April 12
1204The Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople.
1606England adopts the Union Jack as its flag.
1770Parliament repeals the Townsend Acts.
1782The British navy wins its only naval engagement against the colonists in the American Revolution at the Battle of Saints, off Dominica.
1811The first colonists arrive at Cape Disappointment, Washington.
1861Fort Sumter is shelled by Confederacy, starting America's Civil War.
1864Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captures Fort Pillow, in Tennessee.
1877The first catcher's mask is used in a baseball game.
1911Pierre Prier completes the first non-stop London-Paris flight in three hours and 56 minutes.
1916American cavalrymen and Mexican bandit troops clash at Parrel, Mexico.
1927The British Cabinet comes out in favor of voting rights for women.
1944The U.S. Twentieth Air Force is activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.
1945President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies at Warm Spring, Georgia. Harry S. Truman becomes president.
1954Bill Haley records "Rock Around the Clock."
1955Dr. Jonas Salk's discovery of a polio vaccine is announced.
1961Soviet Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin becomes first man to orbit the Earth.
1963Police use dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama.
1966Emmett Ashford becomes the first African-American major league umpire.
1983Harold Washington is elected the first black mayor of Chicago.

Born on April 12
1777 Henry Clay, the "Great Compromiser", American politician and statesman who ran unsuccessfully for president three times.
1791Francis Preston Blair, Washington Globe newspaper editor.
1838 John Shaw Billings, American librarian, army physician.
1949Scott Turow, writer and attorney.

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