This Day in History — March 12

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Today is the 71st day of 2019. There are 294 days left in the year.


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



641 AD: Chinese Princess Wen Cheng goes to Tibet to marry the Tibetan ruler. The marriage is the basis for China’s claim to sovereignty over the region.

1470: In the War of the Roses, English King Edward IV defeats rebels at Empingham.

1664: New Jersey becomes a British colony as King Charles II grants land in the New World to his brother James, the Duke of York.

1799: Austria declares war on France.

1832: Captain Charles Boycott, the Irish estate manager who caused boycotts, was born. He earned a reputation for unfairness that drove peasant tenant-farmers in his charge to organise against him in an 1879 act of civil disobedience. Hence the derivation of the word ‘boycott’.

1848: Revolution breaks out in Vienna with university demonstrations.

1854: Britain and France conclude alliance with Turks against Russia.

1867: Napoleon III withdraws French support from Maximillian of Mexico.

1868: Britain annexes Basutoland, South Africa.

1930: Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas K Gandhi begins a 320-kilometre (200-mile) march to protest a British tax on salt.

1933: US President Franklin Roosevelt delivers the first of his radio “fireside chats”, telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

1938: The “Anschluss” takes place as German troops enter Austria, completing Adolf Hitler’s mission to bring his homeland into the Third Reich.

1939: Pope Pius XII is formally crowned in ceremonies at the Vatican.

1940: Finland and the Soviet Union conclude an armistice during World War II. Fighting between the two countries flares again the following year.

1947: US President Harry Truman establishes what became known as the Truman Doctrine to help Greece and Turkey resist communism.

1966: General Suharto is sworn in as acting president of Indonesia after President Sukarno is stripped of authority.

1968: Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, a British colony, proclaims its independence.

1972: Britain and China agree to exchange ambassadors, 22 years after London first recognised the Peking Government.

1980: A Chicago jury finds John Wayne Gacy Jr guilty of murdering 33 men and boys. He is executed in 1994.

1984: The British ice dancing team, Torvill and Dean, become the first skaters to receive nine perfect 6.0 scores in the world championships.

1986: Susan Butcher becomes the first woman to win the 1,863-kilometre (1158-mile) Iditarod Sled Dog race in the Alaskan wilderness.

1988: South African Government bans church-led Opposition group headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as “threat to public safety”.

1990: Mongolian Communist Party leadership approves Opposition demands for sweeping political reforms.

1992: A ceasefire is shattered when the city of Agdam comes under heavy shelling that kills 25 people in the battle over the disputed, mostly ethnic Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.

1993: A series of bombs explode in Bombay, India, and at least 200 people are killed and 1,100 injured; Janet Reno is sworn in as the United States’ first female attorney general.

1998: Astronomers debunk a warning that a mile-wide (1.6-kilometre-wide) asteroid might collide with Earth on October 26, 2028, saying the calculations were off by 600,000 miles (965,400 kilometres).

1999: The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland join NATO in a ceremony at Independence, Missouri.

2003: Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic dies after being struck by two bullets as he walked from his car to a government building in Belgrade.

2007: Masked Palestinian gunmen kidnap BBC reporter Alan Johnston from his car in Gaza City. Johnston remains for four months as a prisoner of a shadowy Palestinian group before being released relatively unharmed.

2008: China says it is denying mountaineers permits to climb its side of Mount Everest this spring, in an apparent bid to keep Tibet activists from disrupting plans to carry the Olympic torch up the world’s tallest peak.

2009: The US National Research Council says despite years of study and analysis, the world is unprepared for climate change and needs to rethink basic assumptions that govern things as varied as choosing cars and building bridges.

2010: Germany’s sex abuse scandal reaches Pope Benedict XVI: His former archdiocese acknowledges it transferred a suspected paedophile priest while Benedict was in charge.

2011: The Japanese coastal city of Sendai is a landscape of debris and destruction after a massive tsunami hits, touching off huge surges of water that wash fleets of cars, boats and houses into the sea. Japanese officials say the death toll could eventually exceed 1,000.

2012: Greece implements the biggest debt write-down in history, swapping the bulk of its privately held bonds with new ones worth less than half their original value.

2013: The Curiosity rover answers a key question about Mars: the red planet long ago harboured some of the ingredients needed for primitive life to thrive.

2014: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani holds talks with the leader of the sultanate of Oman, his first official trip to an Arab country since taking office the previous year.


Today’s Birthdays

Thomas Arne, English composer (1710-1778); Jack Kerouac, American writer (1922-1969); Elaine De Kooning, US painter (1929-1989); Edward Albee, US playwright (1928- ); Barbara Feldon, US actress (1933- ); Liza Minnelli, US singer-actress (1946- ); James Taylor, US singer (1948-); Aaron Eckhart, US actor (1968-)

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