November 12th in History

This day in historyNovember 12 is the 316th day of the year (317th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 49 days remaining until the end of the year.


Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, celebration started at sunset the day before. (Bahá’í Faith)

Birth of Sun Yat-Sen, also Doctors’ Day and Cultural Renaissance Day. (Republic of China)

Christian Feast Day:

Constitution Day (Azerbaijan)


In 954,  The 13-year-old Lothair III is crowned at the Abbey of Saint-Remi as king of the West Frankish Kingdom.

In 1028,  Future Byzantine empress Zoe takes the throne as empress consort to Romanus Argyrus.

In 1330,  Battle of Posada, Wallachian Voievode Basarab I defeats the Hungarian army in an ambush

In 1439,  Plymouth, England, becomes the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.

In 1555,  The English Parliament re-establishes Catholicism.

In 1595,  John Hawkins, English admiral and shipbuilder (b. 1532) dies at sea. He was an English naval commander and administrator, merchant, navigator, shipbuilder, privateer and slave trader. His brother was Sir Riccio. He was considered the first English trader to profit from the Triangle Trade, based on selling supplies to colonies ill-supplied by their home countries, and their demand for African slaves in the Spanish colonies of Santo Domingo and Venezuela in the late 16th century. He styled himself “Captain General” as the General of both his own flotilla of ships and those of the English Royal Navy and to distinguish himself from those Admirals that served only in the administrative sense and were not military in nature. His death and that of his cousin and mentee, Sir Francis Drake, heralded the decline of the Royal Navy for decades before its recovery and eventual dominance again helped by the propaganda of the Navy’s glory days under his leadership.

As treasurer (1577) and controller (1589) of the Royal Navy, Hawkins rebuilt older ships and helped design the faster ships that withstood the Spanish Armada in 1588. One of the foremost seamen of 16th-century England, Hawkins was the chief architect of the Elizabethan navy. In the battle in which the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, Hawkins served as a vice admiral. He was knighted for gallantry. He later devised the naval blockade to intercept Spanish treasure ships leaving Mexico and South America.

In 1602,  Sebastian Viscaino lands at and names San Diego, California.

In 1793,  Jean Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor of Paris, is guillotined.


Sun Yat-sen

In 1866,  Birth of Sun Yat-sen, Chinese revolutionary and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (d. 1925) Sun is considered one of the greatest leaders of modern China, his political life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile. After the success of the revolution, he quickly fell out of power in the newly founded Republic of China, and led successive revolutionary governments as a challenge to the warlords who controlled much of the nation. Sun did not live to see his party consolidate its power over the country during the Northern Expedition. His party, which formed a fragile alliance with the Communists, split into two factions after his death. Sun’s chief legacy resides in his developing of the political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People: nationalism, democracy, and the people’s livelihood.

In 1881, Birth of  Maximilian von Weichs, German field marshal (d. 1954)

In 1892,  William “Pudge” Heffelfinger becomes the first professional American football player on record, participating in his first paid game for the Allegheny Athletic Association.

In 1893,  The treaty of the Durand Line is signed between present day Pakistan and Afghanistan; the Durand Line has gained international recognition as an international border between the two nations.

In 1905,  Norway holds a referendum in favor of monarchy over republic.

In 1912,  The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

In 1918,  Austria becomes a republic.

In 1920,  Italy and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes sign the Treaty of Rapallo.

In 1927,  Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.

In 1928,  SS Vestris sinks approximately 200 miles (320 km) off Hampton Roads, Virginia, killing at least 110 passengers, mostly women and children who die after the vessel is abandoned.

In 1933,  Hugh Gray takes the first known photos of the Loch Ness Monster.

In 1936,  In California, the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.

In 1940,  World War II: The Battle of Gabon ends as Free French Forces take Libreville, Gabon, and all of French Equatorial Africa from Vichy France forces.

In 1940,  World War II: Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov arrives in Berlin to discuss the possibility of the Soviet Union joining the Axis Powers.

In 1941,  World War II: temperatures around Moscow drop to -12° C as the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.

In 1941  World War II: The Soviet cruiser Chervona Ukraina is destroyed during the Battle of Sevastopol.

In 1942,  World War II: The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal between Japanese and American forces begins near Guadalcanal. The battle lasts for three days and ends with an American victory.

A painting of Tirpitz's wreck in June 1945

A painting of Tirpitz’s wreck in June 1945

In 1944,  World War II: The Royal Air Force launches 29 Avro Lancaster bombers and sinks the German battleship Tirpitz, with 12,000 lb Tallboy bombs off Tromsø, Norway. On 12 November 1944, 29 Royal Air Force heavy bombers targeted the battleship at an anchorage near the Norwegian city of Tromsø. The ship capsized after being struck by at least two bombs and damaged by the explosions of others, killing between 940 and 1,204 members of the crew. Rescuers picked up hundreds of her crew from the water, but few of those trapped within the hull were saved. The British bombers were unmolested by a unit of German fighter aircraft stationed near Tromsø, and only one was significantly damaged by anti-aircraft artillery. The attack marked the end of a long-running series of air and naval operations against Tirpitz. The battleship’s destruction was celebrated in Allied countries, as well as by Norwegian civilians, and is commemorated by several memorials and displays in museums.

