pursuing Anglo-Portuguese force at the Battle of Redinha.
  • 1913 – 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.
  • 1920 – The Kapp Putsch begins when the Marinebrigade Ehrhardt is ordered to march on Berlin.
  • 1930 – Mahatma Gandhi begins the Salt March, a 200-mile march to the sea to protest the British monopoly on salt in India.
  • 1938 – Anschluss: German troops occupy and absorb Austria.
  • 1940 – Winter War: Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union, ceding almost all of Finnish Karelia.
  • 1942 – The Battle of Java ends with the surrender of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command to the Japanese Empire in Bandung, West Java, Dutch East Indies.
  • 1947 – Cold War: The Truman Doctrine is proclaimed to help stem the spread of Communism.
  • 1967 – Suharto takes power from Sukarno when the People’s Consultative Assembly inaugurate him as Acting President of Indonesia.
  • 1968 – Mauritius achieves independence from the United Kingdom.
  • 1971 – The 1971 Turkish military memorandum is sent to the Süleyman Demirel government of Turkey and the government resigns.
  • 1992 – Mauritius becomes a republic while remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • 1993 – North Korea announces that it will withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and refuses to allow inspectors access to its nuclear sites.
  • 1999 – Former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland join NATO.

People (Births)

  • 1795 – George Tyler Wood, American military officer and politician (d. 1858).
  • 1807 – James Abbott, Indian Army officer (d. 1896).
  • 1815 – Louis-Jules Trochu, French military leader and politician (d. 1896).
  • 1834 – Hilary A. Herbert, Secretary of the Navy (d. 1919).
  • 1863 – Gabriele D’Annunzio, Italian soldier, journalist, poet, and playwright (d. 1938).
  • 1898 – Luitpold Steidle, German army officer and politician (d. 1984).
  • 1923 – Wally Schirra, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2007).
  • 1943 – Ratko Mladić, Serbian general.
  • 1968 – Tammy Duckworth, Thai-American colonel, pilot, and politician.

People (Deaths)

  • 1946 – Ferenc Szálasi, Hungarian soldier and politician, Head of State of Hungary (b. 1897).
  • 2008 – Lazare Ponticelli, Italian-French soldier and supercentenarian (b. 1897).

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