Today in history
Today in History for Sept. 12: On this date:
In 1362, Pope Innocent VI died. He is considered by Roman Catholic Church scholars to be one of the best popes of the Avignon papacy, a period in the 14th century when the seat of the pontiff was moved from Rome to Avignon in southern France. Innocent brought about many reforms in church administration.
In 1504, Christopher Columbus sailed from Hispaniola in the West Indies for Spain to end his fourth and last voyage to the New World. The great adventurer died after a long illness in 1506. In 1542, his remains were exhumed in Seville and taken back to Hispaniola. They are buried in the cathedral at Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic.
In 1818, Richard Gatling, inventor of the Gatling gun, was born in North Carolina.
In 1858, gold was discovered in Nova Scotia.
In 1869, British scientist Peter Mark Roget died. He compiled the “Theasaurus of English Words and Phrases,” first published in 1852.
In 1908, Orville Wright set a flying endurance record by keeping his plane aloft for one hour and 14 minutes in a demonstration for the U.S. army. The army later made the Wright planes the world's first military airplanes.
In 1914, the “Battle of the Marne,” a major offensive by British and French troops in the First World War, ended after several days of intensive fighting. The Allies succeeded in driving the Germans back across the Marne River, thanks in part to the 1,200 taxis commissioned by the French military governor to carry reinforcements to the front.
In 1932, the German Reichstag was dissolved after the Nazis and the Communists refused to form a coalition government.
In 1977, anti-apartheid activist Stephen Biko died shortly after his arrival in a Pretoria prison in South Africa. Police claimed he died as result of a hunger strike but evidence later showed he had massive head injuries. The death served as an international wake-up call to the brutality of the apartheid regime.
In 1988, hurricane Gilbert hit Jamaica. With winds up to 233 km/h and torrential rains, the storm killed 45 people and left about half a million homeless. Gilbert was later responsible for the deaths of 300 people in Mexico and the United States.
In 1989, 7,000 college teachers and 90,000 health workers walked off the job in Quebec.
In 1992, the space shuttle “Endeavour” blasted off, carrying with it Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space; Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space; and Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese citizen to fly on a U.S. spaceship.
In 1993, Canadian-born actor Raymond Burr, who portrayed TV'S Perry Mason, died. He was 76.
In 2003, the United Nations Security Council formally lifted sanctions on Libya, ending a ban on arms sales and flights imposed some 15 years earlier after Moammar Gadhafi's government was implicated in the 1988 Pan Am flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
In 2005, the Israeli army withdrew from Gaza, officially ending Israel's 38year occupation.
In 2011, the plot of land that was known as Ground Zero was opened to the public for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001. A few thousand people walked among hundreds of white oak trees on a plaza and gazed at the two enormous fountains where the World Trade Center's twin towers once stood.
In 2014, a South African judge found double-amputee Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and declared him not guilty of premeditated murder. He was later sentenced to five years in prison. (In October 2015, he was released from prison and placed under house arrest. In December 2015, an appeals court overturned the lower court decision and convicted him of murder. He was sentenced to six years in prison, but prosecutors are appealing the sentence as “shockingly too lenient.”)