On This Day … 12 April


  • 240 – Shapur I becomes co-emperor of the Sasanian Empire with his father Ardashir I.
  • 467 – Anthemius is elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
  • 1012 – Duke Oldřich of Bohemia deposes and blinds his brother Jaromír who flees to Poland.
  • 1204 – The Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade breach the walls of Constantinople and enter the city, which they completely occupy the following day.
  • 1606 – The Union Flag is adopted as the flag of English and Scottish ships.
  • 1776 – American Revolution: With the Halifax Resolves, the North Carolina Provincial Congress authorises its Congressional delegation to vote for independence from Britain.
  • 1807 – The Froberg mutiny ends when the remaining mutineers blow up the magazine of Fort Ricasoli.
  • 1820 – Alexander Ypsilantis is declared leader of Filiki Eteria, a secret organisation to overthrow Ottoman rule over Greece.
  • 1831 – Soldiers marching on the Broughton Suspension Bridge in Manchester, England, cause it to collapse.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: Battle of Fort Sumter. The war begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbour of Charleston, South Carolina.
  • 1862 – American Civil War: The Andrews Raid (the Great Locomotive Chase) occurs, starting from Big Shanty, Georgia (now Kennesaw).
  • 1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Fort Pillow: Confederate forces kill most of the African American soldiers that surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
  • 1865 – American Civil War: Mobile, Alabama, falls to the Union Army.
  • 1877 – The United Kingdom annexes the Transvaal.
  • 1910 – SMS Zrínyi, one of the last pre-dreadnought battleships built by the Austro-Hungarian Navy, is launched.
  • 1917 – World War I: Canadian forces successfully complete the taking of Vimy Ridge from the Germans.
  • 1927 – Shanghai massacre of 1927: Chiang Kai-shek orders the Communist Party of China members executed in Shanghai, ending the First United Front.
  • 1928 – The Bremen, a German Junkers W 33 type aircraft, takes off for the first successful transatlantic aeroplane flight from east to west.
  • 1934 – The U.S. Auto-Lite strike begins, culminating in a five-day melee between Ohio National Guard troops and 6,000 strikers and picketers.
  • 1937 – Sir Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft, at Rugby, England.
  • 1945 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes President upon Roosevelt’s death.
  • 1945 – World War II: The U.S. Ninth Army under General William H. Simpson crosses the Elbe River astride Magdeburg, and reached Tangermünde – only 50 miles from Berlin.
  • 1961 – Cold War: Space Race: The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1.
  • 1963 – The Soviet nuclear-powered submarine K-33 collides with the Finnish merchant vessel M/S Finnclipper in the Danish straits.
  • 1970 – Soviet submarine K-8, carrying four nuclear torpedoes, sinks in the Bay of Biscay four days after a fire on board.
  • 1980 – The Americo-Liberian government of Liberia is violently deposed.
  • 2013 – Two suicide bombers kill three Chadian soldiers and injure dozens of civilians at a market in Kidal, Mali.

People (Births)

  • 1792 – John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, English soldier and politician, Lord Privy Seal (d. 1840).
  • 1851 – José Gautier Benítez, Puerto Rican soldier and poet (d. 1880).
  • 1868 – Akiyama Saneyuki, Japanese admiral (d. 1918).
  • 1871 – Ioannis Metaxas, Greek general and politician, 130th Prime Minister of Greece (d. 1941).
  • 1894 – Francisco Craveiro Lopes, Portuguese field marshal and politician, 13th President of Portugal (d. 1964).
  • 1907 – Felix de Weldon, Austrian-American sculptor, designed the Marine Corps War Memorial (d. 2003).
  • 1908 – Robert Lee Scott, Jr., American pilot and general (d. 2006).
  • 1937 – Igor Volk, Ukrainian-Russian colonel, pilot, and astronaut.
  • 1946 – George Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, Scottish politician and diplomat, 10th Secretary General of NATO.

People (Deaths)

  • 45 BC – Gnaeus Pompeius, Roman general and politician (b. 75 BC).
  • 1687 – Ambrose Dixon, English-American soldier (b. 1619).
  • 1795 – Johann Kaspar Basselet von La Rosée, Bavarian general (b. 1710).
  • 1879 – Richard Taylor, American general (b. 1826).
  • 1933 – Adelbert Ames, American general and politician, 30th Governor of Mississippi (b. 1835).
  • 1943 – Viktor Puskar, Estonian colonel (b. 1889).
  • 1984 – Edwin T. Layton, American admiral and cryptanalyst (b. 1903).

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