April 12 – Some important events on this day
467 👉🏼 Anthemius is elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire
1204 👉🏼 4th Crusade occupies and plunders Constantinople
1606 👉🏼 England adopts the Union Flag, replaced in 1801 by current Union Flag the Union Jack 🏴
1782 👉🏼 Battle at Les Saintes: British fleet under Admiral George Rodney defeats the French fleet under Comte de Grasse off Dominica in the West Indies. Prevents a planned French and Spanish invasion of Jamaica.
With a long-standing historical rivalry against the British it was only natural that the French would join the side of the Americans during the American Revolutionary War. They would, of course, experience their own egalitarian revolutionary upheavals only a few years later.
To aid the cause the French had planned to invade the highly profitable British colony of Jamaica, which was itself more profitable than the Thirteen Colonies in revolt. The French Navy also planned to defeat the British squadron at New York and capture the Windward Islands.
These plans were destroyed by the British destruction of the French fleet at the Battle of the Saintes, near the West Indies. During the battle the British navy “broke through” the French line, throwing them into chaos and causing a rout. French commander Comte De Grasse was captured by Admiral George Rodney but was released to France in 1784, where he demanded a court-martial that acquitted him of responsibility for France’s loss.
In total the British lost nearly 300 men, and France a number around 2-3,000.
1811 👉🏼 1st US colonists on Pacific coast arrive at Cape Disappointment, Washington
1861 👉🏼 Fort Sumter in South Carolina is attacked by the Confederacy, beginning the American Civil War, that raged from 1861 to 1865, killing between 600,000 to 1 million Americans on both sides of the divide. After a long and intense crisis over slavery, Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, and the Confederate States seceded shortly after.
The first battle of the war took place at Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina, which had been the first state to seceded the union. After a long period of shortages in the fort due to a Confederate blockade, the first crisis of Lincoln’s administration was to resupply the fort. After an ultimatum from the South to evacuate the fort was ignored, Confederate forces attacked on April 12, 1861, beginning the civil war.
1872 👉🏼 Outlaw Jesse James’ gang robs bank in Columbia, Kentucky (1 dead/$1,500) 💵
1911 👉🏼 1st non-stop London-Paris flight (in 3h56m) ✈️
1927 👉🏼 Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek begins counter revolution in Shanghai.
A dominant figure in Chinese politics, Chiang Kai-shek was the Leader of the Republic of China and Taiwan.
Rising through the military, Chiang became head of the Chinese Nationalist party (Kuomintang) in 1925 after the death of Sun Yat-sen. In 1926 Chiang led the Northern Expedition reuniting much of China by 1928 and heading up a nationalist government at Nanking.
Chiang fought internal battles against the communists before Japan invaded China during the Sino-Japanese War. After Japan’s defeat in WWII civil war Chiang led a civil war against the communists.
By 1949 Chiang had been pushed out of China to Taiwan where he continued to rule at the head of a Nationalist government until his death in 1975.
1937 👉🏼 Sir Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft at Rugby, England.
1945 👉🏼 US President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office and Vice President Harry Truman is sworn in as 33rd US President.
On this day, painter Elizabeth Shoumatoff began work on a portrait of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt while he was in Warm Springs, Georgia. She began her work at about noon. While Roosevelt was being served lunch during the session, he complained of having a “terrific pain in the back of my head”. He slumped forward, unconscious, and was taken to his room where he later died. He had had a cerebral hemorrhage
Shoumatoff never completed the painting. Roosevelt’s death shocked the world, especially as the Allies were mere weeks away from victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
1955 👉🏼 Polio vaccine tested by Dr Jonas Salk announced to be ‘safe and effective’ 💉
1961 👉🏼 Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first person to orbit Earth (Vostok 1) 🚀
1988 👉🏼 Harvard University patents a genetically engineered mouse (1st for animal life)
1992 👉🏼 Euro Disney (Disneyland Paris) opens in Marne-la-Vallee, France 🇫🇷