#April12 : Today in History

238 – Gordian II loses the Battle of Carthage against the Numidian forces loyal to Maximinus Thrax and is killed. Gordian I, his father, commits suicide. 240 – Shapur I is crowned as king of the Sasanian Empire. 467 – Anthemius is elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. 627 – King Edwin of Northumbria is converted to Christianity by Paulinus, bishop of York. 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 authorizes 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 organization 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: The war begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor 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. 1927 – Rocksprings, Texas was hit by an F5 tornado that destroyed 235 of the 247 buildings in the town and killed 72 townspeople and injured 205; third deadliest tornado in Texas history. 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 strongest surface wind gust in the world at the time of 231 mph, is measured on the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. It has since been surpassed. 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. 1935 – First flight of the Bristol Blenheim. 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 while in office; Vice President Harry Truman, becomes President upon Roosevelt's death. 1945 – The U.S. Ninth Army under General William H. Simpson crosses the Elbe River astride Magdeburg, and reached Tangermünde—only 50 miles from Berlin. 1955 – The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective. 1961 – 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 – Samuel Doe takes control of Liberia in a coup d'état, ending over 130 years of minority Americo-Liberian rule over the country. 1980 – Terry Fox begins his "Marathon of Hope" at St. John's, Newfoundland. 1981 – The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes place - the STS-1 mission. 1990 – Jim Gary's "Twentieth Century Dinosaurs" exhibition opens at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. He is the only sculptor ever invited to present a solo exhibition there. 1992 – The Euro Disney Resort officially opens with its theme park Euro Disneyland. The resort and its park's name are subsequently changed to Disneyland Paris. 1994 – Canter & Siegel post the first commercial mass Usenet spam. 1998 – An earthquake in Slovenia, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale occurs near the town of Bovec. 1999 – US President Bill Clinton is cited for contempt of court for giving "intentionally false statements" in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit. 2002 – A suicide bomber blows herself up at the entrance to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda Market, killing seven and wounding 104. 2007 – A suicide bomber penetrates the Green Zone and detonates in a cafeteria within a parliament building, killing Iraqi MP Mohammed Awad and wounding more than twenty other people. 2009 – Zimbabwe officially abandons the Zimbabwean dollar as its official currency. 2010 – A train derails near Merano, Italy, after running into a landslide, causing nine deaths and injuring 28 people. 2013 – Two suicide bombers kill three Chadian soldiers and injure dozens of civilians at a market in Kidal, Mali. 2014 – The Great Fire of Valparaíso ravages the Chilean city of Valparaíso, killing 16, displacing nearly 10,000, and destroying over 2,000 homes.

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