On This Day … 12 October

Events

  • 539 BC – The army of Cyrus the Great of Persia takes Babylon, ending the Babylonian empire. (Julian calendar).
  • 633 – Battle of Hatfield Chase: King Edwin of Northumbria is defeated and killed by the British under Penda of Mercia and Cadwallon of Gwynedd.
  • 1398 – In the Treaty of Salynas, Lithuania cedes Samogitia to the Teutonic Knights.
  • 1406 – Chen Yanxiang, the only person from Indonesia known to have visited dynastic Korea, reaches Seoul after having set out from Java four months before.
  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus’s first expedition makes landfall in the Caribbean, specifically in The Bahamas.
  • 1748 – War of Jenkins’ Ear: A British squadron wins a tactical victory over a Spanish squadron off Havana.
  • 1792 – The first celebration of Columbus Day is held in New York City.
  • 1798 – Flemish and Luxembourgish peasants launch the rebellion against French rule known as the Peasants’ War.
  • 1799 – Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse becomes the first woman to jump from a balloon with a parachute.
  • 1849 – The city of Manizales, Colombia, is founded by ‘The Expedition of the 20’.
  • 1871 – The British in India enact the Criminal Tribes Act, naming many local communities “Criminal Tribes”.
  • 1915 – World War I: British nurse Edith Cavell is executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from Belgium
  • 1917 – World War I: The First Battle of Passchendaele takes place resulting in the largest single-day loss of life in New Zealand history.
  • 1928 – An iron lung respirator is used for the first time at Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • 1933 – The military Alcatraz Citadel becomes the civilian Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Axis occupation of Athens comes to an end.
  • 1945 – World War II: Desmond Doss is the first conscientious objector to receive the US Medal of Honour.
  • 1968 – Equatorial Guinea becomes independent from Spain.
  • 1970 – Vietnam War: Vietnamisation continues as President Nixon announces that the United States will withdraw 40,000 more troops before Christmas.
  • 1984 – The Provisional Irish Republican Army fail to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet.
    • The bomb kills five people and wounds 31.
  • 1999 – Pervez Musharraf takes power in Pakistan from Nawaz Sharif through a bloodless coup.
  • 1999 – The former Autonomous Soviet Republic of Abkhazia declares its independence from Georgia.
  • 2000 – The USS Cole, a US Navy destroyer is badly damaged by two suicide bombers, killing 17 crew members and wounding at least 39.

People (Births)

  • 1576 – Thomas Dudley, English-American soldier and politician, 3rd Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (d. 1653).
  • 1710 – Jonathan Trumbull, American colonel and politician, 16th Governor of Connecticut (d. 1785).
  • 1815 – William J. Hardee, American general (d. 1873).
  • 1868 – Mariano Trías, Filipino general and politician, 1st Vice President of the Philippines (d. 1914).
  • 1891 – Fumimaro Konoe, Japanese soldier and politician, 39th Prime Minister of Japan (d. 1945).
  • 1919 – Doris Miller, American chef and soldier (d. 1943).
  • 1922 – William H. Sullivan, American soldier and diplomat, United States Ambassador to the Philippines (d. 2013).
  • 1935 – Shivraj Patil, Indian lawyer and politician, Indian Minister of Defence.
  • 1955 – Ante Gotovina, Croatian general.
  • 1965 – Scott O’Grady, American captain and pilot.

People (Deaths)

  • 1565 – Jean Ribault, French-American lieutenant and navigator (b. 1520).
  • 1632 – Kutsuki Mototsuna, Japanese commander (b. 1549).
  • 1646 – François de Bassompierre, French general and courtier (b. 1579).
  • 1758 – Richard Molesworth, 3rd Viscount Molesworth, Irish field marshal and politician (b. 1680).
  • 1870 – Robert E. Lee, American general (b. 1807).
  • 1915 – Edith Cavell, English nurse (b. 1865).
    • She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested.
    • She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death.
    • Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad.
    • Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.
  • 1946 – Joseph Stilwell, American general (b. 1883).
  • 1954 – George Welch, American soldier and pilot (b. 1918).
  • 1969 – Julius Saaristo, Finnish javelin thrower and soldier (b. 1891).
  • 1987 – Alf Landon, American lieutenant and politician, 26th Governor of Kansas (b. 1887).
  • 1987 – Fahri Korutürk, Turkish commander and politician, 6th President of Turkey (b. 1903).
  • 2010 – Austin Ardill, Northern Irish soldier and politician (b. 1917).
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