Today in History: Feb. 12

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660 BC – Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu. AD 55 – Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman emperorship, dies under mysterious circumstances in Rome. This clears the way for Nero to become Emperor. 244 – Emperor Gordian III is murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). A mound is raised at Carchemish in his memory. 1177 – John de Courcy's army defeats the native Dunleavey Clan in Ulster. The English establish themselves in Ulster. 1534 – Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England. 1626 – Emperor Susenyos I of Ethiopia and Patriarch Afonso Mendes declare the primacy of the Roman See over the Ethiopian Church, and Catholicism to be the state religion of Ethiopia. 1659 – The assault on Copenhagen by Swedish forces is beaten back with heavy losses. 1790 – The Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers, petitions U.S. Congress for the abolition of slavery. 1794 – First session of United States Senate opens to the public. 1808 – Jesse Fell burns anthracite on an open grate as an experiment in heating homes with coal. 1812 – Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry is accused of "gerrymandering" for the first time. 1823 – Carnival tragedy of 1823: About 110 boys are killed during a stampede at the Convent of the Minori Osservanti in Valletta, Malta. 1826 – University College London is founded as University of London. 1840 – Gaetano Donizetti's opera La fille du régiment receives its first performance in Paris, France. 1843 – Giuseppe Verdi's opera I Lombardi alla prima crociata receives its first performance in Milan, Italy. 1855 – Kassa Hailu is crowned Tewodros II, Emperor of Ethiopia, by Abuna Salama III in a ceremony at the church of Derasge Maryam 1856 – The Kingdom of Awadh is annexed by the British East India Company and Wajid Ali Shah, the king of Awadh, is imprisoned and later exiled to Calcutta. 1858 – Bernadette Soubirous's first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France. 1861 – American Civil War: The United States House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution guaranteeing noninterference with slavery in any state. 1873 – King Amadeo I of Spain abdicates. 1889 – Meiji Constitution of Japan is adopted; the first National Diet convenes in 1890. 1903 – Anton Bruckner's 9th Symphony receives its first performance in Vienna, Austria. 1906 – Pope Pius X publishes the encyclical Vehementer Nos. 1919 – Friedrich Ebert (SPD), is elected President of Germany. 1929 – Kingdom of Italy and the Vatican sign the Lateran Treaty. 1937 – A sit-down strike ends when General Motors recognizes the United Auto Workers.

1938 – BBC Television produces the world's first ever science fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Čapek play R.U.R., that coined the term "robot". 1939 – A Lockheed P-38 Lightning flies from California to New York in 7 hours 2 minutes. 1942 – World War II: The Battle of Bukit Timah is fought in Singapore. 1943 – World War II: General Dwight D. Eisenhower is selected to command the allied armies in Europe. 1953 – Cold War: U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower denies all appeals for clemency for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. 1953 – The Soviet Union breaks off diplomatic relations with Israel. 1959 – The Federation of Arab Emirates of the South, which will later become South Yemen, is created as a protectorate of the United Kingdom. 1964 – Greeks and Turks begin fighting in Limassol, Cyprus. 1971 – Cold War: Eighty-seven countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union, sign the Seabed Arms Control Treaty outlawing nuclear weapons on the ocean floor in international waters. 1973 – Vietnam War: First release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam takes place. 1978 – Censorship: China lifts a ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. 1979 – The Iranian Revolution establishes an Islamic theocracy under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. 1981 – Around 100,000 US gallons (380 m3) of radioactive coolant leak into the containment building of TVA Sequoyah 1 nuclear plant in Tennessee, contaminating eight workers. 1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner. 1990 – Buster Douglas, a 42:1 underdog, knocks out Mike Tyson in ten rounds at Tokyo to win boxing's world Heavyweight title. 1997 – Space Shuttle Discovery is launched on a mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. 1999 – Pluto crosses Neptune's orbit, ending a nearly 20-year period (since 1979) when it was closer to the Sun than the gas giant; Pluto is not expected to interact with Neptune's orbit for another 228 years. 2001 – A Dutch programmer launched the Anna Kournikova virus infecting millions of emails via a trick photo of the tennis star. 2006 – Then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, while participating in a quail hunt on a ranch in Riviera, Texas. 2008 – Rebel East Timorese soldiers seriously wound President José Ramos-Horta. Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado is killed in the attack. 2011 – Arab Spring: The first wave of the Egyptian revolution culminates in the resignation of Hosni Mubarak and the transfer of power to the Supreme Military Council after 18 days of protests. 2013 – The Vatican confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI would resign the papacy on 28 February 2013, as a result of his advanced age. 2014 – A military transport plane crashes in a mountainous area of Oum El Bouaghi Province in eastern Algeria, killing 77 people. 2015 – A university student was murdered as she resisted an attempted rape in Turkey, sparking nationwide protests and public outcry against harassment and violence against women. 2016 – A man shoots six people dead at an education center in Jizan Province, Saudi Arabia. 2017 – North Korea prompts international condemnation by test firing a ballistic missile across the Sea of Japan.

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