May 12th in History

This day in historyMay 12 is the 132nd day of the year (133rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 233 days remaining until the end of the year.



In 254,  Pope Stephen I succeeds Pope Lucius I as the 23rd pope.

In 304,  Roman Emperor Diocletian orders the beheading of the 14-year-old Pancras of Rome.

In 907,  Zhu Wen forces Emperor Ai into abdicating, ending the Tang Dynasty after nearly three hundred years of rule.

In 922,  After much hardship, Abbasid envoy Ahmad ibn Fadlan arrived in the lands of Volga Bulgars.

In 1191,  Richard I of England marries Berengaria of Navarre who is crowned Queen consort of England the same day.

In 1328,  Antipope Nicholas V, a claimant to the papacy, is consecrated in Rome by the Bishop of Venice.

In 1364,  Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland, is founded in Kraków, Poland.

In 1510,  The Prince of Anhua rebellion begins when Zhu Zhifan kills all the officials invited to a banquet and declares his intent on ousting the powerful Ming Dynasty eunuch Liu Jin during the reign of the Zhengde Emperor.

In 1551,  National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, is founded in Lima, Peru.

In 1588,  French Wars of Religion: Henry III of France flees Paris after Henry of Guise enters the city and a spontaneous uprising occurs.

George Chapman.jpgIn 1634,  George Chapman, English poet and playwright (b. 1559) dies. He was an English dramatist, translator, and poet. He was a classical scholar whose work shows the influence of Stoicism. Chapman has been identified as the Rival Poet of Shakespeare‘s sonnets by William Minto, and as an anticipator of the Metaphysical Poets of the 17th century. Chapman is best remembered for his translations of Homer‘s Iliad and Odyssey, and the Homeric Batrachomyomachia.

In 1689,  King William’s War: William III of England joins the League of Augsburg starting a war with France.

In 1743,  Maria Theresa of Austria is crowned Queen of Bohemia after defeating her rival, Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor.

In 1780,  American Revolutionary War: In the largest defeat of the Continental Army, Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces.

In 1797,  First Coalition: Napoleon I of France conquers Venice.

In 1821,  The first major battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks is fought in Valtetsi.

In 1862,  U.S. federal troops occupy Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

In 1863,  American Civil War: Battle of Raymond: two divisions of James B. McPherson‘s XVII Corps (ACW) turn the left wing of Confederate General John C. Pemberton‘s defensive line on Fourteen Mile Creek, opening up the interior of Mississippi to the Union Army during the Vicksburg Campaign.

In 1864,  American Civil War: the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers die in “the Bloody Angle”.

General "Jeb" Stuart, Confederate States of America, 1863, 1961 - 1986 - NARA - 518135.tifIn 1864,  J.E.B. Stuart, American general (b. 1833) dies. He was a United States Army officer from the U.S. state of Virginia who later became a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. He was known to his friends as “Jeb”, from the initials of his given names. Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use of cavalry in support of offensive operations. While he cultivated a cavalier image (red-lined gray cape, yellow sash, hat cocked to the side with an ostrich plume, red flower in his lapel, often sporting cologne), his serious work made him the trusted eyes and ears of Robert E. Lee‘s army and inspired Southern morale. Stuart graduated from West Point in 1854 and served in Texas and Kansas with the U.S. Army, a veteran of the frontier conflicts with Native Americans and the violence of Bleeding Kansas. He participated in the capture of John Brown at Harpers Ferry. Resigning when his home state of Virginia seceded, he served first under Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, but then in increasingly important cavalry commands of the Army of Northern Virginia, playing a role in all of that army’s campaigns until his death. He established a reputation as an audacious cavalry commander and on two occasions (during the Peninsula Campaign and the Maryland Campaign) circumnavigated the Union Army of the Potomac, bringing fame to himself and embarrassment to the North. At the Battle of Chancellorsville, he distinguished himself as a temporary commander of the wounded Stonewall Jackson’s infantry corps. Arguably Stuart’s most famous campaign, Gettysburg, was marred when he was surprised by a Union cavalry attack at the Battle of Brandy Station and by his separation from Lee’s army for an extended period, leaving Lee unaware of Union troop movements and arguably contributing to the Confederate defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg. Stuart received significant criticism from the Southern press as well as the postbellum proponents of the Lost Cause movement, but historians have failed to agree on whether Stuart’s exploit was entirely the fault of his judgment or simply bad luck and Lee’s less-than-explicit orders. During the 1864 Overland Campaign, Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan‘s cavalry launched an offensive to defeat Stuart, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. His widowed wife wore black for the rest of her life in remembrance of her deceased husband.

