It happened today – this day in history – August 12

30BC: Cleopatra commits suicide.

1323: The Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod (Russia) regulates the border for the first time.

1336: Edward III ends wool exports to Flanders.

1480: Ottoman troops behead 800 Christians for refusing to convert to Islam.

1492: Christopher Columbus arrives in the Canary Islands on his first voyage to the New World.

1549: French troops conquer Ambleteuse, in the Pas-de-Calais, and kill all the English prisoners.

1762: Birth of George IV in St James’s Palace, London.

1812: The Duke of Wellington’s troops enter Madrid.

1813: Robert Southey is appointed Poet Laureate by George III.

1827: Death of poet and artist William Blake aged 69.

1833: The town of Chicago is incorporated with a population of just 350.

1851: Inventor Isaac Singer patents the sewing machine.

1856: Anthony Fass patents the accordion.

1865: Joseph Lister performs the first antiseptic surgery.

1877: Thomas Edison completes his first model for the phonograph, a device that records sound onto tinfoil cylinders.

1883: The last quagga dies at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.

1898: Hawaii is formally annexed to US. On the same day, a Peace protocol ends Spanish-American War.

1904: Alexei Nicolaevich, last Tsarevich of Russia, is born in St. Petersburg.

1908: Henry Ford’s company builds the first Model T car.

1914: France and Britain declare war on Austria-Hungary.

1915: “Of Human Bondage” by William Somerset Maugham, published.

1918: The Allies defeat the Germans at the Battle of Amiens – the last great battle on the Western Front.

1928: The Olympic Games close in Amsterdam.

1930: Clarence Birdseye is granted a patent for method for quick freezing food.

1933: Cuban dictator Machado y Morales flees after a military coup.

1941: French Marshal Philippe Petain gives full support to Nazi Germany.

1942: Winston Churchill arrives in Moscow for a meeting with Joseph Stalin and US representative W. Averrell Harriman.

1945: Emperor Hirohito of Japan informs the imperial family that he has decided to surrender to the Allies.

1948: The court of justice sentences General Friedrich Christiansen, commander of the German Wehrmacht in the Netherlands, to 12 years imprisonment.

1953: Ann Davison arrives in Miami in her boat Felicity Ann, becoming the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic.

1955: Death of writer Thomas Mann aged 80.

1960: Pete Best auditions to become the drummer for The Silver Beetles and is asked to travel to Hamburg for the band’s next set of dates. Before leaving, they change their name to The Beatles.

1964: Charlie Wilson, one of the gang involved in the Great Train Robbery the year before, breaks out of Winson Green Prison in Birmingham. On the same day, James Bond author Ian Fleming dies aged 56.


1965: Dame Elizabeth Lane becomes first female English High Court judge. On the same day, a race riot breaks out on the West Side of Chicago.

1968: Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and John Bonham play together for the first time at a rehearsal studio in Gerrard Street, London. The first song they play is a version of Train Kept A-Rollin. As the song finishes they look at each other and realise they have something very special. They soon ditch the name The New Yardbirds and adopt a term Keith Moon had used when Page had told him about the band. He said it would sink like a lead zeppelin.

1969: The Royal Ulster Constabulary uses tear gas for the first time in its history after nine hours of rioting in the Bogside area of Londonderry.

1971: John Lennon and Yoko Ono donate £1,000 to the Clyde Shipbuilders Scottish Union fighting fund. The men were refusing to stop work at the Glasgow site after being made redundant. On the same day, Syrian President Hafez al Assad drops diplomatic relations with Jordan.

1972: The last American combat ground troops leave Vietnam.

1976: Fulham announce that they have signed George Best and Rodney Marsh.

1977: Guitarist Henri Padovani quits The Police. On the same day, the space shuttle Enterprise makes its first atmospheric test flight.

1981: IBM introduces its first personal computer.

1982: Actor Henry Fonda dies aged 77.