In 1948,  In Tokyo, an international war crimes tribunal sentences seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.

In 1956,  Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia join the United Nations.

In 1956,  In the midst of the Suez Crisis, Palestinian refugees are shot dead in the village of Rafah by Israeli soldiers following the invasion of the Gaza Strip.

In 1958,  A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

In 1968,  Equatorial Guinea joins the United Nations.

In 1969,  Vietnam War: My Lai Massacre – Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the My Lai story.

In 1970,  The Oregon Highway Division attempts to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.

In 1970,  The 1970 Bhola cyclone makes landfall on the coast of East Pakistan becoming the deadliest tropical cyclone in history.

In 1971,  Vietnam War: as part of Vietnamization, US President Richard M. Nixon sets February 1, 1972 as the deadline for the removal of another 45,000 American troops from Vietnam.

In 1975,  The Comoros joins the United Nations.

In 1978,  Pope John Paul II takes possession of his Cathedral Church, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, as the Bishop of Rome.

In 1979,  Iran hostage crisis: in response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.

In 1980,  The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.

In 1981,  Space Shuttle program: mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marks the first time a manned spacecraft is launched into space twice.

Holden-portrait.jpgIn 1981,  William Holden, American actor (b. 1918) dies after a fall at his home. He was an American actor who was one of the biggest box office draws of the 1950s through the 1970s. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1953 for his role in Stalag 17, and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role in the 1973 television film The Blue Knight.

Holden starred in some of Hollywood’s most popular and critically acclaimed films, including such blockbusters as Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch, Picnic, The Towering Inferno, and Network. He was named one of the “Top 10 Stars of the Year” six times (1954–1958, 1961), and appeared as 25th on the American Film Institute‘s list of 25 greatest male stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema.

In 1982,  In the Soviet Union, Yuri Andropov becomes the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party‘s Central Committee, succeeding Leonid I. Brezhnev.

In 1990,  Crown Prince Akihito is formally installed as Emperor Akihito of Japan, becoming the 125th Japanese monarch.

In 1990,  Tim Berners-Lee publishes a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.

In 1991,  Dili Massacre: Indonesian forces open fire on a crowd of student protesters in Dili, East Timor.

In 1993,  The first Ultimate Fighting Championship event, UFC 1, is held in Denver, Colorado.

In 1996,  A Saudi Arabian Airlines Boeing 747 and a Kazakh Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane collide in mid-air near New Delhi, killing 349. The deadliest mid-air collision to date.

In 1997,  Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

In 1999,  The Düzce earthquake strikes Turkey with a magnitude of 7.2 on the Richter scale.

In 2001,  In New York City, American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic, crashes minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on board and five on the ground.

In 2001,  Attack on Afghanistan: Taliban forces abandon Kabul, Afghanistan, ahead of advancing Afghan Northern Alliance troops.

In 2003,  Iraq war: in Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, are killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.

In 2003  Shanghai Transrapid sets a new world speed record (501 kilometres per hour (311 mph)) for commercial railway systems, which remains the fastest for unmodified commercial rail vehicles.

In 2004, Mughal-e-Azam (The Emperor of the Mughals) is a 1960 Indian epic historical drama film directed by K. Asif and produced by Shapoorji Pallonji, re-released in colour on 12 November 2004. Starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, and Durga Khote, it follows the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim (who went on to become Emperor Jahangir) and Anarkali, a court dancer. Salim’s father, Emperor Akbar, disapproves, and war ensues. Sixteen years in development, the film cost more to produce than any previous Indian motion picture, and had the widest release. The soundtrack, inspired by Indian classical and folk music, is often cited as one of the finest soundtracks in Bollywood cinematic history. It became the highest-grossing Bollywood film at the time, and won one National Film Award and three Filmfare Awards. Mughal-e-Azam was the first black-and-white Hindi film to be digitally coloured and re-released theatrically. Considered a milestone of its genre, it earned praise from critics for its grandeur and attention to detail. Film scholars have welcomed its portrayal of enduring themes, but question its historical accuracy

In 2011,  Silvio Berlusconi tenders his resignation as Prime Minister of Italy, effective November 16, due in large part to the European sovereign debt crisis.

In 2014,  The Philae lander, deployed from the European Space Agency‘s Rosetta probe, reaches the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

In 2015, Ted Cruz called for the elimination of the Department of Energy, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Commerce, Department of Education, and the IRS.

In 2015,  Two suicide bombers detonated explosives in Bourj el-BarajnehBeirut, killing 43 people and injuring over 200 others.

In 2017,  The 7.3 Mw Kermanshah earthquake shakes the northern IranIraq border with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). At least 410 people were killed and over 7,000 were injured.

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