In 1865,  American Civil War: the Battle of Palmito Ranch: the first day of the last major land action to take place during the Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory.

In 1870,  The Manitoba Act is given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.

In 1873,  Coronation of Oscar II of Sweden

In 1881,  In North Africa, Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.

In 1885,  North-West Rebellion: the four-day Battle of Batoche, pitting rebel Métis against the Canadian government, comes to an end with a decisive rebel defeat.

In 1926,  UK General Strike 1926: In the United Kingdom, a nine-day general strike by trade unions ends.

In 1926,  The Italian-built airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole.

In 1932,  Ten weeks after his abduction, the infant son of Charles Lindbergh, Charles Jr., is found dead in Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.

In 1933,  The Agricultural Adjustment Act is enacted to restrict agricultural production by paying farmers subsidies.

In 1935,  Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (founders of Alcoholics Anonymous) meet for the first time in Akron, Ohio, at the home of Henrietta Siberling.

In 1937,  The Duke and Duchess of York are crowned as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey.

In 1941,  Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.

In 1942,  World War II: Second Battle of Kharkov: in eastern Ukraine, Red Army forces under Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launch a major offensive from the Izium bridgehead, only to be encircled and destroyed by the troops of Army Group South two weeks later.

In 1942,  World War II: The U.S. tanker Virginia was torpedoed in the mouth of the Mississippi River by the German U-Boat U-507.

In 1942,  The Holocaust: 1,500 Jews are sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz.

File:Maxbrand 001.JPGIn 1944,  Max Brand, American author (b. 1892) died by shrapnel wound while traveling with American soldiers fighting in Italy. His real name was Frederick Schiller Faust and he was an American author known primarily for his thoughtful and literary Westerns under the pen name Max Brand. His other pseudonyms include George Owen Baxter, Evan Evans, George Evans, David Manning, John Frederick, Peter Morland, George Challis, and Frederick Frost. Faust was born in Seattle to Gilbert Leander Faust and Louisa Elizabeth (Uriel) Faust, both of whom died when Faust was still a boy. He grew up in central California, and later worked as a cowhand on one of the many ranches of the San Joaquin Valley. Faust attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he began to write for student publications, poetry magazines, and newspapers. Failing to graduate, Faust joined the Canadian Army in 1915, but deserted the next year and moved to New York City. During the 1910s, Faust sold stories to the pulp magazines of Frank Munsey, including All-Story Weekly and Argosy Magazine. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Faust tried to enlist but was rejected. He married Dorothy Schillig in 1917, and the couple had three children. In the 1920s, Faust wrote extensively for pulp magazines, especially Street & Smith’s Western Story Magazine, a weekly for which he would write over a million words a year under various pen names, often seeing two serials and a short novel published in a single issue. In 1921, he suffered a severe heart attack, and for the rest of his life suffered from chronic heart disease. His love for mythology was a constant source of inspiration for his fiction, and it has been speculated that these classical influences accounted in some part for his success as a popular writer. Many of his stories would later inspire films. He created the Western character Destry, featured in several cinematic versions of Destry Rides Again, and his character Dr. Kildare was adapted to motion pictures, radio, television, and comic books.

