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On this day in history - April 12

What Happened On This Day – April 12

  • 1988 The Last Emperor receives nine Academy Awards

    Bernardo Bertolucci's biopic about Puyi, the last Emperor of China, was the first film to be awarded all the Oscars it was nominated for.

  • 1981 The Space Shuttle blasts off into space for the first time

    Two astronauts took off for Space Shuttle Columbia's first orbital test flight.

  • 1961 Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space

    The Soviet Cosmonaut orbited the Earth aboard the Vostok-3KA spacecraft (Vostok 1 mission). The first human spaceflight took 108 minutes from launch to landing.

  • 1937 The first aircraft jet engine is successfully tested

    Sir Frank Whittle invented and tested the engine, only a few months before German engineer Hans von Ohain ran his jet engine, which was to power the first ever all-jet aircraft.

  • 1861 The American Civil War begins

    The bombardment of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina marked the beginning of hostilities. The conflict was sparked by deepening economic, social, and political differences between the southern and northern states, which were most palpably embodied by the dispute about the legitimacy of slavery. The southern (pro-slavery) states, surrendered in 1865, ending the war.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
April 12

  • 1947 David Letterman

    American comedian, talk show host

  • 1947 Tom Clancy

    American author

  • 1940 Herbie Hancock

    American pianist, composer, bandleader

  • 1871 Ioannis Metaxas

    Greek general, politician, 130th Prime Minister of Greece

  • 1823 Alexander Ostrovsky

    Russian playwright

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
April 12

  • 1989 Sugar Ray Robinson

    American boxer

  • 1981 Joe Louis

    American boxer

  • 1975 Josephine Baker

    American/French actress, singer, dancer

  • 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt

    American politician, 32nd President of the United States

  • 1555 Joanna of Castile