Today in History

August 12

30 BC   Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, commits suicide.
1099   At the Battle of Ascalon 1,000 Crusaders, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, route an Egyptian relief column heading for Jerusalem, which had already fallen to the Crusaders.
1791   Black slaves on the island of Santo Domingo rise up against their white masters.
1812   British commander the Duke of Wellington occupies Madrid, Spain, forcing out Joseph Bonaparte.
1863   Confederate raider William Quantrill leads a massacre of 150 men and boys in Lawrence, Kansas.
1864   After a week of heavy raiding, the Confederate cruiser Tallahassee claims six Union ships captured.
1896   Gold is discovered near Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. After word reaches the United States in June of 1897, thousands of Americans head to the Klondike to seek their fortunes.
1898   The Spanish American War officially ends after three months and 22 days of hostilities.
1908   Henry Ford‘s first Model T rolls off the assembly line.
1922   The home of Frederick Douglass in Washington, D.C. is dedicated as a memorial.
1935   President Franklin Roosevelt signs the Social Security Bill.
1941   French Marshal Henri Philippe Petain announces full French collaboration with Nazi Germany.
1961   The erection of the Berlin Wall begins, preventing access between East and West Germany.
1969   American installations at Quan-Loi, Vietnam, come under Viet Cong attack.
1972   As U.S. troops leave Vietnam, B-52′s make their largest strike of the war.
1978   The Tel al-Zaatar massacre takes place at Palestinian refuge camp during Lebanese Civil War.
1979   Massive book burnings by press censors begin in Iran.
1981   Computer giant IBM introduces its first personal computer.
1992   The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is concluded between the United States, Canada and Mexico, creating the world’s wealthiest trade bloc.
2000   Russian Navy submarine K-141 Kursk explodes and sinks with all hands during military exercises in the Barents Sea.
Born on August 12
1762   George IV, named Prince Regent in 1810 when his father, George III, is declared insane.
1774   Robert Southey, English poet laureate (1813-1843).
1781   Robert Mills, architect and engineer whose designs include the Washington Monument, the National Portrait Gallery and the U.S. Treasury Building.
1859   Katherine Bates, composer of “America the Beautiful.”
1881   Cecil B. DeMille, American film director, producer and screenwriter, famous for epic productions.
1889   Zerna Sharp, creator and co-author, with William S. Gray, of the Dick and Jane reading primer series.
1911   Cantinflas, Mexican circus clown, acrobat and actor.
1925   Norris and Ross McWhirter, wrote and updated Guinness Book of World Records, 1955–1975; following Ross’ assassination by the IRA, Norris continued writing and updating the Guinness Book until 1985.
1927   Ralph Waite, actor (The Waltons, Roots).
1927   Porter Wagoner, country singer, TV show host.
1929   Buck Owens, country singer, a leader in establishing the “Bakersfield Sound.”.
1936   Vice-Admiral John Poindexter, Security Adviser to Pres. Ronald Reagan (Dec 1985–Nov 1986); convicted on 5 felonies arising from the Iran/Contra affair, but the convictions were overturned on appeal.
1937   Walter Dean Myers, award-winning author of books for young readers (Hoops, The Scorpion).
1939   George Hamilton, Golden Globe-winning actor (Crime & Punishment, USA), producer (Love at First Bite).
1954   Pat Metheny, multiple-award winning jazz guitarist, including unprecedented 7 Grammys for 7 consecutive recordings.

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