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.
Births On This Day – April 12
1947 David Letterman
American comedian, talk show host
1947 Tom Clancy
1940 Herbie Hancock
American pianist, composer, bandleader
1871 Ioannis Metaxas
Greek general, politician, 130th Prime Minister of Greece
1823 Alexander Ostrovsky
Deaths On This Day – April 12
1989 Sugar Ray Robinson
1981 Joe Louis
1975 Josephine Baker
American/French actress, singer, dancer
1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
American politician, 32nd President of the United States
1555 Joanna of Castile