Today in History – August 12

1099 – First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeated Fatimid forces led by Al-Afdal Shahanshah. This is considered the last engagement of the First Crusade.

1492 – Christopher Columbus arrived in the Canary Islands on his first voyage to the New World.

1676 – Praying Indian John Alderman shot and killed Metacomet, the Wampanoag war chief, and ended King Philip’s War.

1851 – Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1865 – Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, performed the first antiseptic surgery.

1877 – Thomas Edison invented the phonograph and made the first sound recording.

1898 – The Hawaiian flag was lowered from ʻIolani Palace in an elaborate annexation ceremony and replaced with the flag of the United States to signify the transfer of sovereignty from the Republic of Hawaii to the United States.

1914 – World War I: The United Kingdom declared war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire followed suit.

1914 – World War I: The Battle of Halen a.k.a. Battle of the Silver Helmets a clash between large Belgian and German cavalry formations at Halen, Belgium.

1944 – Waffen-SS troops massacred 560 people in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.

1944 – Nazi German troops ended the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people were killed indiscriminately or in mass executions.

1944 – Alençon was liberated by General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, the first city in France to be liberated from the Nazis by French forces.

1950 – Korean War: Bloody Gulch massacre: 75 American POWs were massacred by the North Korean Army.

1952 – The Night of the Murdered Poets: Thirteen prominent Jewish intellectuals were murdered in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union.

1953 – First thermonuclear bomb test: The Soviet atomic bomb project continued with the detonation of “RDS-6s” (Joe 4) using a “layered” scheme.

1960 – Echo 1A, NASA’s first successful communications satellite, was launched.

1960 – The Silver Beetles recruited drummer Pete Best.

1964 – South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.

1966 – John Lennon apologized at a news conference in Chicago, IL, for his remark that “the Beatles are more popular than Jesus.”

1977 – The first free flight of the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

1981 – The IBM Personal Computer was released.

1990 – Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton found to date, was discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota.

1991 – Metallica’s self-titled album was released. The album is referred to as The Black Album.

1992 – Canada, Mexico and the United States announced completion of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

1994 – Major League Baseball players went on strike and forced the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.

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