This Day In History – May 12th

This Day In History is a daily feature on The Beat Chicago

There have been thousands of these days in the past and more to come.

Each day of the week we look in the rear view mirror for a look back in time. Let’s go back in time to all the events, birthdays and more that have happened on May 12th in the past.

We’re here to help you remember everything you forgot so what could be better than a history of events that have happened on this day!

Each day of the week, The Beat Chicago takes you back through the years to see all the birthdays, heavenly birthdays and major events that have impacted life here on Earth on this day in history.

Click here and we’ll take you for a detailed trip back in time in our Backspin section.  Our Backspin section takes you back in time highlighting all the biggest events of each year.

We start Backspin in 1970 and go all the way to 1999. We’ve cataloged all the biggest news stories, top movies, TV shows, sporting events and more to help you remember everything you forgot or, help you learn something you didn’t know.

Click here for all past episodes of This Day In History

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Let’s go back in time to see everything that happened on this day in history

1792 – A toilet that flushed itself at regular intervals was patented

1821 – The first major battle of the Greek War of Independence against the Turks was fought in Valtetsi
1846 – The Donner Party of pioneers departed Independence, Missouri for California, on what became a year-long journey of hardship and cannibalism
1847 – William Clayton invented the odometer
1870 Manitoba becomes a province of Canada
1875 1st recorded shutout in pro baseball, Chicago 1, St Louis 0
1888 – Charles Sherrill of the Yale track team became the first runner to use the crouching start for a fast break in a foot race
1898 Louisiana adopts new constitution with “grandfather clause” designed to eliminate black voters
1908 – Nathan B. Stubblefield received his patent for wireless radio broadcasting
1926 – The Italian-built airship Norge became the first vessel to fly over the North Pole
1928 Benito Mussolini ended women’s rights in Italy
1928 Second Opium Law introduced internationally to control drugs
1932 – Ten weeks after his abduction, Charles Jr., the infant son of Charles Lindbergh, was found dead near Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from their home
1932 – Dippy Dawg a/k/a/ “Goofy” made his first appearance in Walt Disney’s ‘Mickey’s Revue’
1933 – The Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were established to provide help for the needy and farmers
1934 – Duke Ellington is flying high with his #1 hit “Cocktails For Two”
1937 – The Duke and Duchess of York were crowned as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Westminster Abbey
1938 – LSD was created by Sandoz Labs. LSD stands for lysergic acid diethylamide
1940 – The Nazi conquest of France began with the German army crossing Muese River
1941 – The world’s first working, programmable, fully automatic computer was unveiled by Konrad Zuse in Berlin named the “Z3”
1942 – The U.S. tanker SS Virginia was torpedoed in the mouth of the Mississippi River by the German submarine U-507
1943 – The Axis forces in North Africa surrendered during World War II
1949 – The Soviet Union lifted its blockade of Berlin
1950 – The American Bowling Congress abolished its white males-only membership restriction after 34 years
1951 – The 1st hydrogen bomb test took place on Eniwetok Atoll
1955 – Sam Jones of the Chicago Cubs is the first black man to pitch a no-hitter. The Cubs beat the Pirates 4-0
1958 – The U.S and Canada created the North American Air Defense Command which is now NORAD
1960 Elvis Presley appeared on a Frank Sinatra special. Elvis sang “Witchcraft”, Frank sang “Love Me Tender”
1964 – The reverse osmosis process for turning seawater and waste-water into potable stuff was patented
1965 – The Soviet spacecraft Luna 5 crashed on the Moon
1965 – West Germany and Israel exchanged letters establishing diplomatic relations
1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album “Are You Experienced”
1967 – Pink Floyd performs the first quadrophonic concert at the Games For May concert in London
1970 – Cubs slugger Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run
1971 – Mick Jagger married Bianca Perez Morena de Macias who was four months pregnant. They divorced in 1978
1972 – The Rolling Stones released the album “Exile on Main St”
1978 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they would no longer exclusively name hurricanes after women
1980 – Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock & Roll” from his “Glass House” album was released
1980 1st non-stop trans-North American balloon flight lands at Sainte-Félicité, Quebec. Maxie Anderson and son Kristian piloted the Kitty Hawk for five days
1982 – Security guards prevented an attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in Fatima, Portugal
1982 Playing in the spring and summer, the US Football League formed with 18 teams that collapsed by 1987
1984 South African prisoner Nelson Mandela saw his wife for the first time in 22 years
1985 – Lionel Richie received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from his alma mater Tuskegee Institute in Alabama
1985 – After serving six years for a rape that the victim later stated never happened, Illinois Gov. James Thompson commuted the sentence of Gary Dotson, who’d served six years in prison for the crime that never happened
1996 – Alexa was ‘born’. Brewster Kahle founded the non-profit Internet Archive. With a former colleague he also co-founded a firm called Alexa, to track and analyze the paths people follow as they move around the Web. Amazon bought Alexa for an estimated $250 million in 1999
1997 Russia and Chechnya signed a peace deal after 400 years of conflict
2000 – Adam Petty, 19, the fourth-generation driver of NASCAR’s most famous family, died in a crash during practice for the Busch 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway
2001 – Perry Como passed at the age of 88
2004 – NBC completed a merger with the Universal television and entertainment businesses to create a major media conglomerate
2005 – Microsoft unveiled XBOX 360
2008 – An 8.0 earthquake hit Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people

2015 – Verizon announced it would buy AOL

2017 – The WannaCry ransomware attack impacted over 400,000 computers worldwide, targeting computers of the United Kingdom’s National Health Services and Telefónica computers.


1816 – Lord Grimthorpe, designer of “Big Ben” in London

1820 – The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale

1903 – Actor Wilfrid Hyde-White, passed in 1991
1907 – Iconic actress Katharine Hepburn, passed in 2003
1910 – Nobel Prize winner, biochemist, Dorothy Hodgkin, passed in 1994
1912 – Sax and clarinet player Marshal Royal, passed in 1995
1918 – Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Mary Kay Ash, passed in 2001
1925 – The prolific Yogi Berra, passed in 2015
1928 – Music producer, musician, songwriter Burt Bacharach
1935 – Felipe Alou, Dominican-American baseball player, coach, and manager
1936 – 70’s iconic talk show host and journalist Tom Snyder, passed in 2007
1937 – Comedian, actor George Carlin, passed in 2008
1940 – Visionary Norman Whitfield, songrwriter, producer and light years ahead of his time, passed in 2008
1942 – Leader of the Blockheads, Ian Dury, passed in 2000
1948 – The great Steve Winwood
1950 – Actor Bruce Boxleitner
1950 – Actor, director and producer Gabriel Byrne
1950 – Rock n’ Roller Billy Squier
1951 – A man who hated the Chicago Bulls, Head Coach of many NBA teams, George Karl
1955 – Country star Kix Brooks
1956 – Gifted musician Greg Phillinganes
1959 – The big, baritone voiced Ving Rhames
1962 – Charlie Sheen’s brother, Emilio Estevez
1963 – The beautiful and talented Vanessa A. Williams\
1968 – Skateboarding actor Tony Hawk
1969 – Actress Kim Fields
1978 – American Pie actor Jason Biggs
1981 – Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek