Today in History: April 12, Civil War begins

April 12, 2022 GMT

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2022. There are 263 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

On this date:

In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.

In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.

In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)


In 1981, former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, 66, died in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 1985, Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, became the first sitting member of Congress to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.

In 1988, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Harvard University for a genetically engineered mouse, the first time a patent was granted for an animal life form.

In 1990, in its first meeting, East Germany’s first democratically elected parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.

In 1992, after five years in the making, Euro Disneyland (now called Disneyland Paris) opened in Marne-La-Vallee, France, amid controversy as French intellectuals bemoaned the invasion of American pop culture.

In 2015, Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics, announcing in a video her much-awaited second campaign for the White House.

In 2018, police in Philadelphia arrested two black men at a Starbucks; the men had been asked to leave after one of them was denied access to the restroom. (Starbucks apologized and, weeks later, closed thousands of stores for part of the day to conduct anti-bias training.)

In 2020, Christians around the world celebrated Easter Sunday isolated in their homes by the coronavirus. St. Peter’s Square was barricaded to keep out crowds. Pope Francis celebrated Easter Mass inside the largely vacant basilica, calling for global solidarity in the face of the pandemic and urging political leaders to give hope and opportunity to people who had lost jobs.

Ten years ago: Jury selection began in Greensboro, North Carolina, for the corruption trial of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, charged with six counts of campaign finance fraud. (The jury ended up acquitting Edwards of accepting illegal campaign contributions while deadlocking on the other five counts; federal prosecutors later dropped the remaining charges.)


Five years ago: The United States and China struck what appeared to be an unusual bargain as President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t label China a currency manipulator and voiced confidence Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) would help him deal with North Korea’s mounting threat.

One year ago: Police clashed with protesters for a second night in the Minneapolis suburb where an officer had fatally shot a Black man, 20-year-old Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop. Iran blamed Israel for sabotage at its underground Natanz nuclear facility that damaged its centrifuges. After months of lockdown from the coronavirus, shops, gyms, hairdressers and other “non-essential” businesses across Britain reopened. President Joe Biden said he would nominate Christine Wormuth, a former senior Pentagon official, to be the first woman to lead the Army. (Wormuth would be confirmed the following month.) India reported another record daily surge in coronavirus infections to overtake Brazil as the second-worst-hit country, behind the United States.

Today’s Birthdays: Playwright Alan Ayckbourn (AYK’-bohrn) is 83. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 82. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 78. Actor Ed O’Neill is 76. Actor Dan Lauria is 75. Talk show host David Letterman is 75. Author Scott Turow is 73. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 71. R&B singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 70. Singer Pat Travers is 68. Actor Andy Garcia is 66. Movie director Walter Salles (SAL’-ihs) is 66. Country singer Vince Gill is 65. Model/TV personality J Alexander is 64. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 64. Rock singer Art Alexakis (al-ex-AH’-kihs) (Everclear) is 60. Country singer Deryl Dodd is 58. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 58. Actor Alicia Coppola is 54. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 52. Actor Retta is 52. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 51. Actor Shannen Doherty is 51. Actor Marley Shelton is 48. Actor Sarah Jane Morris is 45. Actor Jordana Spiro is 45. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 44. Actor Riley Smith is 44. Actor Claire Danes is 43. Actor Jennifer Morrison is 43. Actor Matt McGorry is 36. Actor Brooklyn Decker is 35. Contemporary Christian musician Joe Rickard (Red) is 35. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic! at the Disco) is 35. Actor Saoirse (SUR’-shuh) Ronan is 28.