1985: A Japan Airlines jumbo jet crashes on a remote mountainside 70 miles from Tokyo. Of 524 passengers and crew, only four survive. One of the dead is musician Kyu Sakamoto, who had the British hit Sukiyaki in 1963.

1986: Singer Shelby Lynne’s father, Vernon Franklin Moorer, murders his wife in front of 17-year-old Lynne and her younger sister, Allison before taking his own life.

1988: Nelson Mandela is treated for tuberculosis.

1990: British contractor Douglas Croskery, is shot dead by Iraqi soldiers while attempting to escape in a convoy from Kuwait.

Singles chart:

  1. Turtle Power – Partners In Kryme
  2. Tom’s Diner – DNA ft Suzanne Vega
  3. Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini – Bombalurina
  4. Naked In The Rain – Blue Pearl
  5. U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer
  6. Tonight – New Kids On The Block
  7. I’m Free – Soup Dragons ft Junior Reid
  8. Hanky Panky – Madonna
  9. Listen To Your Heart – Roxette
  10. Thieves In The Temple – Prince
1990: Phil Collins – …But Seriously

Album chart:

  1. Sleeping With The Past – Elton John
  2. The Essential Pavarotti – Luciano Pavarotti
  3. Step By Step – New Kids On The Block
  4. I’m Breathless – Madonna
  5. …But Seriously – Phil Collins
  6. Summer Dreams – The Beach Boys
  7. Lovegod – Soup Dragons
  8. Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em – MC Hammer
  9. Hot Rocks 1964-1971 – The Rolling Stones
  10. Craig McLachlan and Check 1-2 – Craig McLachlan

1992: Composer John Cage dies from a stroke aged 79.

1993: Pope John Paul II begins a visit to the US.

1996: Arsenal sack manager Bruce Rioch.

1997: Blues guitarist Luther Allison dies of cancer age 57.

2000: The submarine K-141 Kursk of the Russian Navy explodes and sinks in the Barents Sea during a military exercise with the loss of all on board. On the same day, actress Loretta Young dies aged 87.

2003: BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan admits to the Hutton Inquiry that his language “wasn’t perfect” in his report that the government “sexed up” a weapons dossier on Iraq.

2005: Sri Lanka’s foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, is shot by a Tamil Tigers sniper at his home.

2009: Legendary guitarist Les Paul dies aged 94.

2010: Richie Hayward, drummer of Little Feat, dies aged 64 after contracting pneumonia while battling liver cancer.

2012: The London 2012 Olympics ends with a spectacular musical closing ceremony featuring The Spice Girls, The Who, Take That and Ray Davies.

2014: Actress Lauren Bacall dies aged 89.

2015: In London archaeologists discover a mass grave of 30 bodies from the 1665 plague.

2016: Cannes becomes first French resort to ban the burkini.

2017: Usain Bolt injures himself in his very last race – the men’s 4x100m relay as Jamaica misses out on gold at the world championships.

2019: Hong Kong International Airport cancels all departures as thousands of anti-government protesters occupy the terminals.

BIRTHDAYS: George Hamilton, actor, 82; Craig Douglas (Terence Perkins) singer, 80; Mark Knopfler, guitarist/songwriter/singer (Dire Straits) 72; Ron Mael, keyboards/songwriter (Sparks) 71; Kid Creole (Thomas August Darnell Browder), singer, 71; François Hollande, former president of France, 67; Pat Metheny, guitarist, 67; Roy Hay guitarist/songwriter (Culture Club) 60; Bragi Olaffson, bassist, (The Sugarcubes) 59; Peter Krause, actor, 56; Les Ferdinand, footballer, 55; Tanita Tikaram, singer-songwriter, 52; Pete (Petros) Sampras, tennis legend, 50; Casey Afleck, actor/director, 46; Djibril Cissé, footballer, 40; Tyson Fury, boxer, 33; Mario Balotelli, footballer, 31; Cara Delevingne, model, actress, 29.