In 1945,  Argentinian labour leader José Peter declares the Federación Obrera de la Industria de la Carne dissolved.

In 1948,  Wilhelmina, Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands cedes throne.

In 1949,  The Soviet Union lifts its blockade of Berlin.

In 1949,  The western occupying powers approve the Basic Law for the new German state: the Federal Republic of Germany.

In 1952,  Gaj Singh is crowned Maharaja of Jodhpur.

In 1955,  Nineteen days after bus workers went on strike in Singapore, rioting breaks out and seriously impacts Singapore’s bid for independence.

In 1955,  Austria regains its independence as the Allied occupation following World War II ends.

In 1958,  A formal North American Aerospace Defense Command agreement is signed between the United States and Canada.

In 1965,  The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashes on the Moon.

In 1968,  Vietnam War: North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces attack Australian troops defending Fire Support Base Coral, east of Lai Khe in South Vietnam on the night of 12/13 May, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides and beginning the Battle of Coral–Balmoral.

In 1975,  Mayagüez incident: the Cambodian navy seizes the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez in international waters.

In 1978,  In Zaire, rebels occupy the city of Kolwezi, the mining center of the province of Shaba (now known as Katanga). The local government asks the U.S.A., France and Belgium to restore order.

In 1981,  Francis Hughes starves to death in the Maze Prison in a Republican campaign for political prisoner status to be granted to Provisional IRA prisoners.

In 1982,  During a procession outside the shrine of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, security guards overpower Juan María Fernández y Krohn before he can attack Pope John Paul II with a bayonet. Krohn, an ultraconservative Spanish priest opposed to the Vatican II reforms, believed that the Pope had to be killed for being an “agent of Moscow“.

In 1986,  NBC debuts the current well-known peacock as seen in the NBC 60th Anniversary Celebration.

In 1989,  The San Bernardino train disaster kills four people. A week later an underground gasoline pipeline explodes killing two more people.

In 1998,  Four students are shot at Trisakti University, leading to widespread riots and the fall of Suharto

In 2002,  Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.

In 2003,  The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26 people.

In 2006,  Mass unrest by the Primeiro Comando da Capital begins in São Paulo (Brazil), leaving at least 150 dead.

In 2006,  Iranian Azeris interpret a cartoon published in an Iranian magazine as insulting, resulting in massive riots throughout the country.

In 2007,  Riots in which over 50 people are killed and over 100 are injured take place in Karachi upon the arrival in town of the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

In 2008,  An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.

In 2008,  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts the largest-ever raid of a workplace in Postville, Iowa, arresting nearly 400 immigrants for identity theft and document fraud.

In 2008,  At 4:45 p.m., the House and Senate meet jointly to hear Governor Bredesen’s budget plans for this year.  The Funding Board estimates that the state faces a budget shortfall of as much as $385 million this fiscal year, and possibly $585 million next year. The governor had indicated the shortfall will be addressed by a five percent reduction in the state’s work force, no new pre-kindergarten classrooms, and a diversion of the cigarette tax increase from the school funding formula.  Lawmakers, realizing that many local governments are also facing budget challenges, have inquired about state-shared taxes. Finance Commissioner David Goetz recently advised the House Finance Ways and Means Committee that state-shared taxes were “off the table” as a solution to the state’s budget crisis.

In 2008, Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia entered the race for president of The United States — as a Libertarian. His candidacy was a wild card in the White House race, with some watchers claimed his candidacy would hurt presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Barr, who held a news conference that day to discuss his bid, he latter won the Libertarian nomination at the party’s national convention that began May 22. Barr quit the Republican Party in 2006, saying he had grown disillusioned with its failure to shrink government and its willingness to scale back civil liberties in fighting terrorism.

In 2015,  A train derailment in Philadelphia kills 8 people and injures over 200.

In 2015,  A 7.3-magnitude earthquake and six major aftershocks hit Nepal, killing over 200 people.


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