It happened today – this day in history – March 12

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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 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 the Belsen concentration camp at 15.

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

1955: Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker dies of a heart attack aged 34.

1968: The Rolling Stones start recording “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” with new producer Jimmy Miller at Olympic studios, London. On the same day, Mauritius gains independence from Britain.

1969: The Temptations became the first Motown act to win a Grammy for “Cloud Nine” as Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance. On the same day, Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman at Marylebone Register Office.

1974: Out on a drinking binge at the Troubadour in LA, with Harry Nilsson, John Lennon hurled insults at the performing Smothers Brothers and punched their manager before being forcibly removed.

1977: The Sex Pistols were involved in 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. Two days later Harris’s solicitors contact Derek Green at A&M the band’s record label. Harris’s management also managed Peter Frampton, one of the label’s top acts. Green discussed the matter with the company’s two founders, Jerry Moss and Herb Alpert and the decision is made to cancel the 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.

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 married Warren Beatty.

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

1999: The the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland join NATO. On the same day, violinist Yehudi Menuhin died aged 82.

2001: Spy novelist Robert Ludlum dies aged 73.

2002: Songwriter John “Speedy” Keene 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.

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

2017: Actress Amanda Seyfried marries Thomas Sadoski.

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

BIRTHDAYS: Gudrun Ure, actress, 94; Barbara Feldon, actress, 87; Liza Minnelli, performer, 74; James Taylor, singer/songwriter, 72; Bill Payne, keyboards (Little Feat) 71; David Mellor, former politician, 71; Steve Harris, bassist (Iron Maiden) 64; Marlon Jackson, singer (The Jackson 5) 63; Ian Holloway, football manager, 57; Coleen Nolan, TV personality, 55; Aaron Eckhart, actor, 52; Graham Coxon, guitarist (Blur) 51; Pete Doherty, singer//guitarist (The Libertines) 41; Jaimie Alexander, actress, 36; Danny Jones, singer/guitarist (McFly) 34.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]