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On this day in history - May 12

What Happened On This Day – May 12

  • 2008 A massive earthquake rocks China

    The magnitude 7.9 quake left some 69,000 people dead, 18,000 missing, and 4.8 million homeless. It was the deadliest earthquake in China since 1976 when the Tangshan earthquake killed over 240,000 people.

  • 1998 Violent clashes follow the killing of four protesters in Jakarta, Indonesia

    The riots eventually led to the resignation of President Suharto.

  • 1994 The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict ends

    With the signing of the Bishkek Protocol a week earlier, Armenian and Azerbaijani diplomats had formalized the ceasefire that went into effect on May 12. The conflict itself remains unsolved.

  • 1982 A Spanish priest attempts to assassinate Pope John Paul II

    Juan María Fernández y Krohn opposed the reforms initiated by the Second Vatican Council and believed that the Pope was a Communist agent. John Paul II escaped with minor injuries.

  • 1941 The world's first programmable, fully automatic computer is presented

    The Z3 was designed by German inventor, Konrad Zuse. The original machine was destroyed in an air raid. A replica can be seen at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Illustration of stork, signifying birth

Births On This Day,
May 12

  • 1946 Daniel Libeskind

    American architect, designed the Imperial War Museum North, Jewish Museum

  • 1928 Burt Bacharach

    American pianist, composer, producer

  • 1921 Joseph Beuys

    German sculptor, illustrator

  • 1907 Katharine Hepburn

    American actress, singer

  • 1820 Florence Nightingale

    Italian/English nurse

Illustration of tombstone, signifying death

Deaths On This Day,
May 12

  • 2008 Robert Rauschenberg

    American painter, illustrator

  • 2001 Perry Como

    American singer, actor

  • 1884 Bedřich Smetana

    Czech composer

  • 1860 Charles Barry

    English architect, designed the Upper Brook Street Chapel, Halifax Town Hall

  • 1003 Pope Sylvester II