It happened today – this day in history – February 12

1502: Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon on his second voyage to India.

1554: Queen of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is executed for treason.

1762: The British fleet occupies the island of Martinique.

1771: Gustav III becomes King of Sweden after the death of predecessor Adolf Frederick.

1804: Death of philosopher Immanuel Kant aged 79.

1809: Birth of Abraham Lincoln in Kentucky. On the same day, Charles Darwin is born in Shrewsbury.

1818: Chile gains independence from Spain.

1832: Ecuador annexes the Galapagos Islands.

1886: The second British government of Lord Salisbury forms.

1912: The last Qing Emperor of China, Puyi, abdicates after losing the support of the Chinese people.

1915: Kaiser Wilhelm approves the strategic bombing of London’s docks.

1921: Winston Churchill becomes British Minister of Colonies. On the same day, Soviet troops invade Georgia.

1924: George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” premieres at a concert called Experiment in Modern Music in New York.

1927: British expeditionary army lands in Shanghai.

1932: Sonja Henie of Norway wins her second of three consecutive Olympic gold medals in women’s figure skating at the Lake Placid Winter Games.

1935: The airship USS Macon crashes into the Pacific Ocean. On the same day, the first secret demonstration of radio signals detecting aircraft is carried out by Robert Watson-Watt.

1938: German troops enter Austria. On the same day, the first ‘Kindertransport’ carrying Jewish refugee children from Nazi Germany arrives in Britain.

1947: Fashion designer Christian Dior presents his first influential collection, named the “New Look”.

1950: Albert Einstein warns against the hydrogen bomb.

1954: The UK government establishes an organisation to control atomic energy in the country under The Atomic Energy Authority Bill.


1964: 21 people die in fighting between ethnic Turks and Greeks on Cyprus.

1967: Police officers raid Redlands, the West Sussex home of Keith Richards with a warrant issued under the dangerous drugs act. Richards, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull are arrested.

1988: The US Navy frigate USS Yorktown is bumped by Russian frigate Bezzavetny in the Black Sea in dispute over the right of innocent passage.

1989: Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries at his home in north Belfast in front of his wife and three children. On the same day, Aretha Franklin lost a court case against Broadway producer Ashton Springer, who sued for $1 million when the singer failed to turn up for rehearsals for the stage show Sing Mahalia Sing, blaming her fear of flying.

Singles chart:

  1. Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart – Marc Almond ft Gene Pitney
  2. Belfast Child – Simple Minds
  3. Love Changes Everything – Michael Ball
  4. The Living Years – Mike and the Mechanics
  5. Love Train – Holly Johnson
  6. My Perogative – Bobby Brown
  7. You Got It – Roy Orbison
  8. Last Of The Famous International Playboys – Morrissey
  9. Fine Time – Yazz
  10. Wait – Robert Howard and Kym Mazelle
1989: Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw & The Cooked

Album chart:

  1. The Raw & The Cooked – Fine Young Cannibals
  2. Mystery Girl – Roy Orbison
  3. Anything For You – Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
  4. Technique – New Order
  5. Spike – Elvis Costello
  6. The Legendary Roy Orbison – Roy Orbison
  7. The Living Years – Mike and the Mechanics
  8. Wanted – Yazz
  9. Ancient Heart – Tanita Tikaram
  10. The Innocents – Erasure

1993: Two year-old James Bulger is abducted, tortured and beaten to death by two 10 year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

1994: The Winter Olympic Games opens in Lillehammer, Norway. On the same day, The Scream by Edvard Munch is stolen in Oslo.

1999: President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial.

2000: Singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins dies aged 70 after emergency surgery for an aneurysm.

2002: The trial of former President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic begins at the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

2010: The Winter Olympic Games open in Vancouver, Canada.

2012: Zambia defeat Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties in the Africa Cup of Nations.

2014: Former New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin is found guilty on corruption charges and sentenced to ten years in prison.

2015: Singer Steve Strange, (Harrington) of Eighties pop band Visage, died aged 55 following a heart attack in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

2017: Adele wins five Grammys. On the same day, singer Al Jarreau dies of respiratory failure at the age of 76, just two days after announcing his retirement.

2018: Oxfam’s deputy director resigns over the charity’s failure to deal with sexual misconduct allegations in Haiti and Chad.

2019: The trial of 12 Catalonia independence leaders begins in Madrid. On the same day, England World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies aged 81.

BIRTHDAYS: Steve Hackett, guitarist (Genesis) 71; Michael McDonald, singer-songwriter, (Doobie Brothers) 69; Brian Roberton, guitarist (Thin Lizzy) 65; Omar Hakim, drummer (Weather Report) 62; Gary Whelan, drummer (Happy Mondays) 55; Josh Brolin, actor, 53; Darren Aronofsky, director, 52; Jim Creeggan, bassist (Barenaked Ladies) 51; Gethin Jones, TV presenter, 43; Christina Ricci, actress, 41; Lisa Hannigan, singer-songwriter, 40.