Today in History April 12

The Roosevelts
238 – Gordian II loses the Battle of Carthage against the Numidian forces loyal to Maximinus Thrax and is killed. Gordian I, his father, commits suicide.
1204 – The Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade breach the walls of Constantinople and enter the city, which they completely occupy the following day.
1861 – American Civil War: Battle of Fort Sumter. The war begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina.
1927 – Shanghai massacre of 1927: Chiang Kai-shek orders the Communist Party of China members executed in Shanghai, ending the First United Front.
1928 – The Bremen, a German Junkers W 33 type aircraft, takes off for the first successful transatlantic aeroplane flight from east to west.
1934 – The strongest surface wind gust in the world at the time of 231 mph, is measured on the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. It has since been surpassed.
Sir Frank Whittle’s jet aircraft engine was patented in 1932. The Whittle Unit bench test engine first ran on April 12 1937. Jet engines enabled aircraft to fly higher, farther, and faster than piston engine aircraft could.
Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE, CB, FRS, FRAeS was a British Royal Air Force air officer. He is credited with single-handedly inventing the turbojet engine. A patent was submitted by Maxime Guillaume in 1921 for a similar invention, however, this was technically unfeasible at the time.

1937 – Sir Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft, at Rugby, England.

1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes President upon Roosevelt’s death.
1955 – The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective.
1961 – Cold War: Space Race: The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarinbecomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1.
1981 – The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes place: The STS-1 mission.
1999 – President Bill Clinton is cited for contempt of court for giving “intentionally false statements” in a civil lawsuit; he is later fined and disbarred.
Births
1484 – Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Italian architect, designed the Apostolic Palace and St. Peter’s Basilica (d. 1546)
1612 – Simone Cantarini, Italian painter and engraver (d. 1648)
1777 – Henry Clay, American lawyer and politician, 9th United States Secretary of State (d. 1852)
Ilario Bandini
1883 – Imogen Cunningham,  photographer and educator (d. 1976)
1912 – Hound Dog Taylor, singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1975)
1916 – Beverly Cleary, American author
1932 – Tiny Tim, American singer and ukulele player (d. 1996)
1947 – Tom Clancy, American historian and author (d. 2013)
1957 – Tama Janowitz, American novelist and short story writer
Deaths
1675 – Richard Bennett, English politician, colonial Governor of Virginia (b. 1609)
1878 – William M. Tweed, American lawyer and politician (b. 1823)
1945 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, American lawyer and politician, 32nd President of the United States (b. 1882)
1989 – Abbie Hoffman, American activist, co-founded Youth International Party (b. 1936)
1992 – Ilario Bandini, Italian race car driver and businessman (b. 1911)

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