It happened today – this day in history – March 12

1054: Pope Leo IX escapes captivity and returns to Rome.

1496: Jews are expelled from Syria.

1507: Death of Cesare Borgia, Duke of Valentinois, Italian aristocrat and illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, killed in battle at 31.

1609: Bermuda becomes an English colony.

1642: Abel Tasman is the first European to sight New Zealand, viewing the north-west coast of the South Island.

1664: New Jersey becomes an English colony.

1710: Birth of composer Thomas Arne in London.

1799: Austria declares war on France.

1857: Guiseppe Verdi’s opera “Simon Boccanegra” premieres in Venice.

1868: Britain annexes Basutoland (Lesotho). On the same day, Henry O’Farrell attempts to assassinate Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh.

1881: Andrew Watson makes his Scotland debut as the world’s first black international football player and captain.

1890: Birth of ballet dancer and arborphile Vaslav Nijinsky.

1916: A French airship mistakenly attacks and sinks a British submarine with the loss of all hands.

1917: A German submarine sinks an unarmed US merchant ship, the ‘Algonquin’. On the same day, President Woodrow Wilson gives an executive order to arm US merchant ships.

1922: Birth of writer Jack Kerouac.

1926: Denmark begins unilateral disarmament..

1930: Gandhi begins a 200 mile march in protest at British salt tax.

1935: Britain establishes a 30mph speed limit for towns and villages.

1938: Nazi Germany invades Austria.

1940: Finland signs the Moscow Peace Treaty, surrendering to Russia and ceding 11% of their pre-WWII territory, ending the “Winter War”.

1945: Anne Frank dies of typhus in Belsen concentration camp aged 15.

1951: Dennis The Menace first appears in The Beano comic.

1955: Jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker dies aged 34 of a heart attack in New York while watching television.

1964: Jimmy Hoffa, the president of the powerful American Teamsters union is sentenced to eight years in prison on bribery charges.

1968: The Rolling Stones start recording the song Jumpin’ Jack Flash with producer Jimmy Miller at Olympic Studios in London/

1969: Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman are married at Marylebone Register Office. On the same day, George Harrison and wife Patti are arrested at their home for possession of marijuana.


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1972: Singles chart:

  1. Without You – Nilsson
  2. American Pie – Don McLean
  3. Beg Steal Or Borrow – The New Seekers
  4. Son Of My Father – Chicory Tip
  5. Mother And Child Reunion – Paul Simon
  6. Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan
  7. Got To Be There – Michael Jackson
  8. Blue Is The Colour – Chelsea FC
  9. Meet Me On The Corner – Lindisfarne
  10. Mother Of Mine – Neil Reid
1972: Paul Simon

Album chart:

  1. Paul Simon – Paul Simon
  2. Harvest – Neil Young
  3. Fog On The Tyne – Lindisfarne
  4. Neil Reid – Neil Reid
  5. Nilsson Schmilsson – Harry Nilsson
  6. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon and Garfunkel
  7. Electric Warrior – T Rex
  8. Thick As A Brick – Jethro Tull
  9. Teaser And The Firecat – Cat Stevens
  10. Himself – Gilbert O’Sullivan

1974: Out on a drinking binge in LA with Harry Nilsson, John Lennon hurls insults at the performing Smothers Brothers and punches their manager before being ejected from The Troubadour with a Kotex sanitary towel stuck to his forehead.

1975: ABBA record the song Mamma Mia at Metronome Studio in Stockholm.

1977: Sid Vicious is at the centre of a fight at London’s Speakeasy Club with Bob Harris, presenter of BBC 2’s The Old Grey Whistle Test, resulting in one of the show’s engineers needing 14 stitches in his head. It’s the final straw for record company A&M and the decision is made to cancel the Sex Pistols’ contract.

1978: Death of actor John Cazale from cancer, aged 41.

1980: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy is convicted of killing 33 people in Chicago.

1984: Tens of thousands of Britain’s miners strike over threatened pit closures.

1989: Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee submits his first proposal for an “information management system” to his boss at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) who finds it “vague, but exciting”.

1992: Actress Annette Bening marries Warren Beatty.

1993: Bombay is rocked by 15 bomb blasts, killing more than 250 people and injuring 1,100.

1994: The Church of England ordains its first 33 women priests.

1999: Violinist Yehudi Menuhin dies aged 82.

2001: Spy novelist Robert Ludlum dies aged 73.

2002: Songwriter John “Speedy” Keene of Thunderclap Newman dies of heart failure aged 52.

2003: Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated in Belgrade.

2004: Roh Moo-hyun, President of South Korea, is impeached by its national assembly for the first time in the nation’s history.

2011: A reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant melts and explodes, releasing radioactivity into the atmosphere the day after an earthquake.

2012: Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack dies of cancer at his home in Wyoming at the age of 65.

2013: Bob Dylan is voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, marking the first time a rock musician has been chosen for the elite honour society.

2015: Author Terry Pratchett dies from Alzheimer’s Disease aged 66.

2017: Actress Amanda Seyfried marries actor Thomas Sadoski.

2019: Theresa May’s government suffers a second defeat on a Brexit deal with the EU by 391 votes to 242.

BIRTHDAYS: Liza Minnelli, actress/singer, 75; Mitt (Willard) Romney, US politician, 74; James Taylor, singer-songwriter, 73; Bill Payne, keyboards/songwriter (Little Feat) 71; Steve Harris, bassist, (Iron Maiden) 65; Marlon Jackson, singer (The Jackson 5) 64; Ian Holloway, football manager, 58; Coleen Nolan, TV presenter/singer, 56; Aaron Eckhart, actor, 53; Graham Coxon, guitarist (Blur) 52; Pete Doherty, guitarist/singer (The Libertines), 42; Jaimie Alexander, actress, 37; Danny Jones, guitar/vocals/songwriter (McFly) 35.

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